The Truth About Cars » Down On The Junkyard http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:00:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Down On The Junkyard http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/editorials/down-on-the-junkyard-editorials/ Junkyard Find: Manny, Moe, and Jack Edition 1991 Toyota Tercel Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-manny-moe-jack-edition-1991-toyota-tercel-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-manny-moe-jack-edition-1991-toyota-tercel-coupe/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 14:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1005962 A couple of years have passed since the last Manny, Moe, and Jack Edition Junkyard Find, so we’re due for another car that was customized with every manner of stick-on hood scoop, property-value-lowering vinyl decal, and brightly-colored interior-trim piece that can be had at your local auto-parts chain store. Here’s a fourth-gen Toyota Tercel done […]

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01 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA couple of years have passed since the last Manny, Moe, and Jack Edition Junkyard Find, so we’re due for another car that was customized with every manner of stick-on hood scoop, property-value-lowering vinyl decal, and brightly-colored interior-trim piece that can be had at your local auto-parts chain store. Here’s a fourth-gen Toyota Tercel done up as a shoestring-budget Fast-n-Furious-type machine.
15 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven though this car has the 94-horsepower 3E-E engine and automatic transmission, its last owner wanted it to look a bit faster than stock.
08 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI hate to criticize this sort of thing too hard, because a garishly modified Tercel is still better than the dreadful tedium of a stock Tercel.
21 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat’s because the Tercel was the car for drivers who thought the Corolla was too much of a high-performance luxury car.
09 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot even 100,000 miles. I suspect a broken odometer here.
11 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSome of the details make this car more of a 100-footer than a 50-footer.

01 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1991 Toyota Tercel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Mazda B2000 Sundowner Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1984-mazda-b2000-sundowner-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1984-mazda-b2000-sundowner-pickup/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1005386 Plenty of Mazda B-Series pickups were sold in the United States, mostly badged as Ford Couriers, but starting in 1983 (when the Ranger appeared) your only choice for obtaining one of these cheap-and-simple little trucks was your Mazda dealer. I spotted this somewhat rusty ’84 in a Denver wrecking yard on Saturday, and it looked […]

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33 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of Mazda B-Series pickups were sold in the United States, mostly badged as Ford Couriers, but starting in 1983 (when the Ranger appeared) your only choice for obtaining one of these cheap-and-simple little trucks was your Mazda dealer. I spotted this somewhat rusty ’84 in a Denver wrecking yard on Saturday, and it looked like it still had some good miles left in it.
70 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 147k miles in 31 years.
56 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ignition key is there and the windshield sports auction-company “RUN AND DRIVE” stickers, which means we’re probably looking at a dealer trade-in that nobody wanted to buy.
06 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Sundowner was the long-wheelbase version of the B2000.
12 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is covered with clues that tell us a story about the final owner. “Hang Up and Drive” and Black Flag stickers plus a hand-painted mystical eyeball here.
46 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIs there the requisite “KILL YOUR TELEVISION” sticker? Yes, here it is!
26 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s the 1,970cc F engine, which was good for 90 horses in 1984. Can you imagine Americans buying a pickup with just 90 horsepower today? That would be like asking us to turn down our thermostats in the winter!

This tough little truck is loaded for bear!

When you’ve got something this good, you take care of it.

Here’s the optioned-up SE-5. Sakes alive!

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Junkyard Find: 1966 Rambler Classic 770 Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1966-rambler-classic-770-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1966-rambler-classic-770-coupe/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004114 I went back to Martin’s Salvage, located midway between Denver and Cheyenne, earlier this week. The last time I’d been there was in 2011, and the place is still full of so many staggeringly great 1930-1970 vehicles that I get overwhelmed and can’t shoot individual cars for this series. This trip, though, I held still […]

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06 - 1966 Rambler Classic 770 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI went back to Martin’s Salvage, located midway between Denver and Cheyenne, earlier this week. The last time I’d been there was in 2011, and the place is still full of so many staggeringly great 1930-1970 vehicles that I get overwhelmed and can’t shoot individual cars for this series. This trip, though, I held still long enough to shoot this crazy-rare example from the final years of the Rambler marque.
05 - 1966 Rambler Classic 770 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis Classic has the optional V8, but I’m not enough of an AMC expert to tell a 287 from a 327 at a glance.
01 - 1966 Rambler Classic 770 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI like the little orange ball used as the AM radio’s tuning indicator.
08 - 1966 Rambler Classic 770 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior has not benefited from years in the High Plains sun.
13 - 1966 Rambler Classic 770 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Weather Eye name goes all the way back to prewar Nashes.
09 - 1966 Rambler Classic 770 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinKeeping true to the penny-pinching nature of AMC buyers, this car’s last owner wasn’t the type to squander money on top-shelf hooch.


What better car is there for showing the benefits of “localized” fuel?

