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. Thu, 21 May 2015 20:00:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » 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: 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-2006-mitsubishi-eclipse/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-2006-mitsubishi-eclipse/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071202 We’re following up a week of Volkswagen Junkyard Finds with 21st Century Junkyard Finds (don’t worry, we’ll go back to Junkyard Finds arranged in whatever random order strikes my fancy soon enough). On the heels of yesterday’s ’02 JuggaLambo, here’s a not-even-a-decade-old fourth-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse that showed up at a Denver yard last week. You […]

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10 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We’re following up a week of Volkswagen Junkyard Finds with 21st Century Junkyard Finds (don’t worry, we’ll go back to Junkyard Finds arranged in whatever random order strikes my fancy soon enough). On the heels of yesterday’s ’02 JuggaLambo, here’s a not-even-a-decade-old fourth-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse that showed up at a Denver yard last week.
17 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

You don’t see many cars this new in self-service wrecking yards (unless you’re living in the five-year period following the debut of an excruciatingly bad car), and the ones you do see tend to have been involved in fires, strip-and-dump thefts, or high-speed wrecks. This Mitsu falls in the latter group.

06 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The final owner of this car appears to have been a fan of Drunk Pedobear.

15 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Many stickers adorned this Eclipse. That’s what made it so fast.

08 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Did the speedometer stick at 60 mph at the moment that Mitsubishi steel hit the concrete?

18 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one has the 162-horse 2.4 with variable valve timing.


This ad is for the previous generation of Eclipse, but it tells us a lot about the car’s target demographic. Are you in?


The ’06 was driven to thrill.

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Junkyard Find: 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP “JuggaLambo” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-2002-pontiac-grand-prix-gtp-juggalambo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-2002-pontiac-grand-prix-gtp-juggalambo/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070418 We had Volkswagen Junkyard Finds all last week, and this week we’re going to have 21st Century Junkyard Finds. To start things off, how about a genuine, numbers-matching, 240-supercharged-horses-havin’ sixth-gen Pontiac Grand Prix? Eric Rood, who lives in Illinois and understands the local culture, dubbed this car the JuggaLambo, because Juggalos— who tend to be […]

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03 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We had Volkswagen Junkyard Finds all last week, and this week we’re going to have 21st Century Junkyard Finds. To start things off, how about a genuine, numbers-matching, 240-supercharged-horses-havin’ sixth-gen Pontiac Grand Prix?
02 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Eric Rood, who lives in Illinois and understands the local culture, dubbed this car the JuggaLambo, because Juggalos— who tend to be a Midwestern phenomenon— seem to love GM cars of the 1990s and 2000s (even those who are cast out of the Juggalo community drive 1990s Pontiacs), and thus the Grand Prix GTP is the pinnacle of this category of cars.
12 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The Eaton blowers found on GM 3800s of this era are always easy to find at cheap self-serve junkyards, and the current street price for them is about 50 bucks. You can even put two of them on a Chevy 454 in a Murilee Martin-themed Rambler Marlin (yes, the blowers exploded).

15 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

These cars are not particularly uncommon in wrecking yards these days, so I assume you can find runners for low, low, low prices.


This ad is for the following generation of Grand Prix GTP, but the ’02 was just as good for blind drivers.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1972-volkswagen-karmann-ghia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1972-volkswagen-karmann-ghia/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065402 After seeing this 1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 on Tuesday and this 1980 Volkswagen Dasher four-door hatchback on Thursday, it’s only fitting that we should wrap up this week’s Junkyard Finds with yet another old VW: a seldom-seen-in-self-serve-yards 1972 Karmann Ghia. Air-cooled VW Beetles show up in these high-inventory-turnover yards all the time, because 979 trillion […]

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After seeing this 1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 on Tuesday and this 1980 Volkswagen Dasher four-door hatchback on Thursday, it’s only fitting that we should wrap up this week’s Junkyard Finds with yet another old VW: a seldom-seen-in-self-serve-yards 1972 Karmann Ghia.
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Air-cooled VW Beetles show up in these high-inventory-turnover yards all the time, because 979 trillion of them were built and they tend to linger under tarps in yards for decades before finally getting junked, and I don’t bother photographing them (except for this ’73 Super Beetle). It’s not that I hate Beetles (I’ve owned a few), but I don’t think they’re of sufficient interest to shoot in the junkyard. A Squareback or Transporter, maybe, and a screaming green Karmann Ghia will make me take out the camera most of the time.
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This one is just about completely picked clean, which seems a shame because the body is so non-rusty by Volkswagen standards (i.e., there are some areas with no rust). I shot this car in Denver, which isn’t a very rusty place, but air-cooled VWs manage to rust in places like Albuquerque and the Atacama Desert.

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In stock form, the Karmann Ghia was slow even by the standards of its time; such underpowered sports cars as the MGB and Fiat 124 Sport Spider took on a distinct reddish color from the point of view of a Karmann Ghia driver, due to Doppler redshift effects, as they pulled away in a drag race.

