Sometimes it’s the humdrum things that really stick in your mind.
I have pleasant memories of thrashing a John Cooper Works Mini Countryman around the Rhineland in September; great fun to drive.
But my fondest automotive recollection of the year takes me back to June and two of the most mundane cars known to man.
The first was the Chevy Impala my wife and I rented in Denver for a road-trip through the southwest. I mean no disrespect in calling it mundane. It was a fine car. But sexy, exciting, inspiring? Not so much.
The second, I normally would disparage: a 1958 British Austin A35, similar to the first car I ever owned. My Austin was a “drift car” decades before the concept was invented, and finding reverse was a matter of fool luck.
So I was surprised to spot, among all the gleaming rods, customs and choppers at the weekly Friday night cruise in downtown Escondido, Calif., the only A35 I’ve seen on this side of the Atlantic.
And, boy, was it getting a lot of attention. People were jaywalking across four busy lanes of traffic for a closer look.
The owner was a Brit who moved to the States in the ’60s. His dad had been a mechanic who looked after the Austin for its original owner and wound up buying it from him.
The car had been up on blocks for years when the transplanted Californian went back for a visit in 2011. He shipped it over and got it running.
When you’re used to seeing radical rods and customs every Friday, I guess it takes something really … mundane to catch your eye.
I shot a picture of someone riding shotgun in a fenderless Model T roadster gaping and pointing at the A35. I could read his lips: “What the heck is that?” At least I think it was “heck…”
Columns Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
- You can unsubscribe at any time. Please Contact Us for details.
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STAR'S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X