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Cable Car - The Lost Abbey

Not Rated.
Cable CarCable Car

Educational use only; do not reuse.

214 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 214
Hads: 842
Avg: 4.48
pDev: 16.96%
Wants: 2,634
Gots: 88 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: stephendr on 08-12-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 214 | Hads: 842
Photo of dgilks
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy golden colour with a large fluffy head. Nice lacing.

Intense, funky and tart aroma with a light lemon note. Well balanced.

Sour, lactic, slightly acetic, lemony and slightly astringent. Beautifully balanced and crafted.

Medium body with moderately-high carbonation. Good.

A really good wild ale with a balanced funk character, good tartness and solid flavour.

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Photo of Damian
4.69/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint 9.4 fl. oz. bottle
2008 vintage
Served in a tulip
Acquired in a trade with zminor

Review #550

The nearly clear, golden amber liquid was topped by a small, bubbly cap of froth. Within a few minutes, the head completed dissipated.

The aroma was simply astounding. Super funky with lots of must and barnyard character. Very oaky, leathery and "old." Tart and quite acidic with some slightly sweet, fruity notes. Green apple was noticeable, along with a touch of lemon. Some honey was also detectible.

Lots of sour funk and must also came through in the flavor profile. The brett character was really intense. Fruity. Green apple notes were apparent. Super tart and lemony on the finish with a strong oakiness. Somewhat white wine-like. Lots of acidity and yeastiness as well. As the beer warmed, the lemon character grew even stronger. Ultra crisp and dry. This wild ale definitely ranks high up there in terms of sourness.

The only somewhat disappointing aspect of this beer was the mouthfeel. It was quite thin with a fizzy, moderate effervescence.

Drinkability was impressive. The 7% ABV was incredibly well masked. Although the tartness was intense, this beer was nevertheless a real treat to sip and savor.

Cable Car is definitely one of the best American wild ales I have yet to try. I would love the opportunity to sample this again.

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Photo of deschutes_fan
4.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Vintage
- Pours a hazy golden yellow, with some lively carb.

- Smells is bright citrus and acid with some mild barnyard funk.

- Flavor hits with juicy and tart peach, acid, oak, some funky hay and a good pucker at the end. Flavors fade from palette pretty quickly, leading the tastebuds to beg for another gulp.

- Nothing over the top here. Not the most funky, most juicy or sour, not the most complex. But it has all the features of a great sour and in beautiful harmony. A pleasure and a treat. Is it worth the price tag? Hard to say...

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Photo of GClarkage
4.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

08/11/07- Had on tap at the Toronado 20th Anniversary party.

Presentation- Via the tap into a tulip style glass.

Appearance- Vibrant peach-orange colored pour. Slight creamy and bubbly brilliant white head. Light lace sheets left behind. The color won me over on this beer.

Smell- A bit of lambic style funk...damp basement. Couldn't quite get which fruits were in the nose, but they were citrus and fresh.

Taste- Tremendous fresh and tart fruit basket. Tangerine, orange, cherry, apricot and lemon. Not violently sour like some Cantilion brews, but a nice tangy tart flavor like La Folie, but maybe more like Love.

Mouthfeel- Light carbonation, lingering tart aftertaste.

Drinkability- Damn I hope they decide to bottle this. Probably the winner of the night for me. One of the best sour beers I have ever had.

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Photo of lupercmda
4.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this at Toronado bar in SF tonight. Pours a golden hue which has a nice carbonation level. Smell is of sour oakiness. Taste is of lemony, oakiness with a mild acidity and a moderate sour taste. Does not overpower you with the sourness. Finish is slightly sour with a nice clean finish. I think this may be the best wild ale I have ever had. Bravo!!

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Photo of islandboi8204
4.67/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle enjoyed at Toronado SD.

Pours a hazy golden color with a thick white head, not much lacing.

Smells like tangy fruit, citrus and lemon zest. Lots of grapefruit, orange, nectarine and funk. Similar to a Belgian gueuze, delightful funk but not out of control.

Tastes like those chalky Vitamin C tablets with graham cracker sweetness and tart on the finish. Grapefruit, orange, lemon is prominent. I thought it would be a lot more sour from the nose, but it's has incredible balance with some oak and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is full, creamy, and rich for a sour beer.

This was incredible. I'm glad to have skipped the line at Churchill's for this. This is a great sour with lots of citrusy complexity and a great mouthfeel.

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Photo of hopdog
4.67/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml, corked and caged bottle, shared courtesy of Phatz (thanks!, I guess I owe you my next new born).

Poured a medium and lightly hazy (darker haze as we got towards the bottom of the bottle) golden color with a smaller sized off white head.