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Look, a Beetle in the very next row!


Volkswagen’s marketers didn’t try to hide their sports car’s somewhat limited power (60 horses in 1972) in their TV commercials.


The lack of a back seat was also presented as a plus.


Elsewhere in the world, however, the car’s alleged performance got more prominence in TV ads.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Four-Door Hatchback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1980-volkswagen-dasher-four-door-hatchback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1980-volkswagen-dasher-four-door-hatchback/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065138 With the 1986 Quantum GL5 Junkyard Find we had a couple of days ago, we might as well make this a VW junkyard week. With that in mind, I present this icky-looking Volkswagen Dasher today. I shot this car in Northern California a few months ago, and it showed all the hallmarks of a car […]

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00 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

With the 1986 Quantum GL5 Junkyard Find we had a couple of days ago, we might as well make this a VW junkyard week. With that in mind, I present this icky-looking Volkswagen Dasher today.
04 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

I shot this car in Northern California a few months ago, and it showed all the hallmarks of a car stored outdoors for decades: low miles, paint burned off upper surfaces, moss and lichens growing on the shaded areas. Look, not even 100,000 miles on the clock!

11 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one was a luxurious model with sunroof and air conditioning a diesel injection pump.

01 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

The 1980 four-door hatch version of the Dasher listed at $8,190, which was $2,300 more than the Rabbit four-door hatch. Meanwhile, the far more luxurious and powerful (keep in mind that 1980’s standards for luxury and power differ from the ones we might apply today) Datsun 810 wagon (soon to be rebadged as the Maxima) listed at $8,129. Not that Dasher and 810 shoppers were the same people, but these comparisons are fun to make.

03 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

Yes, I bought the MotoMeter clock… and it works!

The car of choice for Kentucky Colonels.

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1986-vollkswagen-quantum-gl5-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1986-vollkswagen-quantum-gl5-sedan/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064938 The original Volkswagen Passat (aka Audi 80) was sold in the United States as the Dasher, and we’ve seen a few of them in this series. Then, when the second-generation Passat came out, the US-market version was called the Quantum. These cars, which were available here for the 1982 through 1988 model years (after which […]

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03 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The original Volkswagen Passat (aka Audi 80) was sold in the United States as the Dasher, and we’ve seen a few of them in this series. Then, when the second-generation Passat came out, the US-market version was called the Quantum. These cars, which were available here for the 1982 through 1988 model years (after which VW decided, what the hell, they’d call its successor the same thing they called the European version), weren’t what you’d call hot sellers, and just about all of them are long gone. That makes today’s Junkyard Find a rarity for the 21st century.
08 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The GL5 had the Audi five-cylinder engine, which would be a lot cooler in this car if the original buyer had opted for the manual transmission.

10 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

It’s in very nice condition. No rust, body is straight, interior is nice. Why is it here in this Denver wrecking yard?

11 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I found the original owner’s manual and a big stack of maintenance records inside. The original owner took great car of this car for many years.

18 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The records stop after about 120,000 miles and the odometer shows 143k, so I’m guessing that something broke a decade ago and the car sat in a garage until now.

19 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Check out these pop-out cassette tape holders!


In Brazil (and many other places, including China), this car was called the Santana.


They just stopped making this car in China a couple years back.


The 2000 Chinese model had a George Baker soundtrack.


Engineered to give you a great exit… and a grand entry.

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Plymouth Caravelle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1987-plymouth-caravelle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1987-plymouth-caravelle/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 11:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1063130 The alphabet soup of platforms that Chrysler based on the K-car during the 1980s and 1990s gets a little overwhelming to sort out. The “extended” K-car chassis was known as the E Platform and included the Dodge 600 (we’ve seen one in this series), the Chrysler E-Class (we’ve seen one of those as well) and […]

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00 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The alphabet soup of platforms that Chrysler based on the K-car during the 1980s and 1990s gets a little overwhelming to sort out. The “extended” K-car chassis was known as the E Platform and included the Dodge 600 (we’ve seen one in this series), the Chrysler E-Class (we’ve seen one of those as well) and the Plymouth Caravelle — essentially an E-class with a different grille — appearing for the 1985 model year. They didn’t sell particularly well, nor did they retain much value over the years, so spying one in a wrecking yard today is unusual.
10 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

No cassette deck, but at least you had FM to go with your AM in this car.

16 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Not quite the “Tormented Faces In Hell” badness of the Ford Granada’s fake wood, but still not very convincing.

14 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The owner’s manual stayed with this car to the very end.

17 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The interior is a sea of cushy Simu-Velour™ upholstery.


A Plymouth, engineered with quality and luxury to challenge the Buick Century and Olds Ciera… but for hundreds less.

