The Truth About Cars » 1970s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:21:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 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 » 1970s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1979 Plymouth Champ, with Twin-Stick! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1979-plymouth-champ-twin-stick/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1979-plymouth-champ-twin-stick/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931106 The tales of the many flavors of rebadged Chrysler Europe and Mitsubishi products sold as Plymouths and Dodges remain perennially fascinating for me, what with all the Chryslerized Simcas and Hillmans and so forth, and one example of this breed that appears to have disappeared from the face of the earth is the Plymouth Champ. […]

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19 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe tales of the many flavors of rebadged Chrysler Europe and Mitsubishi products sold as Plymouths and Dodges remain perennially fascinating for me, what with all the Chryslerized Simcas and Hillmans and so forth, and one example of this breed that appears to have disappeared from the face of the earth is the Plymouth Champ. The Champ was a fourth-generation Mitsubishi Mirage, a gas-sipping front-driver that received Colt nameplates for the Dodge side of the showroom floor, and I found one a few days ago at a Denver-area self-service yard.
20 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Champ name existed for just the 1979 through 1982 model years, after which Chrysler must have decided that marketing confusion could be reduced and money saved on emblem production by selling both Plymouth- and Dodge-badged Colts.
12 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is a particularly ghastly shade of Malaise Green, which is set off nicely by the tape stripes.
05 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car features the super-cool Twin-Stick aka Super Shift transmission, which had a high-low range selector that multiplied the four forward gears into eight gears. Essentially, it was an overdrive box built into the transaxle. In practice, just about nobody drove the Twin-Stick by going through all eight gear ranges in sequence— mostly, you just left it in one range or the other and drove it like a regular four-speed.
06 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut still, the Twin-Stick was cool.
13 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the “big-block” 1.6 liter 4G32 Saturn engine, which made a mighty 80 horsepower.
07 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI was very tempted to buy this POWER/ECONOMY indicator light for my collection of weird Japanese instrument-panel parts, but did not do so.
24 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt looks to be an original Colorado car.
01 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCars don’t tend to rust much here in the dry High Plains climate, but Japanese cars of the 1970s could find a way to rust in a vacuum.
04 - 1979 Plymouth Champ Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s worn out, but essentially complete. How many Champs are left in the wild?

Chuck Woolery says the ’79 Champ is the Southern California mileage champ.

Another little mileage car from Japan, right?


Just don’t crash your Champ!

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Cadillac Seville Elegante http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1978-cadillac-seville-elegante/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1978-cadillac-seville-elegante/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920513 As Aaron Severson explains in great detail in his excellent Ate Up With Motor piece, the 1976-1979 Cadillac Seville (which was essentially a Chevy Nova under the skin), accelerated the long decline of the Cadillac Division that continued with the Cavalier-based Cimarron and didn’t really turn around until Cadillac started building trucks for rappers and […]

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18 - 1978 Cadillac Seville Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinAs Aaron Severson explains in great detail in his excellent Ate Up With Motor piece, the 1976-1979 Cadillac Seville (which was essentially a Chevy Nova under the skin), accelerated the long decline of the Cadillac Division that continued with the Cavalier-based Cimarron and didn’t really turn around until Cadillac started building trucks for rappers and warlords in the 1990s. Having driven a $50 1976 Nova many thousands of miles, I can assume that ’78 Seville ownership was very similar, though with a plusher interior and (slightly) more engine power. Here’s a brown-on-gold-on-brown-on-yellow-on-ochre-on-umber-on-brown-on-beige-on-copper example that I spotted a few weeks ago in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard.
01 - 1978 Cadillac Seville Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI couldn’t find any figures for the cost of the Elegante option package, but I did learn that the exterior colors on this car were Western Saddle Firemist and Ruidoso Brown.
03 - 1978 Cadillac Seville Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe list price of the ordinary, garden-variety non-Elegante ’78 Seville was $14,267, about 52 grand in 2014 dollars. The top-of-the-line Nova Custom went for $4,220 in 1978 (the 1978 BMW 530 was $14,840 and the 1978 Mercedes-Benz 280E was $16,606, but neither was available in Ruidoso Brown).
11 - 1978 Cadillac Seville Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin8-track player, of course. Note the rear-defog and power-antenna switches.
15 - 1978 Cadillac Seville Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThis Bendix-injected Oldsmobile 350-cubic-inch V8 made 170 horsepower.
19 - 1978 Cadillac Seville Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinIt’s probably not a coincidence that Cadillac buyers defected en masse to Mercedes-Benz and BMW about this time (and a few even bought Datsun 810s and Toyota Cressidas). On the plus side, the going rate on a Seville of this era has been down in rusty-Lumina territory for the last 15 years.

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Junkyard Find: 1971 Toyota Corona Mark II http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1971-toyota-corona-mark-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1971-toyota-corona-mark-ii/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918218 My first car was a beige ’69 Corona sedan, and so I’m always happy to see a junkyard Corona. In this series prior to today, we’ve seen this ’66 sedan, this ’68 sedan, this ’70 sedan, this ’70 coupe, plus this Corona ad from the February 1969 issue of Playboy. Now I’ve found a Corona […]

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10 - 1971 Toyota Corona Mark II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMy first car was a beige ’69 Corona sedan, and so I’m always happy to see a junkyard Corona. In this series prior to today, we’ve seen this ’66 sedan, this ’68 sedan, this ’70 sedan, this ’70 coupe, plus this Corona ad from the February 1969 issue of Playboy. Now I’ve found a Corona Mark II at a Denver yard.
07 - 1971 Toyota Corona Mark II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
Featuring overhead-cam 8R power, the Corona Mark II coupe had a respectable 108 horses under the hood.