The 1966 Classic 770 hardtop coupe (yes, I know, this is an ad for the ’65) with 287-cubic-inch V8 engine and automatic transmission listed for $2,656. If you went across the street to your Chevy dealer, you could get a Malibu coupe with 283 V8 and Powerglide automatic for $2,668; the Ford salesman would put you in a Fairlane 500 coupe with 289 and Cruise-O-Matic automatic for an identical $2,668. With that kind of competition at roughly the same price, American Motors didn’t sell many Classic 770s.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider-3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider-3/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002290 Will the steady procession of Fiat 124 Spiders into America’s self-service wrecking yards never cease? So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, this ’80, and now yet another sporty little Fiat from the Malaisiest year of them all. Here’s a beat-up but not […]

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04 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWill the steady procession of Fiat 124 Spiders into America’s self-service wrecking yards never cease? So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, this ’80, and now yet another sporty little Fiat from the Malaisiest year of them all. Here’s a beat-up but not hopeless example I spotted in Northern California.
01 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinUnlike its MGB competitor (then on its last year of production), you could get the 1980 124 Sport Spider with factory fuel injection. 80 horsepower, which today’s American car buyers would consider unacceptable in a lawn tractor.
05 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior yielded some good stuff to a lucky Fiat owner, looks like.
08 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars rusted even in California, but this one looks solid.

01 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1953 Plymouth Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1953-plymouth-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1953-plymouth-sedan/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1001426 When I visited Southern California back in December, I hit the jackpot with interesting junkyard cars to photograph. In addition to stuff I haven’t shared yet, there was this fully-loaded ’82 Subaru BRAT, John DeLorean’s weird rope-drive Tempest with 540-lb four-banger, this rust-free ’84 Cressida, and this ’51 Plymouth Cranbrook. The self-service yard that had […]

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07 - 1953 Plymouth Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen I visited Southern California back in December, I hit the jackpot with interesting junkyard cars to photograph. In addition to stuff I haven’t shared yet, there was this fully-loaded ’82 Subaru BRAT, John DeLorean’s weird rope-drive Tempest with 540-lb four-banger, this rust-free ’84 Cressida, and this ’51 Plymouth Cranbrook. The self-service yard that had the ’51 Plymouth also had today’s Junkyard Find, which tells you a lot about how spoiled Los Angeles car freaks are.
06 - 1953 Plymouth Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI can’t tell if this is a Cranbrook or Cambridge or whatever, because all the trim-level-specific emblems are long gone.
09 - 1953 Plymouth Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, it’s not rusty and it’s pretty much complete. Much as we talk about wanting to save all the old cars, there’s just not much value in a battered-yet-restorable ordinary bread-and-butter four-door of this era.
04 - 1953 Plymouth Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinChrysler made their flathead six-cylinder engine for nearly a half-century (if you count engines made for military vehicles and stationary industrial applications), making it one of the all-time engine legends. If this is the engine that came with this car from the factory (unlikely, but possible), it’s the 217-cubic-inch version.
13 - 1953 Plymouth Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAccording to the laws that established the CONELRAD system, all AM radios manufactured between 1953 and 1963 were supposed to have the “duck and cover” frequencies of 640 and 1240 kHz marked on their dials. Either Chrysler didn’t get the word, this radio was manufactured in 1952, or it was swapped in later.

Shopping for a used Plymouth in 1953? You know where to go!

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Junkyard Find: 2000 Dodge Intrepid R/T http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-2000-dodge-intrepid-rt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-2000-dodge-intrepid-rt/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=998890 With the ’01 Saturn L200 yesterday and the ’01 Pontiac Aztek the day before that, we’re having a 21st Century Junkyard Find week. I’ll continue that with today’s find: Dodge’s high-performance version of the second-gen Dodge Intrepid: The Intrepid R/T. You got the 242-horsepower 3.5 liter V6 in this car, which was pretty decent for […]

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08 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith the ’01 Saturn L200 yesterday and the ’01 Pontiac Aztek the day before that, we’re having a 21st Century Junkyard Find week. I’ll continue that with today’s find: Dodge’s high-performance version of the second-gen Dodge Intrepid: The Intrepid R/T.
03 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou got the 242-horsepower 3.5 liter V6 in this car, which was pretty decent for a front-wheel-drive family sedan.11 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe LH platform had been around for quite a while at this point, so the novelty of the cool-looking-at-first “cab-forward” design had long since worn off by 2000.
14 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI often suggest that 24 Hours of LeMons teams run a Chrysler LH, but so far only one has shown up (and it threw a rod 100 yards into the race).

Roomy. Well-equipped. Cheap.

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Junkyard Find: 2001 Saturn L200 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-2001-saturn-l200/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-2001-saturn-l200/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=997530 Saturn needed some new models by the late 1990s, and so GM spent a billion or so bucks to make an Americanized, plastic-bodied Opel Vectra and called it the L-Series. The L, which went through a bewildering series of model-name changes during its 2000-2005 production run, never sold very well and more or less sank […]

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02 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSaturn needed some new models by the late 1990s, and so GM spent a billion or so bucks to make an Americanized, plastic-bodied Opel Vectra and called it the L-Series. The L, which went through a bewildering series of model-name changes during its 2000-2005 production run, never sold very well and more or less sank without a trace. That makes it historically interesting, in sort of a run-up-to-the-bankruptcy way, much like the 2001 Pontiac Aztek Junkyard Find we saw yesterday. Yes, we’re having 21st Century Junkyard Find Week!
12 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe General had ample experience with attempts to sell rebadged Opels in the United States, from the Buick Opel to the Cadillac Catera, and only the Opel-cousin Chevrolet Chevette had sold worth a damn. Still, the Saturn L would be different!
04 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA billion dollars, gone.
13 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomebody dropped the subframe and grabbed the Ecotec 2.2 out of this car.
11 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWindow won’t roll up? That’s what a Salvation Army sign and packaging tape are for!

