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. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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: 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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Junkyard Find: 1979 Ford Thunderbird http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1979-ford-thunderbird/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1979-ford-thunderbird/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=791097 10 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSajeev no doubt wept bitter tears when he saw the near-showroom-condition ’76 Continental Junkyard Find last week, and I’m going to keep those Malaise Era Ford tears flowing with another 1970s luxury FoMoCo product from the same California self-serve yard. This one isn’t quite as nice as the Lincoln, but just check out the metallic-green-and-white two-tone paint job!
07 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI could look up the horsepower numbers on the ’79 Thunderbird‘s 351M engine, but the figures would just make us all depressed. Let’s just say that this car had enough torque to get moving fairly well for its era (i.e., it would get smoked by a 3-cylinder Mirage today).
16 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis can’t possibly be a factory paint job, can it?
13 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOf course it has a landau vinyl roof!
04 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin85 MPH speedometer, according to 1979 regulations.
05 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe velour buckets are no longer as luxurious as they once were.


This ad for the similar ’77 Thunderbird shows the 85mph speedo in full effect, plus a very cocaineophile-looking driver. Radio comes as standard equipment!

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280ce/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280ce/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=784153 12 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne thing just about all the Mercedes-Benz W114s I find in self-service wrecking yards have in common is that they arrived at the yard in restorable condition. Little or no rust, interiors somewhat intact, mechanical parts mostly there. In this series, we’ve seen this ’73 280CE, this ’73 220, and this ’74 280C, and I’ve passed over dozens of ordinary W114 and W115 sedans in the last half-dozen years of junkyard prowling. What we’re seeing here is a combination of extreme longevity coupled with a rapid plummeting of value (in the eyes of those who covet these cars) once the cosmetic wear and tear build up. A 41-year-old Plymouth Satellite or Chevrolet Chevelle coupe in rust-free, reasonably complete shape would be worth a couple of grand and thus safe from that final tow-truck ride to the junkyard. The W114 coupe? Here’s another one, now resting in a California yard.
09 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe good news is that there are sufficient examples of these cars still on the street that many parts will be rescued before The Crusher’s cold steel jaws eat this car. Looks like someone has snared the bumpers, grille, headlight assemblies, and trim already.
02 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne difference between restoring this car and restoring that ’73 Satellite is the cost of rejuvenating the upholstery; with the Plymouth, you can buy brand-new seat skins and just about everything else with a few mouse clicks. With the Benz, fixing that leather won’t be anywhere near as affordable.
07 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis big, fuel-injected M130 six was pretty futuristic by 1973 standards.
06 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAir conditioning, of course.
03 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car listed at $9,994 new, which comes to just under 53 grand in 2014 bucks. How much was the much bigger and plusher ’73 Cadillac Coupe de Ville? $6,268. Of course, it probably didn’t take the Cad long to drink the price difference, given the effects of certain global political events at the time.

The W114 was quite a car, and it’s sad to see another rare coupe get eaten by the world’s demand for scrap metal.

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Audi Fox http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1975-audi-fox/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1975-audi-fox/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=783865 10 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo, this car isn’t this kind of Fox, though it is a sibling of the first Volkswagen Passat aka Dasher. The Fox was the name given to the Audi 80 for the United States market, and we can all be forgiven for not knowing this (as very few were sold). This completely used-up, not-so-quick brown Fox jumped over the lazy junkyard dog after a life spent almost entirely in the East Bay, and now it rests in a self-service wrecking yard about two miles from its owner’s longtime place of employment.
02 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI know this because of the thick stack of Oakland Airport North Ramp employee-parking permit stickers on the bumper.
03 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLooks like at least 30 stickers here, so we may be looking at a one-owner car.
17 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI thought I might pull this Motometer clock for my car clock collection, but it turned out to be a case full of broken gears. Sadness.
07 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior was completely cooked, which suggests that the car spent its entire life unprotected from the California sun.
09 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAccording to Audi tradition, the timing belt should be located where it’s the first thing to get crushed in a minor crash.
05 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOther than the usual California surface rust around the back window, this car is fairly solid in spite of all the bent metal.

I couldn’t find any US-market TV ads for the Fox, so we’ll go back to Germany.