04 - 1971 Toyota Corona Mark II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
Bucket seats, four-on-the-floor, $2,280 MSRP— not a bad deal, especially considering that the ’71 Chevrolet Vega coupe listed at a mere 84 bucks less. The ’71 AMC Gremlin was just $1,899, though, and a (surprisingly comfortable but way less well-appointed than the Corona) Simca 1204 could be had for $1,693.

15 - 1971 Toyota Corona Mark II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
These cars rusted with great eagerness, even in dry places like Colorado, and this one is no exception. Not worth restoring (in 2014), but still interesting.


The claim of 25 miles per gallon was more believable than most of the era.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Mercury Comet Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1977-mercury-comet-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1977-mercury-comet-sedan/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910282 With a Ford Maverick sedan as yesterday’s Junkyard Find, it seemed only right that we follow up with the Maverick’s Mercury sibling (which I photographed in the same junkyard, on the same day). Today’s Malaise Era Ford is rough but more complete than yesterday’s car, so let’s crank up >one of the few good pop […]

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03 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith a Ford Maverick sedan as yesterday’s Junkyard Find, it seemed only right that we follow up with the Maverick’s Mercury sibling (which I photographed in the same junkyard, on the same day). Today’s Malaise Era Ford is rough but more complete than yesterday’s car, so let’s crank up >one of the few good pop songs of 1977 and study this phenomenon.
06 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ’77 Comet’s straight-six engine, which is a 200-cubic-inch unit making about 7 horsepower (actually 96) or an optional 250 (which made just 98 horses but quite a bit more torque than the 200), required patience on the part of the driver, especially with the AC on.
09 - 1977 Mercury Comet Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Comet had a somewhat sportier-looking grille than the Maverick, and the base sticker price for the six-cylinder sedan reflected such upgrades by being 70 bucks higher than the Maverick’s.

The only economy car with a little cougar in it.

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Ford Maverick Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1973-ford-maverick-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1973-ford-maverick-sedan/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909754 There was once a time when Mavericks (and their Mercury Comet siblings) were among the most often-seen vehicles on American streets. Being such a cheap and homely car (and built during one of Detroit’s build-quality low points), however, the Maverick just wasn’t loved enough for many examples to be spared from The Crusher when they […]

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11 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was once a time when Mavericks (and their Mercury Comet siblings) were among the most often-seen vehicles on American streets. Being such a cheap and homely car (and built during one of Detroit’s build-quality low points), however, the Maverick just wasn’t loved enough for many examples to be spared from The Crusher when they got a little frayed around the edges. In this series so far, we’ve seen this ’75 Maverick two-door, this ’75 Comet sedan, and now today’s ’73 Maverick four-door.
07 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI shot this car in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard, and thus it has little (if any) rust. It shows signs of having spent decades outdoors, so there’s plenty of vegetation stuck to the body and everything is well-bleached by the sun.
03 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo air conditioning, but there is a rear defogger.
12 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomeone grabbed the engine, which probably now lives in someone’s work truck.
06 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe vintage of the cassette tapes inside indicates that this car was parked for good in the middle 1980s.
16 - 19773 Ford Maverick Sedan- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinToo bad nobody made a drag racer out of this car.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 MGB http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/905449/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/905449/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905449 The 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 […]

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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.
10 - 1977 MGB Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe MG octagon is gone, but the custom green border remains.
03 - 1977 MGB Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis paint job reminds me of the custom ’80 RX-7 Junkyard Find. Perhaps they were painted in the same shop.
07 - 1977 MGB Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo few horsepower from the 1977 pushrod 1800. No need to discuss numbers here. Hey, look, the nearly unobtainium smog air-pump is still there.
01 - 1977 MGB Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI purchased this car’s clock for my collection, and it works!
12 - 1977 MGB Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinVery nice MGBs are worth OK money these days, but rough ones are worth bupkis.

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Junkyard Find: 1971 BMW 1602 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1971-bmw-1602/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1971-bmw-1602/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=902930 Flawless examples of the BMW New Class are worth plenty, but ratty project cars are another story; the flow of 1602s and 2002s into self-service wrecking yards continues unabated. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’73, this ’73, this ’74, and now today’s find, a no-rust California 1602. Now, before you Rust Belt […]

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12 - 1971 BMW 2002 Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinFlawless examples of the BMW New Class are worth plenty, but ratty project cars are another story; the flow of 1602s and 2002s into self-service wrecking yards continues unabated. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’73, this ’73, this ’74, and now today’s find, a no-rust California 1602. Now, before you Rust Belt BMW fanatics start emailing me about this car, be aware that I shot these photos last October, which means that this car got crushed, shredded, and melted down at least six months ago.
09 - 1971 BMW 2002 Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s rough, and there’s probably hidden rust due to leaky weatherstripping and long, rainy California winters, but this car wouldn’t have been a terribly difficult restoration project. However, it would have cost $12,000 to make this into a $7,000 car, hence the junkyard trip.
14 - 1971 BMW 2002 Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s a 2000 San Francisco residential parking permit, without which your car will be ticketed, towed, auctioned off, and (probably) crushed in the most ruthless parking environment I’ve ever experienced. This Area S permit worked in parts of the Mission District, Noe Valley, and the Castro, all areas in which my ’65 Impala spent a lot of time.
02 - 1971 BMW 2002 Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior had been picked over pretty well at the time I photographed this car, and I’ll wager that the instrument cluster didn’t go to The Crusher.
04 - 1971 BMW 2002 Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinI had one of these cool-looking hazard-light switches in my ’58 Beetle, way back in my earliest junkyard-crawling days.

