"He who seeks beauty will find it."

19— Citroën H Van (Midtown)

Vintage cars have great appeal to the marketing departments of so-called aspirational clothing brands because they help complete the brand image these companies are selling.  Only a few years ago Tommy Hilfiger parked an old wood-paneled Jeep Grand Wagoneer on the floor of the Herald Square Macy’s and used it in their print advertising. J. Crew catalogues often make props of old Broncos and Benzes. This practice is so prevalent there ought to be a Pinterest page about it.

The “Ralph’s Coffee” Citroën, shown here outside the flagship Ralph Lauren store Friday, falls neatly into this tradition. RL’s choice of a French van is a curious one though. A brand whose image is classic American style might have been better paired an old American truck. Perhaps Ralph himself had seen the H Vans used extensively by the Philadelphia coffee purveyor La Colombe and liked the idea. That would explain the coffee.

Posted at 11:30am and tagged with: Citroën, H Van, ralphscoffee, Automobilist, French, green, vintage, Ralph Lauren, NYC, Citroen,.

2002 Ford Thunderbird (Grand Army Plaza)

Plaza by Calvert Vaux, apartment building by Richard Meier, automobile by Jack Telnack. 

The eleventh generation T-Bird was not the sales blockbuster Ford Motor had hoped, but its unique nature, smart design and relative rarity make it a contemporary classic. 

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: American, Ford, Thunderbird, TBird, blue, Automobilist, Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, Richard Meier, Jack Telnack, Calvert Vaux,.

2014 Lincoln MKZ (Midtown)

How better to follow yesterday’s ’60 Continental with the top-selling Blincoln of 2014 – the MKZ

The Automobilist has lamented the sorry state of Lincoln before. While General Motors has managed to inject cool back into Cadillac, Ford has so far failed to accomplish the same feat with its luxury line. All hope is not lost – Ford is at least trying something as evidenced by the recent “Lincoln Motor Company” re-branding campaign – but the prospects of Lincoln’s revival are far from certain. Even despite the fierce competition from abroad, it is telling that the once mighty American auto industry can produce and successfully market only one premium brand of mass-market vehicles.

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: Lincoln, Ford, American, MKZ, auto industry, fordmotorcompany, cars, Lincoln Motor Company, Automobilist, gray,.

1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V (Gravesend)

After a cloudy and unseasonably cool, but nonetheless pleasant day at the beaches of Fort Tilden National Park, the editor and his companions — including fellow Tumblrer Olidel — stopped for a pie at the legendary L&B Spumoni Gardens in Gravesend, where they caught a fleeting glimpse of the pristine 1960 Continental which back in February appeared in the pages of the New York Times.

The above photos are the best shots the editor could get of this magnificent two-and-a-half ton beast.

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: Ford, American, Lincoln, Continental, Automobilist, car, classic, vintage, green, retro, Eisenhower, Lincoln Motor Company, lincolnmotorco, Continental Division, Mark V,.

1959 Pontiac Star Chief (Bethany Beach, Del.)

Bethany Beach is one of Delaware’s nicest towns and certainly the greatest town on the face of the planet to have been founded by the Disciples of Christ. It may not be as well-known as nearby Rehoboth Beach with its large gay community, and Beltway holidaymakers, but it is every bit as pleasingly quiet as Dewey Beach is obnoxiously rowdy and Ocean City, Maryland, is crowded and commercialized. Doubtless this is attributable, at least in part, to Bethany’s having been a dry town for most of its existence. It was not until 1982 that liquor could be served at all and even today bars are too few in number to attract the rabble.

What is more, some of its residents get permanent “Platinum” parking passes. The owner of this Pontiac seems to have got the first one.

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: Pontiac, American, GM, General Motors, green, Star Chief, classic, vintage, Automobilist, car, chrome, fins, Bethany Beach, Delaware, carspotting,.

1971 GMC C/K (Bethany Beach, Del.)

The Automobilist does not go in for lifted trucks but will make an exception for this sharp GMC C/K. The metallic gray paint is not original but looks great and the truck is otherwise very well-preserved.

The only thing missing is a Delaware surf fishing vehicle permit.

