150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

When I started the Down On The Street series, I'd shot a handful of cars and figured I'd be able to do a few dozen more before running out. Sure, I knew the island city of Alameda, California, had plenty of old cars parked on the street, but with a population of just 70,000 on a mere ten square miles of land, how many could there be? Well, it turns out the answer is: Plenty!


Not only have we reached car number 150, I have sufficient photos stockpiled to keep the series going for quite a while. And now I'll answer some of the questions I keep getting from readers about Down On The Street:

Q: Did you really find all these cars parked on the streets of Alameda?
A: Yes, every one of them. Sometimes we'll post photos of street-parked old/cool cars from other places, but they get the Down On The Street Bonus Edition title.

Q: Why don't you obscure the license plates in the photos?
A: These cars are parked on public property, with plates in plain view, which implies that their owners accept that the plate numbers may be seen by the general public. I've considered blurring the plates anyway, but the photos look unpleasant that way; in any case, since the state of California has anti-stalker laws that make it difficult to trace a car's owner from its plate number, it's extremely unlikely that any badness will befall the cars' owners. I don't give out exact locations, and I don't photograph cars in driveways.

Q: Are all these cars daily drivers? Many of them are. Some of them are cars that were just visiting the island (or getting some fresh air after being in a garage), and some of them rarely move from their spots. I'd say two-thirds of these cars are driven at least a few times per week.

Q: Do car owners ever get upset when they see you photographing their cars?
A: Never. I'm careful not to touch the cars or even get too close when photographing them, which is why interior shots are uncommon in this series. I've had quite a few owners come out to see what's going on; when I explain, they're usually very happy to have someone who's willing to show their car to the world. I've heard plenty of good stories from car owners while shooting DOTS photos. In at least two cases, the cars have been owned by Jalopnik readers.

Q: Why does such a small city have so many old cars parked on the street?
Good question, and one to which I have no authoritative answer. I have some theories, which are:
Weather: Alameda is an island in the San Francisco Bay, and the weather is quite mild. It doesn't snow here, and rain is very rare between April and November. This means rust isn't much of a problem. The sun isn't as harsh as in the Southwest, so upholstery and paint hold up pretty well.
Limited Off-Street Parking: Most of present-day Alameda was completely built up by the early 20th century, and the 1906 earthquake- which devastated much of the region- barely touched the island. This means most of the houses were built before cars were beyond the novelty Horseless Carriage stage, so garages aren't as common as in other cities. Many houses built in the 1910s and 1920s have semi-basement garages intended for tall, narrow cars with high clearance that can deal with a 30-degree grade. The water table is so close to the surface here that digging a deep garage requires some serious sump-pump hardware, lest you find your ride in four feet of water.
Hot Rod Tradition: Alameda has had a vibrant culture of hoons hopping up their cars since the days of the Model T, and so you have the old guys passing on the virus to the younger guys. Some of the car clubs on the island have unbroken lineages dating back to the 1920s. And that leads straight to...
The Island That Time Forgot: Alameda is a weird place, and I mean that in the best possible way. It's essentially a David Lynch movie set in a sunny California climate, among Victorian and Craftsman architecture and a small-town mentality that belies its urban grid street pattern and population density (which, in fact, is higher than San Francisco's). The island is full of old people who never cross a bridge, whose original-owner classics never drive faster than 25 and are used only for short trips to Ole's Waffles or Lee Auto Supply. It's also full of young people who start to feel that an old car just, you know, make the most sense. You never know what this town will do to you; Jim Morrison arrived on the island as a wholesome Navy kid, and by the time he departed for LA he'd become a dopefiend weirdo poet.

OK, let's take a look at the cars! They're arranged in chronological order according to manufacture date, from 1937 to 1988; click on the text below a photo to see that vehicle's complete post.