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Junkyard Find: 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1971-mercedes-benz-250c/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1971-mercedes-benz-250c/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901313 Mercedes-Benz W114s lasted forever and held their value pretty well, which means that plenty of them still show up in self-service yards nearly 15 years into the 21st century (though most of the time I skip photographing the sedans). So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’73 280CE, this ’73 220, this ’73 280CE, […]

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09 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMercedes-Benz W114s lasted forever and held their value pretty well, which means that plenty of them still show up in self-service yards nearly 15 years into the 21st century (though most of the time I skip photographing the sedans). So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’73 280CE, this ’73 220, this ’73 280CE, and this ’74 280C, and now I’ve found this coupe in Denver.
12 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe sun has not been kind to this car’s vinyl roof.
04 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior has been picked over deeply, to the extent that this may have been a parts car that was scrapped after all the useful stuff was gone.
06 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo shortage of these engines in wrecking yards, so it’s unlikely that this one will be rescued from The Crusher’s jaws.
01 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFor some reason, 95% of 1960s and 1970s Mercedes-Benz cars in self-service wrecking yards have the model-number emblems removed. Are they worth big money, or just favored garage decorations?

01 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 250C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Dodge B200 Landmark Van Conversion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1979-dodge-b200-landmark-van-conversion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1979-dodge-b200-landmark-van-conversion/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889482 Are you a member of the Brown Car Appreciation Society? A fan of the Malaise Era and maybe bad music of the late 1970s? If so, then today’s Junkyard Find is for you! I spotted this brown-on-brown-on-brown van conversion at my local self-serve wrecking yard a full year ago, and I’ve been waiting for just […]

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13 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAre you a member of the Brown Car Appreciation Society? A fan of the Malaise Era and maybe bad music of the late 1970s? If so, then today’s Junkyard Find is for you! I spotted this brown-on-brown-on-brown van conversion at my local self-serve wrecking yard a full year ago, and I’ve been waiting for just the right time to share it with you!
16 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is a second-generation Tradesman, turned into a luxury crypto-RV by the (apparently) defunct Landmark Vans company, which must have been based somewhere in the Midwest.
10 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s pretty well beat-up by now, but you can still catch the sense of luxury that must have prevailed in this interior, when Ace Frehley’s greatest hit was coming from the 8-track.
07 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCan you get browner than this? Nope.
01 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s some rust, sure, but nothing serious (at first glance).
03 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese conversion vans weren’t aimed at the demographic that built matching bongs for their chopped-and-pinstriped Econolines and A100s; most of these vehicles were purchased by big families for road trips.

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Junkyard Find: 1970 Ford Fairlane 500 Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1970-ford-fairlane-500-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1970-ford-fairlane-500-station-wagon/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=888105 We haven’t seen a Ford Fairlane in this series since this ’65 sedan, way back in 2010. We see station wagons here all the time, of course, the last couple being this ’66 Toyota crown and this ’86 Nissan Maxima. Our most recent Detroit station wagon Junkyard Find was this ’72 Pinto (or this ’60 […]

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18 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe haven’t seen a Ford Fairlane in this series since this ’65 sedan, way back in 2010. We see station wagons here all the time, of course, the last couple being this ’66 Toyota crown and this ’86 Nissan Maxima. Our most recent Detroit station wagon Junkyard Find was this ’72 Pinto (or this ’60 Valiant, if you don’t consider the Pinto to be a proper Detroit station wagon). This ’70 Fairlane is rare indeed; I can’t recall having seen any midsize Ford wagon of this vintage on the street or in the junkyard for many years.
17 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s a lot of nostalgia for the big American family wagons among some of us who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, though most of those cars are the full-sized machines built on the Galaxie/Impala/Fury/Ambassador platforms, not the smaller midsize ones such as this Fairlane. My family never had a station wagon, preferring the Chevy Beauville passenger van as our family-outing-mobile.
10 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWindsor V8 with an enormous AC compressor, the same thing you saw under the hoods of millions of Fairlanes, Montegos, Torinos, Cyclones, and Rancheros of the era.
01 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one took kids to soccer practice 40 years ago.
05 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGuam pride!
06 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s not rusty and wouldn’t be a huge challenge to restore, but the love of old wagons among Generation X types hasn’t translated into much real-world willingness to spend money and time fixing them up.

The ’68 was an earlier generation of this platform, but it had the same “action size” as the ’70.

01 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1970 Ford Fairlane Station Wagon- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Dodge Dart Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1975-dodge-dart-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1975-dodge-dart-sedan/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=887809 So many Chrysler A-bodies in junkyards these days, even though the last ones rolled off the assembly line in 1981 (in South America and Australia; the final Detroit-built A-body was a 1976 model). These cars were cheap and simple, and they’re still useful transportation in the 21st century, so many of them manage to stay […]

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07 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo many Chrysler A-bodies in junkyards these days, even though the last ones rolled off the assembly line in 1981 (in South America and Australia; the final Detroit-built A-body was a 1976 model). These cars were cheap and simple, and they’re still useful transportation in the 21st century, so many of them manage to stay on the street well into their 30s and 40s. Sadly, even the most fanatical Dart/Valiant restorer has all the affordable two-doors and/or factory V8 cars he or she can handle, and so when a made-by-the-zillions Slant-6 Malaise Era sedan craps out, it’s going to The Crusher. So 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, and now we’re adding yet another ’75 to the list.
01 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is a California car, so there’s absolutely zero rust and the upholstery is pretty well roasted by the sun.
06 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDid it finally die?
05 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen I shot this car, it had only been on the yard for a few days. You can tell because the front brake parts, which are highly sought-after because they’ll bolt right on to B-body cars such as Chargers and Belvederes, were still there. By now, of course, the car has been shredded, dumped into a shipping container at the Port of Oakland, shipped to China, and melted down; I photographed it last October, in a yard that keeps inventory for a mere two months before scrapping it.
09 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAccording to my favorite junkyard-inventory site, there are two Darts, six Valiants, a Duster, and two Swingers in the inventory of the 90 yards Row52 tracks, which means there are many hundreds of fresh A-bodies in the junkyards they don’t cover. If you’ve ever wanted one, now is the time!