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If The Big Lebowski Were Filmed Today, What Car Would The Dude Drive? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/if-the-big-lebowski-were-filmed-today-what-car-would-the-dude-drive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/if-the-big-lebowski-were-filmed-today-what-car-would-the-dude-drive/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=773897 Big_Lebowski_Torino_Crash-550pxBefore the Clint Eastwood film (but after the cheezoid TV show), the most well-known Ford Gran Torino in cinema history was the beater ’73 sedan driven by Jeff Bridges’ character in The Big Lebowski. This film, which took quite a while to go from box-office dud to sacred document of the Lebowski Jihad, was released in 1998 and was set in late 1990 or early 1991 (a period during which I was also in Southern California and living a fairly Dude-ish lifestyle myself). The choice of a ’73 Gran Torino by the Coen Brothers makes some interesting statements for those who obsess about movie cars, and Monday is always the best day to discuss such things.
Big_Lebowski_Torino_Impound-550pxLooking at 1990/1991 from the perspective of 1998, you’ve got a nasty recession being observed via dot-com boom-tinted glasses, the first one-sided ass-kicking dished out by the US military since Vietnam from the point of view of an ascendant hyperpower, and so forth. At the same time, the latter years of the 1990s saw cars that could knock of 200,000 miles becoming commonplace, with carburetors and mechanical ignition systems dead as global Marxism-Leninism. With all that in mind, The Dude’s car had to be something from the Malaise Era, for symbolic location along the Malaise-Gulf War-Hyperpower continuum as well as for the fact that unemployable Los Angeles loadies could be expected to drive 18-year-old midsize sedans.
Big_Lebowski_Torino_Brochure-550pxSo the question here is: What would be this car’s equivalent today? If you’re just going by straight model years, a 2014 movie set in 2006 with the protagonist driving an 18-year-old midsize Ford sedan would give us a 1988 Taurus… and it’s easy to picture the 2006 Dude clanking along in a hooptified first-gen Taurus.
10 - 1986 Hyundai Excel Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' GredenHowever, the runup in global commodities prices in the second half of the first decade of the century meant that larger cars were worth a fair amount at the scrapper, which means that even the ugliest Taurus floated a bit above the very bottom of the car-value barrel. That’s why I think that The Dude of 2006 would drive an early Hyundai Excel. What do you think?

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Junkyard Find: 1974 BMW 2002 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1974-bmw-2002/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1974-bmw-2002/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=765913 11 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI see a fair number of BMW 2002s during my trips to wrecking yards, but for some reason I’ve been hoarding the photos of the few that I photograph. We’ve seen this ’73, this ’73, and today’s ’74. I found this car in a Denver self-serve yard about four months back, which means it has been fed to The Crusher by now. Just as well— this car had some scary, Minnesota-grade rust.
02 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen you see this on the fenders, you know the important structural unibody components probably aren’t so safe.
06 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, this car was visiting Colorado state parks as recently as 2006.
05 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThanks to all the E21 320is in wrecking yards, there’s not much demand for used M10 engines. This one probably went to The Crusher along with the rest of the car.
01 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomeone had already grabbed the instrument cluster by the time I got to this car.
12 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of Bondo to be seen.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1976-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1976-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=753777 06 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo many Fiat 124 Sport Spiders get junked, and the process has been going on for my entire junkyard-prowling career. In the three years of this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’78, and this ’80, and we might as well add the 124′s little brother, this ’71 850 Sport Spider. I don’t even photograph every 124 Sport Spider I see, because they’re almost as common in wrecking yards as ’85 Camrys. Today’s ’76, however, holds the Junkyard Find record for Scariest California Beach Neighborhood Rust.
13 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCars that live within a block or two of the Pacific Ocean in Northern California (I found this car in one of my favorite East Bay yards during a recent drive around California in a new Mirage) often rust in a weird top-down pattern. For example, the truly frightening ’84 Toyota Van we saw last October. California cars with bad weatherstripping often rust inside the trunk, as water leaks in and sits for months during the long, rainy winters. This Fiat managed to rot from both types of California rust.
01 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow does this even happen?
17 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car comes from the era of separate emissions requirements for new cars sold in California.
10 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have quite a collection of these SLOW DOWN lights, which were used to warn of an overheating catalytic converter (presumably the CATALYST indicator light warned of some other cat problem). Ferrari 328s had them, too.
14 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDefinitely not worth restoring, but maybe someone will grab the Twin Cam engine for a nicer Fiat.
IMG_2237Given how cheap these cars are, we see surprisingly few 124 Sport Spiders in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I can think of a couple of Twin Cam-powered examples, and then there’s the Volkswagen TDI-powered Smokey Unit Fiat. This car is pretty quick, but its real advantage in endurance racing is its tremendous range on a tank of diesel.
19 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe last owner of this Fiat was against Proposition 86.