Upon the first whiff, I was greeted with a plethora of incredible aromas that instantly put me in that 'special' place in my mind! I could smell this one all day and night long. Aromas of cherries, grapes, apples, funky, brett, light yeast, citrus, and vanilla. All the aromas melded together perfectly. I was also getting a light spiciness, maybe cinnamon.

Tastes of tart green apples, citrus, woody, light yeast and vanilla. Light and soft body.

Notes from and tasted on 10/11/07.

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Photo of bs870621345
4.66/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had at Toronado, gave a little to a guy sitting next to me...damn expensive but worth it.

Pours a cloudy yellow with a half inch head. Leaving no lacing and head fades quickly.

Smell is of oak, brett funk, lemons, vinegar, herbs, lactic, and bread...there is a lot going on...everything in balance and everything delicious.

Taste follows smell, each sip gives something new. Oak on the end with lemons cleaning the palate with carbonation. Vinegar, bread and brett are inital and they all carry though to the end.

Mouthfeel is moderate with good carbonation, would be excellent to pair with a burger or steak.

Overall its a great one. Price tag is high but I'm on vacation!

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Photo of ccnorthwest
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is a erotic sex show in your mouth. The smoothness and body are perfect. For a non fruited wild ale it's absolutely amazing. Worth the price and adventure in trying.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage generously split by ipa247. You're the man Jeff! Reviewed from notes. Consumed Feb 2011.

A: Pours a hazy lemon-yellow with a couple fingers of bright white bubby head that faded into a thin scum and collar.
S: Sweeter smelling than expected, but there is still a fair amount of sweaty sock musk. I get some slight lemon but not too much other fruit notes. Smells good though.
T: Not especially sour, pretty tame really, but it's got a great sweaty citrus taste. This one is hard to tack down, but I think I taste mostly grapefruit juice and bitter grapefruit pith. Aftertaste is rather sweet. Very delicious.
M: Fizzy mouthfeel over a medium body. This one is crazy super dry, although there are no gritty tannins.
D: This one is even better than my previous LA favorite, DDG. This is extremely drinkable and just stupid good. Could be a bit more sour, but the way it is now just makes it easier for me to drink more. Thank you so much for your generosity (again) ipa247!

EDIT: Additional notes from CC Vertical, Jan 2012:
07: Notes of shit on the nose. Nothing much to the flavor anymore. Very low carbonation. Very mellow all-around. Past prime.
08: Bubblier than the 07 with more acid and more flavor as well. Lightly funky and very smooth. Drinking great!
09: Bubblier than the 08. Big acetone notes. The most tart of any, and the harshest. Still a great beer though.

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Photo of somabeer
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Popped and poured into Lost Abbey chalices at Toronado. It gushed after popping the cork. It was hazy golden yellow, a healthy amount of foam and good lacing. There is a strong aroma, with plenty of citrus and some nice funk. The taste is fantastic they are notes of citrus, lemon, pineapple, some nice bitterness, some oak, that hoarse blanket goat cheese flavor, the strongest flavor is the tart sourness. Its exquisite in it's balance and complexity. It has a nice carbonation and it goes down very easy. It's amazingly drinkable. you could sip it all night!

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The last, and least worthy, of the four from this wonderful occasion to submit my review.

An emergency beer tasting?

If it involves Cable Car, you betcha. Slightly damaged during shipping, beachbum1975 (thanks Shane!) insisted we consume it within a day or two. Forget about the ice storm and the law telling people to stay off the roads. This was an emergency of Cable Car proportions.

Shane was tight lipped about the beer. It was intended to be a gift for pwoods (Patrick). Shane's message - it's rare and worth the urgency. FtownThrowDown (Steve) rounded out the special occasion.

I requested we drink the first half blind.

Poured by Shane into an oversized red wine glass. Presented to me with a hazy straw color and beautiful golden hue. Sensory overload with aroma, color, and foam lacing. I'm guessing my pour was around 5 ounces with 1 oz going to my wife. Review from the wife; "this is good!"

The suspected shipping damage had little impact on the mild level of carbonation (or did it?). Once in a lifetime. I'll never really know. The quest is officially on.

My notes contain the standard comments on this style - tart, sour, light citrus, and dry. Looking back over my notes, two observations were made separate of the rest - thick and straight up. I observed thickness, in the form of mouth feel, that I'm not accustomed to with sours/wilds. Straight up is another story. I was searching hard for complexity in the yet-to-be-revealed rare beer. Searching too hard to enjoy. To me, Cable Car is a phenomenal balance of the wild, sour, and funky combined with light and fluffy...at a loss for words here. Smooth, easy-drinking Cable Car. On a hot summer day I could drink myself to death.

When the curtain came up, the biggest surprise to me was the barrel aspect. I suspect this may have more to do with leveraging bugs than major & noticeable enhancements to the flavor profile (think Supplication).