01 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1974 Datsun B210 Hatchback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1974-datsun-b210-hatchback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1974-datsun-b210-hatchback/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=881802 I’ve seen a few B210s during my junkyard travels since we had this ’75 hatchback and this ’78 coupe in this series back in 2012, but most of the time I don’t find them sufficiently interesting to photograph. A bewilderingly labeled 210 or 310 or B310 or whatever it was that Nissan called their American […]

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11 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ve seen a few B210s during my junkyard travels since we had this ’75 hatchback and this ’78 coupe in this series back in 2012, but most of the time I don’t find them sufficiently interesting to photograph. A bewilderingly labeled 210 or 310 or B310 or whatever it was that Nissan called their American Sunny for several months in the late 1970s, sure, I’ll shoot that. I overlook these cars, I must admit, because I came of driving age in the early 1980s, when these cars (and early Colts, and Pintos, and Vegas) were the bottom-of-the-barrel misery boxes that young people bought for $150 and loathed driving— let’s call them the Ford Tempos and Chevy Berettas of the Late Malaise Era. This B210 looked so old, sitting in the snow among the Camrys and Volvo 940s at my local Denver yard last winter, that I decided to add it to this series. Enjoy.
18 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhy call this car the B210 and a different car the 210 in the United States, and then give the same car the 120Y name in Europe? Ask the geniuses who decided to spend incredible sums to ditch the Datsun marque in the early 1980s, then bring it back in the 21st century.
05 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo matter how much the thought of the Malaise Era may make everyone depressed, it’s hard not to love these goofy-looking “Honey Bee” hubcaps.
02 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf you’re buying a B210, why bother with options? Blockoff plates galore on the dash.
07 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe A13 made all of 75 horses in 1974. That’s 3.5 less than the ’74 MGB got, so a B210-versus-MGB drag race that year would have required a lot of patience for the spectators.
06 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI wonder what sort of cassette collection you could acquire if you grabbed every one you found at a large Yank-Yer-Partz yard. Most of them would be unlabeled tapes that would turn out to have a muffly one-channel-only recording of Dark Side of the Moon, of course.

01 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1974 Datsun B210 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Vellum Venom: Honda N600 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/vellum-venom-honda-n600/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/vellum-venom-honda-n600/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 12:57:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=880466 What’s the difference between car design and styling? My stint at CCS in Detroit makes me think styling is the shallow, frilly, cosmetic side of car design. Freshman designers are (were?) trained to focus on styling, but anyone integrating with marketing/accounting/engineering departments after school knows the real deal. They gotta know car design. The folly […]

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title

What’s the difference between car design and styling? My stint at CCS in Detroit makes me think styling is the shallow, frilly, cosmetic side of car design. Freshman designers are (were?) trained to focus on styling, but anyone integrating with marketing/accounting/engineering departments after school knows the real deal. They gotta know car design.

The folly of a sheltered life aside (don’t us delusional autobloggers know it?) the Honda N600’s heavily constrained blueprint came to life with nearly to zero style.

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Is this a golf cart with mad retro styling? Those pub style tables could seemingly support the N600’s shockingly small footprint. Except not, but compare the N600’s seats to the chairs. Then note how “open” the greenhouse is relative to the diminutive body underneath. Like many of our younger readers, I never saw an N600 in person…they actually sold a car this small in America?

photo credit: imcbd.org

My only recollection of the N600 was “CHiPs” reruns as a kid. Watching a huge guy destroy a perfectly servicable machine horrified took me aback, yet most viewers probably found it entertaining.

Be it Architecture, Graphic, Product or Car design; I wonder if designers recoil in horror when their art (so to speak) extends past its prime in such a public manner. It’s gotta hurt.

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To see it is to understand the term “bare bones.” With a healthy smattering of chrome, that is. The N600 cleanly mounts headlight pods, a toothy grille and a subtle emblem into its tiny body. The signal lights are an unfortunate afterthought. But the massive bumper must be a last minute addition for the American market. It’s an interesting dynamic, but like damn near any car from the early-to-mid 70s, looks better with small bumpers.

3

This emblem, like the bodywork, has been refinished. This blend of midcentury modern in the “H” with a prominent model designation within a clean wedge of a badge does work. But the dual grille texture (metal bars with latticework behind) is an unexpected surprise, adding depth and…um…excitement?

5

Shame about the protective bumper tubing: note how the hood tapers down to the grille and effortlessly surrounds the headlight’s northern hemisphere. Without that merry-go-round grab handle, the N600 would be an appealing little car.

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Even better, there’s no odd cut line separating the front fascia from the headlights. And there’s the hood’s logical end point at the headlight’s center line. This ability to hide cut lines at natural transition points is something we love in today’s Aston Martin, and rarely elsewhere.

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Too bad Aston craftsmanship is so damn expensive: exposed bolts/screws and slip-fit panels are the marks of a super cheap whip.

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This wee machine can’t fit all its mechanical bits inside the body!

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I’m enamored with the N600 from this angle: looking like the Plymouth from Stephen King’s “Christine.”

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Sadly all the subtle integration, the blend of flat planes and voluptuous curves of the front end absolutely disappear once you turn the corner. VW Beetles and MINI Coopers rest easy: this is design over styling.

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Some strange bits: the blocky, stagnant negative area making a hood valley, on something small enough to need no contouring for curbside appeal. And the teardrop bulge, which I was couldn’t verify was needed, as the hood wouldn’t open. A tricky latch, that!

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The washer nozzle is adorable.

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The hood vents cleanly integrate into the N600’s form, even if they shouldn’t need to “fight” the valley in the hood. The simple cowl treatment looks clean, staying that way those who battle snowfall or falling leaves/debris.

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Wait, where did all the round-ish and somewhat appealing style go? Uber static lines! Gone, in the name of design?

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Afterthought chrome aside (needed for chrome hungry Americans?), there’s nothing appealing from this angle. It’s in stark contrast to the front.