Here’s the Canadian version.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Nissan Maxima http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1985-nissan-maxima/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1985-nissan-maxima/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1061778 A front-wheel-drive Nissan Maxima in the junkyard must have something special to induce me to shoot photographs. We’ve seen this gig-rig ’86 wagon with pleading note to the tow-truck driver and this super-weird ’86 sedan with brake fluid used as coolant and washer fluid in this series so far, and now I’ve found this extremely […]

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14 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

A front-wheel-drive Nissan Maxima in the junkyard must have something special to induce me to shoot photographs. We’ve seen this gig-rig ’86 wagon with pleading note to the tow-truck driver and this super-weird ’86 sedan with brake fluid used as coolant and washer fluid in this series so far, and now I’ve found this extremely rare 5-speed-equipped ’85 in a Northern California yard.
08 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The body is pretty dinged up but there’s no rust. Just over 100,000 miles on the clock of this 1985 Nissan Maxima.

10 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

By the middle 1980s, almost no luxury-sedan buyers had any use for a manual transmission. You’ll see the occasional BMW or Audi from this era with a 5-speed, but a three-pedal mid-80s Maxima is about as easy to find as a two-headed snake.

01 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Interestingly, this car has a solid-state version of the phonograph-based Voice Annunciator System used in earlier Datsuns. The harness connector is identical to the one on the early-80s units, but the box is full of digital circuitry.

03 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Naturally, I had to buy it.

I haven’t hooked it up to power and a speaker yet, so I don’t know if the voice is the same as the one on the tiny phonograph in the 1982 version.

Ah, the cult of the Talking Nissan.

06 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

In addition to being the Turbo Decade, the 1980s was the Cassette Equalizer Decade as well.

In Japan, schmaltz was applied heavily to the ’85 Bluebird ads.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1984-cadillac-eldorado/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1984-cadillac-eldorado/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1054497 As the owner of a proper California-built custom, I’m always on the lookout for down-at-the-heels examples of the breed when I return to my former state of residence. Last month, I spotted this flamed-and-custom-grille-equipped Eldo in a San Jose-area yard. It’s not in terrible shape, but there’s some rust in areas with lots of body […]

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08 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

As the owner of a proper California-built custom, I’m always on the lookout for down-at-the-heels examples of the breed when I return to my former state of residence. Last month, I spotted this flamed-and-custom-grille-equipped Eldo in a San Jose-area yard.
10 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

It’s not in terrible shape, but there’s some rust in areas with lots of body filler and the interior is a bit on the beat side.

14 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Watsonville, where hot rodder Wally Klock lived his life, isn’t far from this yard.

01 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

All this car really needed was a Biarritz interior swap.

11 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I hope some Eldorado owner will spot this grille and rescue it before it gets eaten by The Crusher.

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Junkyard Find: 1971 International Harvester 1200D Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1971-international-harvester-1200d-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1971-international-harvester-1200d-pickup/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1054353 I find quite a few International Harvesters in junkyards, mostly because I live in Colorado and the IHC Scout makes sense here. IHC pickups, though, aren’t as easy to find. We’ve seen this ’62 Travelette, this ’72, and this pickup-related ’71 Travelall in this series, and now I’ve found this well-used ’71 pickup in a […]

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12 - 1971 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I find quite a few International Harvesters in junkyards, mostly because I live in Colorado and the IHC Scout makes sense here. IHC pickups, though, aren’t as easy to find. We’ve seen this ’62 Travelette, this ’72, and this pickup-related ’71 Travelall in this series, and now I’ve found this well-used ’71 pickup in a San Francisco Bay Area yard.
03 - 1971 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I’m not sufficiently tuned in to the International Harvester world to be able to tell a 304 from a 345 V8 at a glance.

01 - 1971 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Looks like this truck made a trip to Garberville, hundreds of miles to the north of this yard, before something broke and it took that last tow-truck ride.

02 - 1971 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

As long as a truck can still carry a load, it’s worth something. When it’s 44 years old and a type that doesn’t have a huge following, though… well, The Crusher awaits when it needs a major repair.

Apparently, IHC didn’t consider Dodge trucks as real competition back then.

No IHC ads here, but you can get a sense of just how long ago this truck rolled off the assembly line. 45 years of work for this machine.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Mazda RX-7 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1983-mazda-rx-7/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1983-mazda-rx-7/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052833 First-generation RX-7s aren’t as common in self-service wrecking yards as they were five years ago, but it’s not hard to find a couple in a typical large yard in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Most of the time I don’t photograph these cars, but we’ve seen this ’79, this ’79, this ’80, and […]

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12 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

First-generation RX-7s aren’t as common in self-service wrecking yards as they were five years ago, but it’s not hard to find a couple in a typical large yard in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Most of the time I don’t photograph these cars, but we’ve seen this ’79, this ’79, this ’80, and this ’85 so far in this series, and now we’ve got today’s beat-looking but low-mile ’83 from Northern California.
03 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Do you suppose this is the actual mileage, or did the speedometer cable break in 1991? It seems unlikely that the car has 1,068,798.3 miles on it.