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: GMC, General Motors, GM, truck, 4x4, Automobilist, gray, C/K, Sierra, Bethany Beach,.

1956 International Harvester S-120 (Red Hook)

For Labor Day weekend we bring you a classic work vehicle — the International S Series, shown here in a low-maintenance flat gray.

The spartan interior sports nice touches on the dashboard such as a chrome ashtray door, and knobs and switches. Everything looks like metal, Bakelite, or glass. The labels fixed beneath the controls are a curious touch too. One would assume a regular user of this truck would know through muscle-memory which does what.

Happy Labor Day!

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: truck, Automobilist, International Harvester, gray, vintage, S Series, American, International, Labor Day, work truck, chrome, classic, Americana, car,.

1978 Volvo 242 DL (Red Hook)

What is Lambda Sond? An emission control system Volvo engineers developed in the 1970s for its B21 straight 4-cylinder.

According to the SAE, it "employs three essential new components — an exhaust gas composition sensor, an additional feed-back loop to the continuous fuel injection system, and the catalyst” (see, Engh, G. and Wallman, S., “Development of the Volvo Lambda-Sond System,” SAE Technical Paper 770295, 1977, doi:10.4271/770295).

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: Volvo, Automobilist, Swedish, 200 Series, 242 DL, white, car, vintage, classic, lambda sond, 242,.

1967 Chrysler 300 (Carroll Gardens)

This dated-looking living-room-on-wheels is what comes of designing chiefly for the showrooms, the dealers’ lots, and magazine adverts of 1966 America. The styling of this 4,390 lb. behemoth clearly had nothing to do with aerodynamics, or anything else that might aid performance. Where the angled grille on 1966 models at least suggested motion, the perfectly vertical form here suggests stasis.

Just think of what American engineers and stylists might have been able to accomplish had they focused their efforts on efficiency, safety, and functionality.

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: Chrysler, American, Mopar, 300, Brooklyn, Automobilist, maroon, land yacht, gas guzzler,.

Model A Fords (Dumbo)

The Model A Ford Club of Long Island arranged a display of more than two dozen cars recently, and the Automobilist was there.

Introduction of the Model A in 1927 was a major event in America. After all, the car it was intended to replace — the Model T — had put the nation on wheels. Special showrooms, or “salons”, were designated in selected U.S. cities where the new Ford would be displayed. Reported the New York World: “The excitement could hardly have been greater had Pah-Pah, the white elephant of Burma, elected to sit for seven days on the flagpole of the Woolworth Building.” (Brinkley, Wheels for the World, Penguin, New York [2003], p. 354)

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: Ford, Model A, Automobilist, prewar, vintage, car, classic, Manhattan Bridge, Model A Ford Club of Long Island,.

1985 Mercedes-Benz 300 TD (Prospect Park South)

Here’s one for you and our friends at the Hemmings Motor News Tumblr.

Stay tuned. On deck next week we have some pre-war Fords, a Chrysler land yacht, International S-Series truck and more.

Happy Friday, everybody!

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: MercedesBenz, Mercedes, Benz, W123, German, white, Automobilist, station wagon, wagon, Hemmings Motor News,.

1984 Mercedes-Benz 300 D (Prospect Park South)

This thirty year old Mercedes-Benz W123 brings to mind a doctor, lawyer, or university don; in other words, someone educated and urbane who, though well-to-do, knows better than to show off his or her wealth. What other mass-produced vehicle has a symbolic value that remains so static? Rolls-Royces and Bentleys certainly retain their cachet but they are not mass-produced. Jags? Maybe. Cadillacs and Lincolns? They are symbols of a different sort — an ‘84 Caddy is just kitsch. Some pickup trucks might qualify, but the huge numbers in which they are built and sold means that the possible uses to which they are put, and the symbolic values they therefore acquire, are infinite.

Then again a car’s symbolic value, like human beauty, may exist only in the eye of the beholder.

In any case, this the second time the Automobilist has featured a W123 finished in Cypress Green, one of the best — if not the best — colors for this car.

Posted at 11:30am and tagged with: Mercedes Benz, Mercedes, Benz, W123, 300D, German, Automobilist, green, Zypressengrün, Zypressengruen, cypress green, vintage, classic, WASPy,.