The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Canada ’08: The Cars are the Stars – Americans

During my recent stay in British Columbia it became apparent to me once more how important cars are to North American society. There are some obvious reasons for that. In such large destinations, distances are greater and perhaps more difficult to provide public transfer for. In such circumstances the car is king and in spite of a recent hike in gas prices can one imagine that ever being different in North America?

There are so many signs of a car-oriented society when walking around the average Canadian town or city and Kelowna is no exception. Something always notable for me is the sometime lack of sidewalks in residential areas. Being a runner and also enjoying walking this becomes very apparent to me. It should be said that where sidewalks are provided they are generally excellent (and spotless) however. Another great sign is the drive-in culture. More and more we see drive-in facilities in the UK but I can never imagine a drive-in liquor store for example, featuring in the environs of a British High Street. They’re quite commonly seen in Canadian cities though. One day I stepped out of the parked car and used a bank cash machine in a lobby. It was totally empty whilst a long queue of traffic waited patiently at a drive-through dispenser that meant not climbing out of the car. I’d estimate that line-up as at the very least fifteen minutes wait.

There is a love of cars here that I rarely see in such depth in the UK. This is no better seen than in the likes of the huge American beasts that still patrol the highways and  thoroughfares of Canada. In Kelowna which is now a University city due to Vancouver’s University of British Columbia opening a campus there there is a sizeable community of young people seeking cheap transport every summer. I’m reliably informed that a common choice at a bargain price are the various old American hulks still lurking adjacent the kerbsides. Those people run them for the summer then forget them like a summer romance.

On my travels I snapped just a few of the many American cars lined around the venues and driveways. Some are beautiful, some are faintly ridiculous (by our standards) but all are interesting.

Lincoln Continental Convertible

I spotted this Lincoln Continental which had seen better days one day whilst out strolling. How long it had been off the road was indeterminate but it was easy to imagine the original expensive glamour of this now-faded auto.

I'm not sure what type of Chrysler this particular model was. (Info welcomed.) It was in regular use and almost quite modest in size compared to some of it's contemporaries. Definitely driven by a senior as one might imagine by very the conservative paintwork.

More attractive from the rear?

Chevrolet Camaro Z28. I saw a lot of this Camaro. Yellow cars seem inordinately popular and en-vogue in Canada. Although typically overblown in appearance, the various Camaros offered genuine performance.

Come out, come out, wherever you are. The sunny Okanagan provides it own problems for vehicles. The Camaro has been protected from the sun by it's owner. It's not uncommon to see just wheels covered up in order to protect the rubber on the tyres from perishing.

The sleek machine back on show.

Chevy's are still incredibly popular it seems to me. Here's an old-timer which has a bit of muscle about it. Sleeker lines, particularly to the rear of the car show a sportier spirit.

The car was parked downtown outside a block of million-dollar apartments. It takes good money to own and run some of the classic American cars and the higher-priced residential areas are good hunting grounds for spotting such autos.

The Ford Thunderbird. Here was another motor parked in the same area, close to the nature reserve. Amazingly a nest of Ospreys were perched just 100 metres away! How about that for incongruity! I liked this car a lot. It has an elegant beauty about it which evokes another age in the automotive industry.

All the Americans then. The cars are fun but ultimately of a different era which I suppose must always be remembered before before becoming too disparaging about them. A small aircraft could take off from some of those hoods. Your own personal oil well might be useful too.

Next time: The Sublime

September 12, 2008 - Posted by | On The Road | , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Hello,

    I like this one. The cars remind me of the film Back to the Future (the second one where they go back in time the 50s I think)

    How hard would it be to parallel park in those cars? Oh yaeh I forgot that there are drive-throughs. ha ha

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    Comment by Clara | September 12, 2008

  2. Just imagine doing your lessons in one of those, Clara!

    Funnily enough I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Canadian reverse into a parking spot either…can you blame them! 🙂

    Ta for your comment.

    Comment by Stuart | September 12, 2008

  3. Interesting to see that Thunderbird above, Stu. Do you remember the Ford Corsair that was popular here in the 1960s? Like a reduced version of the above.

    Comment by thehiblog | September 26, 2008


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