Rusty But Trusty on the Street – Chevrolet, Triumph, Ford, VW

Time to revisit RustyButTrusty on the Street, after a long-ish hiatus, where we look at cars found on the streets on the west coast and beyond. First up is a Chevrolet 3100 van, from about 1953. When you get depressed about the throngs of Priuses and Accords on the highways, doesn’t it make you smile to think someone is daily driving this old thing? The truck looks great in person, and makes you wonder what’s in the back… vintage motorcycles? Woodworking tools? Something ultra-modern like, say, computer and printer repair supplies?

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Next up is this yellow Triumph Spitfire, likely a final-year 1980 car, judging by those massive black bumpers. Somehow the yellow paint works well on this late car, while it would not work at all on the earlier ones. This car showed up on a local side street in rather dirty condition, stuck around for a week or so, and then disappeared. Did it fail its last smog test before being left out for dead? Or is it now in a smog-free state, getting the free flow exhaust and twin SUs it deserves?

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This appears to be an early 1960s Ford Fairlane, though the convex rear window and some other features don’t seem to square up with other examples. The muted paint color on low-spec wheels looks great for not being the usual 50s/60s collector car – this is much more evocative of what most people would have driven.

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Lastly, this appears to be a properly early (late 1970s, post-swallowtail) VW Rabbit C Diesel. It benefits from fresh paint in an original color, along with a tidy interior and color-matched wheels. It’s always too bad to realize how few of these are left, particularly the more pure pre-Westmoreland cars. These really were a great expression of the stark, German (okay, so it’s Italian-designed) frugal simplicity on wheels.

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What have you seen on your local streets? Send your submissions in via the contact form!

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4 Responses to “Rusty But Trusty on the Street – Chevrolet, Triumph, Ford, VW”

  1. Willy Says:

    The Ford is a 1961. I’m going to guess it is the base full-size model, the Custom 300, rather than the Fairlane 500 or top-line Galaxy 500. I learned to drive on a 1961 Ford Country Sedan (wagon) in this same color and with those same hubcaps (but wheels would originally be painted body color).

  2. steve in podunk Says:

    That Rabbit gets better mileage then my Road King. I wouldn’t mind having a little diesel car for putting around and it wouldn’t be out of place with it’s leisurely pace ‘cuz everyone drive slow in this burg.

  3. steve in podunk Says:

    A guy just pulled into my shop with a square light version of that Rabbit, said it gets 54mpg; how’s that for a coincidence?

    • Chris Keen Says:

      Ha, definitely random. That’s impressive mileage, guess the modern TDIs are too big and heavy to get that kind of mileage. Sure is nice to be able to pass folks on a 2-lane though.

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