Old Car Time Machines

Winter is almost here — and it’s already pretty chilly out here on the edge of Death Valley.

The Amargosa River flowing through ancient Lake Tecopa, on its way to Badwater Basin

Many of you will laugh at what I consider “chilly” — it’s been in the 60s during the day, and down into the upper 30s at night. But in my world, that’s poncho season! Puffer coat season! Hot cocoa season (Land O’ Lakes only — or Mike and Jen’s. I have tested them all, and those are the only two worth a damn)!

Wearing my puffer in a sneak peek from a future video

Anyway, I’m taking advantage of the cooler temps to explore as many desert locations as I can! The other day I headed out on an expedition to a couple of abandoned sites in the mountains to shoot new videos, which will be coming soon. And of course last week, I posted my “calendar location scouting” trip into the Kingston Range.

Exploring the Kingston Range

I put quotes around “calendar location scouting” because yes, I do need to figure out spots to shoot the photos for my upcoming calendar — but really, I was kind of using that as an excuse to just get out and poke around! I was just curious about some of the stuff up there, and it was great weather for going out and investigating.

I ended up climbing on a giant piece of construction equipment, poking my nose into a cave, and even stopped at a boulder someone had painted like a whale, with the word “dork” underneath — presumably a gag related to the “official” term for a certain part of a whale’s anatomy. But my favorite find was this old Plymouth Fury!

Old Car Time Machine

For someone who knows nothing about cars…I sure do enjoy poking around these busted old wrecks I find rusting away in the desert. I like to try and figure out the year, make and model… and when I can’t, viewers usually step in and fill me in, in the comments.

I guessed this one to be a Plymouth Fury III (it said so on the back!) from the early 1970s — and I made up this fun new game (fun to me, anyway) called Old Car Time Machine, where I got in the car and pretended I was actually back in 1973, cruising the drag with my girlfriend Barb, trying to find good tunes on the radio. First I tuned into Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky,” then George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” … before finally settling on Sugarloaf’s “Green-Eyed Lady.”

It was easy to figure this one out!

When I got home, I actually looked everything up to see how accurate I was. I wasn’t able to find an image online that looked exactly like the car — a 1970 Fury III looked close, but the front grille and headlights were different. So I was basically in the right ballpark — and also with the music! “Spirit in the Sky” was a hit in 1969, and “Green-eyed Lady” and “My Sweet Lord” were both from 1970. It’s conceivable that Barb and I could have been driving a 1970 car around in 1973, and those songs would have still been on the radio. (Right? I don’t know if radio stations used to play songs from a few years ago, like they do now.)

Pretending to be in the 1970s

Anyway, it was a lot of fun for me to imagine myself back in the 1970s… because that seems like one of the most fun eras to be alive. Yeah, sure, the furniture, appliances and clothes were hideous — but the music was awesome, you could camp wherever you wanted, you could afford to live in California… and you didn’t need a reservation to visit Yosemite!!!

I guess maybe it’s just nostalgia for my childhood — all those cool old photos of my young parents taking me camping and hiking in a very different California. I know there’ve been medical and technological advancements that have greatly benefited me since then, so I’m trying not to be too rosy about “the good old days.” I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing without cell phones and the Internet — if I wanted a travel show back in the day, I would have had to move to Hollywood and sleep with some d-bag producer to worm my way into the industry. Nowadays, anyone with a cellphone can start their own YouTube channel, and do it themselves!

Pretending to live in the 1970s, part 2. Photo by Jim Smith

So, yeah…. I realize things probably weren’t really all that much better in the 1970s, but I’m still kinda jealous that I didn’t get to experience them myself, as an adult.

But that’s what these old car time machines are good for — at least they let me pretend! And I can’t wait to go out and find the next one.





31 responses to “Old Car Time Machines”

  1. John Rush Avatar
    John Rush

    The Fury III is a 1967 model, but it probably lasted through the 1970’s, longer with proper maintenance. The girl was more likely Mary Kate. Or maybe Sally (you could sing Sneaking Sally Through the Alley). I prefer the cars of the ’60’s and early ’70’s because they were easier to diagnose and repair, though the styles are also a good reason. And yes, there were oldies stations in the 1970’s.

    I also like the AMX — was it yours? It’s either a ’68 or ’69, there were few differences between those model years. It’s collectible, worth $45K and up these days, depending on condition.

    As for the 1970’s, the economy was pretty sour through the decade, and the presidents were Nixon, Ford and Carter. The Vietnam war finally ended, and speed limits were reduced to 55 mph, where they stayed through most of the 1980’s. SNL was worth watching then, and the Ramones formed. I generally agree with you about the music, though I liked it better during the 1960’s.

    1. wonderhussy Avatar

      The AMX belonged to a photographer I knew in Vegas! It was such a cool car

      1. Henry Murray Avatar

        When and where are the new calendars coming out. Look forward to it.πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸ˜€

        1. wonderhussy Avatar

          I’m shooting the new calendar starting tomorrow! Got kind of a late start because of scheduling conflicts, but I’m hoping to have it up for sale by the 15th or so. I’ll post all about it everywhere when it’s ready!

          1. Henry d. Murray Avatar
            Henry d. Murray


          2. dennis hughes Avatar
            dennis hughes

            Can I go on one of your hikes someday?

          3. wonderhussy Avatar

            Most people who have hiked with me never want to do it again! I’m hard to keep up with!

      2. Andy Avatar

        Would love to know more about the car

        1. wonderhussy Avatar

          It was the photographer’s car it was the photographer’s car… I guess he restored it as a hobby and just wanted to shoot some photos of it

    2. wonderhussy Avatar

      Yeah…the 1960s were even more awesome!

