As a newcomer to Denver, I had my worries that the junkyards here would be wall-to-wall Sables and Sephias. Would my junkyard trips be a slog through a miasma of late-model boredom? As J. Frank Parnell said about the hazards of lobotomies: Not at all!
There’s a special place in my heart for the Fiat 128; Fiat’s quasi-revolutionary little front-driver helped put my early-childhood wheels on the road leading to my current state of car-freakdom. You see, my parents bought a pair of ’73 128s when I was seven years old— the 128 being just about the cheapest car you could buy in California that year, even cheaper than the Beetle— and the sound of those Fiat SOHCs yowling through the gears was just about the best thing I’d ever heard in my life. Of course, the multiple shift levers of my dad’s ’67 Ford Custom with 289, three-on-the-floor, and an overdrive unit also had a profound effect on my impressionable young mind, but the 128 really made me a car guy! Seeing a rusty-but-mostly-complete Fiat 128 at a Denver self-service wrecking yard… well, sort of a bittersweet experience for me. Yes, it’s even the not-all-that-sought-after Rally model, with 62 mighty Italian horses a-buckin’ and a-snortin’ under the hood!
Did I say a Fiat 128? This yard boasts two of them! In addition to the ’78 Rally, there’s this ’76 wearing a straight-outta-Malaise-Era-Central-Casting aqua paint job. Sharp-eyed readers might note the Peugeot 505 and Subaru XT lurking in the background in some of the shots, in addition to the air-cooled Beetles; Denver turns out to be a great junkyard town!