You can jump up and down on the door skins, plus there’s that German engineering to consider.

The midsize world may never be the same.

01 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 2001 Saturn L-200 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 2001 Pontiac Aztek AWD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-2001-pontiac-aztek-awd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-2001-pontiac-aztek-awd/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=996098 It takes a lot for a 21st-century vehicle to make it into this series, and the Pontiac Aztek has no problem qualifying. Here in Denver, you see Azteks all over the place, presumably because they make sense for the outdoorsy lifestyle that’s so big here (you also see a lot of Vanagon Syncros, presumably because […]

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23 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt takes a lot for a 21st-century vehicle to make it into this series, and the Pontiac Aztek has no problem qualifying. Here in Denver, you see Azteks all over the place, presumably because they make sense for the outdoorsy lifestyle that’s so big here (you also see a lot of Vanagon Syncros, presumably because there are lots of masochists here). That means that they’re going to break something not worth fixing and show up at the local self-serve wrecking yard, and I will photograph them. Today’s Junkyard Find Aztek is in excellent condition and appears to have every single option available when new, from heads-up display to air-mattress-inflation compressor. Let’s check it out.
04 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf you’re going to go into the mountains in the winter, you want your Aztek to have Versatrak AWD.
01 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis must be the first letter of the Aztek Alphabet.
06 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe owner’s manual is still here.
02 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the sort of “we’re-gonna-tow-this-heap” form used by angry apartment-building managers.
12 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m tempted to pull a heads-up speedometer display out of a GM car of this era, just to tinker with it. The dash on the Aztek is so deep, however, that it seemed like too much hassle to break out the tools.
08 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior is very nice for a 14-year-old car that was sufficiently unloved to get towed away and junked. I couldn’t check the odometer, because it’s digital.
17 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, the Aztek came with an air mattress. This one doesn’t have the tent, though perhaps I didn’t look hard enough.
22 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSeems like this thing really would be good for camping trips. Too bad about the ugly.

01 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 27 - 2001 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford LTD II Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1977-ford-ltd-ii-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1977-ford-ltd-ii-station-wagon/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992610 In one of those confusing branding moves that’s up there with the baffling Toyota Corolla Tercel, Ford decided to name a Torino-based midsize car the LTD II while keeping the regular full-sized LTD. This went on for the 1977 and 1978 model years, and then for 1979 the “big” LTD went to the Panther platform […]

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08 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn one of those confusing branding moves that’s up there with the baffling Toyota Corolla Tercel, Ford decided to name a Torino-based midsize car the LTD II while keeping the regular full-sized LTD. This went on for the 1977 and 1978 model years, and then for 1979 the “big” LTD went to the Panther platform and sold alongside LTD IIs for that year. Why? Well, that’s like asking why Henry Ford II refused Soichiro Honda’s offer of cheap CVCC engines for the Fiesta a few years before! Anyway, here’s an extremely green first-year LTD II wagon (not a Country Squire, which was based on the larger “regular” LTD) that I spotted in Northern California a couple weeks back.
03 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDo you like green interiors, and by that I mean large expanses of petrochemical-residue-exhaling I Can Totally Believe It’s Not Leather™ vinyl that still looks good and vivid after nearly 40 years of California sun?
02 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car has you covered! This car’s seats would make nice garage couches.
13 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFord sent out 23 million of these recall-evading stickers, thanks to the generosity of Ronald Reagan, and thus didn’t go bankrupt in the early 1980s. Most owners didn’t apply them, but this car’s circa-1982 owner did.
04 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe engine compartment had a bit of a fire problem.
19 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe can assume this car was earning its keep until the day of the fire.

Ford didn’t hesitate to pitch the big LTD as more car for the money. Look, bigger than a Cadillac, yet cheaper!

As for the LTD II: if you’re a sporty guy with a sporty mustache, the “trimmer” LTD II is for you!