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Much like the grille’s emblem, the N600’s hubcap makes a strong statement in its minimal form: that Mad Men worthy Honda emblem inside a “keystone” perimeter with a subtle lip at the cap’s edge is a nice touch. The size of the hubcap relative to the wheel makes it close to a full wheel cover, and more chrome here means the N600 is less warehouse trolley-like.

17

SITTIN ON KUMHO TENZ, Y U HATIN SON???

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The N600 is cleaner/faster looking without the chrome spear. And note again how large the greenhouse is relative to the body: necessary considering the N600’s cramped cockpit.

19

Practical says the decal? Some Americans embraced the N600’s appeal, but Detroit ruled the roost back in the early 1970s. They had size, and style. The N600’s uncanny ability to lack any sense of style a la VW Beetle, Mini Cooper or Fiat 500 musta hurt sales.

To wit, note how the A-B-C pillars lack a cohesive flow in terms of complementary rake, size and shape.

20

The fender emblem possesses similar elements to the one on the grille, but with unique textures/topography. It’s cooler than the front emblem.

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Clearly a victim of an almost-professional restoration, yet I suspect door/rocker panel gaps weren’t laser perfect back then anyway.

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The A-pillar is rather fast and sleek on its own, not to mention the full length rain gutter accentuating the speedy demeanor. The windshield rubber is another sign of a lost era…for good reason.

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Poor paint/body work, but still more appealing than a modern car’s black plastic triangle of A-pillar DLO fail.

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Not only does the B-pillar fail to emulate the A-pillar, it’s not symmetric! Square off the lower portion of the quarter window (or round the door) and curb appeal increases.

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While the integrated release button/key cylinder is trick and space efficient, the flat profile and lumpy negative area do not help with the N600’s lack of cohesive style. Is there any room for style on this machine?

24

Real estate for a fuel door is in Manhattan-grade short supply on the N600’s body.

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It doesn’t get more honest than a roof-mounted antenna, perfectly mounting on a curved shape. Nice.

26

While the front end’s roundness was a stark contrast to the fender’s solidarity, the N600’s middle section softens up thanks to a modicum of tumblehome (seen in the door cutaway) from the base of the door to the roof.

Curves, they are a good thing.

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Imagine how much more “wrong” the N600 would look without that tumblehome from this angle!

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While the tail light flows into the body like that clean roof antenna, the rain gutter, molding and vent louver are necessary(?) afterthoughts.

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But it’s quite fetching by itself!

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The N600’s proto-CVCC DNA is showing! The taillights and trunk cutout is a nice cross between pre-war automobile construction (exposed hinges and a bustle trunk) and the future of hatchback design once a little more rear overhang was deemed necessary.

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The back end’s flattened demeanor is very MINI Clubman, without the charm. Or the functionality, thanks to the fixed rear glass. Luckily there were no Sam’s clubs back then.

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The pudgy, cheeky contour of the trunk is both ungainly and adorable at the same time. Design over Styling!

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Nice bit of retro kit functional design for the grab handle, I was tempted to fix the logo’s problem with a Testors enamel marker.

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Quickly glance at this shot and you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a whip from L.A. Noire.

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Logical and well-designed license plate light, note the exposed screws that’ll make bulb replacement a breeze. Hopefully.

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Exposed hinges in the 1970s? No wonder that dude on “CHiPs” ripped it apart so easily!

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There’s a material heft and functional beauty presented in the lock cylinder’s one piece, polished design. Pictures fail to show the craftsmanship.

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Now let’s bring it home: no overhang is a big, BIG problem.

How can you “style” a design this restrictive? Imagine your job if your boss halved your budget. Or didn’t give you one in the first place! Therein lies the “beauty” of the N600, so to speak.

The Honda Civic that followed was a leap forward, the public’s reaction to Honda’s design and engineering prowess was logical. Because when you give enough room (literally and figuratively) to a design department, they will can make a nicely styled vehicle.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely week.

 

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-lincoln-continental-town-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-lincoln-continental-town-car/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872386 Malaise Era Lincolns are common sightings in high-turnover pull-yer-part wrecking yards these days, since there’s not much interest in preserving these cars. We saw an extremely clean 1976 Town Car in California a few months back (it’s still on the yard, and very few parts have been pulled since I photographed it), and now I’ve […]

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19 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMalaise Era Lincolns are common sightings in high-turnover pull-yer-part wrecking yards these days, since there’s not much interest in preserving these cars. We saw an extremely clean 1976 Town Car in California a few months back (it’s still on the yard, and very few parts have been pulled since I photographed it), and now I’ve found this rougher (but not at all rusty) ’79 at another San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard.
14 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven it its distressed state, the luxury is still evident.
16 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomebody grabbed the 400, for reasons that probably made sense at the time.
24 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOpera lights? Opera lights.
05 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Park-To-Reverse fiasco resulted in Ford recalling 23 million vehicles in 1980 and adding these warning stickers.
15 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSuper-cushy burgundy leather seats, of course.
09 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin85 mph speedometer.
07 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ornamental trip-counter reset knob is a nice touch.
01 - 1979 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have never found one of these Cartier “digital” clocks in working order, but my car-clock collection needs one. I decided to risk $5.99 on this one… and it works! People win the lottery, and 1970s Detroit car clocks sometimes work.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Porsche 924 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1978-porsche-924/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1978-porsche-924/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=865002 I’ve learned a couple of things about Porsches while working for the 24 Hours of LeMons race series. One is that Internet Car Experts cannot accept the idea that any Porsche might be had for a three-figure price tag, and the other is that 924s and 944s are absolute nightmares to keep running. You can […]

