By on January 28, 2010

Stopping in at Wal Mart always raises the possibilities of some interesting people and car watching. There’s a web site dedicated to the remarkable sights of the peopleofwalmart.com. Prepare yourself! And buried in that treasure chest are some wild cars too. I’m sorry to say my brief venture into Wally Mart this morning doesn’t measure up to the best of theirs, but it’s worth sometimes to just stop for a second and smell the…old cars in the parking lot. Gallery follows:

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39 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: Wal Mart Concours Edition...”


  • avatar

    If I want to look at a lot full of crappy cars I’ll go to the Dodge dealer–it’s closer than the Walmart.

  • avatar
    Monty

    Wow, just wow.

    I would almost commit murder for that Maverick 4-door. Pre 1973 gigantic crash impact bumper, I always thought they were a stylish 4-door take on the timeless Maverick coupe design.

    To me, it’s beautiful. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so one man’s gold is another man’s garbage.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I hated Mavericks back in the 70s, but there was a repainted and dechromed four-door in my neighborhood a couple years ago, I must admit the thing really grew on me. They clean up good.

    • 0 avatar
      roadracer

      I can’t say I like Mavericks any better now than I did when my father had one, but there’s something wonderful about a place where you can drive one for 35+ years without the thing completely rusting away! It’s in remarkably good condition.

    • 0 avatar
      zenith

      Looking back @ the way these cars looked in 1987, the Maverick held up better than the Fairmont/LTD cars that succeeded them.

      The Fairmont had a cheaper interior than the Mav, the plasti-chrome grille that transformed it into a faux LTD peeled before the 3-year payment book ended, and the basic design had that generic “Mil Spec” look.

      I expected to see stencils on Fairmonts reading, “AUTOMOBILE, 1 each, Supplier-Ford Motor”. They were that void of personality.

      The Mav had loads of personality, by comparison.

      My mechanically inept sister and her husband kept a Comet (Mercury version) going for 12 years + and it left their ownership under its own power.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    My dad bought a new ’74 4-door Maverick with the 302 V8 just after the October 73 Yom Kippur War initiated the First Gas Crunch. He even ordered it just so, including the powder blue exterior.

    That car could go, in spite of its choked 140 hp engine. 12 mpg in town, and rusted like crazy. The V8 was a devil to service. Rust finally claimed it in 1986.

    The 72 (?) in the picture is a rare car, indeed.

    The 2-door variants get all the love (and abuse), and get pimped out for the dragstrip. The 4-doors tend to just soldier along.

  • avatar

    Wal-Mart is a great place for car spotting.
    On my Flickr page I have a set titled Cars I’ve Seen at Wal-Mart.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8490341@N04/sets/72157604056364910/

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    That 3rd-generation Accord (maybe an LX-i? can’t tell) looks just like mine. There are still a fair number of those on the road around here…

    • 0 avatar
      H Man

      Hondas of that (and most other) vintage are ubiquitous in Eugene.
      Several friends of mine have them. I have an 87 Integra. Most of them, including mine, have been stolen and recovered. Sometimes more than once.

  • avatar
    chrisgreencar

    My favorite of this lot is the front-drive 1985 Buick Electra. I know they were horrible and hated in many ways, but I like the “euro” styling of these with the large greenhouse and crisp lines. They were also small on the outside and big on the inside. GM could use something like this now.

    • 0 avatar
      supremebrougham

      Time for a little useless trivia. This particular car is an early production model, made in late spring-mid summer of 1984. You can tell because it has the Buick Olympic sponsor sticker in the right rear quarter window. All Buicks had those for 1984, which makes picking out ’84 Buicks pretty easy, unless you see one of the few late ’83 models that got them, or one of these…

      I guess it’s a good thing I know my cars :P

    • 0 avatar
      chrisgreencar

      Good spotting. I knew it was a 1985 because it doesn’t have the high-mounted stoplight, but I didn’t notice the Olympics sticker, although I remember those well.

  • avatar

    I feel bad for that Nissan. With the sleepy headlights it looks especially pathetic. Whoosh indeed.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Ha! Caught the yellow truck in the background of one shot. Oldest vehicle in the lot…?

  • avatar
    Raingler

    The real classic here is the pre-1996 Grand Cherokee in the background. Why no more pictures of that, huh?

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      Because some of the natives were getting restless about my intentions in walking around taking pictures. I left before all the possibilities were exhausted lest I be accosted by security.