01 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Ford Probe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1993-ford-probe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1993-ford-probe/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992026 I’ve noticed that you don’t see many Grateful Dead stickers on stereotypical hippie-type vehicles in junkyards. No, you see such stickers all over stuff like big ol’ GMC pickups (though I did find this thoroughly Steal Your Face-ized Vanagon a couple years back). Last week, while looking for a suitable speedometer for the Kustom Korona, […]

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01 - 1993 Ford Probe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ve noticed that you don’t see many Grateful Dead stickers on stereotypical hippie-type vehicles in junkyards. No, you see such stickers all over stuff like big ol’ GMC pickups (though I did find this thoroughly Steal Your Face-ized Vanagon a couple years back). Last week, while looking for a suitable speedometer for the Kustom Korona, I spotted this Deadheaded-up Ford Probe, complete with this intensely Coloradic dab-themed SYF image that you wouldn’t want to take across the state line into Nebraska or Kansas.
23 - 1993 Ford Probe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Probe was going to be the new Mustang, but that would have resulted in hundreds of thousands of Mustang fanatics burning Dearborn to the ground and then doing burnouts on the ashes in their properly rear-wheel-drive ponies.
05 - 1993 Ford Probe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinInterestingly, I’ve found that a well-driven Probe will be quicker around a road course than just about any other crapcan racer. If Probes didn’t have such problems with exploding powertrains in LeMons races, they’d have won more than just the couple victories they’ve notched over the years. In any case, if you see a Probe and a similar-vintage Mustang going wheel-to-wheel in such a race, bet on the Probe (Fox Mustangs are even less reliable in low-buck endurance racing).
06 - 1993 Ford Probe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe driver of this car probably didn’t care much about the Probe’s nearly-Mustang backstory, though.
16 - 1993 Ford Probe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Grateful Dead broke up in 1995, when Jerry Garcia died, and so it’s possible that this Probe brought its owner to some of the band’s final shows. Some of the stickers appear to be of 1990s or earlier vintage, though it’s hard to tell with such things.
27 - 1993 Ford Probe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s even a 5-speed. Too bad this car couldn’t have ended up as a racer.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Dodge Omni http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1988-dodge-omni/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1988-dodge-omni/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991826 Members of the Chrysler L-body family, based on the Chrysler Europe/Rootes Group/Simca-derived “Omnirizon,” are not uncommon in American wrecking yards these days; why, we just saw this ’87 Dodge Shelby Charger a few weeks ago. However, the true Omnirizon— the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon— those are getting more and more rare as the 21st […]

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03 - 1988 Dodge Omni Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMembers of the Chrysler L-body family, based on the Chrysler Europe/Rootes Group/Simca-derived “Omnirizon,” are not uncommon in American wrecking yards these days; why, we just saw this ’87 Dodge Shelby Charger a few weeks ago. However, the true Omnirizon— the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon— those are getting more and more rare as the 21st century grinds on. We’ve seen this first-year-of-production ’78 Horizon, this last-year-of-production ’90 Horizon, and a few in between, and now I’ve found this grimy-looking ’88 Omni in a frozen Denver yard.
11 - 1988 Dodge Omni Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot at all related to the Mitsubishi-based Dodge/Plymouth Colt of the same decade, the Omnirizon was a simple, cheap, front-wheel-drive appliance that sold pretty well for years past its seeming obsolescence.
05 - 1988 Dodge Omni Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn 1988, a new Omni four-door hatchback (the only model available) listed for $5,995. The wretched Subaru Justy DL two-door hatch was just $5,695 that year, while the barely-qualifies-as-a-car ’88 Yugo was only $4,199. It was worth paying the extra for an Omni.
13 - 1988 Dodge Omni Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one looks to have spent a decade or so sitting outdoors with the windows down, so there won’t be much worth buying out of its interior.
15 - 1988 Dodge Omni Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Simca and Volkswagen engines that went into the early Omnirizons were gone by 1988, replaced by the Chrysler 2.2. In 1988, this engine made a pretty-decent-for-the-time 93 horsepower.
04 - 1988 Dodge Omni Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWill any parts get pulled off this car before it goes to The Crusher? Probably not many.

Yes, America can compete!

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1972-plymouth-valiant-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1972-plymouth-valiant-sedan/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=990106 There was a time when the late-60s/early-70s Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant sedan was the generic automobile in the United States, possibly the most invisible car on American roads. Swimming-pool blue and this queasy shade of green were the most common colors, and the cars were so cheap to maintain that they survived in everyday use much […]

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12 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was a time when the late-60s/early-70s Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant sedan was the generic automobile in the United States, possibly the most invisible car on American roads. Swimming-pool blue and this queasy shade of green were the most common colors, and the cars were so cheap to maintain that they survived in everyday use much longer than most of their peers. You don’t see the old A-bodies so much these days, but enough remain that they continue to show up in big self-service wrecking yards. Here’s one that I saw in Northern California last week.
11 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo far in this series, we’ve seen this ’60 Valiant wagon, this ’61 Valiant, this ’63 Dart, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’67 Valiant, this ’66 Dart, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’73 Valiant, this ’75 Duster, and this ’75 Dart, this ’75 Dart, and now today’s ’72 Valiant. Slant-6 engine, like most of them.
02 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of indicators that this Valiant’s last owner was a young guy.
05 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack in the early 1970s, AM radio offered some decent music, but now it’s tough to find much other than right-wing talk radio and religious sermons in Cantonese.
04 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFrom what I can tell, Driven Blackout is the Advance Auto house brand of car air-freshener.
14 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis Valiant was on pace to hit 500,000 miles when this happened.

