Last Call: Firebird and Lady Bird Edition

People Posing Next to Their Cars, 1970s (14)
The Firebird in this image, along with its Faux-cahontas mate are at once an amazing homage and stereotyped insult to America’s indigenous peoples. Seeing as it’s from the ’70s and, from the looks of the plate, Finland, maybe we can cut them both some slack. What would really go well with this car—rather than the Halloween costume Indian attire—would be a wolf-moon tee shirt. Ah yeah, that’s the ticket.
Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day.  It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.
Image: Vintage Everyday

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  1. Batshitbox Avatar

    Oh, Longrooffan! Feel like a little Roamin’ Holiday? How ’bout this Alfa Giulia Giardiniera? I found it street parked on my way to the taco truck.

    1. longrooffan Avatar

      Dreamy….Can this olelongrooffan get aridealong,with metric tools, wretch to Roam along with me?

      1. Batshitbox Avatar

        Positively Freudian typo there, hombre.
        I’m glad I got a camera phone, I didn’t have time to appreciate the beauty of this oddball in the moment. I peeped the louvers on the panels, but just looking at the way the rear bumper swoops into the beltline crease… bellisimo! Curved glass hatch? Hide my wedding ring. (Rear glass heater?)
        Pursuant to today’s Hoonivers Asks… Some perusal of the interwebs indicates this to be a fairly rare coachbuilt Giulia made by Carrozzeria Colli of Milan, with panel wagons being more common than full glass examples (and this the only one I can find with those louvers.) Kudos to your driver for collecting parking tickets on a lunch dash in the unobtanium.—1965-Alfa-Romeo-Wagon/1437704.html

  2. Alff Avatar

    Caption this photo…

    1. Van_Sarockin Avatar

      This photo pegs both the So Much Right and the So Much wrong meters.

      1. Alff Avatar

        My people call it amazing

    2. Alcology Avatar

      Inspiring the film Ladyhawke, the film took a much different direction from the photo. Initially billed as a female lead that turned into a car during the day, due to a gypsy curse, that pushed Matthew Broderick’s character into increasingly wild thefts to get the attention of her cop ex-lover Rutger Hauer, (who had pursued Broderick previously for an accidental car-jacking, but ignored his pleas for help about a fantastically wild gypsy curse due to Broderick’s life of crime) to track down the gypsy to release her curse. The change to a fantasy setting, and loss of interest in Smokey and the Bandit type properties, really reduced box-office draw and final profits.
      …I might need less coffee. Or perhaps more.

  3. kogashiwa Avatar

    “Never driven” – yes, I can tell, because the bodywork is intact.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Moving the exhaust forward like that might help a little bit with weight distribution and help offset the weight of all that engine at the back?

      1. Alcology Avatar

        It just dumps into the cabin to make your eventual demise that much less painful.

        1. Rover 1 Avatar
          Rover 1

          I’m not sure that carbon monoxide poisoning is as qick as would be required.

    2. outback_ute Avatar

      What a stupid idea. Drop a current Camry V6 & transaxle in there, with a tune it would probably make more horsepower than an old SBC breathing through that tiny air cleaner.

      1. wunno sev Avatar
        wunno sev

        interesting note – a Camry V6 is actually lighter, with its aluminum block, than the iron block the MR2 came with originally. swaps both increase power and decrease weight (and sound frickin amazing through those short pipes)

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          The 3S-GTE (I think) was certainly a stout engine, serving as the basis for Toyota’s WRC engine.

    3. Manic_King Avatar

      This is ‘poor man’s eighties’ Porsche 911′.
      MR2 was poor man’s Ferrari
      F348 was rich man’s Fiat

  4. crank_case Avatar

    A question for the Hooniverse, been done to death I’m sure but has personal relevance:
    1986 AW11 MK1 MR2 vs 1997 late model NA MK1 Miata/MX5 1.8 ….discuss
    I’ve always like the AW11 since I was a kid, it’s partly nostalgia, but they’re still good fun. It’s always the way, when I go put money into something else, a promising one pops up for sale…This one has been stripped to a shell, restored, resprayed and re-assembled with a lot of new parts. So while it’s €5000, a lot of work has been done, to what standard isn’t clear…
    On the other hand, my MX5, I’ve just put €1400 into in sill and minor rust repairs, budget sports tyres, timing belt, water pump, brake pads etc. and the few times I’ve driven it, it’s put a smile on my face, just like my previous NB MX5s.
    Neither car needs to function as a “daily”, whichever I go with would be a keeper..
    I would love to have both, but that’s not possible, if I get the MR2, the MX5 has to go..
    MX5 pros:
    – parts/knowledge availability, low hassle ownershop
    – front engine rwd, accessible friendly fun.
    – double wisbones all round
    – easier to work on
    – on the cusp of prices starting to rise.
    MX5 Cons:
    – not yet a classic for annual road tax purposes €690 a year
    – still lots of jobs to do, need to pass a roadworthiness test, though it should do now the main areas have been addressed.
    MR2 Pros:
    – shell has been restored, lots of new parts
    – Mid engined handling, less accessible but more challenging.
    – rarer
    – classic tax €56 a year
    MR2 Cons
    – not currently road registered, so makes me wonder if the reassembly is complete and what niggly things there are to sort, or the standard of the restoration.
    – Parts harder to find
    – harder to work on.
    I’m conflicted. It’s a nice dilemma to have I guess, but what do folks reckon is the better “keeper” in terms of the overall ownership experience?

