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Japanese Party Van in Finland: 2002 Nissan Elgrand Highway Star

Antti Kautonen March 31, 2016 Finnish Line


Japanese vans are pretty commonplace here, as a lot of stuff is still moved from place A to location B with a Toyota Hiace, or a Nissan Vanette at the very least. This narrow and tall, totally JDM-weird RHD people carrier immediately caught my eye, and at first I took it for a Toyota Granvia, as those are the Hiace equivalent.

But no, this was a Nissan!

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Weekend Edition: 1986 Honda Civic Hatchback


This ’86 Honda Civic is one of those cars you never really see anymore. They started showing rust badly somewhere in the mid-1990s, so two decades later it’s a joy to see one around. Mechanically they are unburstable, but the rockers could only take so much Bondo.

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Weekend Edition: 1966 Volvo Amazon 122S


This 1966 Volvo 122S is probably the nicest car I’ve seen this weekend. I shot it in Jyväskylä, central Finland, just casually sitting on a side street not far from the town centre.

It’s wearing the right kind of Minilites, aux lights, mirrors, everything, and the paint is the right shade of brick red.

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Spring Chicken: Triumph Herald 13/60


I took my Miata in for its yearly inspection the other day, as it had to be done by the end of this month. I’ve been driving it for a year now, without much problems at all! That does also mean I haven’t spent much time improving anything on it.

I was amused to find this True British Sports Car  British econobox parked on the next lot. It seemed to have been covered with a tarp, but the winter winds had blown the cover clear from the car. In any case, it was the most handsome Michelotti-styled car I had seen all day!

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Truck Thursday: 1985 Chevrolet Silverado Fleetside Diesel


For today’s Truck Thursday contribution from up here in the slushy north, I bring you this 1985 Chevrolet C/K. It’s a Silverado specification with the 6.2-litre Detroit Diesel, so certainly worthy. All of the chrome on it looks so good, even if it stands out well enough by itself.

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Wagon Wednesday: 1995 Chevrolet Caprice Classic


Last month, we drove to the nearby town for some burgers and a stroll around the snowy streets. The burgers there are a good enough reason to drive over, and taking a couple casual photos of this Caprice wagon fit the picture.

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Sprint in the Slush: 1988 Alfa Romeo Sprint Quadrifoglio Verde


What do you think would be the kind of car least likely to be seen daily driven in a salted, slushy environment? Anything Italian, knocking on 30 years would be a likely answer, and seeing this Alfa Romeo Sprint parked at a mall was certainly weird. Kudos to the owner for keeping it going, no matter what it takes.

The Sprint was born under the Alfasud program, and it was developed further to tie in with the successor, the 33. It survived until 1989, but was not renewed when the 33 was redesigned.

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Weekend Edition: Getting to grips with the Peugeot 405 Mi16


There are two ways to refer to this car. A simple, non-sugarcoated one is to say I have a French car with peeling paint and leaking coolant. The other, a more sympathetic way is to declare that I drive a 1992 Peugeot 405 Mi16 that isn’t yet as good as it could be. Both sentiments are true, but it’s the latter that drives me forward. As does the Mi16, whenever I need it to.

Does it sound like a motivational Facebook poster image yet?

After the previous, introductory post, the Peugeot spent a couple months at the local vocational school’s auto shop. During that time, it received a new cambelt + waterpump combination, along with the strut mounts getting replaced with new OEM ones, as the old ones were just crumbling rusty discs that resembled Finnish rye bread more than anything holding a strut to anything. The shop also noticed the alternator was way past its prime, and proceeded to order one and fit it. A couple weeks ago, I got the car back and felt tremendous relief to actually be able to use it.

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Weekend Edition: Winter Sports in the 1993 Mazda MX-5


Winter is both awesome and terrible. Spontaneity goes out of the window as cars need to be pre-heated for an hour or so, you have to consider wearing adequate clothing like long johns and then there’s the matter of the white stuff getting absolutely everywhere. Door locks and seals freeze and windows become opaque. With a little planning, none of these things are an issue, but at -25 °C you just can’t fool around like you’ve used to.

It gets a lot easier when it warms up by almost 20 degrees Centigrade. This means it doesn’t feel like a terrible idea anymore to get the German import Japanese roadster out of the shelter, as it doesn’t have a block heater and the battery is fairly small. But with a recent enough tune-up and good quality coolant in the cooling system, you can rely on it not being a block-splittingly bad idea to awaken.

Just make sure you have the Steve Martin comedy album ready for your outing. How’d you get so funky?

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Weekend Edition: Giving Up the Ghost / Mongrel Meets His Maker


The new year is off to a good start. My little Volkswagen Polo has become a running, driveable car instead of a 60 euro paperweight, and with the newfound will to sort out all the loose ends, I’ve now sold my Ford Sierra that has hung around my neck. It’s another tale of a project car not going where it should, until it’s gone for good.

You might remember the burgundy Sierra from these pages. I bought it in the summer of 2014, as I had sold the Saab and the Xantia was on its way out, and I figured I’d try my hand in resurrecting a long-dormant car. The Sierra had sat for a decade in a cold garage, and it had barely passed the 100,000 km mark. Of course, it was a very basic car in every sense, with very little power from its 1.6-litre CVH engine, and the driving thrills were few and far between. But still, I saw something in the bulbous old hulk.

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