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09 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ve learned a couple of things about Porsches while working for the 24 Hours of LeMons race series. One is that Internet Car Experts cannot accept the idea that any Porsche might be had for a three-figure price tag, and the other is that 924s and 944s are absolute nightmares to keep running. You can find cheap 924s and 944s all day long, anywhere in the country, and the sellers will be eager to take your offer. I see these cars in cheap self-serve wrecking yards all the time, but seldom do I stop to photograph the things. This time, though, the radiant copper color of this Porsche 924 was just so compelling that I reached for my camera.
03 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack in 1984 or so, I knew a guy who made the leap from small-time cannabis dealer to small-time cocaine dealer. Naturally, he needed a car that would let the world know that he’d arrived, so he ditched his Vega and bought a silver 924. Then he got burned in some sort of deal gone wrong about a month later and had to sell the Porsche in a hurry. I’m sure most 924s have several such owners in their history.
01 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou know what other vehicle came with this 2.0 liter SOHC engine? The 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep.
13 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has a fairly solid body, though the interior is bad.
04 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThing is, when your Porsche is worth $900 and the mechanic wants $1,500 to make it run again… well, that’s the story with many once-valuable Junkyard Finds.

Just the car for adventurous Germans!

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Datsun 210 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-datsun-210-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-datsun-210-2/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=864545 Names for various flavors of the Nissan Sunny got very confusing during the 1970s and 1980s. Starting in the 1978 model year, the front-wheel-drive replacement for the B210— known as the B310 within Nissan— kept the “210” name in the United States (meanwhile, you could also buy “510s” that were actually A10 Violets), later evolving […]

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10 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNames for various flavors of the Nissan Sunny got very confusing during the 1970s and 1980s. Starting in the 1978 model year, the front-wheel-drive replacement for the B210— known as the B310 within Nissan— kept the “210” name in the United States (meanwhile, you could also buy “510s” that were actually A10 Violets), later evolving into the car that became the Sentra. These were cheap but reliable (for the time) misery boxes, competing with the likes of the Chrysler Omnirizon, and so very few of them escaped The Crusher when they started wearing out in the early 1990s. Here’s a rare example that I found in Southern California in January.
13 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Datsun name had just a few years to go at this point.
07 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI can’t tell the A12 engine from the A14 at a glance; either way, this thing delivers well under 75 horsepower.
06 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPretty typical late-70s econobox interior. At least this car has a manual transmission.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-triumph-spitfire-1500/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-triumph-spitfire-1500/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862769 The low-value British or Italian sports car that sits in rough condition in a yard or driveway for decades, then takes that sad final journey to the local U-Wrench-It— it’s been a staple of the American self-service wrecking yard landscape for what seems like forever. The MGB and Fiat 124 Sport Spider are by far […]

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09 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe low-value British or Italian sports car that sits in rough condition in a yard or driveway for decades, then takes that sad final journey to the local U-Wrench-It— it’s been a staple of the American self-service wrecking yard landscape for what seems like forever. The MGB and Fiat 124 Sport Spider are by far the most common examples of this breed, followed by the TR7, Alfa Romeo Spider, and the Triumph Spitfire. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’65, this ’67, and this ’75, and now we’re getting right to the end of the Spitfire’s 19-year production run with today’s ’79.
06 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLike just about all junkyard convertibles, the interior of this one is pretty well roasted to oblivion by many years of outdoor storage.
07 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s possible that someone plucked this tube header before the car got crushed (I shot these photos last October in Northern Californai, which means this car is probably shredded metal bits in a shipping container in Shenzhen at this point), but there’s not much demand for smogged-up 1500s these days.
05 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThose horrible 5 mph crash bumpers! Even in this apparently rust-free condition, nobody was willing to rescue this forlorn British Leyland machine.

The emergency run to the hospital in a Spitfire seems like a risky proposition, but it worked out fine in the commercial.

From the land of British Racing Green.

For the man who has lived long and well, it offers a respite from boredom.

This ad offers a more accurate portrayal of real-world Spitfire driving on American highways.

Chicks dug it, though, especially after pulling .87 Gs on the skidpad.

British Leyland had something for everyone!

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Junkyard Find: 1972 International Harvester Scout II http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1972-international-harvester-scout-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1972-international-harvester-scout-ii/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862233 Here in Colorado, Scouts are all over the place, which means that Denver-area wrecking yards get a steady stream of worn-out or abandoned examples. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’73, and this ’74, and I’ve skipped over a bunch of totally-stripped Scouts that weren’t worth photographing. Today’s find […]

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01 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere in Colorado, Scouts are all over the place, which means that Denver-area wrecking yards get a steady stream of worn-out or abandoned examples. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’73, and this ’74, and I’ve skipped over a bunch of totally-stripped Scouts that weren’t worth photographing. Today’s find has donated a lot of parts to the local Scout ecosystem, but still intact enough to be of interest.
07 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe IHC V8 was a heavy, farm-equipment-grade brute. There’s probably some easy way to tell a 304 from a 345 at a glance, but I don’t know what it is.
08 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe smog sticker says it’s a 345, but owners of these trucks have always been notorious engine-swappers. Hey, why is there a California catalyst sticker on a ’72? This junkyard goes by VIN records when determining model year, so I suspect that some VIN-swapping magic was performed by a previous owner and we’re really looking at a late-70s Scout.
06 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIHC made a Rallye version of the Scout II, but this looks like a homegrown decal job.
09 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s not incredibly rusty, but there’s no reason to restore a truck like this when you can buy nicer runners for reasonable prices in Colorado.

Does everything a compact, big sedan, or station wagon can do!

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Ford LTD Brougham http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1976-ford-ltd-brougham/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1976-ford-ltd-brougham/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=861817 Just after I wrote that non-Country Squire Ford LTDs were rare Junkyard Finds (we’ve had three so far: this ’69, this ’71, and this ’72), I found this majestic yellow four-door hardtop in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard. As an added bonus, it’s a Brougham! We laugh at Malaise Era big Detroit cars […]

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07 - 1976 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
Just after I wrote that non-Country Squire Ford LTDs were rare Junkyard Finds (we’ve had three so far: this ’69, this ’71, and this ’72), I found this majestic yellow four-door hardtop in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard. As an added bonus, it’s a Brougham!