01 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1974 International Harvester Scout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1974-international-harvester-scout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1974-international-harvester-scout/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989282 With so many IHC Scouts here in Colorado, many of them wear out, rust out, get crashed, or get replaced by trucks with modern conveniences such as sub-100dB interior noise levels and air conditioning. In this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’72, this ’73, and this ’74, and now today’s well-used ’74. […]

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18 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith so many IHC Scouts here in Colorado, many of them wear out, rust out, get crashed, or get replaced by trucks with modern conveniences such as sub-100dB interior noise levels and air conditioning. In this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’72, this ’73, and this ’74, and now today’s well-used ’74. I saw this truck when I went to a Denver yard to celebrate Half Off Everything Day on the first day of the new year.
11 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf this is the original engine, it’s an AMC 258-cubic-inch straight-six. Given how Scout owners tend to mix-and-match engines, though, this could be just about any AMC six.
20 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s rust. Oh yes, plenty of rust.
04 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne good thing about trucks of this era is that there wasn’t much soft material in the interior to smell bad. Still, this Scout’s final owner decided that the truck needed That New Car Smell.
06 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinComplicated heater controls aren’t needed— just good old cable-operated levers.
08 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinScout production made it into the 1980s, just barely.
22 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne of my accomplices at the Half Off Sale party grabbed the grille for hanging on his living-room wall. Only $12!

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Ford Fairmont Futura Two-Door Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1982-ford-fairmont-futura-two-door-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1982-ford-fairmont-futura-two-door-sedan/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988082 I see so many Fox Mustangs in wrecking yards that I don’t pay attention to them unless they’re especially egregious Malaise Era abominations, but what about the other Foxes? Well, I’ll shoot a Fox Capri or Fox Thunderbird if I see one, and of course the Fairmont and its Mercury Zephyr sibling are sort of […]

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12 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI see so many Fox Mustangs in wrecking yards that I don’t pay attention to them unless they’re especially egregious Malaise Era abominations, but what about the other Foxes? Well, I’ll shoot a Fox Capri or Fox Thunderbird if I see one, and of course the Fairmont and its Mercury Zephyr sibling are sort of interesting. We’ve seen this snazzy-looking beige-over-gold ’82 Zephyr coupe and equallly snazzy-looking ’80 Fairmont Futura coupe in this series, and I spotted this red ’82 Fairmont Futura two-door at a Northern California yard a few months ago.
13 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe two-door sedan version of the Fairmont Futura didn’t sell so well, because if you were willing to put up with the inconvenience of two doors, why not get the groovy coupe with the cool-looking rear glass?
01 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI probably shouldn’t have attempted any online research on Foxtaur Racing, because it led right to some super-creepy Furry-related stuff. However, I ran into this page showing what may be the same car; the junkyard one doesn’t have a vinyl top, but the Foxtaur Racing stickers are in the same locations. I’m sure that Crab Spirits will explore this theme further.
07 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen you can’t find the correct-colored interior parts for your car, you make do with what you can find.
09 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, that’s a Pinto 2300 under the hood.
05 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis was made when Detroit didn’t worry too much about extremely phony-looking “wood” interior trim.

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Merkur Scorpio Touring Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1989-merkur-scorpio-touring-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1989-merkur-scorpio-touring-edition/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987346 Now here’s a rare one: a 1989 Merkur Scorpio. While the Merkur XR4Ti (a rebadged Ford Sierra XR4i) sold well enough that most of us have seen one, the other Merkur— a rebadged Ford Scorpio— flopped miserably and sank without leaving much of a trace. This ’89, which I found on Half Price Day in […]

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17 - 1989 Merkur Scorpio Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNow here’s a rare one: a 1989 Merkur Scorpio. While the Merkur XR4Ti (a rebadged Ford Sierra XR4i) sold well enough that most of us have seen one, the other Merkur— a rebadged Ford Scorpio— flopped miserably and sank without leaving much of a trace. This ’89, which I found on Half Price Day in a Denver yard, is the first Scorpio I’ve seen anywhere in at least five years.
06 - 1989 Merkur Scorpio Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNearly 100,000 miles on the odometer.
03 - 1989 Merkur Scorpio Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe leather is a bit cracked, but otherwise the interior is in nice shape.
11 - 1989 Merkur Scorpio Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI couldn’t get the hood open, but the sight of a Cologne V6 is nothing to get excited over.
18 - 1989 Merkur Scorpio Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the 209th Touring Edition.
16 - 1989 Merkur Scorpio Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLots of good stuff left on this car, but will there be any parts bought before the car gets crushed?

I think the Scorpio would have sold better in America if Ford had used this song in the advertising.

Instead, they had Jackie Stewart reclining in the rear seat.