01 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

While California’s tailpipe-emission limits in 1983 seemed incredibly strict by the standards of the other 49 states in 1983, these grams-per-mile numbers are filthy compared to current standards. For example: in 1983, your new California car could spew 0.7 grams of nitrogen oxides per mile; in 2015, the limit is 0.05 grams/mile.

14 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I hope these “GS” emblems weren’t applied by Mazda. At least it has the beautiful rotareeeee.

The more you look, the more you like!

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Junkyard Find: 1997 Oldsmobile Bravada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1997-oldsmobile-bravada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1997-oldsmobile-bravada/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050513 The Olds Bravada started out as an Oldsmobized Chevy Blazer and ended (along with Oldsmobile itself) as an Oldsmobated Chevy Trailblazer. They show up in Colorado junkyards in startlingly large numbers. Who bought Bravadas? For that matter, who bought Isuzu Ascenders? Anyway, because the idea of an Oldsmobile-badged midsize SUV made about as much sense […]

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13 - 1997 Oldsmobile Bravada Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Olds Bravada started out as an Oldsmobized Chevy Blazer and ended (along with Oldsmobile itself) as an Oldsmobated Chevy Trailblazer. They show up in Colorado junkyards in startlingly large numbers. Who bought Bravadas? For that matter, who bought Isuzu Ascenders? Anyway, because the idea of an Oldsmobile-badged midsize SUV made about as much sense as an Oldsmobile-badged cruel-parody-of-a-luxury-car J-body and is thus sort of interesting, I’ve finally decided to do a Bravada Junkyard Find. We’ll return to the usual Pontiac-badged Daewoos soon enough.
06 - 1997 Oldsmobile Bravada Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Unlike its Blazer/Jimmy siblings, all Bravadas came with all-wheel-drive. SmartTrak is not to be confused with Versatrak.

09 - 1997 Oldsmobile Bravada Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The interior in this truck is fairly nice, but the different-color hood and left front fender didn’t do much for its real-world value. Next stop, junkyard!

Cash back and a 6-disc CD changer (just in time for the digital-media revolution of the early 21st century).

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Junkyard Find: Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-rolls-royce-silver-shadow/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-rolls-royce-silver-shadow/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1049033 Most of these Junkyard Finds come from big chain-owned self-service wrecking yards that have fast inventory turnover and plenty of fresh cars at all times. This means that I’m going to see lots of Volvo 240s in California, lots of old Subarus in Colorado, and millions of acre-feet of Tauruses and Sables everywhere. Oddball high-end […]

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01 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMost of these Junkyard Finds come from big chain-owned self-service wrecking yards that have fast inventory turnover and plenty of fresh cars at all times. This means that I’m going to see lots of Volvo 240s in California, lots of old Subarus in Colorado, and millions of acre-feet of Tauruses and Sables everywhere. Oddball high-end stuff shows up, too, like the occasional Maserati or every Jaguar XJ-S ever made, but you just aren’t going to see a Rolls-Royce in this type of yard… until now.
06 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Silver Shadow is the least valuable Rolls-Royce, and you can find project-grade examples for the price of a beater Tercel. But they’re still rare, and their parts tend to be worth enough that most won’t make it through the auction process that filters out semi-valuable cars before they go for the standing lowball offer from the U-Wrench-It bidder.


We’ve had a Silver Shadow in the 24 Hours of LeMons, of course; it was purchased for $1,000 and the champagne cooler or something was sold off to get the price under the 500-buck LeMons limit. Of course, keeping the thing running ended up costing plenty, because you just can’t find Rollers at the cheap self-service yards.
09 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m betting that this one showed up at this Los Angeles-area yard as a near-completely-stripped shell, probably after some Silver Shadow restorer grabbed all the good stuff. It’s possible, though, that it arrived with lots of bits still on it and got picked clean later.
04 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGiven the absurd thickness of the steel used in these cars, the scrap value is likely to be fairly lucrative for the yard, once the employees decide that there’s nothing left to sell on this car.
02 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Silver Shadow was built for the 1965 through 1980 model years, the VIN tag was nowhere to be found on this one, and there aren’t many clues about its age. Side marker lights were required in the United States starting in 1968, and the holes for those lights are visible on this car, so I’m going to say it’s a 1968-80 model (it could be a Bentley T-series as well, though the yard labeled it as a Rolls-Royce). Can anybody narrow it down further from viewing photos of this hulk?

