How is it that there are still sufficient Volvo 140s left, more than 40 years after production of the original Swedish brick ceased, that you’ll still find plenty of them in American wrecking yards? Not in the quantities you’ll find of their 240 descendants, of course, but anybody driving a 140 today should have no problem getting parts. (Read More…)
Mark’s look today at a couple of late Sixties’ performance icons has inspired me. Yes, my automotive ADD kicked in and off I went to eBay in search of affordable Cutlass and Mustang projects.
And, really, I’m still searching. The majority of what I’ve found are either total basketcases, poorly-done “customs,” or pristine show cars with prices to match. I’d love to find a car that has needs, but could be driven away and worked on over time.
Fully three-quarters of you who took our “Ralph Nader, Angel or Demon” poll voted to give ol’ Ralph a halo instead of a pitchfork, so we don’t need to explain how his book wasn’t really the cause of the Corvair‘s plummeting sales after the initial burst of enthusiasm following the car’s release. No, most likely it was that more traditional Chevy II that did that, but the case can be made that The General kept on building Corvairs all the way into 1969 as a way of proving that Ralph Nader can’t push around (what was then) the Most Powerful Corporation In the World. In 1968, only about 15,000 Corvairs were sold, which makes this rusty Denver example fairly uncommon. (Read More…)
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 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. (Read More…)
I see plenty of Saab 900s in self-service wrecking yards these days, but Saabs older than that have all but disappeared from the U-Wrench-It ecosystem. I did see a truly ancient Saab 92 at a yard over the summer, but that was in the heart of Saab’s homeland. So, it came as a big surprise to spot this Saab 96 three weeks ago in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Read More…)
After I found the very rare Audi-engined ’79 AM General DJ-5G “Mail Jeep” in a Denver junkyard, I thought I’d go back to ignoring most junked DJ Jeeps. They’re very common in Colorado, and this series has always been more about historically significant vehicles than just plain old ones. However, DJs built before AMC bought Kaiser-Jeep, and featuring the nearly-forgotten Chevrolet Nova four-cylinder engine, deserve some attention. (Read More…)
I’ve been finding quite a few vintage D-Series Dodge pickups in Denver-area self-service junkyards lately, which reminds me that I’ve spent too long ignoring Detroit pickups of the 1960s and 1970s in this series. I see them, but (unless an old truck has a GMC V6 and a bunch of ancient Deadhead stickers) I usually don’t photograph them. So, the Dodges: I shared this ’74 D-200 Club Cab and this ’73 D-100 Adventurer last week, and now we’ve got a ’68 Adventurer that shares quite a few components with my ’66 A-100 van. (Read More…)
I haven’t been to Italy, in 21 years. My cousins and I are having dinner together for the first time in 21 years. If I didn’t already know it, I’d have learned it now: males with Italian blood are obsessed with cars. My cousin Nicola even works for FIAT, in the seaside town of Termoli.
“Are there Fiats at Chrysler stores in Canada now?” he asks.
“Just the 500,” I inform.
“That’s not the real 500,” says Angelo, his younger brother. Two hours later, we’re in my Nonna’s garage. He pulls the tarp off a stunning, perfectly restored 1968 Fiat 595 SS Abarth. “Quest’è la vera Cinquecento!” he informs me.
Given the way that Beetles have had all their parts swapped over the decades, I’m always reluctant to try to nail down an exact model year of a street-parked example, particularly when it’s a primered-out survivor owned by a guy who spends a lot of time at junkyards. If we are to go by the taillights and hood latch, this car should be a ’68… or it might be a ’64 with a fender swap… or a ’74 pan with a ’68 body. Anyway, the important thing is that it’s an old air-cooled Volkswagen survivor that gets used as a tow vehicle. (Read More…)
We were all quite impressed by the way the Cardorks/Invisible Pink Unicorn BMW clawed the win from the grasp of the Pro-Crass-Duh-Nation Alfa Romeo, but the serious battle at the Real Hoopties of New Jersey 24 Hours of LeMons took place among the contenders for the race’s true top prize: the Index of Effluency. (Read More…)
Before GM delivered a one-two-three punch to Cadillac’s image with the Seville, V8-6-4 engine, and Cimarron, the first of the front-wheel-drive Eldorados attained some sort of zenith for strip-club-owner-grade, ridiculous-yet-awesome Detroit Iron. Here’s a ’68 Eldo that will never drive the Las Vegas Strip again. (Read More…)
The Denver MCA boasts something that most museums don’t have: a 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle parked on its nose outside the building. I’ve been trying to shoot a worthwhile photograph of this fine sculpture by Gonzalo Lebrija, entitled Entre La Vida y La Muerte, but I just don’t have the boss camera skilz to do it justice. Fortunately, I know a guy who does. (Read More…)
I see a fair number of total beater 1960s Detroit convertibles on the street, and nicely restored examples show up from time to time, but I’m not sure what to make of this clean-but-nowhere-near-show-quality Impala SS parked on a freezing night in downtown Denver. (Read More…)