150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1937 Cadillac V8



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Coupe



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1945 Ford GPW Jeep



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1947 Plymouth



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1950 Dodge Pickup



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1950 Ford Pickup



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1950 Plymouth DeLuxe



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1950 Pontiac Chieftan



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1953 GMC Pickup



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1951 Dodge M43 Ambulance



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1952 Dodge



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1953 Packard Cavalier



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1954 Chevrolet 210



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1954 Ford Mainline



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1955 Plymouth Savoy



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1956 Willys Jeep Station Wagon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1956 Volkswagen Transporter



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1957 Cadillac Sedan de Ville



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1957 Chevrolet Station Wagon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1957 Chrysler New Yorker



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1957 Pontiac Star Chief



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1957 Volkswagen Transporter



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1959 Morris Minor



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1959 Volkswagen Beetle



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1960 Cadillac Sixty-Two Coupe



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1960 Chevrolet Bel Air



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1960 Studebaker Lark



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1961 Ford Thunderbird



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1961 Rambler American



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1961 Morris 850 (Mini)



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1962 Chrysler New Yorker



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1962 Volkswagen Flatbed Truck



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1962 Corvair 95



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1961 Plymouth Valiant



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1963 Chevrolet Nova



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1963 Ford Falcon Futura



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1963 GMC Suburban



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1963 Volkswagen Transporter



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1964 Dodge Dart



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1964 Checker Marathon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1964 Oldsmobile Jetstar 88



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1964 Volkswagen Beetle



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1964 Studebaker Avanti



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1965 Chevrolet Impala SS



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1965 Chevrolet Impala



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1965 Dodge D100



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1965 Ford Country Squire



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1965 Ford Econoline Pickup



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1965 Ford Mustang



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1965 GMC Pickup



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1965 Mercedes-Benz 220SE



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1965 Pontiac Bonneville



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1965 Rambler American 220



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1966 Datsun 411



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1966 Lancia Fulvia



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1966 Mercedes-Benz 200D



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1966 Volkswagen Beetle



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1966 Volvo Amazon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1967 Porsche 912



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1967 Volkswagen Transporter



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1968 Ford Fairlane 500



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1968 Ford Mustang



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1968 Ford Ranchero



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1968 Plymouth Belvedere Wagon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1968 Pontiac GTO



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1968 Volvo P1800



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1969 AMC Ambassador SST Station Wagon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1969 Cadillac Calais



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1969 Chevrolet Chevelle



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Nomad Station Wagon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1969 Datsun Sports



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1969 Dodge Dart GT



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1969 Ford Econoline



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1969 Lincoln Continental



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1969 MG MGC-GT



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1969 Volkswagen Beetle



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1969 Volvo 144S



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1970 Chevrolet Impala



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1970 Chevrolet Nova



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1970 Ford LTD



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1970 Chevrolet Wagon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1970 Puma GT



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1970 Volvo 164



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1970 Porsche 914



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1971 Buick LeSabre



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1971 Chrysler Newport



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1971 Datsun 240Z



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1971 GMC 1500



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1971 Plymouth Satellite



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1971 Plymouth Valiant



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1971 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1972 Mercury Monterey



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1972 Chevrolet El Camino



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1972 Steyr Pinzgauer



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1972 BMW 2002tii



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1973 Chevrolet Caprice Wagon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1973 Corvette Stingray



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1973 BMW 3.0CSi



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1973 Capri



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1973 Datsun 610



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1973 Ford Courier



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1973 Mercury Cougar



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1973 Plymouth Scamp



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1973 Volkswagen Thing



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1973 Pontiac Grand Am



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1973 Volkswagen Squareback



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1974 Ford Torino



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1974 Plymouth Satellite



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1974 Porsche 911 Targa



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1975 Datsun B210



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1975 Unimog 404S



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1975 Pontiac Grand LeMans



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1976 AMC Pacer X



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1976 Buick Skyhawk



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1976 Ford Mustang



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1976 Honda Civic



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1977 Chevrolet Camaro



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1977 Lincoln Continental



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1977 Oldsmobile Wagon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1977 Plymouth Volare



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1977 Toyota Celica



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1977 Toyota Celica



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1978 Cadillac Eldorado



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1978 Chevrolet Camaro



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1978 Dodge Colt



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1978 Dodge Colt Wagon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1978 Honda Civic



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1978 Jaguar XJ-6



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1978 Pontiac Trans Am



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1979 Datsun Pickup



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1979 Ford Ranchero



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1979 Porsche 911SC



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1980 International Harvester Scout



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1980 Porsche 911SC



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel Pickup



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1981 Mazda RX-7



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's StreetS

1981 Datsun 210



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1984 Porsche 928



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1985 Peugeot 505STI



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1985 Volkswagen Quantum



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1987 BMW L6



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1987 Honda Civic 4WD Wagon



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1987 Merkur XR4Ti



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1988 CMC Gazelle



150 Old Cars Down On Alameda's Street

1988 Renault Medallion