Bay Area sunsets shift to the north in summer, where they’re best seen from the houses of the Berkeley Hills. There’s something delightfully Californian about a German sports car parked in front of a mid-century modern home on a ridiculously-graded road.
Our 11-year-old car just passed the 200,000-mile mark on the odometer. It’s been with us for multiple transcontinental drives and a lot of smaller road-trips in between. This is our unicorn: a combination of manual transmission, smooth straight-six engine, all-wheel drive, and cavernous station wagon that’s simply no longer available from any manufacturer. What will we do when this car is ready for retirement? That’s a tough question.
“Teenage” is a category that remains linked to California, and there are few places where the California/teenager overlap occurs more than in an older-model car jammed full of your best friends on a sunny Saturday afternoon in downtown Berkeley. There are plans to be made! We have to pick up that guy from the BART! What about hitting Grizzly Peak? Time to drive!
I’m on a roll with Datsuns lately. The crash protection and the reliability of a modern car may not be there, but what a face! Particularly when sitting on wider-than-stock tires and hiding out on some side street in Berkeley, this car has the potential for fun.
The Bay Area seems to experience seasons at a different pace from much of the rest of the country. Summer is a month-long period from mid-August through mid-September, fall lasts from October through March, and the summer goes from April until August. Winter (as the East Coast understands it) isn’t a part of the equation. Being back in fall, then, has me reminiscing about fall in the North Country, with leaves starting to dot the ground and the Blue Hour arriving sooner.
Berkeley’s undergraduate student population is still mostly gone for winter break, leaving UCB’s campus to resemble St. Lawrence’s during Fall Break in October. The empty-ish parking lots might be bleak, but at least it’s easy to get a table at lunch time.
And one final bonus from that fall weekend: a most dramatic and exciting picture of a most unexciting car. I present to you: the World’s Most Interesting Toyota RAV-4.
I’m not in the market for a hypercar (like the Bugatti Veyron below), nor a supercar, nor even really a car, at this particular moment. When friends and family heard that I had attended the New York International Auto Show last month, the response was often in the range of questions about what kind of car I planned to buy. I’m not planning on replacing the Mini just yet, I love the combination of graphic and industrial design on display at a show like this—not to mention the mix with civil and mechanical engineering. Cars have their costs and benefits, but it’s tough to wanter a place like the Javits Center and not feel a little bit of awe.
Porsche’s eternal and outwardly-unchanging 911 (like the R version here) is suprisingly subtle by the standards of similarly-performing vehicles, but it fit well into the classy setting of Porsche’s display: red and white matching perfectly.
Acura’s new NSX is a monster (in performance, engineering, and cost), and joins a category of hybrid hypercars that transform the environmental technology into a performance booster. Sure, the numbers are impressive, but the design just has so many creases and parts. Overdesigned?
The real star of the show (for me), however, was this humble Mazda MX-5 Miata. I might have some bias from owning a 1995 Miata in the past (in this same white paint/black top combination, even). This is a driver’s car for the masses. It’s light and fast and efficient. Shame about the trunk space…
Today, I’ll follow up Monday’s “Three Scenes” with two of the cool cars/trucks/auto-vehicles from the Dairy Princess Festival last weekend. Seeing strange and special cars in a land of brütal road salt is a testament to their owners care and attention.
I shot these images free-hand, outside, after 9:00 PM. That’s a testament of its own—either to the power of a fast prime lens and good noise reduction software, or to how late it stays light in the summer when you live this far north.