    1. Alff Avatar

      I don’t know what to tell you. A similar conundrum has led me to hold on to my Alfa Spider for 20 years, despite the fact that there’s a far superior Miata on every corner. It’s left me conflicted for at least a decade.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        Had an Alfa 75 (Milano) myself that I still sorta regret letting go. Rusty fuel tank, overheating, and needing a daily forced my hand into an MR2 Spyder, which ironically cost me more in repairs than any other car I’ve owned. Funnily enough MR2s have caused me more pain than any other model, so maybe I should take the hint..

        1. Alff Avatar

          I’m fairly committed to the Alfa as my youngest has announced to the world that it will be her first car. If I got rid of it, though, I doubt I’d buy another. I agree that perhaps the universe is trying to tell you something.

    2. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      Miata. (a) the devil you know, and (b) ease of maintenance / size of aftermarket on the Miata would make it my choice. also, much as I did like the t-tops on my SW20, proper convertible vs t-tops is an easy one if you don’t live in super-rainy climes.
      tbh I have not driven an AW11 so maybe I can’t comment on which drives better. the SW20 is a totally different car.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        Those reasons are leaning MX5, it now stands me €1800 (not including the purchase price of the car), as it turned out I needed new calipers and some other bits, but considering the amount of work done (including labour), it’s still pretty good value I think considering it includes
        – Timing belt
        – new rear calipers
        – pads all round
        – 4 black lion tyres (never used them before, but assured their sports tyre is decent, may change them later, the idea is to keep in budget, get on the road and avoid mission creep until later)
        – water pump
        – coolant
        – oil
        – filter
        – new sills
        – fix boot leak,
        – sort small rust area near batter
        – replace steering column plastic after attempted theft
        – replace quarter light glass
        – cavity rustproofing
        – underseal (divided on whether this was a good idea)
        AW11s fun, but in a different sort of way to a miata. I think the miatas fun is easier to access more of the time, while the AW11 is probably more rewarding to master? I’ve driven AW11s but not had a chance to drive one properly quickly like my MX5s.
        Super rainy clime? Yep, this is Ireland, it rains..sideways..a lot. The MX5 has a hard top so it’s arguably better on that front. T-Tops leak.
        Leaning to “Devil you know”, but still conflicted..

    3. nanoop Avatar

      My take, purely based on style:
      MX5: if you are into (relatively) simple modifying, have the occasional track day, and prefer driving over maintenance. You are rather unpretentious.
      MR2: you are dedicated to preserve, and enjoy wrenching (and have the space/time for it). You accept the burden of being the keeper of it, not the tuner. Most people will not notice, but those who do understand what it is, will give you a feeling of driving something special.
      Disclaimer: in 12 years, the MX5 would give you the same feeling the MR2 would give you today.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        I think this is the crux of it, the MR2 is a little more special, but I also want to be about to drive the hell out of it my chosen car, whenever I can. Trackdays will definitely feature..

        1. nanoop Avatar

          Then MX5, there are more possibilities and peers to learn from. Just keep it for a decade or two!

          1. crank_case Avatar

            Whichever I go with will be long term keeper for sure, I always want one small RWD simple sports car. Later I might be able to add something else to to the fleet, like a classic saloon, but currently, as tolerant as my wife is, her patience doesn’t extend to two cars that do the same “job”.

    4. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      I always go for having both.
      But I now have more cars than MD Harrell, ( but still less than a dozen.)

      1. crank_case Avatar

        Would be great… aside from spousal tolerance to completely recreational vehicles.. I’m severely limited by driveway space here with the typical 1970s Dublin suburban terraced house. I can get a few more in being an end house, but it’s a balancing act, long term. I’d like to have at least one car that’s totally sorted. I’ve had trouble getting my ass in gear to sort this one as it is, so I think I’d end up with two neglected cars rather than one good one at the moment. Neither would ever get to where I want to be and that would frustrate me immensely. Later when I’m on top of this, I think given the room, there’s only one slot for the wee twisty road/track car and I’d like as much diversity as possible. With this niche covered, sensible car covered with a Mazda 2, so the next thing needs to offer a completely different character/experience or at least contrived excuses to go drive it. e.g. a Kei van as an urban vehicle, yank tank or large classic saloon to cruise round in, 2CV or some pre 1950s twee thing for the odd country spin. Even then I’m wondering how much use these things would get.
        To summarize, the plan would sort of be
        1. Modern sensible car/wifemobile that I leave the dealer to maintain because lifes to short
        2. Keeper simple sports car that gets most of the love and is refined and perfected over a very long time.
        3. optional rotating cast of more fanciful/off the wall oddballs that get moved on once the novelty wears off/become impractical to keep
        A bit of an odd sort of rationale I know, but given I pretty much have no need to drive day to day, and actually have to make time to go for a drive. Two cars that overlap in what the do, despite the differing drivetrain layout, I think would mean they get half the use and probably half the care too.

        1. wunno sev Avatar
          wunno sev

          the really great part of your plan, i think, is the revolving-door oddball. a reasonably reliable DD is generally too expensive, and stability too important in that role, to let go. you want to always have a lightweight sports car; for me, that perpetual-weirdo role is my wagon, which i love and which is always broken.
          so your third-car idea is great. it would be the weirdo on contract, enjoyed with the knowledge that the experience is transient. if i had the space for a third car, i’d be a total auto slut – buying ’em and selling ’em every six months, no doubt.