In Taiwan, the Scorpio got hooned a bit more in the ads.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Fiat X1/9 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19-3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19-3/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982969 The Fiat X1/9, like the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, is one of those old European cars that hasn’t held its value so well, which means you’ll see plenty of them in the sort of self-service wrecking yards that I frequent. We’ve seen this ’78, this ’78, this ’80 and this ’86 so far in this […]

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07 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe Fiat X1/9, like the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, is one of those old European cars that hasn’t held its value so well, which means you’ll see plenty of them in the sort of self-service wrecking yards that I frequent. We’ve seen this ’78, this ’78, this ’80 and this ’86 so far in this series, and now I’ve got another ’78 to show you.
05 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinBertone did the design on these things, and Malcolm Bricklin kept bringing Bertone-badged X1/9s in after Fiat retreated from the United States market.
01 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe running gear was Fiat 128 stuff, swapped from the front of the 128 to just behind the driver in the X1/9. Power wasn’t much, but the car was quite agile.
02 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThis one will go to The Crusher with the steering wheel lock still in place.

The incomparable, dynamic Fiat X1/9!

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1987-dodge-shelby-charger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1987-dodge-shelby-charger/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 02:41:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982713 Who would have thought, in the late 1960s, that the future held front-wheel-drive Chargers, based on a French platform? Or that Carroll Shelby’s name would be on some of those cars? The Shelby Chryslers aren’t worth a whole bunch today, which means that non-perfect ones show up in cheap self-serve wrecking yards all the time; […]

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06 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinWho would have thought, in the late 1960s, that the future held front-wheel-drive Chargers, based on a French platform? Or that Carroll Shelby’s name would be on some of those cars? The Shelby Chryslers aren’t worth a whole bunch today, which means that non-perfect ones show up in cheap self-serve wrecking yards all the time; we’ve seen this ’87 Daytona Shelby Z, this ’86 Omni GLH, this ’85 Shelby Charger, and this ’84 Shelby Charger so far, and now I’ve spotted a very rough but still recognizable ’87 Shelby Charger in the San Francisco Bay Area.
13 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe 146-horse 2.2 liter turbocharged engine is long gone, but the genuine Shelby bucket seats are still there.
01 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinYes, it’s a genuine Shelby.
11 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinAir conditioning, maybe some Georgia Satellites on the cassette, some Iran-Contra on the news… yeah, a very 1980s car.

Dodge is creating a revolution in the streets!

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Oldsmobile Omega Brougham http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1984-oldsmobile-omega-brougham/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1984-oldsmobile-omega-brougham/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 14:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=980969 Remember the Oldsmobile version of the Chevy Citation? Maybe not, because they sold poorly and depreciated to near-scrap-value levels within a few years. The Oldsmobile Omega was built for the 1980 through 1984 model years, and I’ve found a very clean example from the final year of production. No rust, pretty straight body, Whorehouse Red […]

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27 - 1984 Oldsmobile Omega Brougham Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRemember the Oldsmobile version of the Chevy Citation? Maybe not, because they sold poorly and depreciated to near-scrap-value levels within a few years. The Oldsmobile Omega was built for the 1980 through 1984 model years, and I’ve found a very clean example from the final year of production. No rust, pretty straight body, Whorehouse Red interior still in great shape… and getting crushed after 30 years on the planet.
10 - 1984 Oldsmobile Omega Brougham Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is a California car, of course, and the nice interior means that it was kept in a garage. In fact, this car is so nice that the 38,850 miles indicated on the odometer may be the actual figure.
04 - 1984 Oldsmobile Omega Brougham Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo, most likely a one-owner car, driven by an elderly person who took care of all the maintenance (and brought it in for the considerable number of recalls that afflicted the X-bodies).
05 - 1984 Oldsmobile Omega Brougham Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has the 2.8 liter V6, not the Soviet-tractor-style Iron Duke four-cylinder.
22 - 1984 Oldsmobile Omega Brougham Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGenuine stereo cassette in the dash! Now that’s Oldsmobile luxury.
32 - 1984 Oldsmobile Omega Brougham Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGM didn’t have quite the French Cathouse look that Chrysler got with their Whorehouse Red velour interior, but it’s still pretty bordellic.

The Oldsmobile of small cars: A smooth-ridin’ road-huggin’ high-fashion eye-catchin’ quick-stepppin’ fuel-sippin’ pump-passin’ pocket-pleasin’ front-wheel-drive Omega from Oldsmobile!

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider-2/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=979929 Once again, we are reminded that examples of the Fiat 124 Sport Spider have been a junkyard constant for my entire 33-year junkyard-haunting career. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, and now I’ve found another 1980 Sport Spider in a snowy Denver […]