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1990-chevrolet-cavalier-z24/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1990-chevrolet-cavalier-z24/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043970 The Chevy Cavalier sold in enormous quantities during its 23-year production run, and so most of them stay in the background for me at wrecking yards, much like Chrysler Sebrings and Ford Tempos. But the Cavalier Z24, on the other hand— that’s an interesting Junkyard Find! The Z24 got the DOHC Quad 4 engine later […]

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04 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Chevy Cavalier sold in enormous quantities during its 23-year production run, and so most of them stay in the background for me at wrecking yards, much like Chrysler Sebrings and Ford Tempos. But the Cavalier Z24, on the other hand— that’s an interesting Junkyard Find!
07 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Z24 got the DOHC Quad 4 engine later on (as we see in this ’98 Cavalier Z24 Junkyard Find), but in 1990 the most potent Z24 engine was the 135-horsepower 3.1 liter V6.
01 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinEven though cannabis is now legal in Colorado (where I found this car), decor like this tends to raise the suspicions of members of the law enforcement community.
13 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThere are certain signs that let you know a car is on its final owner. Like, for example, these dashboard stickers.
10 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ’90 Cavalier Z24 listed at $11,505 (the out-the-door price tended to be lower, of course). The Acura Integra RS hatchback was a mere $445 more, however, and GM cannibalized a few Z24 sales with the $11,650 Geo Storm GSi.


Check out the headlight covers in the Mexican version of the ’94 Z24!

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1986-chevrolet-spectrum/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1986-chevrolet-spectrum/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1042738 Even as GM was selling Suzuki Cultuses badged as Chevrolets and Daewoo LeManses badged as Pontiacs, your friendly Chevy showroom offered Isuzu Geminis with Chevrolet badges (a decade later, you could get an Opel Omega with Cadillac badges, but that’s another story). A few years back, we saw this 1989 Spectrum, which came with both […]

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10 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinEven as GM was selling Suzuki Cultuses badged as Chevrolets and Daewoo LeManses badged as Pontiacs, your friendly Chevy showroom offered Isuzu Geminis with Chevrolet badges (a decade later, you could get an Opel Omega with Cadillac badges, but that’s another story). A few years back, we saw this 1989 Spectrum, which came with both Chevrolet and Geo branding, but today’s Junkyard Find came from the era prior to GM’s creation of the soon-to-be-defunct Geo brand.
05 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars were more or less invisible back in the 1980s, and they remain invisible today. This doesn’t stop Craigslist sellers from claiming to have Geo “barn finds,” of course.
04 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one sat outdoors for a long time before its final tow-truck ride.
16 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 76,000 miles. If you’re the president of the Chevrolet Spectrum Owner’s Club and you’re reading this in 2057, understand that we early-21st-century Americans just didn’t understand how rare and valuable these cars really were. Sorry about that!
02 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinPower by Isuzu.

I was 20 years old when this ad came out. I don’t remember it, but I’m sure I would have been horrified by the idea of “Spectrumality.”

I’ll bet the media launch for this car was what press-car-killin’ car writer Jay Lamm refers to as a “tents and corn dogs affair.”

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Subaru Justy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1993-subaru-justy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1993-subaru-justy/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1042570 I don’t use the Miserable Econoboxes tag as much as I should, but I’m using it here fore shore, because you’d be hard-pressed to find a more genuinely punitive commuter appliance than the wretched Subaru Justy (the two-wheel-drive version, that is; the four-wheel-drive Justy, particularly when dressed in a weird early-90s paint color, is a […]

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08 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI don’t use the Miserable Econoboxes tag as much as I should, but I’m using it here fore shore, because you’d be hard-pressed to find a more genuinely punitive commuter appliance than the wretched Subaru Justy (the two-wheel-drive version, that is; the four-wheel-drive Justy, particularly when dressed in a weird early-90s paint color, is a lot of fun for mud/snow hoonage). As incredibly cheap, disposable subcompacts, just about all the 2WD Justys (Justies?) got scrapped at least a decade ago, so I don’t see many in wrecking yards now. Here’s one!
11 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI know that there will be those who claim that they got 400,000 maintenance-free miles out of a Justy, and those who claim that some other miserable econobox (the Ford Festiva? Yugo GV? Pontiac (Daewoo) LeMans?) was worse, but it’s hard to argue with the Justy’s combination of washing-machine-box interior, three-cylinder engine, and not-quite-ready-for-real-world-use CVT transmission.
14 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinAt least this one has a proper 5-speed manual transmission.
05 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s hard to pin this down, but it is possible that the Justy was the last car sold new in the United States with a carburetor (another candidate is the early-90s LTD Police Interceptor with 351W engine). By 1993, though, even the lowly Justy (or at least this one) came with EFI.
13 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinNo way of telling how many miles are on the clock, since Subaru took a page from Detroit’s book and used a five-digit odometer in this car.
12 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinBad as the Justy was, you could get one for $7,463 in 1993. Yes, if you just had to drive a new car in 1993 and you were too skinflinty for the (still miserable but much better) $7,858 Toyota Tercel or the $7,995 Mazda 323, and for some reason the Suzuki Swift ($7,299), Geo Metro ($6,710), and Ford Festiva ($6,991) didn’t seem right, you could get a Justy. Even the ’93 Hyundai Excel— still pretty vile at that point but nowhere near as hateful as the earlier versions— could be purchased for just $6,899.
07 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, bad as the Justy 2WD was, it was a car. That meant that it beat the hell out of public transportation, and it meant that a working stiff could get afford a shiny new commuter (with warranty) on a modest salary. I mention this because I’m still getting shit for having written that the ’14 Mitsubishi Mirage was perfectly tolerable by Miserable Econobox standards, while John Pearley Huffman believes it is worse than taking the bus (Jason Torchinsky, one of the only writers to agree with me that the Mirage wasn’t so bad, tore Mr. Huffman a new one over that). Terrible little entry-level econoboxes today are so much better than their counterparts 20 years ago that everybody who reviews one today should be forced to spend a week in a ’93 Justy prior to driving the new car.