Like a wedding video, I'm purposely avoiding documentation on this beer because I want it to live in my memory as I remember it - a special beer that rewards beer exploration.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 vintage imbibed at Toronado in SF. Poured from a caged-and-corked 750mL bottle into a tulip.

Citrine, lightly hazy body with an initially substantial ivory head which dissipates quickly but a rapid swirl promptly brings back a fizzy finger and a more lasting collar. The final pour is opaque, presumably from the yeast.

Wildflowers (pollen?), potent woody funk, plenty of "horse blanket," and orange peel in the nose. The fragrances grow ever more intense and complex as it warms.

Anchovies, kim chee, blue cheese, along with citrus on the palate. Tart and mineral heavy (almost salty) mid-palate though not bracingly sour. Very ester-heavy but not jammy. Somewhat vinuous like a good chardonnay, and lightly tannic.

Zippy, spritzy, and bright mouthfeel.

Exceptionally drinkable (despite some of my adjectives above, this really isn't an esoteric beverage), and a great beer to share with good friends.

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Photo of jsanford
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage, shared with the girlfriend at the Toronado in San Diego.

A - Pours a clear gold with a creamy white head that dissipates to a slight ring and spotty haze.
S - Complex, Gueuze-like aromas of sour lemon juice, oak, funky horseblanket, and wet straw. Absolutely wonderful.
T - Tart and funky, with a slight sulphury quality, and big flavors of lemon juice, grains, straw, horseblanket, and a very strong oak finish that reminds me of a big, oaked Chardonnay. Excellent level of sourness, very drinkable.
M - Crisp and tart, with a medium body and moderate carbonation. Finish is very drying, with a definite tannic quality to it. Precisely how I like my Wilds, this is spot-on for my tastes.
O - Such a wonderful beer, having it at the Toronado only makes it a more memorable experience. What a night!

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Photo of jeffthecheff
4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this bottle at a tasting. 2007 version.

Cable Car pours an orange gold color that looks like it would be somewhat clear, but is actually completely hazed. The head is just about non existent, and even a swirl produces only a thin wisp.

The aroma is intense, fruity, and sour. There is a little bit of cellar like mustiness to it, and only a touch of funk. Sour lemons make up most of the nose, along with a background of some peach like fruitiness. This is intense, but pleasant throughout.

The taste is impressively sour with a good, mouth puckering lemon sourness. A bit of sweetness adds a candy like complexity which is great. It reminds me of one of those powdery, sour jawbreaker type candies I used to get in gumball machines. The finish is dry and very puckering.

The mouthfeel is nice and light, with a good level of "tiny bubble" carbonation to make it refreshing and easy to drink. I would love to have more of this. I'm very glad I got to try this.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this personal whale at Toronado in San Diego. $40 a bottle. 2010 vintage.

Pours a slightly hazy pale orange. The head fills half of the Russian River tulip the server gave me to enjoy the beer out of. Slowly fading mound of bubbles due to the effervescent flow of bubbles steadily rising.

The aroma seemed to constantly change. First sniff was filled with lemon zest and sour funk. Then I started getting some orange and some oak. Up next was grassy herbs and sourdough bread. This would have gotten a 5 for aroma if something would have smacked me in the face. Lots there, but not overwhelmingly powerful.

The flavor mimics the smell quite nicely. Tart lemon, wet grass, white wine grapes, bit of wood, and some sour funk. Not exceedingly tart or sour. Nice balance for the style. Delicious!

The carbonation is very active. Prickly on the tongue throughout most of the bottle. A little drying. Overall...wow! So glad I finally got to have this one. Worth the wait.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 bottle. Big thanks to Gtreid for the share, and to mikesgroove for trading this bottle to him in the first place. The brew pours a radiant golden hue and is capped with a filmy white head. My glass is quite translucent due to a careful pour. The nose is very nice, although slightly too understated for me; lemon, green apple skin, cut grass and tannic oak are the mainstay of the aroma, and it is quite similar to a mild Hanssen's Gueuze in smell. The flavor ramps up the complexity and intensity relative to the aroma, and the result is outstanding. Perfect tartness, notes of lemon juice and zest, kaffir lime, nectarine, green apple, general acidity and woody notes are observed on the palate. The feel is very smooth whilst retaining tooth, and has an unbelievably clean finish. Overall I am very impressed. Worthy of the hype. Better than DDG. Almost as good as IP. I cannot yet make a YB comparison.

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Photo of muttyd
4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

*Reviewed from notes*

2010 vintage shared with some BAs.

Crystal clear yellow pour with a big fizzy white head. Aroma is eggy, funky, and has a slight band-aid/plastic presence as well. The underlying flavor is similar to that of a saison - grainy, lemony, peppery. Flavor also consists of wood, barnyard funk, and tropical fruits. Sourness is moderate - not too offensive. Medium body and carbonation. Very dry, crisp finish.