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07 - 1980 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOnce again, we are reminded that examples of the Fiat 124 Sport Spider have been a junkyard constant for my entire 33-year junkyard-haunting career. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, and now I’ve found another 1980 Sport Spider in a snowy Denver self-service yard.
13 - 1980 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 2000cc version (actually 1995cc) of the Fiat Twin Cam engine was introduced for the 1979 model year, and it made 80 horsepower for the US-market 1980 models. The car only weighs 2,290 pounds, so 80 hp wasn’t as miserable as you might think. However, since Internet Car Experts seem to complain endlessly about how intolerably slow the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ is with its 13.79 horsepower-per-pound ratio (it is a lot of fun, in fact), contemplate this car’s 28.625 horsepower-per-pound ratio. Was it slow? Sure was! Was it fun? Yes! Was it reliable? Next question! Say, putting the trunk lock in one of the zeros of the 2000 emblem looks pretty slick.
04 - 1980 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI saw this car when I went to the New Year’s Day Half Off Everything sale at a Denver wrecking yard, and it was parked right next to another 124 Sport Spider. That Fiat, however, had a lucky Fiat owner pulling just about every single interior and trim piece off it (a very solid ’78), so I concentrated on shooting photos of the not-quite-as-nice ’80.
02 - 1980 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe instrument cluster from this one was gone…
IMG_2497…because one of my friends thought the gauges would look cool in one of his goofy race-car projects. Hey, half price!
10 - 1980 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, the same Pininfarina that did this design did the Cadillac Allanté and Volvo C70.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1977-ford-maverick-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1977-ford-maverick-sedan/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973001 You just don’t see Ford Mavericks and their Mercury Comet brethren on the street these days; they haven’t picked up a huge amount of collector interest and their place at the bottom of the just-above-scrap-value beater-car food chain has been replaced by the early Ford Taurus. For some reason, though, a steady trickle of Mavericks […]

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06 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinYou just don’t see Ford Mavericks and their Mercury Comet brethren on the street these days; they haven’t picked up a huge amount of collector interest and their place at the bottom of the just-above-scrap-value beater-car food chain has been replaced by the early Ford Taurus. For some reason, though, a steady trickle of Mavericks and Comets shows up in California wrecking yards. My guess, based on the 1980s and 1990s detritus I find in some of them, is that they spent a decade or three forgotten in a back yard or driveway before being sold to U-Wrench-It. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’75 Maverick two-door, this ’75 Comet sedan, this ’77 Comet sedan, and now today’s ’77 Maverick sedan. Let’s examine this Malaise Mainstay more closely.
03 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinBack in the early 1980s, the owner of this car was willing to put the sticker that saved Ford from the biggest recall in automotive-industry history on his dash. Most of the 23 million owners of the affected vehicles opted not to uglify their dashes with these “Park-To-Reverse” stickers.
14 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI’m not sure what an Oregon Free Ride sticker was for, but I’m guessing that neither ass, nor grass, nor ass is involved.
07 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI couldn’t get the hood to open, but there’s about a 99.999% chance that what’s underneath is not interesting. Probably a 7-horsepower 200 L6 or a 9-horsepower 302 V8, yawn (cue enraged emails from the Maverick Jihad™, letting me know that the 200 made 96 hp and the 302 made 130 hp).
05 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinStill one hubcap left!

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1982-toyota-land-cruiser/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1982-toyota-land-cruiser/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=971826 The FJ60 Land Cruiser is still a common sight on the streets of Denver, where I live. These things are not anywhere near as comfortable or fuel-efficient as modern SUVs, but they are just about impossible to kill… and that counts for a lot with your FJ-driving demographic around these parts. Being so prized, however, […]

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06 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe FJ60 Land Cruiser is still a common sight on the streets of Denver, where I live. These things are not anywhere near as comfortable or fuel-efficient as modern SUVs, but they are just about impossible to kill… and that counts for a lot with your FJ-driving demographic around these parts. Being so prized, however, means that you don’t see many of these trucks in high-turnover self-service wrecking yards, and when you do see one it tends to get picked clean in a hurry. I went to a local yard on a typically freezing-ass Half Price Day sale last week and spotted this remarkably un-stripped ’82.
19 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot even 300,000 miles on the clock. What went wrong?
17 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s the likely explanation for the junkyardization of this truck. Rust isn’t a big problem around here, thanks to the single-digit humidity, but vehicles that live in the mountains (or relocate from the Midwest) can get like this.
01 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe pushrod F six-cylinder engine evolved from the licensed-by-Toyota-way-the-hell-back-when Chevy Stovebolt, which means it’s related to the engines used to power Toyota military trucks during the ill-fated attempt to set up the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
24 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinShoppers for 21st-century trucks would find this interior absolutely intolerable. By the standards of 1982, though, it’s pretty nice.
25 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe previous owner had some association with a school full of sullen kids forced to sit through PowerPoint presentations about stuff like the difference between “Teacher Voice” and “Outdoor Voice.”

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Dodge Aspen Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-dodge-aspen-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-dodge-aspen-station-wagon/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=968594 Commonplace as the Dodge Aspen was during the Middle and Late Malaise Era— you saw them on American roads in 1980 or so about as often as you’d see, say, Hyundai Accents today. The Aspen (and its Plymouth sibling, the Volaré) didn’t hold their value so well, and nearly all of them were crushed by […]

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13 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCommonplace as the Dodge Aspen was during the Middle and Late Malaise Era— you saw them on American roads in 1980 or so about as often as you’d see, say, Hyundai Accents today. The Aspen (and its Plymouth sibling, the Volaré) didn’t hold their value so well, and nearly all of them were crushed by the early 1990s. I photograph them whenever I see them, of course, but that isn’t often. In this series before today, we’ve seen this ’76 Aspen sedan, this ’76 Volaré sedan, this brown-on-beige ’77 Volaré coupe and this ’77 Volaré Premier wagon, and now we’ve got a mossy, lichen-covered Northern California Aspen wagon.
07 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe winters in the San Francisco Bay Area are cold and wet, and a car that spends a few years (or maybe a couple of decades) parked in shade will gather moss.
20 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAnd, much like cars that spend years in the birch forests of northern Sweden, this car has provided a home for lichens.
10 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThink the 318 under the hood is still good? Probably so, but these engines get few takers these days.
06 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSuch an expanse of brown vinyl!

