Archive for June, 2013

RustyButTrusty Goes on the Road – Motherlode 400 Sunday

June 28, 2013

In the recently all too rare occurrence of taking one of the fleet on a road trip, the RustyButTrusty BMW 2002tii went out on a weekend excursion. The occasion this time was the Motherlode 400 Rally. This rally has been running for several years now over Father’s Day weekend, so if your father is a car guy, or a beautiful-scenery-flying-by-the-window kinda guy, this is the perfect way to spend it with him. Unfortunately we were only able to go for Sunday due to prior commitments, but Sunday is the preferred day if you want to test your car’s abilities at high altitude. And it is truly amazing how much a lack of oxygen will suck the power away from a naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder car. My (totally objective, seat-of-the-pants) impression was it affected the BMW even worse than the Alfa Spider a couple of years ago.

After an already beautiful day of driving through scenic backroads, you follow Highway 89 out to the 395 south, and drive down to the Sonora Pass road. Bring a full tank of gas, because there’s none until you get back over the hills, and even then it’s quite a distance. After climbing up miles and miles of tight, twisty road, hopefully not behind a Suburban, you get to this:

1972 BMW 2002tii at Sonora Pass 2



Disappearing Breed – 1991 Saab 900 turbo

June 26, 2013

RustyButTrusty has a soft spot for Saabs. The nice thing about our home base is the level of car nuttiness going on here, and people will truly buy anything. I don’t mean that in a bad way – but driving around the streets of this area, you’ll see all kinds of things on the roads, including rare stuff like the last version of the Saab 9-5, released just before the company went out of business. But in spite of their longevity, the first-generation Saab 900s are becoming a less and less frequent sight. At some point, that distinctive exhaust note these have should make it part of the fleet, but for now we’re left to admire from afar. And while you’ll find beaters and automatic turbo convertibles, it’s rarer to find a 5-speed hardtop turbo in good shape with relatively low (say, less than 150K) miles. Like today’s car, listed in Santa Cruz, CA for $3200.

1991 Saab 900 turbo right front


The Sheen is Off – 1967 Fiat 600

June 25, 2013

It’s pretty rare to find any kind of older, pre-1970s Fiat in decent shape for short money. With the ubiquity of the new Fiat 500s, it’s also hard to find a Fiat that Charlie Sheen has not advertised. Nowadays, the only Fiats of this period that are cheap are projects or complete rust buckets. And that’s not much of a surprise, either – as I was mentioning on a recent post about a VW Rabbit, the older economy cars just diappear after a while, and even enthusiasts don’t seem to have them. Which is funny, because there is a distinct type of fun in these simple, cheap cars. For example, this 600 in Duboistown, PA near Williamsport. It’s $3800 for a running, inspected car with some rust in the rear floors – really not so bad for a car of its age outside of the dry states. Assuming, of course, that the Pennsylvania state inspection means the structure is solid and all electrics and brakes work, this would be a great driver project.

1967 Fiat 600 right front