Spotted is Globe Drive writer Peter Cheney's weekly feature that takes you behind the scenes of his life as a vehicle and engineering journalist. In coming weeks, we'll also highlight the best of your original photos and short video clips (10 seconds or less), which you should send with a short explanation. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on Twitter @cheneydrive (#spotted), or join him on Facebook (no login required). All photos by Peter Cheney unless otherwise noted.
The Duct Tape Special
The shots I posted of rolling wrecks on I-75 last week seem to have resonated with readers who have sent me their own finds. Here’s one from Christopher Wood, who spotted this duct-taped ride in Toronto, near Lawrence Avenue East and the Don Valley Parkway. The duct tape gives it a certain lived-in look.
Backyard Engineering At Its Finest
Reader Lorne Koop spotted this on I-98 near Pensacola, Florida. Looks like the driver taped in a solid sheet of Plexiglas to replace his broken window, then rigged a flip-up vent so he can let in fresh air, pay tolls or flip out cigarette butts. Way cheaper than Speedy Auto Glass!
And If You’ve Got More Than One Roll of Tape…..
Since we’re looking at duct tape repairs, I had to pull this one out of my files. I shot this a couple of summers ago while driving back from Manhattan with my wife and some friends. We followed this guy for a while, mesmerized by the flapping and billowing of the plastic sheeting, wondering if the tape would hold. Against all odds, it did.
The Silence of the Lambos
My friend and editor Danielle Boudreau noticed these Lamborghinis on Spadina Ave. in Toronto. They looked great. Unfortunately, the one in the back stalled when the light turned green, ruining the effect.
The Italian Job
My friend Piero Manzini always has something different. This is his Fiat Coupe, a car that was produced between 1993 and 2000.) With scalloped sides, double-bubble headlights and an interior that conjures up a leather-lined discotheque, the Coupe is definitely cool, in an oddball way. The Coupe was designed at Pininfarina by Chris Bangle (who would later create the controversial “Bangle Butt” for BMW.)
Lost in Translation
“Fiat Lancia Unlimited” sounds great until you convert it into an acronym and realize that you’re joining the FLU club. Oh well. The cars are cool. (This decal is on the window of Piero’s Fiat Coupe.)
You Know You’re a Gearhead When….
Reader Stu Wilson of Calgary sent along some pictures of his excellent garage and car collection, which runs heavily toward the Mopar (a.k.a. Chrysler) end of the scale. Stu is an engineer in the oil and gas industry, and as you can see, he’s a meticulous guy. Great garage setup.
A sleeper is a car that looks ordinary, but has a surprisingly big engine jammed under the hood (bootleggers used them to carry illegal liquor and outrun the police). For example: reader Stu Wilson’s 1962 Dodge Dart. The Dart was a ubiquitous family ride from the JFK era. Stu’s has sombre paint, plain steel wheels, and a 440-cubic-inch V8.
Muscle Car Redux
Stu Wilson also sent me this nice photo of his 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda convertible. This is one of the cars that defined the Detroit muscle car era, and it still has real presence.
European Marketing Is Different
I spotted this rent-a-car advertising display at the Frankfurt airport, but failed to understand why it might make me want to rent a car. It probably helps them sell the upgraded insurance option, though.
Breaker, Breaker, Good Buddy
I saw this cut-down trailer on Highway 401. It looks like it’s designed to reduce aerodynamic drag so it can be towed behind a small car. I couldn’t tell whether the top pops up when you stop, or whether you need to be really short to use it.
A Ferrari That Can Carry a Load of Plywood
My friend Ernie Black (@TheF1Poet) noticed this and sent it along. You were expecting a gun rack or fishing rods in the back window of an F-150 pickup, right? Have a glass of Chablis and think again.
What Jeeps Are Really Meant To Do
My photos of driving off road in my friend’s Jeep last week reminded Alberta reader Greg Veilleux of a trip he took with his brother – they drove a Jeep up the Baru volcano in Panama to scout a site for a transmission tower. It took them four and half hours to go 13 kilometres.
You Can Bolt on Whatever You Want
Like me, Greg Veilleux was amazed at what the Jeep could do off road. His looks like it was outfitted with axles from a larger vehicle – off-road Jeep builders are known for their creativity!
Feel Free to Put Your Feet on the Dash
There’s nothing more liberating than a well-worn car. This is the Jeep that Greg and his brother took up the volcano in Panama. It has a certain patina.
When Business Names Go Wrong
I spotted this truck during trip through Pennsylvania a while back. Until I read the third line, I wasn’t sure what business they were in. Hard to know what impact the company name has on the bottom line.
The Road Warrior
My wife and I noticed this Nissan in Chattanooga. Looks like the owner decided to tear off the damaged rear fascia, then bolted the license plate onto the aluminum impact beam underneath. Very Mad Maxish.