Rambler wheel and hubcap

The Cars of Andi Holmes and Her Friends

Most of these pictures have been stolen shamelessly.  I don’t remember where I got them.  Luckily, this is a private page, so if you’re a stranger you have to leave now.

“It’s a 1960 Comet 4-door wagon, with more rust than not, painted baby-shit green, and I’ve hardly ever met a car I hate more.  I keep it because it’s dead cheap and hauls a lot of junk, vital if you’re a joat in a mobile home park.  That’s a jack-of-all-trades, if you don’t know, and it means I do whatever Bill Hogg tells me to whether or not I know how.”
House of Ice  (1966)

Red 1960 Comet 4-door wagon

1960 Comet

“M-151A1 MUTT (Military Utility Tactical Truck) in 1970 Việt Nam.  These were made starting in 1964 until sometime in 1970.  With 4-wheel independent suspension, you didn’t want to take corners fast or try jumping over obstacles.”
—“M Sơn”

M-151A` MUTT with “Long Lines Rangers” under the windshield

M-151A1 Jeep

“Coming toward us was a 40s-vintage Dodge truck, burdened down with huge wide rolls of rice mat sail meant for the junks and dhows down at Nha Bè, where all the oil tankers tied up.”
—“Down by the Sông Sàigòn”  (1970)

Dodge truck overloaded with rice mat sail

Dodge Truck

“... Miss Agnes, my beat-to-shit ’67 Rambler.  I hoped it wouldn’t rain; her wiper motor was down for the count, and all I had to replace it was two lengths of electrical cord threaded through the vent windows.  Pull on the left one to raise the wipers; pull on the right one to lower them.

“One thing about driving a car with a spare tire mounted on the front grill and a paint job that looks like camouflage—the result of every one of its many owners using a different color of spray paint on the rust spots—is that your car never gets vandalized or broken into. Every now and then, I thought about getting some cans of OD and tan spray paint from my buddy over at the quartermaster’s office to make the semi-camo look a little more official.”
—“Becalmed in Hell”  (1971)

1967 Ramber Amercian, white with black splotches

1967 Rambler American

‘“It’s a ’55 Chevy Nomad,” [Phil] said.  “I bought it in San Francisco for $800.”’
—“Becalmed in Hell”  (1971)

Coral 55 Nomad

1955 Chevy Nomad

Pale blue 55 BelAir

1955 Chevy BelAir

“[Phil had] found himself a rusty black ’63 Falcon station wagon for pennies.  It had no floorboards on the driver’s side, and the spring that pulled the clutch pedal back was busted; instead of fixing it, whoever had owned the thing before Phil had installed a gigantic rubber band, which he’d looped around the pedal, up and over the rear-view mirror, and tied onto the driver’s side clothes hook.”
—“Becalmed in Hell”  (1971)

Dingy white 63 Falcon wagon

1963 Falcon Wagon

“I ended up with a ’65 Falcon pickup, not quite as old as [Phil’s] wagon, but rattier.  His was black, mine was—well, being charitable, white.  Sort of.  Some of the splotches were white house paint.  Some were spray enamel.  Others were beige.  The tailgate didn’t work because some previous owner had backed out of his garage and done a Y-turn into a tree—every day, for years.  The hood had a big round dent in it, as if someone had dropped a bowling ball onto it off a three-story building.  It wasn’t pretty, but it ran; the doors worked and so did the wipers.  The philosophy student who’d asked $75 took the sixty I offered with a hungry expression.”
—“Becalmed in Hell”  (1971)

Ugly brown and white 65 Falcon Ranchero

1965 Falcon Ranchero

“I pulled open the garage door, and looked at Miss Gulch, a face that only a mother could love.  She’s a 1961 Series II Land Rover with right-hand drive and the spare mounted on top of the hood.  She looks like she’s fresh from Ngorongoro Crater, a bit puzzled why she’s loose on the streets of Chicago instead of Nairobi.  I got into the driver’s seat, fumbled with the choke, turned the key and hoped I wouldn’t have to use the hand crank.  The little four-banger clattered to life.  I shoved the clutch in and shifted to first; between the stiff clutch, the lack of synchromesh and the 90-weight in the transmission having the consistency of Play-Doh, this was not as easy as it sounds.”
Shot Through the Heart  (1975) Green and white 1961 Series II Land Rover

1961 Series II Land Rover

“I bought a fish-belly-white 1964 Barracuda that would do 200 miles an hour off the showroom floor; I hated that car so much that after two weeks driving I named it Aunt Agatha.  It had a whopping big Hemi-head engine and it was noisy as a herd of zebras; I wished it dead with the alewives at the foot of Lake Michigan.”
Bomb Shop  (1976)

White 64 Barracuda

1964 Barracuda

“[Claire’s] olive green ’62 Studebaker Champ pickup, the one with the narrow bed and a side-mount spare, was parked against the fence between two much larger trucks, as if trying to hide from the cops.”
Bomb Shop  (1976)

Black 62 Studebaker Champ

1962 Studebaker Champ

“I went out to start my yellow ’73 Mustang convertible.  The eight cylinders of her 390 caught right away; it had warmed up and the wind had died down since last night.  She’s named Miss Emily in honor of the shape-changing secretary on Kolchak, a show I missed terribly.”
—“No Enemy but Winter”  (1977)

