By on October 7, 2015

18 - 1983 Lincoln Continental in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

In 1982, the 7th-generation Lincoln Continental went to the Fox Platform, elbowing the Fox-based Lincoln Versailles aside. These cars didn’t hold their value so well, which meant that you won’t see many these days.

Here’s a reasonably solid example I saw at a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard two months ago. Read More >

By on October 5, 2015

09 - 1991 Ford Escort Pony in Colorado wrecking yard - photo by Murilee Martin

Back in the early 1990s, the elite members of the Detroit Big Three were trying hard to compete on price with dirt-cheap imported Misery Boxes such as the Subaru Justy, Hyundai Excel, and Toyota Tercel EZ. They came up with stripper versions of their low-end subcompacts (e.g., the Plymouth Sundance America), which few bought. Why buy an Escort Pony for $7,976 when you could have a zero-option ’91 Civic for $7,095, and still be driving the Civic (very slowly, and maybe on its third head gasket) today? This makes the Escort Pony a very rare Junkyard Find today, so I grabbed my camera when I saw this one at a Denver yard. Read More >

By on September 30, 2015

21- 1985 Dodge Lancer ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Chrysler hadn’t been making the K Platform for long before they branched it out into the bewildering K Family Tree that confuses everybody to this day. Iacocca’s Chrysler-saving (or demise-postponing, depending on your point of view) platform gave us both the worst car in human history and a Dodged-down version of the swanky LeBaron GTS. Here’s an example of the latter that I saw in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard. Read More >

By on September 28, 2015


When I write these little features, I always follow a set of self-imposed rules:

Rule No. 1: The car is always the main character;

Rule No. 2: Avoid using the same personality profile as in a previous story;

Rule No. 3: Inject truth. Use real ownership experiences for each example, and plausible explanations for clues;

And, Rule No. 4: Avoid blanket, prepared or generic scenarios.

I’m going to bend that last one a little bit. I’ve found the right example to illustrate it.

Read More >

By on September 28, 2015

00 - 1999 Dodge Neon in Colorado wrecking yard - photo by Murilee MartinWhen Chrysler went all macho with tough car names, it was partly an attempt to expunge the marketing memory of the cute and happy ads for the Neon. The Neon was much better than its wretched Shadow/Sundance predecessor, but still enough of a disposo-car that junkyards teem with them today. Mostly I walk right by discarded Neons (unless I see something unusual, like an Expresso or an R/T), but this ’99 Neon Sport has aftermarket performance gear to match its stickers and that’s interesting enough for this series. Read More >

By on September 23, 2015

00 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 in Colorado wrecking yard - photo by Murilee Martin

We saw a 1990 Cavalier Z24 just a few months ago, but lately I’ve developed a sick fascination with the allegedly high-performance versions of the very popular Chevrolet Cavalier. Maybe it’s the wretchedness of the breed in the 24 Hours of LeMons, or maybe it’s the vivid purple paint job. Whatever the reason, here’s another ’90 that I found in a Denver-area yard not long ago. Read More >

By on September 21, 2015

12 - 1968 Chevrolet Corvair Down On the Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

Fully three-quarters of you who took our “Ralph Nader, Angel or Demon” poll voted to give ol’ Ralph a halo instead of a pitchfork, so we don’t need to explain how his book wasn’t really the cause of the Corvair‘s plummeting sales after the initial burst of enthusiasm following the car’s release. No, most likely it was that more traditional Chevy II that did that, but the case can be made that The General kept on building Corvairs all the way into 1969 as a way of proving that Ralph Nader can’t push around (what was then) the Most Powerful Corporation In the World. In 1968, only about 15,000 Corvairs were sold, which makes this rusty Denver example fairly uncommon. Read More >

By on September 17, 2015

00 - 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The early fifth-generation Olds Cutlass was a huge seller in the United States; not as big as the Cutlass’ peak in 1976 (when it was the best-selling car in the country), but one of the most popular cars on the street during that period. However, very few Oldsmobile shoppers opted for the odd-looking Cutlass Salon fastback sedan (or its Buick Century sibling), making today’s Junkyard Find nearly as rare as, say, a Geo Prizm GSi.

As more proof that rare does not always equal valuable, I present a rust-free, totally restorable Cutlass Salon Fastback Brougham Sedan, spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard last week. Read More >

By on September 15, 2015

13 - 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Classic in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Like art cars, vehicles that have been turned into team-color-painted, sticker-bedecked sports-team fanmobiles tend to spend their lives just one minor mechanical problem away from that final tow-truck ride. This “whale” Caprice was, we can assume, the life of the tailgate party at freezing-ass Candlestick Park and maybe that new stadium that’s nowhere near San Francisco. Read More >

By on September 10, 2015

20 - 1992 Buick Regal GS Junkyard Find - Photo by Murilee Martin

The 1970 Buick Gran Sport 455 was one of the most ridiculously overpowered, tire-frying machines of the Golden Age of Muscle Cars, and GM also slapped GS badging on some fairly muscular — or at least muscular-looking — Wildcats and Rivieras back then. Fast forward a decade or so, and you had W-body (think Lumina) third-gen Buick Regals with Gran Sport option packages.

Here’s one that I shot in Denver while scouting for the All You Can Carry For $59.99 Junkyard Sale last month. Read More >

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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Doug DeMuro, United States
  • Steven Lang, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, United States
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States