By on July 20, 2016

Ford Festiva, Image: © 2016 Crabspirits/The Truth About Cars

Did you think I would end this column on just any random car? Not only is subject vehicle #100 a real mind-scrambler, but this dramatization is based on a true account from the former owner of this bubblegum Ford Festiva.

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By on May 27, 2016

1981 Chevrolet Citation in Colorado Junkyard, LH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Chevrolet Citation is so frustrating mostly because it was such a great opportunity for General Motors to own the 1980s; if it had worked as well in reality as it did on paper, it would have obliterated the competition. A roomy, modern, front-wheel-drive car with fuel economy far superior to the primitive late-70s Chevy Nova it replaced, and it was pretty good-looking in a genuinely American way …

… but it ended up being as much a humiliating disaster for GM as Operation Eagle Claw was for the Jimmy Carter presidency.

Citations aren’t easy to find now, but strangely well-preserved examples keep showing up in the self-service wrecking yards I frequent. Here’s a very clean ’81 I found in Denver a couple of weeks ago. Read More >

By on April 29, 2016

Junkyard

A couple of years back, as I sat at my desk having another existential episode with one of Murilee’s Finds loaded up on my monitor.

Junkyards have been something that have always fascinated me from an archaeological standpoint, even as a young lad. Many are more than just discarded automobiles. Often, you’re looking at the story of somebody’s life frozen in time, a bug in the amber.

I gazed at that mundane ’77 Plymouth, and then tossed out an intentionally absurd, yet profound, comment into cyberspace — sort of an internet version of “Hold my beer, and watch this.” Nobody really noticed, so I subsequently polished my sickness “craft” until people did.

This satirical drivel became an amusing device for laughs for me, but alas, the sunset has come to my column here.

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By on November 20, 2015

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With the holidays upon us, it seems fitting to share this cornucopia … from minivan hell.

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By on August 25, 2015

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Today’s morbidly interesting victim is a friggin’ Yugo. If you know where this is going, I think there’s little else I could possibly say to encourage you to click the jump.

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By on April 7, 2015

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Sometimes I feel that many are not aware how my little tales hidden in the comments of Murilee’s Junkyard Finds are developed.  It’s all in the evidence, the details.  “I can’t comprehend how you are able to do so as quickly as you do.”, star commenter Dead Weight writes. With the right feature-rich victim, a story writes itself in my mind with a typical gestation of 40-90 minutes. Conversely, I can’t just pop on every auction sanitized Volvo.  The story would be false, wrong, instead of just fiction.  On the other end of the spectrum, there are the head-scratching  “gems” and the rare “unicorns”.  I run into these every so often,  I’m going to start featuring them now, and you’re gonna need to wash your face afterwards.

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By on September 5, 2014

11 - 1977 MGB Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe steady march of MGBs into American self-service wrecking yard continues, with another black-bumper Malaise Era example today. In this series prior to today, we’ve seen this ’67, this ’71, this ’75, this ’79, and this ’79 with Toyota 20R power, and now we’ve got this ’77 with very-much-of-its-time custom paint. I found this car in a California wrecking yard, so of course it’s not rusty at all. Read More >

By on November 11, 2011

You don’t see a lot of intact 60s Detroit cars in the junkyards of Denver, where I now live. When I return to my old haunts in the San Francisco Bay Area, as I did last month, I find that a steady trickle of these old survivors still flows into the self-serve yards. Here’s a big Ford I found in Oakland. Read More >

By on August 8, 2011


Chrysler spent a couple of decades selling Mitsubishis and Simcas with Dodge and Plymouth badges in North America, and the Mitsubishi Galant/Lancer-based Colt line went through the most twists and turns. At first, Plymouth-branded Colts were sold as Champs, but by the mid-1980s both the Dodge and Plymouth versions were called Colts. The difference? Damn if I can find one that goes deeper than emblems. Read More >

By on December 17, 2010


While the US government was saving Chrysler with the Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979, American Motors had to go to the French government for its bailout. Read More >

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