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 >

By on December 14, 2010


The life cycle of your typical Opel GT appears to have gone like this: 8 years on the street, 30 years up on blocks in the back yard, then a quick stop in the wrecking yard before getting crushed. I haven’t seen a GT on the street for years, but they’re quite common in The Crusher’s waiting room. Here’s a pair of GTs I spotted at a Denver self-service yard. Read More >

By on December 8, 2010


After being away from the quick-turnover self-service junkyards of Northern California (where Guangzhou-bound container ships full of crushed vehicles leave the Port of Oakland every day) for a few months, I decided to check out one of the biggest when visiting from Denver last week. I found a ’62 Comet, a ’65 Fairlane, and a ’72 Mustang huddled together in The Crusher’s waiting room. Read More >

By on December 3, 2010


So we now know that GM’s failure to create a decent subcompact during the, oh, forty years in which doing so would have saved the company from certain ruin… well, do we really need to get into that rant right now? Read More >

By on December 1, 2010


Now that my ’66 Dodge A100 runs and drives, I’m contemplating what sort of stance it’s going to have once I install the new wheels. Certified Rambler-racin’ madman and Denver chop-n-channel artist Cadillac Bob suggests that I jack up the front end for that solid-axle gasser look, and he’s probably onto something. However, a cool stance sometimes leads to unpleasant sheet-metal-versus-concrete interactions. Read More >

By on November 27, 2010


After the Fourmile Canyon Fire in September, charred vehicle carcasses began showing up in quantity in Denver wrecking yards. Completely burned-to-hell-and-gone vehicles don’t seem to offer any usable components for junkyard shoppers, but they still show up. Read More >

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