21 - 1976 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe laugh at Malaise Era big Detroit cars now, with their overwrought heraldic crests and laughably fake wood and leather, but I spent much of my childhood in cars like this and they actually seemed pretty nice at the time.
19 - 1976 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 351M V8 was big on torque, not so great for horsepower or fuel economy.
17 - 1976 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one got a lot of use over its 38-year lifespan.


There is no way in hell this generation of LTD managed to get 22 mpg on the highway, even with the not-so-strict tests of the time. It was comfortable, though.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Volvo 242 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1977-volvo-242/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1977-volvo-242/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857601 In California, Volvo 240s are going to the crusher in huge numbers as the traditional Volvo-buying demographic transitions to the Prius. This has been going on for at least a decade, and every wrecking yard in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas has at least ten 240s in stock these days. Here in Colorado, […]

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13 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn California, Volvo 240s are going to the crusher in huge numbers as the traditional Volvo-buying demographic transitions to the Prius. This has been going on for at least a decade, and every wrecking yard in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas has at least ten 240s in stock these days. Here in Colorado, the pace is slower but I still see a fair number of 240s (and 140s) in Denver-area yards. Today’s find is an early example of the breed, very straight and completely rust-free. Despite what fanatical 240 worshipers say, the 240 two-doors just aren’t valuable enough to be worth saving once they get a little tired.
10 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI once believed that these “Lambda Sond” emblems indicated the presence of a more powerful engine, ideally suited for bombing through logging roads above the Arctic Circle. Unfortunately, all this means is that there’s an oxygen-sensor-based feedback fuel-injection system in the car. Admittedly, this was unusual in 1977, but still not very exciting.
15 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBecause of American headlight regulations of the era, these hideous single-round-lamp abominations were installed in the first few model years of US-market 240s. By the late 1970s, these cars had better-looking quad-rectangle headlight rigs.
08 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhile the wiring in these cars sometimes crapped out, the good old B engines held together for decades.
03 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one even came with air conditioning, which was serious luxury for 1977 Volvo buyers.
20 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis must be one of the very first “My Kid Is An Honor Student” bumper stickers, judging from its condition.
02 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 240 Jihad is going to hate this: 56,518 miles on the clock! This car probably spent decades in storage before getting junked.
17 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe presence of keys means that it was most likely sold to the wrecking yard by an auction house that got the car as a trade-in or from an insurance company.
05 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ll bet factory AM/FM radios for these things are very rare, but not at all sought-after.

Here’s a nice collection of Volvo 240 ads from around the world.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford LTD Brougham Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1972-ford-ltd-brougham-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1972-ford-ltd-brougham-coupe/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=844394 We’ve had quite a few Ford LTD Country Squire Junkyard Finds, but just a couple of regular non-wagon LTDs. This ’71 LTD Brougham and this ’69 LTD were about it prior to today, and both of those cars were four-doors. Today we’ve got a big green LTD Brougham coupe, which I photographed in the San […]

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06 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe’ve had quite a few Ford LTD Country Squire Junkyard Finds, but just a couple of regular non-wagon LTDs. This ’71 LTD Brougham and this ’69 LTD were about it prior to today, and both of those cars were four-doors. Today we’ve got a big green LTD Brougham coupe, which I photographed in the San Francisco Bay Area back in March.
07 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSome junkyard customer had already grabbed the engine, but the air-cleaner lid indicates that this car had a 351 Cleveland or 351M engine. Power was down in 1972, partly due to new emission-control hardware and partly due to the switch from gross to net horsepower ratings.
03 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCar buyers in 1972 had a vast selection of Brougham models available. In the 21st century, we suffer from an acute brougham shortage.
12 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe seat upholstery is extremely Broughamic.
04 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI estimate that this clock ceased functioning in 1974.

Why buy the $9,000 car?

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Toyota Corolla Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1978-toyota-corolla-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1978-toyota-corolla-wagon/#comments Mon, 26 May 2014 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=830033 The third-gen Corolla was the car that made Toyota in the Unites States; you saw the occasional Corona or Celica and maybe a rare Crown once in a while before the mid-70s, but the 1974-79 Corolla was the first Toyota that sold in sufficient quantity to make the marque an everyday sight on American streets. […]

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20 - 1978 Toyota Corolla Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe third-gen Corolla was the car that made Toyota in the Unites States; you saw the occasional Corona or Celica and maybe a rare Crown once in a while before the mid-70s, but the 1974-79 Corolla was the first Toyota that sold in sufficient quantity to make the marque an everyday sight on American streets. These cars rusted fast east of the Rockies and— once they got to be 15 or so years old— weren’t worth fixing when they got ugly in the non-rusty parts of the country. That makes them fairly rare in junkyards today; in this series so far, we’ve seen this ’76 Corolla liftback and this ’74 Corolla two-door, and that’s about it prior to today’s find.
11 - 1978 Toyota Corolla Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMost cars don’t rust much in single-digit-humidity Colorado, but these cars were very eager oxidizers.
23 - 1978 Toyota Corolla Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe High Plains sun is hard on paint.
13 - 1978 Toyota Corolla Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 75-horse 2T-C engine was a sturdy, if noisy, pushrod unit.
15 - 1978 Toyota Corolla Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAir-conditioning was a rare option on these cars, because frugal buyers of gas-sippers didn’t mind a little sweat. I’ll bet it felt like someone pulling the parking brake when you activated the cold air in this car.
05 - 1978 Toyota Corolla Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis looks like an aftermarket setup.
03 - 1978 Toyota Corolla Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRear defrost! Rear wiper! Even most Country Squire owners didn’t get that stuff!

