Santa Monica

1965 Dodge Dart

This Dart may win the award of being the oldest daily-driven car around my neck of the woods. I actually saw it just a couple weeks ago, getting its brakes fixed at a repair shop. I imagine it must take a good deal of dedication to keep dailying a 53-year-old car, but I suppose Dart parts are cheap and relatively plentiful, and since it’s probably got a slant-6 under the hood, reliability isn’t likely to be too much of an issue.

For some reason, the ’65 Dart (and specifically the coupe) is still quite a common sight on the streets of Southern California. It’s gotten to the point that I won’t always stop and snap photos of one if I see it on the street, just because I see so many of them. But I had been waiting to catch this one at a standstill for awhile by the time I finally got these pictures. There’s just something about an honest daily-driven classic that appeals to me so much more than a meticulously-restored garage queen.

Santa Monica, CA

Photos by The Professor

1969 Ford Torino

The Torino was introduced for the 1968 model year, as an upmarket series of the Fairlane. This particular Torino, a 1969 model, sports the new-for-’69 351 “Windsor” V8, one of around 8.6 million 351W’s that would eventually be manufactured by the end of production in 1996.

It’s also a great example of my favorite types of finds: old cars that are still being put to good use. It’s not in the greatest shape: there’s a few dings and some misaligned trim and a badly battered roof, but it’s honest in its weather-worn state. While it hasn’t quite aged gracefully, it’s still plugging along almost 50 years after it started, and that’s quite an achievement indeed.

Santa Monica, CA

Photos by The Professor

1970-73 Volkswagen 1600 Squareback

Looking back through the archives, it seems I hadn’t yet posted a 1600 Squareback. Which is surprising, really, since this is one of no fewer than 8(!) that I’ve shot over the years.

Squarebacks are sort of on that weird frontier of being too common to stop and take a picture of and too old to not stop and take the picture. I also think that outside of California (and maybe the PNW) they’re not nearly as common: I imagine rust has claimed quite a few of them by now. Still, in Los Angeles at least, there are still quite a few rear-engined Volkswagen fans for whom a Beetle will simply not do. Or maybe they just want something a bit more practical.

(Side note: if anybody knows how to narrow these down by year for the ’70-’73 models, please let me know: I have absolutely no clue of any distinguishing features between the years.)

Santa Monica, CA

Photos by The Professor

Update: We’re (Finally) Back!

Well, it’s been over a year and a half since our last post here at Roadside Rambler, which means one of two things: 1) We’ve ceased our rambling or 2) We’ve been busy with other projects life has thrown our way. Thankfully for all, it is the latter malady which has sidelined our posts and not the former: we’re now up to over 2,500 cars in the archives and with just over 100 posted here so far, that means we have a whole lot more to show you. Spread the word and keep your eyes peeled: Roadside Rambler is back and (hopefully) here to stay in the new year. We’ll resume regular posting tomorrow and for the foreseeable future there should be a steady stream of new content. Please drop a comment from time to time if there’s anything that catches your eye or interests you, and we wish you all good fortune in the year ahead. Happy Rambling!

– The Professor

1988 Buick Reatta

1988 Buick Reatta 1988 Buick Reatta 1988 Buick Reatta 1988 Buick Reatta 1988 Buick Reatta

Though Buick intended to shift 20,000 Reattas per year, only 21,751 were produced in a four-year production run from 1988-1991. This car features Buick’s “Electronic Control Center,” which contained radio and climate controls on a touch-sensitive CRT screen. The screen, first introduced in the 1986 Riviera, proved unpopular and unreliable, and was dropped for the 1990 model year. In retrospect, though, it was far ahead of its time.

Santa Monica, CA

Photos by The Professor

1977 Volkswagen Beach Buggy

1977 Volkswagen Beach Buggy1977 Volkswagen Beach Buggy1977 Volkswagen Beach Buggy1977 Volkswagen Beach Buggy


The 1977 is an educated guess based on the license plate, but in all honesty I have no idea what year this (car?) is, nor do I know who manufactured it.

The beach buggy craze was ignited by the introduction of the Meyers Manx in 1965, which was created by Bruce Meyers and made by crafting a custom fiberglass body and placing it on a shortened Volkswagen Beetle chassis. Since Meyers’ design was ruled unpatentable, other companies jumped onto the bandwagon and started to churn out their own fiberglass buggies. It’s estimated that over 250,000 copies of the Manx were produced, including the one pictured here. This ultimately crippled Manx’s company, which folded in 1971.

This particular example was spotted in the California beach town of Venice, an appropriate location for the quintessential beach car.

Venice, CA

Photos by The Professor


1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible

1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible

The Corvair, of course, was highlighted in Ralph Nader’s book Unsafe at Any Speed, after which sales fell more than half from 220,000 in 1965 to less than 110,000 the next year. Nader’s book crippled the reputation of the Corvair, and sales never recovered.

This is not the most attractive example of a Corvair imaginable–the knockoff wire wheels and the drab color and trim do nothing to help its looks. However, it is a fairly-well preserved example of a none-too-common convertible model, which makes it a worthy picture target.

Santa Monica, CA

Photos by The Professor

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