License to Drive (1988), a review:

Just like this movie did last year, I too have turned 30. Just like the main protagonist, I too couldn’t wait until I got my license to drive.

Prancing horse aficionados, don’t get your hopes up, the Ferrari only appears in a dream sequence and used briefly as a prick-mobile. Honestly, being that this was one of the first pics that I found of this movie, I thought a 308 was gonna be used extensively, not a Cadillac like I quickly found out a little later. I have no idea why Corey Haim is holding a British Leyland key with a Ferrari keychain. BTW, the movie was marketed as Daddy’s Cadillac in some markets.

Les Anderson (Corey Haim) is in trouble. Even though he was used as a relationship scapegoat, he managed to secure a date with his dream girl Mercedes Lane (Heather Graham) but needs a license to drive and take her out. Despite having done very well in the practical part of the driving test, he failed the computerized part (with the license being of upmost importance, he shouldn’t have been sleeping during driver’s ed.). Les lied to both his friends and parents about his license test fail… the latter who found out anyway. It didn’t help that he was already in hot water with his father (Richard Masur) over a stunt he pulled when he conceded Les to drive the car alone so he could give Mercedes a lift to her nearby house. A short drive became a short trip, leaving Les’ father to walk with armfuls of new diapers. Mercedes calls a grounded Les in the middle of the night and asks if they’re still gonna go out, to which Les said yes. Les sneaks out -almost catastrophically- the only car available: his Grandfather’s treasured Cadillac, left in Les’ family’s care while he borrowed his son’s (Les’ father) car for a longer trip.

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The King Midgets

Fullscreen capture 2222019 121329 PM.bmpDo you want to build your own car some day?  I do.  Maybe that’s a dream of most of us It Rollers.  After all, what’s more mechanically personal than building your own ride?

I don’t want a big, complicated kit car kit… a friend of mine has one that has sat in pieces in a warehouse for a time frame that is now measured in decades.  And it would have been a grand thing – a replica of a 1930s Mercedes – had he ever finished it. Continue reading

RIP, Yutaka Katayama, Mr. K

4 years ago, on February 19, 2015, Yutaka Katayama passed away. This post was published in his honor on March 13, 2015 on CarLustBlog.com. Dead links have been removed, with only minor editing done.

Mr. K and the 1958 Australian Mobilgas Trial-winning, 10,000+ mile-surviving Datsun 210, part of two-car team he managed. Both finished.

As car-people, we delve into this topic a little more often than most folk. This is how I came to learn not only of the Datsun/Nissan Z-car, but the people behind it. Amongst them a name stood out: Yutaka Katayama. 

Yutaka Katayama was not a racecar driver like James Garner. He did not own a shop like Carroll Shelby that churned out neither hot-rods or limited-edition sportscars. Neither was he a pop-culture icon like Leonard Nimoy that had a taste for cars. He was, to put it bluntly, a salesman (he specialized in advertisement early in his career at Nissan). But not just any salesman, he was a salesman who was also a car guy.

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1984-86 Ford Mustang SVO

I usually go on and on about cars with big honkin’ V-8s in big American iron and leave the sporty little 1980s turbo coupes to my fellow bloggers. That’s probably the result of the era that I grew up in, where displacement was king and handling an afterthought, if that. Long hood, short deck, and no fewer than 8 cylinders of raw muscle, that’s for me, thankyouverymuch.

In a departure from my usual schtick, I shall now sing the praises of another of the forgotten Mustangs  and a true It Rolls special: a 4-cylinder turbocharged Mustang, the SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) made from 1984-1986. It was probably the closest the Mustang ever came to a European-style coupe in terms of execution and all-around performance. And, of course, in true It Rolls fashion, it pretty much went nowhere, too.

SVO-FirstImage

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The SuBAru Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter and the Chicken Tax

Which may quite possibly be the single longest post title in the history of It Rolls (I have personally directed several of our crack team of automotive researchers to drop everything they’re doing to check this out). In the meantime, we have here a little vehicle that has amused me greatly over the years, not only with its diminutive size compared to other big bad-ass pickups but by its being named after a sausage.

I saw most of these in the wild back in the late ’70s in Wisconsin which had, for some unfathomable reason (which the crack team of researchers will surely get to investigating next) a rather high concentration of Subarus. And BRATs. Well, and brats, too. Frankly, at the time I never gave them a whole lot of thought, except maybe to snigger at the name and wonder how cool it would be to ride in the jump seats in the back. Otherwise, they mostly slipped under my radar until fairly recently; I used to occasionally see them bouncing around the Seattle area (another hotbed of Subaru-dom) although not a single one in my short time in the Phoenix area.

I suppose if the El Camino is the Steve McQueen of cars, the BRAT would be the. . . .Ronald Reagan? Yes, there is a connection there which we shall see shortly. While this may not be the longest post in the history of It Rolls, it certainly is the. . . .wurst.

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