Car Spotting in San Francisco

By  June 21, 2016
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On a recent trip to California, I travelled the state from North to South, capturing cars through my lens along the way. I shot it all to share with you, be it in traffic, parked on a roof, or displayed in a museum. Throughout the trip it was interesting seeing how Northern and Southern California seemed to differ in car selection. In some parts of Southern California, it can almost seem like you can’t throw a rock without hitting a classic (or a Prius or 911). However, up towards San Francisco, amid the vast sea of electric and hybrid cars, the car spotting was a little more challenging. Yet as you can see I still managed to find a few to share.Here are a few of the most interesting rides I saw (street parked and) in traffic from the city of San Francisco.

1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala convertible

1958 Chevrolet Impala
The first generation of the Chevy Impala only lasted a year before undergoing significant changes, but somehow I found one in traffic on the first day in the city. This was not long after arriving at the port area.

1958 Chevrolet Impala

1958 Chevrolet Impala

Going by the original colors offered, if this is the original paint, it would be Rio Red in color. Although it had a bit of an orange tint to it, almost like salmon. It appeared to be dent-free, and remained that way despite having to make a screeching panic stop while passing us by.


And now a break for some breakdancing…

MkIV Toyota Supra

MkIV Toyota Supra

Seeing this Supra climb the big hill on Hyde Street made me wonder how well it would do in a Bullitt-style high speed chase.

MkIV Toyota Supra

The driver made at least one pass up and down the big hill as we slowly made our way up Hyde Street on foot.

MkIV Toyota Supra

Lombard Street

Lombard Street

Up at the top of the big hill was Lombard Street, which was like the world’s slowest, most compact version of a Best Motoring touge challenge.

Filbert Street

Wandering a little further on foot I saw an Altima get caught by surprise going down this sudden dip on Filbert Street. It just about hit an SUV down at the bottom of the hill. This would be incredible to fly down on a skateboard.

Hold on, is that a four wheel drive MPV!?!

Mazda MPV

The old ’90s MPV is a vehicle I get irrationally excited over. It was the first Mazda I had experience with.  Sadly, I was in a big hurry when I took this, so I didn’t get the “4WD” side decals in the shot, but be assured, they were there. You don’t see these very often anymore. 

NC Mazda MX-5

Owning a Miata, I tend to look out for them whenever I’m in a new place. There were not too many of them seen on this trip, maybe a half dozen in total over the space of a week. Here an NC waits for its owner on part of what I call the big hill. And then one NA a few days later. Of course I spotted it before the 997 Turbo up ahead of it.

NA Mazda Miata

W111 rusty surviving “fintail” Mercedes sedan

W111 Mercedes-Benz

This W111 sedan looked to still be serving in daily driving duty. It had some dents and light rust, but was still in decent condition considering it’s been on the road since the ‘60s.


The body had a small dent on the front quarter but was otherwise very straight, though showing hints of rust here and there through the paint. Look carefully and you can see some wavily-applied silver spray paint on the rear bumper, possibly to slow the spread of it.


R107 Mercedes SL


Considering the condition of the previous Mercedes, this R107 SL spotted down by the pier, was impossibly clean and polished looking. Not a scratch visible anywhere on it and also wearing its original wheels. 

That’s all for today, but I’ve got more coming up soon.