My Highlights From 8 Months Of Carspotting in Atlanta
You Just Never Know What's Going To Come Down That Road
2020-2021 saw me move away to attend college in a big city with a rich and diverse car culture. One of the less expected but more interesting parts of living in Atlanta was seeing all the weird, obscure, and downright wacky cars and car-adjacent vehicles that people would drive down the road in. From an imported French van to a rare special edition of an Italian supercar to a hopelessly obscure wagon version of a not-uncommon car, I can't complain of lack of variety.
Many of these y'all may not have seen even if you follow me here on Drive Tribe as most of my street spots are only posted to Oppositelock's other home on The Hyphen. As such, don't be alarmed at the non-Drive Tribe hyperlinks to the corresponding stories.
So, without further adieu, I present, loosely grouped by category, my favorite spots from my first year of college living in Atlanta:
Late Run Fiat Nueva Cinquenta
Let's start with the Euro imports. I spotted this tragically neglected restaurant prop attracting business to an Italian eatery with its charming curves. As the only classic 500 I've seen, it saddens me that it wouldn't be driven but at least it's located where everyone can see it. Many more photos await behind this link:
Fiat Panda Sculpture
Located not too far away from the classic 500 is another Fiat, the famous 'Autoeater' art installation. On the corner of one of the city's 71 different roads named Peachtree and 10th, a bulbous mass of marbley flesh digests the classic Italian city car in a protest of the detrimental environmental effects of the car. The choice of car is a curious one as a car that small is usually seen as a novelty by Americans and the Panda wasn't ever sold here, but I still love that I can go and see it whenever I want.
A curious sculpture provides commentary on Atlanta's car addiction
1971 Citroen H Van
Just about the last thing you expect to see in the US is a Citroen but nevertheless that's exactly what I saw. This 1971 model H Van dispensing happiness to all made not just my day but my week as a self proclaimed Citroen enthusiast. Despite the fact that I've only seen three cars produced by the company to this date, I'm a huge fan.
A funky French food truck appears out of nowhere on campus!
Is the Renault Captur an exciting car on its own? No. But this is the first Mexican plated vehicle I've spotted here and we don't get Renaults of any kind in the US. The story of this went down with the SS Kinja though.
Crown Supercoach School Bus
Crown only ever sold vehicles in a few West Coast States. The odds of someone driving an antique commercial vehicle so far from home down the road are pretty low. One of the most unexpected and memorable spots from the year.
This particular spot was so good for carspotting that I had to create a whole new tag just for vehicles spotted along North Avenue in Atlanta.
No, not the Toyota Crown. A Crown Coach! In this case, a retired Crown Supercoach school bus. There is a lot to unpack about why this vehicle being where it was is odd, but not the least of which is that Crown sold these buses almost exclusively on the W...
International Harvester C Series
One of the most interesting cars in my Cars of Cabbagetown series about a specific neighborhood of Atlanta. IHCs don't have nearly the following of their contemporary Fords and Chevys and you won't find many on the road. It was one of just three antique Internationals I saw in Atlanta. To make things even more interesting, it was only a short walk away from a street parked DMC Delorean and a BMW 2002.
In case you haven't been following along, yesterday I wandered around Cabbagetown, a unique formerly working class neighborhood of Atlanta that grew up around a mill. I was of course there to take pictures of cottage and shotgun type houses for a school p...
In a similar vein of rare by a attrition but still not valuable, a surprisingly nicely restored Checker Taxicab, more commonly known by the Marathon name applied to its civilian counterparts. The Checker story is certainly an interesting one and the Taxicab is a surprisingly uncommon artifact of a very specific time and place that wasn't preserved for the future to enjoy.
One of the most iconic taxis of all time still cruising the streets of Atlanta
ALL The Donks (And A Chevy Vega)
You see a lot of Donks in Atlanta. A LOT. Neat to see so many in one place though. Also includes the spot of a now rare Chevy Vega notchback coupe with a surprisingly high dollar restomod.
The Varsity in Atlanta, Georgia is a hotspot for local car culture
1-of-150 Lamborghini Diablo SE30
Who doesn't love a good Diablo? I'm not usually a big fan of supercars but driving a car this valuable and pretty on city streets for everyone to see is something I can get behind.
1 of ≈1,500 US Mitsubishi Lancer Sportbacks
And out of all of those cars, the rarest by pure model production numbers (not including special editions a la Diablo) is this small unassuming station wagon. Mitsubishi divided up just 2,032 of these charming longroofs between the US and Canada in 2004 (with a few being 2006 model years) and it's estimated a little more than half went to the US.
And it's. . . a Mitsubishi? But please, hear me out. First, this is one seriously pretty car and you will be very sad there aren't more of them. This is the stupendously uncommon 2004-only Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback. No, not that one. The first gen. Yes...
That brings me to the end of a reasonable length of post, but there were so many more interesting cars scattered throughout that year. From the not-a-street-spot Koenigsegg Regera to a horrifyingly shoddy contraption being driven barefoot to that sweet RX-7 with fender mirrors to that ride in a TSX Sportwagon, I had a hard time narrowing the selection.
Thanks for reading. Most of my regular carspotting posts go up on The Hyphen where we call it DOTS for 'Down On The Street' in the tradition of Murilee Martin but I make sure the best of that bunch shows up here.
So, what was YOUR favorite of this eclectic bunch?