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Help Me Solve a 30-Year-Old Mystery: What Car Is Depicted In This Taqueria Painting? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/help-me-solve-a-30-year-old-mystery-what-car-is-depicted-in-this-taqueria-painting/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/help-me-solve-a-30-year-old-mystery-what-car-is-depicted-in-this-taqueria-painting/#comments Wed, 19 Feb 2014 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=748121 03 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne of the things I miss most about living in the San Francisco Bay Area— OK, maybe the thing I miss the most— is the proper Mission-style burrito. Here in Denver, the Midwestern-influenced salty/bland flavors, brown rice, and incorrect shape of the Chipotle-style burrito dominates, and so whenever I head back to Northern California to shoot some junkyard cars, I try to hit the taqueria that got me hooked on Mission-style Burritos in the first place: Ramiro & Sons Taqueria in my hometown of Alameda, California. Inside this place (whose burritos, good as they are, don’t quite measure up to what you’ll get in the actual Mission District about five miles due east and on the other side of the Bay; this place is my personal favorite), you’ll find a painting on the wall that’s been hanging there since 1984, and that painting depicts a yellow two-door hardtop of some sort parked in front. For 30 years now, I’ve puzzled over that painting, trying to figure out what kind of car I’m seeing.
01 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt looks like something from the heart of Malaise Detroit, no doubt with some air shocks in the back to give it the rake that was all the rage in early-80s Alameda. It appears that the artist is still around, but I thought it would be cheating to ask him. Instead, I’m asking you.
02 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack when I was shooting street-parked Alameda cars for the Down On the Street series at Jalopnik, I couldn’t help thinking of the Yellow Mystery Car when I shot this yellow 510 across the street from Ramirez & Sons.
1973 Pontiac Grand Am - Picture Courtesy of Old Car BrochuresMy strongest hunch has always been that we’re looking at a 1973-75 Pontiac Grand Am Colonnade with the blinds or louvers (or whatever you call those colonnade-y things on the rear quarter-windows) removed.
1977 Pontiac Grand Prix-  Picture Courtesy of Old Car BrochuresIt might be a mid-70s Pontiac Grand Prix.
1982 Ford Fairmont Futura- Picture Courtesy of Old Car BrochuresOr perhaps it’s a Fox Ford, say an ’82 Fairmont Futura?
Toyota Corona Coupe - Picture Courtesy of Bosozokustyle
Maybe it isn’t even an American car at all. The Toyota Corona RT132 Coupe wasn’t available in the United States, but perhaps a sailor at the Alameda Naval Air Station brought one over from Japan. All right, let’s solve this mystery— what is this car?

01 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 1973 Pontiac Grand Am - Picture Courtesy of Old Car Brochures 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix-  Picture Courtesy of Old Car Brochures 1982 Ford Fairmont Futura- Picture Courtesy of Old Car Brochures RamirezPainting1280px-3 ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1978 Toyota Celica GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1978-toyota-celica-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1978-toyota-celica-gt/#comments Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=742825 05 - 1978 Toyota Celica Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe first- and second-generation Toyota Celica was to my generation of freshly-minted California drivers (I got my license in 1982) what the early Ford Mustang was to those born a decade earlier: fairly inexpensive and sensible, but still sporty enough to make you feel cool. I drove a ’69 Corona four-door, possibly the uncoolest car a teenager could own at the time, which was to the Celica in 1982 as the six-cylinder Fairlane sedan was to the Mustang in 1972. These days, of course, all the rear-wheel-drive Celicas are considered worth having… unless they’re in rough condition, in which case they are worth little more than scrap value. Here’s an unrusty-but-still-battered ’78, done up in painfully-late-70s Crisis of Confidence Mustard Yellow, sitting in a Denver self-serve yard.
15 - 1978 Toyota Celica Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe very sturdy 2.2-liter 20R engine made good torque, as befitted an engine well-suited for hauling Hilux-driving, Soviet-fighting mujahideen over mountain passes. You couldn’t spin the R much, as many LeMons racers have discovered, but it would outlast the rest of a Celica.
11 - 1978 Toyota Celica Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen did the 5-speed become commonplace enough that it wasn’t worth bragging about via badging?
02 - 1978 Toyota Celica Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSpeaking of badging, can someone explain what these “CARPET” decals on the rear quarter windows mean?
01 - 1978 Toyota Celica Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior is pretty beat, but you can still make out the nothing-like-a-Corolla sportiness here.

Guys with huge Malaise mustaches and earthtone suits knew: ditch the Volaré, get a Celica!