Such a smart boy!

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-monte-carlo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-monte-carlo/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041017 Examples of the rear-wheel-drive Chevy Monte Carlo have held their value pretty well, especially the A-body-based 1970-1977 ones. Even a fairly rough one can be worth restoring, particularly in Southern California, and so I don’t see many of these cars during my travels to the wrecking yards of the Golden State. Here’s a very rough […]

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08 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinExamples of the rear-wheel-drive Chevy Monte Carlo have held their value pretty well, especially the A-body-based 1970-1977 ones. Even a fairly rough one can be worth restoring, particularly in Southern California, and so I don’t see many of these cars during my travels to the wrecking yards of the Golden State. Here’s a very rough ’76 that I spotted in Los Angeles while visiting Cheech & Chong movie locations in a ’15 Ford Transit van.
12 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinGood things never happen when you scrape off a vinyl top and then drive the car that way.
09 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars make excellent lowriders, but to get this car into proper condition for nice paint and interior would have cost about three times the value of the finished result.
04 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m not sure what the junkyard symbolism of the ace of clubs could be.

Endorsed by this Canadian yacht designer.

Yes, Canadians were crazy about the Malaise Monte.

Makes you look rich!

05 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1988-pontiac-fiero-formula/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1988-pontiac-fiero-formula/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039665 Ah, the Pontiac Fiero. So much potential, but ultimately a disappointment for The General. I see the occasional Fiero during my wrecking-yard wandering, but it takes a special one to inspire me to shoot photos. This screaming yellow ’86 Fiero GT was one, and today’s final-year-of-production ’88 Fiero Formula is another. GM saved money on […]

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12 - 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinAh, the Pontiac Fiero. So much potential, but ultimately a disappointment for The General. I see the occasional Fiero during my wrecking-yard wandering, but it takes a special one to inspire me to shoot photos. This screaming yellow ’86 Fiero GT was one, and today’s final-year-of-production ’88 Fiero Formula is another.
01 - 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinGM saved money on the original Fieros by using a parts-bin suspension (Chevy Citation in the rear, Chevette in the front) and the not-so-sporty Iron Duke four-cylinder pushrod engine, instead of the Fiero-only suspension penned by the engineers and the bespoke aluminum V6 of their dreams. By 1988, though, the Fiero finally got the suspension intended for it… just in time for the end of production.
20 - 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car looks to have been picked over by junkyard vultures, but it’s still possible to see that it has all sorts of options. Air conditioning!
06 - 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinIs it possible that we’re looking at a 419,807-mile car here? The off-centeredness of the odometer numerals may indicate mechanical troubles rather than an incredible number of miles.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Chevrolet Nova Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-nova-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-nova-sedan/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1037009 For reasons that trolly shouters on both extremes of the American politico-socio-automotive spectrum know to be the truth, the exact same workers at the Fremont Assembly plant who couldn’t hammer together a decent-quality Buick Regal or GMC C/K— no matter how many Mickey’s Big Mouths they guzzled in some South Hayward parking lot before their […]

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10 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFor reasons that trolly shouters on both extremes of the American politico-socio-automotive spectrum know to be the truth, the exact same workers at the Fremont Assembly plant who couldn’t hammer together a decent-quality Buick Regal or GMC C/K— no matter how many Mickey’s Big Mouths they guzzled in some South Hayward parking lot before their shifts— suddenly became capable of building rebadged Corollas that were every bit as good as the ones made by their Japanese counterparts, once the plant became NUMMI (nowadays they build Teslas there). Of course, each of you knows that this is due to (insert damning indictment of those dupes who believe Wrong Things here) with a touch of (insert bilious tirade that sounds the alarm about Some Evil Conspiracy here), and to provide ammunition for your arguments I present this 1988 Chevrolet-badged AE82 Toyota Sprinter aka Corolla.
08 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars are not uncommon in self-service wrecking yards nowadays, especially in California. In this series, we’ve seen this ’87 sedan and this ’87 hatchback, and now we’ve got today’s final-year-of-production (before it became the Geo Prizm) Nova, which I spotted in a Denver yard a few months back.
04 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin244,816 miles, which is impressive even by 2015 standards. Sure, they probably weren’t very exciting miles, but nobody bought a NUMMI Nova for adventure.
07 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe good old 4A engine family, which went into Coronas, Corollas, MR2s, Celicas, Sprinters, and so forth, all the way into the late 1990s. Some 4As made great power, but the 4A-LC was more about longevity and fuel economy.