Better than a Nova? That’s a tough call.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Cressida http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-cressida-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-cressida-2/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=968386 Since nearly all of my Junkyard Finds are in Colorado and California, both places where the Toyota Cressida sold well, we get quite a few of these Lexus-precursor luxury Toyotas in this series. We’ve seen this ’80, this ’82 this ’84, this ’86 wagon, this ’87, this ’89, this ’90, and this ’92 in this […]

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15 - 1984 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince nearly all of my Junkyard Finds are in Colorado and California, both places where the Toyota Cressida sold well, we get quite a few of these Lexus-precursor luxury Toyotas in this series. We’ve seen this ’80, this ’82 this ’84, this ’86 wagon, this ’87, this ’89, this ’90, and this ’92 in this series so far (plus some bonus Michael Bay Edition Tokyo Taxis, courtesy of Crabspirits), and my recent trip to Los Angeles (during which I shot this optioned-up, rust-free ’82 Subaru BRAT) gives us this once-gorgeous two-tone ’84.
09 - 1984 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was a time when an Alpine cassette deck was an irresistible target for smash-your-window-and-tear-up-your-dash thieves. Now the junkyard can’t get 10 bucks for them, in spite of the endorsement in an Ice-T song.
06 - 1984 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot even 200,000 miles on the clock.
04 - 1984 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis transmission mode selector is the switch at the heart of controlling my Junkyard Boogaloo Boombox. I already have a spare, so I didn’t feel the need to buy this one.
07 - 1984 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe brown leather has held up fairly well for a non-coddled Southern California car.
17 - 1984 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinToyota lost something when it went away from model-specific hood ornaments.

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Junkyard Find: 1998 Ford Windstar Ice Cream Truck http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1998-ford-aerostar-ice-cream-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1998-ford-aerostar-ice-cream-truck/#comments Fri, 26 Dec 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=967842 Is there anything sadder than a junked ice cream truck? For that matter, is there anything creepier than the Boogie Man Ice Cream truck? We saw this 1974 AM General FJ-8A ice cream truck in Los Angeles last winter, and now I’ve found this unwanted-as-a-stale-Choco-Taco Ford Windstar ice cream truck in Denver. Yes, happy Colorado children […]

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03 - 1998 Ford Windstar Ice Cream Truck Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIs there anything sadder than a junked ice cream truck? For that matter, is there anything creepier than the Boogie Man Ice Cream truck? We saw this 1974 AM General FJ-8A ice cream truck in Los Angeles last winter, and now I’ve found this unwanted-as-a-stale-Choco-Taco Ford Windstar ice cream truck in Denver.
06 - 1998 Ford Windstar Ice Cream Truck Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, happy Colorado children (or maybe Kansas or Wyoming children; some cars at this yard come from those states) once chased this festive Windstar, seeking Bomb Pops, Big Neopolitans, and La Michoacana Tamarindo Paletas.
11 - 1998 Ford Windstar Ice Cream Truck Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNow, however, rats and pigeons snack on waxy Eskimo Pie crypto-chocolate shards.
01 - 1998 Ford Windstar Ice Cream Truck Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA minivan gets good fuel economy, but seems lacking in the space needed for serious ice-cream sales.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Pontiac Sunbird http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-pontiac-sunbird/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-pontiac-sunbird/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=964802 The story of the Chevrolet Monza and its badge-engineered Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac siblings goes much like the tale of its ancestor and platform-mate, the Vega: many sold, almost none made it to age 15. I hadn’t seen an H-body Monza, Starfire, Skyhawk or Sunbird in a self-service wrecking yard for at least five years […]

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08 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe story of the Chevrolet Monza and its badge-engineered Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac siblings goes much like the tale of its ancestor and platform-mate, the Vega: many sold, almost none made it to age 15. I hadn’t seen an H-body Monza, Starfire, Skyhawk or Sunbird in a self-service wrecking yard for at least five years when I spotted this one near me in Denver.
04 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPontiac later applied the Sunbird name to the J-body-based front-drivers it built in the 1980s and 1990s.
11 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou still see members of the Monza family at race tracks, because V8s bolt in and they’re pretty aerodynamic for their time.
06 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has been picked over in a big way.
02 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA friend in high school had a ’76 Skyhawk that suffered a door striker rust failure and had to be welded, just as this one did. That was in California, in a 7-year-old car. I shudder to think of the rust that afflicted these cars in places like Michigan and New Hampshire.
03 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAnybody need a genuine Delco AM radio?

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