Yellow 67 Mustang convertible

1967 Mustang

“We were looking for a yellow 1976 Camaro, more car than I thought Kiều would want; it sounded like something I’d drive.”
—“No Enemy but Winter”  (1977)

Yellow 76 Camaro

1976 Camaro

Andi has also driven a “golf cart,” an electric utility vehicle used to get around the BMC (Bulk Mail Center) in Forest Park IL, similar to the pickup truck style below, but with a longer bed and a flashing light stuck on a pole.
Bomb Shop  (1976)

Orange utility vehicle

Golf Cart

She also drives forklifts, in the same story (Bomb Shop).  They were big and yellow and electric, not gas, which means they were probably Hyster, Caterpillar or Allis-Chalmers.  You’d think Cat wouldn’t make electric forktrucks, but they did, and you’d think Allis would insist on orange paint, but you’d be wrong about that, too.  She obtained her forklift operator’s license at the BMC, and later on, learned to operate LPG-powered trucks (Clark).  All the fork trucks at the BMC had flashing yellow lights on top.
Bomb Shop  (1976)

Cat fork truck


Clark fork truck


Allis-Chalmers fork truck


Hyster fork truck


‘We climbed into [Nora’s] old orange Type III VW squareback.  It was butt ugly, but it ran.  “The first year I had this,” she said as she started it up, “I didn’t know there was a special heater switch you had to turn on in when it got cold.  I nearly froze to death that winter.”  When she laughed, she spit a little and had to wipe her mouth on her sweater sleeve, which made her laugh more.’
Shot Through the Heart  (1975)

Blue VW Squareback

Type III VW Squareback

“She popped the front trunk lid of a salmon Karmann Ghia with a charcoal top and one maroon fender and worked a banjo case out from behind the spare.”
Shot Through the Heart  (1975)

Salmon 68 Karmann Ghia

Karmann Ghia

“Al led us to an immense ’61 Ford Squire station wagon that had once upon a time been bright red and was now, never having been waxed and likely never washed, a pale brown.  One piece of the fake wood trim was bent away from the body, wobbling in the wind and showing the unfaded red the car had been.  The heater ran like a small blast furnace.

“‘Nine miles to the gallon on the highway,’ he said.  ‘Six in the city if I’m lucky.  But I can haul everyone and their instruments, including a full-size acoustic bass.’”
Shot Through the Heart  (1975)

Black 61 Ford Squire

1961 Ford Squire

Matty was sitting in the car, a dented brown-and-white ’57 DeSoto station wagon whose primary advantages seemed to be that it ran and could be crammed to the brim with stuff, stuff, and more stuff.  It was so full there was room only for Matty and Raquel, who was driving.  A large white koala bear wearing a glazed expression sat between the two women.
Seabright  (1971)

Green and white 57 Desoto wagon

1957 DeSoto Wagon

I rang Nancy’s bell at noon; her brand-new VW camper—a beige Westy—was gone and she didn’t answer the door.
Shot Through the Heart  (1975)

Cream 75 Westy

1975 VW Westfalia

‘An hour later, Nora and I stood outside by her “new” car, a 1973, only-a-little-rusted-out four-door Audi Fox.’
Shot Through the Heart  (1975)

73 Audi Fox73 Audi Fox

1973 Audi Fox

‘I looked skeptically at the happy yellow vehicle with its jolly orange stripes.  It looked like it had survived an unfortunate encounter with an upscale Chinese cleaver while drugged like a Mormon housewife.  “I need the quarter worse than I need the car.”  It was true.  I already had a car with vacuum-powered windshield wipers that didn’t work.’
Seabright  (1971) That Goddam Gremlin

1975 Gremlin Pretending to be a 1971

“...[T]he faded blue 1960 Edsel, ugliest in a thankfully short line of supremely ugly cars...”
Seabright  (1971)

Silver 60 Edsel, front Silver 60 Edsel, rear

1960 Edsel

‘I was following a silver XKE with a bumper sticker:  “All parts falling off this car are of the finest English workmanship.” ... [M]y best friend Taxi, who finally bought her dream car a couple of months ago, was having a condo-warming party.’
Femme Fatal  (1976)

Twin black E-types

Twin E-Types

“It really was a limousine, a brand-new 1978 black Mercedes 450 with tinted windows, leather seats, a car phone, a bar and a TV.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to find out it had a built in vibrator attachment.”
The Souls of Dead Warriors  (1978)

Black 78 Mercedes 450Black 78 Mercedes 450

1978 Mercedes 450 Limo

‘“How could I forget?”  Raquel Welch on a dinosaur:  Mariko [Doi] had a 1955 Dodge M152, a radio truck made for the Canadian Armed forces.  It was more the sort of thing I would have expected Anna, as an anthropologist doing fieldwork, to own.   But a tiny little sansei computer programmer for a prefab building company in Melrose Park?  Never.  She’d eliminated the original camouflage in favor of a deep, multi-layered metallic red paintjob, complete with flames.  It was probably the strangest vehicle in Northern Illinois.  You couldn’t lose it if you tried.’
—“Obon” (1979)

55 Dodge M152 radio truck

1955 Dodge M152

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