Detroit Lives in Mexico

Jim Pickering, the usual mastermind of this blog on American Car Collecting, is busy with his new baby daughter, so I’m taking it out for a short spin.

I just got back from a week in Troncones, Mexico, which is a terrific small town nestled against the blue, warm Pacific Ocean. This spot is mostly about surfing, fishing and loafing on the beach, but there were a couple of memorable car sightings in this tropical paradise.

First, I confess that I feel in love with Mopar muscle as a boy during the late 1960s. I still remember hearing a 1970 California Highway Patrol Dodge Polara 440 rumble and moan past the family’s 1967 Dodge Monaco station wagon on Interstate 5 near Bakersfield.

It felt like that Coronet was going to rip the doors off our family car.

Ten minutes later, I saw that same car at the side of the highway — lights flashing — parked behind a Porsche 911.

I saw a similar sight on Mexico’s Highway 200 just a few days ago. A tricked-out Honda Civic howled past my taxi and vanished around a curve. Seconds later, a brand-new Dodge Charger — decked out in Mexican Federal Police colors — roared out of a roadside hideaway, twisted sideways in a cloud of dust and then hauled off after the Honda.

“Big fine very soon,” my taxi driver announced.

My second car sighting was actually a truck sighting. A beautiful blue 1970 Chevrolet K10 eased down the quiet road on the way from a surf break called La Saladita. Two vintage Dewey Weber Performer longboards were strapped to a rack over the bed, and the engine rumbled tastefully out of a dual exhaust.

I love 1967-to-1972 GM trucks, and this one was as sweet as a Mexican Coca-Cola made with cane sugar. The surfboards, which were still wet from the waves, dripped additional cool.

Mexico is often where U.S.-made trucks go to die, but some of them find loving owners and will probably live forever.