Brought to you by Chevrolet and Toyota.

You can get an American car and a foreign car!

Of course, the Japanese version was much more sexy.

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Junkyard Find: 1968 Saab 95 Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1968-saab-95-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1968-saab-95-station-wagon/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033705 The Saab 96 (and its station-wagon sibling, the 95) is one of those iconic cars that just about everybody claims to love, but few are willing to rescue. Most of the 96s in the country passed through the junkyard gates and into the recycled-metal continuum a couple of decades back, with only the nicest examples […]

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20 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Saab 96 (and its station-wagon sibling, the 95) is one of those iconic cars that just about everybody claims to love, but few are willing to rescue. Most of the 96s in the country passed through the junkyard gates and into the recycled-metal continuum a couple of decades back, with only the nicest examples deemed worthy of saving, but a few have hung on in side yards and cornfields long enough to show up in wrecking yards now. We saw this ’68 sedan in California last year, and now there’s this ’68 wagon in Denver.
19 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has the Ford Taunus V4, rather than the three-cylinder Saab two-stroke so beloved by those who have never driven a car powered by one (to be fair, I know some two-stroke Saab owners who do love driving their cars).
12 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe gauges have that cool Saab airplane logo.
14 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinFour-on-the-tree diagram and cold-starting instructions are found on this dash sticker.
05 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinNo obvious signs of rust-through, and the interior isn’t too horrifying. After several months in this yard, still not many pieces have been plucked from this old Swede.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Buick Electra Limited Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1976-buick-electra-limited-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1976-buick-electra-limited-coupe/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1031729 The General shrank the Buick Electra for the 1977 model year and then ditched the model entirely in 1990, so the ’76 was the last of the proper single-digit-fuel-economy Electras. These comfy gerontocrusiers used to be everywhere on American roads, even in the dark days after gas prices went crazy, and you still see them […]

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09 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe General shrank the Buick Electra for the 1977 model year and then ditched the model entirely in 1990, so the ’76 was the last of the proper single-digit-fuel-economy Electras. These comfy gerontocrusiers used to be everywhere on American roads, even in the dark days after gas prices went crazy, and you still see them in wrecking yards today, but for some reason I’ve photographed just one prior to today’s Junkyard Find.
15 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSir Mix-a-Lot immortalized the beat-up Electra as the iconic hooptie 26 years ago (not long before I photographed this ’73 on a Stockton highway).
07 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 455-cubic-inch V8 was down to a mere 205 horsepower in 1976 (27 more than the base four-cylinder engine in the 2015 Camry), but it still had (and needed) a fairly healthy 345 lb-ft of torque.
17 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have never seen one of these “digital” GM dash clocks with the scrolling seconds reel that worked, not even when they were new.
05 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAM, FM, 8-track— just the thing for your Gary Wright tapes (although your typical Buick buyer in 1976 most likely listened to something more like this tape).
03 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBuick stuck with the black-on-silver gauge schtick for quite a few years after this.

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-buick-lesabre-estate-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-buick-lesabre-estate-wagon/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029577 The traditional full-size Detroit station wagon was in trouble by the end of the 1980s, thanks to the rise of the minivan. Increasingly car-like SUVs would kick the other leg out from under big rear-drive wagon sales during the 1990s, and so this great big GM B-platform wagon is one of the last of its […]

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02 - 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe traditional full-size Detroit station wagon was in trouble by the end of the 1980s, thanks to the rise of the minivan. Increasingly car-like SUVs would kick the other leg out from under big rear-drive wagon sales during the 1990s, and so this great big GM B-platform wagon is one of the last of its type. Look, it’s even a woodie!
04 - 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Buick Estate name goes way back in GM history. The version we’re looking at in this Northern California wrecking yard is from the final generation of the Estate Wagon, built on the downsized B platform for the 1977 through 1990 model years (after that, you could get a Roadmaster Estate).
09 - 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe “wood” on this car isn’t particularly convincing.
11 - 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe cassette deck came with auto-reverse, still a futuristic technology in the eyes of Buick customers in 1989.
14 - 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe non-wagon LeSabre had gone to the front-drive H-body platform by this time, which must have been a bit confusing for Buick shoppers.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1983-mitsubishi-cordia-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1983-mitsubishi-cordia-2/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028673 The Mitsubishi Cordia was one of the first Mitsubishi-badged cars to be sold in the United States (prior to that, US-market Mitsubishis were Chrysler captive imports). They didn’t sell in huge quantities, and we don’t remember the Cordia as well as the Starion or even the Mighty Max, but I still see the occasional example […]

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08 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mitsubishi Cordia was one of the first Mitsubishi-badged cars to be sold in the United States (prior to that, US-market Mitsubishis were Chrysler captive imports). They didn’t sell in huge quantities, and we don’t remember the Cordia as well as the Starion or even the Mighty Max, but I still see the occasional example in California wrecking yards. There was this ’83 Cordia Turbo (from which I obtained the amazing digital instrument cluster), this ’84 Cordia, and this ’87 Cordia Turbo, and here’s this well-worn ’83.
03 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat’s a lot of miles for an early-80s Mitsubishi. Actually, even (non-diesel) Mercedes-Benzes were hard-pressed to get to 200k back then.
04 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car has been used up.