    • 0 avatar
      Raingler

      Haha, I understand. I imagine the ZJ is a low priority target for you, though I’d love to see a CC for it one day.

    • 0 avatar

      Paul, when I photograph cars in parking lots I rarely get out of my car because I don’t want to be too conspicuous. When I see an interesting car I usually drive around to get the best angle possible, then make the photo through my window.

  • avatar
    aamj50

    The over the wheel arch side moulding on the Maverick makes me want to throw up! That car looks like a 4-wheel leisure suit.
    Gross.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    When I was was a kid my dog had a ’73 Maverick 4-Door LDO. It had the 302 V-8 and 3-speed automatic floor shift.

    The Maverick had previously belonged to my sister. After college she was moving to California for her first job and certain that the car wouldn’t pass that state’s emission test as the car’s previous owner had removed the catalytic converter and other emissions control equipment. We were living in a state that didn’t have any inspections.

    My sister suckered my dad into trading her for his Olds Custom Cruiser. He really didn’t need the car (he already had a pickup and a new Pontiac), but he kept it for our dog, who loved going for rides but had an annoying habit of shedding white fur all over the interiors of our cars. The Maverick had tan vinyl buckets. The white fur didn’t show up and the seats were surprisingly durable and easy to clean. Everyone was happy.

    At least once a day my dad took the dog for a ride in the dog’s Maverick. The car was pretty unremarkable. When the dog finally died shortly before its 15th birthday, my dad sold the Maverick to a neighbor who bought it for his teenage daughter who was going away to college.

  • avatar

    The Maverick was not a bad looking car. Better than most contemporary, and much better looking–oh, I know I’m going to get grief for this–than either of those two mavericky people, John McCain and Sarah Palin. There, now I’ve really done it.

    My favorite out of this batch is far and away the CRX. And I like the MB second. The Mav third. I’m afraid–hold the brickbats!!!–I like all these cars better than those two mavericky people, although until 2004, I would have preferred the AZ senator to most of them, though not the CRX.

    I suspect you’d find a similar lot of cars in the Wholefoods lot in downtown Durham NC.

    Paul, how would the Mallwart lot compare with some other parking lot in Eugene around a slightly classier store. I mean, are these cars representative of Eugene as a whole, or of one subdemographic.

    Love the tail of the dog’s Maverick. I frequently sit for my ex’s dog, a half lab half border collie that if there were a shedding event in the Olympics, she would win hands down. My ’99 Accord is truly my prize possession–I absolutely love that car, but when I have Comet, I take her everywhere, and she can shed all she wants. Some duct tape and a little patience can get rid of her stray hairs.

  • avatar
    namstrap

    Seems the older I get, the less I need.
    The family 92 MPV finally died and got towed to the wrecking yard with 250,000 km on it. The “new” replacement is a 1993 Suzuki Swift four cylinder with half the mileage.
    My 17 year-old son says, sarcastically, “Dad, we’re moving up through the nineties!”

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    As a kid growing up in Quebec, the Maverick was by far one of the most popular cars in French Canada. Road salt was the bugbear of cars in Quebec, so people were always looking for the cheapest ride possible. There were loads of Mavericks around but in short order, like a year, they had huge holes in them and by five years there were all gone.

    In fact, 70s Fords were so bad for rust, in Quebec there was a public group known as QUARF…Quebec Alliance Against Rusty Fords!

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    “Stopping in at Wal Mart always raises the possibilities of some interesting people and car watching.”

    Just go to this site for your “WalMart People Fix”:

    http://www.peopleofwalmart.com

  • avatar
    shaker

    What’s unusual is the low “Pick-Up Truck to Car Ratio” – Oregon defies description once again.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    My grandmother traded in her old blue 60 Falcon for the first Maverick Grabber in the Chambersburg PA area.

    Bright yellow with black stripes, subtle spoiler, 200 CID 6, auto, black vinyl trim w/bench seats,whitewalls, wheel trim rings, radio and no power steering. It was really an attention “grabber”. We drove it home from the dealership and the heads snapped of people in line for the matinee at the local movie theater. Lots of pointing and shocked looks on people’s faces. Sweet car. For the family, it became almost as much a signature of my Grandmother as her 60 Rambler Ambassador wagon had been.It was right on style wise and so was Granny.

    $2600 out the door. MT called the Maverick a $2600 Mustang for people who couldn’t afford a $3200 one.