This ad was hitting Chrysler below the belt.

Didn’t Lee Iacocca use the “if you can find a better car, buy it” line a few years later?

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1972-ford-pinto-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1972-ford-pinto-wagon/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=825650 There was a time, say from about 1973 through 1983— a timespan that corresponds exactly with the Malaise Era— when the Ford Pinto was one of the most numerous cars on America’s roads. You saw way more Pintos than Vegas, Chevettes, Corollas, Civics, Omnis, just about any small car you can name. When I was […]

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08 - 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was a time, say from about 1973 through 1983— a timespan that corresponds exactly with the Malaise Era— when the Ford Pinto was one of the most numerous cars on America’s roads. You saw way more Pintos than Vegas, Chevettes, Corollas, Civics, Omnis, just about any small car you can name. When I was in high school, the Pinto was one of the cheapest first-car options available for wheels-hungry teenagers; you could get an ugly runner for a C-note, any day of the week. The Pinto wasn’t a good car, but it wasn’t intolerable by the (admittedly low) compact-car standards of its time. Then, rather suddenly, all the Pintos disappeared. The Crusher grew fat on Pinto flesh, then switched to Hyundai Excels. They’re rare finds in wrecking yards today, and we’ve seen just this ’74 hatchback in this series prior to today. During a recent trip to Northern California, I found this early Pinto wagon, short quite a few parts but still exuding its essential Pinto-ness.
11 - 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSome bottom-feeder East Bay car dealership hoped to sell this “perfect classic” for $1,499, but was not successful.
04 - 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMore than 20 years ago, I grabbed every early-70s Fasten Seat Belt light I could find, for an ambitious project that I’ll complete someday. I have many examples of this Ford version.
06 - 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe hood once had some sort of JC Whitney hood scoop, which was made quasi-functional by the rectangular hole.
05 - 1972 Ford Pinto Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s no telling what sort of connection went between the scoop and the carburetor, because everything above the engine block is long gone.

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The strength to climb the Rockies and the brakes to stop quickly on Los Angeles freeways.


From the Model T to the Pinto!


The little carefree car that could withstand a rank of giant fans placed at the roadside.


A few years later, Jackie Stewart boasted that the Pinto was faster than the Datsun B210, the Toyota Corolla, and the Honda Civic.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1978-alfa-romeo-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1978-alfa-romeo-spider/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=825178 While Fiat 124 Sport Spiders are commonplace in junkyards, the Alfa Romeo Spider has remained sufficiently valuable that few examples make it to the kind of self-service, high-inventory-turnover wrecking yards I frequent for this series. We’ve seen this ’74 and that’s it prior to today (though I have passed by a few junked Alfa Spiders […]

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11 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhile Fiat 124 Sport Spiders are commonplace in junkyards, the Alfa Romeo Spider has remained sufficiently valuable that few examples make it to the kind of self-service, high-inventory-turnover wrecking yards I frequent for this series. We’ve seen this ’74 and that’s it prior to today (though I have passed by a few junked Alfa Spiders that were picked clean before I got there). The Alfa Spider was more expensive than the Fiat Spider when new— in 1978, the Alfa listed at $9,195 (about the same as a new ’78 BMW 320i), while the Fiat cost a mere $6,495 (just a bit more than a Volkswagen Scirocco)— and American Alfa Romeo fanatics have always been more maniacally obsessed than Fiat fanatics. Here’s an unrusted, not-yet-completely-stripped ’78 that I found in a San Francisco Bay Area yard a couple months back.
02 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOutdoor storage with no top in Northern California, with its sunny summers and rainy winters, tends to be rough on car interiors, and not much was worth saving out of this Alfa.
03 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 111-horse, 1,962cc Twin Cam engine is still there.
08 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe giant 5-mph crash bumpers looked pretty ugly on small cars during the Malaise Era.
12 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSpica mechanical fuel injection! This system worked amazingly well given all the moving parts.
20140113_135806When I find a rear-wheel-drive Alfa Romeo with any good stuff on it, I always call my friend Conrad Stevenson to see if he needs anything. Conrad runs an amazing Alfa restoration shop in Berkeley, uses a ’58 Fiat 600 Multipla as his parts runner, and races a profoundly terrible (yet fast) Spica-equipped Spider in the 24 Hours of LeMons.
IMG950181Conrad burned rubber right over to this Oakland wrecking yard (in his ’64 Ford Ranchero, which he uses for hauling parts too big for the Multipla) and grabbed the rear end, the transmission, and a bunch of smaller goodies. The Alfa Mafia is strong in the Bay Area, and no doubt many of Conrad’s fellow capos swooped down on this car during the next few days and vultured it down to a bare shell.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Mazda RX-7 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1979-mazda-rx-7-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1979-mazda-rx-7-2/#comments Fri, 25 Apr 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=809562 First-gen RX-7s aren’t uncommon in wrecking yards in the western part of the country, as demonstrated by this ’79, this ’80 with incredibly of-its-time custom paint, and this fairly solid ’85. In fact, I don’t bother to photograph most of the examples I see. Today’s ’79, with its brown-and-beige tape stripes, seemed worthy of inclusion […]

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01 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFirst-gen RX-7s aren’t uncommon in wrecking yards in the western part of the country, as demonstrated by this ’79, this ’80 with incredibly of-its-time custom paint, and this fairly solid ’85. In fact, I don’t bother to photograph most of the examples I see. Today’s ’79, with its brown-and-beige tape stripes, seemed worthy of inclusion in the Junkyard Find series, though.
09 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s fairly complete, the body is straight, and there’s no rust.
06 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s difficult to get these cars through the California emissions test, though, even with the not-so-stringent requirements for the 1979 model year.
04 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLooks like the dash and the door panels have been pulled.
08 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPoor doomed RX-7.

The car you’ve been waiting for is waiting for you!

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