You can’t talk about the Cordia without showing this maddening Australian-market ad.

This Japanese-market one is a puzzler.

Then there’s this list of “Cars whooped by my Cordia.”

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280c-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280c-2/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023561 There’s a lot of talk going around about how every restorable example of the Mercedes-Benz W114 coupe is worth plenty these days. Five grand? Ten grand? The junkyard tells me that the real-world prices for these cars in non-perfect condition is still quite low, because I see them regularly. Here’s a solid, fairly complete ’73 […]

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15 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s a lot of talk going around about how every restorable example of the Mercedes-Benz W114 coupe is worth plenty these days. Five grand? Ten grand? The junkyard tells me that the real-world prices for these cars in non-perfect condition is still quite low, because I see them regularly. Here’s a solid, fairly complete ’73 without a speck of rust that I saw in a Northern California junkyard a few weeks ago, and this car comes on the heels of this ’71 250C, this ’73 280CE, this ’74 280C, and a bunch of W114 sedans that I haven’t even bothered to photograph. I’m sure that the cost to restore one of these things is just breathtaking, which is why those in the know rarely take on such projects.
12 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn their time, these cars made just about every conceivable competitor look like a shoddily-built, frivolous rattletrap, built for idiots who didn’t understand the value of a Deutsche Mark.
04 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow’s this for dignified air-conditioning controls?
10 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car listed at $11,530 new, which was about 61 grand in 2015 bucks. Meanwhile, the much bigger, cushier, more powerful 1973 Lincoln Mark IV cost just $8,694 (just for fun, how about a brand-new Citroën SM— about the least sensible car you could buy in 1973, yet also the most beautiful— for $13,350?), while the Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado— with five hundred cubic inches under the hood, no less— could be purchased for $7,360.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Plymouth Duster http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1972-plymouth-duster/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1972-plymouth-duster/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1022833 Compared to the stodgy-and-sensible Valiant on which it was based, the Plymouth Duster was pretty sporty and sold well to coupe shoppers who wanted a cheap car that could handle indifferent maintenance and bad road conditions (the Zaporozhets not being available in the United States). These things were amazingly reliable for the era, when not […]

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14 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCompared to the stodgy-and-sensible Valiant on which it was based, the Plymouth Duster was pretty sporty and sold well to coupe shoppers who wanted a cheap car that could handle indifferent maintenance and bad road conditions (the Zaporozhets not being available in the United States). These things were amazingly reliable for the era, when not so many cars made it to 100,000 miles, but most were discarded like empty pull-tab Burgie cans during the 1980s. The Duster survivors today tend to be lovingly restored trailer queens. That makes the 1970-76 Duster a rare Junkyard Find, so I broke out the camera immediately when I saw this ’72 in a Northern California wrecking yard.
13 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, you could still buy a Detroit car with four-wheel drum brakes as late as 1972. If you don’t like it, buddy, you can just move to Sweden!
07 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou don’t see many Slant-6 Chrysler A-bodies with air conditioning.
18 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI considered buying the A/C control panel, figuring that it’s probably worth something. Then I came to my senses.
05 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinUnlike rolling stones, cars that sit outdoors in the shade in Northern California tend to gather moss.
17 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack when it used to rain during the winter in this region, outdoor-stored cars would rust in areas in which water pooled.

For $73.95 more than the Chevy Vega, you could get the Duster with 15 more horsepower and whitewall tires!

01 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Nissan Pulsar NX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-nissan-pulsar-nx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-nissan-pulsar-nx/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1022657 The Nissan Pulsar NX was a weird little two-seater sold in the US market for the 1983 through 1990 model years. Now, the coolest thing about the Pulsar NX was the Sportbak wagon-conversion option, available on the second-gen version, but I have yet to see a Sportbak in a junkyard. So far in this series, […]

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04 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe Nissan Pulsar NX was a weird little two-seater sold in the US market for the 1983 through 1990 model years. Now, the coolest thing about the Pulsar NX was the Sportbak wagon-conversion option, available on the second-gen version, but I have yet to see a Sportbak in a junkyard. So far in this series, I’ve photographed this ’83, this ’87, and now today’s ’89.
15 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThis being a California car, it’s not a bit rusty. Maybe it wouldn’t pass the smog test, maybe it broke something costing more than a few hundred bucks to fix, maybe it picked up too many San Francisco parking tickets, or maybe it just plain wore out.
09 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinOver 200,000 miles.


Someone please explain: why is 1980s nostalgia big these days?

01 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 02 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 03 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 04 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 05 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 06 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 07 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 08 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 09 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 10 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 11 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 12 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 13 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 14 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 15 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 16 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin

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