    I’ve loved the Maverick since the beginning. So simple and some thought was given to building it that way from inception. What was simpler than a Falcon base ? Would that someone would design and build for ease of repair, replacement and maintenance today. Last one I can think of built to be simple was the Saturn SL1.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Dweezil,

      I grew up in Shippensburg, Pa., and now live in Harrisburg. That movie theater wouldn’t have been the old Southgate Theater (which was torn down in the 1990s and replaced with drugstore)? Or was it the Capitol Theater in downtown Chambersburg (which is now a community playhouse)?

      My friend’s family had the first Maverick in Shippensburg…a metallic beige coupe with a matching vinyl roof and the full wheelcovers. I believe that they bought it from Hal Lowry Ford in Chambersburg (which is also gone now – the dealership changed hands and moved to a spot close to I-81). What amazed me at the time was that the Maverick didn’t have a glovebox – just the package tray underneath the dashboard. They were a Ford family – they also had a 1966 Galaxie LTD hardtop sedan, later traded on a used 1970 Mercury Marquis hardtop sedan. Both of them had seats featuring Ford’s “panty cloth” material. My friend’s older brother later bought a used Comet GT – either a 1971 or 1972 model.

      My grandmother later bought a used 1973 Maverick sedan from Hal Lowry Ford. It sucked gas like crazy (even though it had the six), but it was reliable, and it had the BEST radio I had ever heard in a car up until that time. Its reception and sound were far better than that of the stereo in my parent’s 1976 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale. Even though it wasn’t an LDO-equipped car, I remember thinking that it had a much nicer interior than comparable GM, Mopar and AMC compacts.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      If I had to chose between a Mustang (II) or a Maverick during the years they were both being produced, the Maverick would win hands down every time. Of course being a teacher at a school that has the “Maverick” (a bull) as its mascot, parking a Ford Maverick out front would be pretty cool.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      @Geeber: It was the downtown Chambersburg theater, the Capitol. Had forgotten both that and “Hal Lowry Ford”. Chambersburg was the “big city” compared to where we lived in Edenville.

      No glove box yes, just a package tray for the first couple of years.

      That panty cloth was a big Ford feature. Cloth interiors were kind of nice back then. Just like your living room.

      My Grandmother was still driving that car when she retired from Hanover Shoes in the late 70s.It was getting some rust behind the wheels by 74.

      What a beautiful place, PA. Charmed area to live for a kid.

    • 0 avatar
      supremebrougham

      Ah, Chambersburg, what a lovely area! I stop through there every year during my annual road trip. I have friends between there, Shippensburg and Harrisburg. We always meet up in C-burg for dinner and get caught up on life.

      FWIW, Pennsylvania has some of the best roads I’ve ever encountered for spirited driving.

  • avatar

    Dan, in the early 1970′s my father owned a Maverick coupe with the 302 V-8. At the time I was a kid and don’t remember much about this car, but Dad says it was fast for a 1970′s era compact. In the mid-1980′s one of my sisters owned a Maverick sedan with the I-6 and automatic transmission. This car was a snail.

  • avatar
    DougD

    Pizza The Hutt!
    shaker, I just about sprayed coffee all over the monitor! I’d forgotten about him.
    How come nobody’s tagged Pizza the Hutt as the next CEO of General Motors? He’d be perfect!

  • avatar
    johnnyboy

    A Fifth Avenue! Those M-Body Chryslers used to be so common but are getting RARE.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    I get the feeling we were supposed to look at this and laugh at the poor redneck Walmart shoppers’ beaters. Not me; I would be happy to have a bunch of those cars (does that make me a redneck?) In particular:

    – when was the last time you saw a reasonably intact and unmodified CRX?

    – all those cute genuinely small and genuinely light and genuinely simple econoboxes you can’t get now (2d gen Civic, Tercel and Colt hatches). 40 MPG and no car payment, what’s not to like?

    – that Eldorado Biarritz is about 1990 vintage. The 4.9 liter engine is more reliable than the Northstar that followed it, and it performs plenty well in this light platform. Yes, it’s a pimpmobile, but that’s what makes it fun, and it’s a pimpmobile that fits in any parking space.

    – and yes, that Maverick. My first car was a ’70 Mav coupe. I have to say that I never expected them to be collectible. However, people have discovered the little secret of Mavericks: just about any performance or handling mod you can do to a first-gen Mustang can also be done to a Maverick. So a little bit of work can turn that prosaic looking sedan into quite a sleeper.


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