  2. Larry Orr Avatar
    Larry Orr

    You’re Awesome girl 🀠🀠🀠🀠🀠. You use Total Creativeness that comes the innermost part of your mind,,,, One Awesome Girl,,, LADY. 🀠🀠🀠🀠🀠🀠🀠🀠🀠🀠🀠🀠🀠🀠🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣🀣

  3. Larry Orr Avatar
    Larry Orr

    You’re Awesome Girl πŸ˜˜β™¦οΈπŸ±πŸ˜˜

    1. wonderhussy Avatar

      Thank you Larry!!!

  4. Patrick Cobb Avatar
    Patrick Cobb

    Too young to remember the 70s but definitely remember the early 80s, which is a pretty close approximation. Back when your friend’s mom used to smoke Virginia Slims in the car with the windows rolled up and corduroy bell bottoms (although slightly less bell at the bottom) were still in fashion at K-mart. One of my recent favorite movies about the 70s, which is actually supposed to take place in 1969, is Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Was never much of a Leonardo DiCaprio fan, but whoa, was he good.

    1. wonderhussy Avatar

      Oh yeah….my mom smoked in the car with the windows up all the time! It was no big deal back in the day…now I can’t STAND the smell of cigarette smoke!

      1. Tom Avatar

        While you stood on the seat? Ha, the good old days before seat belt laws. Love your videos, just finished watching the mine/Fury/”bulldozer”/Dork one.

        1. wonderhussy Avatar

          Thank you!!

  5. Steve from Illinois Avatar
    Steve from Illinois

    You do have a wild variety of interests that keeps me coming back to
    watch your channel SJ. BTW big thanks to neighbor Ross ,the one
    legged miner to introducing me to your channel via his. Since you love music so much and travel to places you visit take a looong boring drive to get to, I did notice your rig has a Satellite radio ( not activated ?)can and does from time to time get free listening . Latest free listening will end December 4,2023 but subscribing isn’t all that expensive with deals they have. My favorites are individual 1950’s ,1960’s and 1970’s channels which make getting to places that more relaxing. Keep up the excellent videos
    you wonderful hussy!

    1. wonderhussy Avatar

      I wasn’t really impressed by Sirius, to be honest…I had it when I first got the car, but it seemed like the stations still played the same tired old playlists as terrestrial radio! I now use the YouTube music app, and play that from my phone over my car stereo.

      1. John Rush Avatar
        John Rush

        Agreed; when my sister died, I inherited her car, which has satellite radio. I only listened to maybe half a dozen stations; my favorite is Underground Garage. When I drove it more than 1200 miles home, I played it through the night, and many of the stations repeated the programs they aired during the day. I don’t drive the car much, so paying for radio would be a waste of money for me. I let the subscription lapse, and they were after me for years afterward to re-up. The stereo also has a CD player, so I made dozens of mixes for that. Satellite radio would be decent if we didn’t have to pay for it, or if we had the option of paying much less for only the stations we listen to.

        1. Steve from Illinois Avatar
          Steve from Illinois

          You are so right about satellite radio costs. Two sat radios, one for
          home and work and one in the car is now $40 a month! Yikes.
          But I like the idea of having two Smartphones one for a backup and playing whatever choice music can be found online by connecting through the car radio aux connector. The other smartphone could just be for making videos and as a regular phone. Undoubtedly way cheaper!

  6. John Avatar

    I remember getting into my Dad’s MGB GT for the night, higher than a kite, turning the FM radio on and hearing Spirit in the sky for the first time. I still think it’s a hell of a song.

    1. wonderhussy Avatar

      It sure is!

  7. GB Shiels Avatar
    GB Shiels

    And the Fury III K-code 440 was the cop car of choice for a few years also if memory serves.


  8. Hippie Dog Avatar

    Great stuff as usual!!!

    Lovin the adventures and follow you on youtube all the time.

    I’m a car guy so I love finding cars in the desert. They last forever.

    The furry3 was a legendary hot rod but not many made it (too fast) long enough to turn a corner (pilot error). That thing could be worth some real money.

    Keep the great vids commin…

    …And let’s go splunking sometime :-).

    1. wonderhussy Avatar

      Thank you! spelunking, hmmmmm

  9. John Mathias Avatar
    John Mathias

    Like the AMX photo. Pose with any old car–can’t go wrong.

  10. Lisa H. Avatar
    Lisa H.

    in the bitchin 70’s garb/pose, next to the boss AMC and red plaid Pendleton, you reminded me of my cousin (Jwlz) and high school, posse, Julie, Sandy, Toni, Lori, Lisa M, Patty, Lucinda, and Joann we’d cruise
    Van Nuys, Blvd. San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, and Whittier, PCH, Manhattan Beach, Venice, Hollywood Hills, crazy parties,Troubadour, Whiskey a Go,Go, Rainbow Room, i’d steal (borrow) my cousin’s Cat DeVille
    partied backstage Whiskey W/ Debby Harry, Joan Jett, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Clash, way to many start up bands (now famous) thanks for the (flashback) Memories, huh! in retrospect it’s miracle were alive today! i’ll stop name droppn’ like a douche, we’re blinded by the light, and famous Celebs.

    1. wonderhussy Avatar

      You sound like you have absolutely amazing memories! Lucky you.. you got to grow up in the best time and place ever!

  11. Andy Avatar

    Just saw the photo of the AMX after poking around on your site after the Lake Manly canoe video. I had an AMX like that and it caught my eye.

    1. wonderhussy Avatar

      It was the photographer’s car! He did a really nice job restoring it and taking care of it

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