Truly a world-class beer.

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Photo of glid02
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle consumed at Toronado San Diego - been waiting a while to try this one.

Pours a slightly hazy golden-peach color with a two-finger white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of funk - wet hay and leather is the best way I can describe it - along with good amounts of sugar-coated fruits - apricots, pears, and peaches, in that order.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Indistinct malt flavors serve as the backbone and allow funk and fruit flavors to run roughshod. A funkiness as described above permeates the flavor profile, although there's also a certain harsher (though not in a bad way) addition to the flavor profile via the oak. Ripe apricot and peach flavors are at the forefront with syrupt pear flavors lurking in the background. The ending is crisp and leaves just a hint of funkiness lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I finished my glass very quickly and could easily have a few more. The flavors are all robust but manage to complement each other very well.

Overall this beer didn't disappoint. It isn't the best sour that I've ever had but it does come very close. Well worth the shot if you can get your hands on it.

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Photo of nkersten
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2007 bottle generously shared at a recent Chicago crew tasting, thanks! Pours a golden yellow with no head, some bubbles here and there. Smell is a musky spice, some lemon and acidic notes, a bit of funk. Taste is pretty amazing - tart orange, cinnamon spiciness, sour but very clean. Some mellow peaches in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium/light with a low carbonation, not too dry but finishes clean. An amazing beer, different from any sour I have had. Very, very drinkable.

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle enjoyed at Toronado in SF.

A: Poured into my tulip the beer is golden yellow and moderately clear. Huge three fingers of white head fill the glass and remain. Good retention with modest lace.

S: Loads of tart and sweet intertwined with a good dose of brett. Mild funk. Just a bit of wood and attic dust. Mostly just awesome sweet and tart fruit.

T: Pleasantly tart citric fruit. Dry bretty band aid. A good amount of juicy citrus sour on the finish.

M: Medium body with loads of carbonation.

O: Fantastic! Well worth the price tag and visit to Toronado. I managed to share about 6 ounces with my wife and I honestly regretted letting that much get away.

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Photo of tpd975
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage. Thanks to Floydster for this one.

A: Pours a nice palish yellow hue with a very tall white head. Above average retention with a few spots of lace.

S: Wonderful aromas of citrus with mild notes of tart peaches. Yeast, vinegar, tart, and sourness... Yum.

T: Wonderful citrus up front. Acidic, but not overthetop. Mild vinegar with hints of peach, apricot, and light woody notes. There is some wet hay goodness, with hints of leather and barnyard.

M: Medium in body, snappy carbonation and the acidity bites at the tongue a bit.

N: Not overly tart or sour. Well done, and damn tasty for sure.

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Photo of afksports
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

notes for better review to be updated when I get on my computer post vacation

2009 bottle at toronado. The bar it was brewed for.

App: hazy gold straw with tons of head that sustains great lace and a touch if cling

smell: wine barrels it has to be. funky and sweet at the same time. Fantastic sour aroma, bites the nose with a puckering sweetness

taste: heaven. Delicate, balanced, pucker that starts and finishes but somehow manages bitter too. Sweet middle body that has white grapes, dryness, complexity and tartness, touch if funk bit it doesn't last. Sooo effing smooth start to finish.

Mouth: great carb, nice body, bubble goddess

drink: forever

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Photo of Gtreid
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mikesgroove for the opportunity. 07 vintage. 750 ml bottle poured into my CCB tulip.

A: Hazy golden yellow color. The pour produced a small soapy head that quickly faded to nothing, and left no lace.

A: Tart green apples, lemon, slight citursy hops, and soury sweetness.

T: Sour, sweet, divine. The sour tartness balances so well with the malty sweetnes of the brew. The sourness is not over the top, it just plays so well the plethora of flavors. It finishes tart and dry with absolutley no hint of ABV.

M: Lower on the carbonation, but not in a bad way. Medium body and rather slick.

O: This is one great beer. I don't like the overpowering sourness of many wilds, but this one is just about perfect for me. I would put this at the top of the list in terms of sours. Skal.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle enjoyed at Toronado SF.

Pours a relatively clear golden copper color with a nice white head that hangs around and leaves light rings of lacing. Aroma is surprisingly funky and complex with lemon and green apple sourness dominating. More fruit and tart than earthiness but there is light straw and grass throughout as well. Body is very citric and crisp, full on the palate with high carbonation. Flavor start with lemon and other citrus rind, before becoming more oaky and tart with only lingering sourness. Expected to be let down by this, but was pleasantly surprised and look forward to trying other vintages.

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Cable Car from The Lost Abbey
99 out of 100 based on 214 ratings.