A car that gives you your money’s worth.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 Ford Mustang Mach 1 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1974-ford-mustang-mach-1/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1974-ford-mustang-mach-1/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=727090 02 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAll right, Mustang II experts, I’m going to start right off by saying that this Pinto Mustang might not be a numbers-matching real Mach 1. Maybe it’s a FrankenMustang with what appears to be the correct collection of Mach 1 options. Either way, this fine Malaise Era machine— which I found at a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard a few weeks back— is a fascinating museum of the diminished automotive expectations faced by car shoppers in a grim period in American history.
20 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mach 1 for ’74 came with a mighty 105 horsepower. No, really.
11 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThanks to Ford’s European operations, a very compact 2.8 liter pushrod V6 was available for the Mustang II. If a Ford dealership also sold Mercury cars, Cologne-powered Capris could be found in the same showroom.
16 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car received a thick coat of what appears to be gray latex house paint, probably just before it took that final tow-truck ride to the Parking Lot of Automotive Doom.
06 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAutomatic transmission with factory tachometer! Yes, that’s a 5,000 RPM redline on an allegedly sporty V6.
09 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRemote passenger-side mirror!
07 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinTruly amazing vinyl-on-vinyl-on-pleather PetroPolstery™ seats!
05 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEither the original buyer of this car cheaped out and got the $61 AM radio instead of the $346 8-track player (that’s $1,634 in today’s dollars, for those of you who scream that your Bluetooth-enabled head unit cost too much), or this is an aftermarket Philco that replaced a stereo ripped off by Seconal-crazed junkie thieves in 1976.
14 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou’d never see a pre-1974 Mach 1 in one of these low-buck self-serve wrecking yards, because such a car would be snapped up at the auction for much more than the junkyard chain’s buyer would ever pay. Poor unloved Mustang II!

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Cadillac Coupe de Ville Custom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1975-cadillac-coupe-de-ville-custom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1975-cadillac-coupe-de-ville-custom/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=726730 09 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMy recent trip to Southern California resulted in a bonanza of Junkyard Finds, including the first-ever Junkyard Find Jensen Interceptor, this Maserati Biturbo Spyder, this hyper-rare Sterling 827 SLi fastback, this super-scary AM General ice cream truck, and this Corinthian Leather-equipped Chrysler Cordoba. Is that all? No, that is not all! Today we’re going to admire an amazingly luxurious customized Malaise Coupe de Ville.
04 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe problem with the factory version of this car was the lack of privacy in the back seat. Say you’re above all the lights in those high-rolling hills— do you want your romantic Cadillac activities to be visible to everyone?
14 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin500 cubic inches, 210 horsepower. That’s just barely 25 horses per liter.
07 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot that you really need a lot of horsepower with a sled like this. Sadly, the custom vinyl isn’t looking so good when you get up close.
15 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinScrap metal is just worth too much to keep a car like this away from The Crusher.
Here’s an ad that shows Cadillac’s push to be the least exclusive luxury marque. As we all know, that didn’t work out so well for The General.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Chrysler Cordoba http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1976-chrysler-cordoba/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1976-chrysler-cordoba/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 14:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=725114 08 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSo far in this series, I’ve had no luck finding Chrysler Cordobas from the first couple years of production. We’ve seen this ’78 (which provided me with a beautiful Corinthian Leather garage couch), this ’79, and this ’80 prior to today, and now we’ve got a genuine, Ricardo-approved 1976 Cordoba.
10 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinI spotted this car during my trip to Southern California two weeks ago. Rust-free California car, right?
11 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWell, sort of. The rainy winters in coastal California tend to keep the metal beneath vinyl tops moist, and cheap weatherstripping (i.e., just about all the weatherstripping used by Detroit during the Malaise Era) tends to let water into the trunk. So, on cars like this you’ll see pristine quarter-panels and nasty roofs.
16 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinCheck out the heraldry on the taillight lens. Such class!
17 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinHmmm… the other taillight doesn’t seem to match. Which one is correct for 1976?
05 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin318 or 360, you don’t want to know the horsepower numbers. Move along.
07 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWire wheels and Radial T/As!
02 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinFiat needs to bring back the opera light.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 AM General FJ-8A Ice Cream Truck http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1974-am-general-fj-8a-ice-cream-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1974-am-general-fj-8a-ice-cream-truck/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=706234 21 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWe see quite a few AM General DJ-5 mail Jeeps in this series, but what about all the big FJ-series mail trucks built by AMC with help from its Overland-Willys-Kaiser ancestry? For that, I had to venture to Southern California. Most of those 1970s FJ-8s seem to have become more or less sketchy ice cream trucks, and it’s hard to find a creepier Junkyard Find than a dead ice cream truck.
BoogieManIceCream-1280px-4The ice cream trucks that aren’t in the junkyard yet can also be pretty scary. Here’s the “Boogie Man Ice Cream” truck, which I spotted on San Leandro Street in East Oakland a few years back. For the full effect, you’ll need to download some authentic ice cream truck music files.
18 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s hard to beat this seat for simplicity.
05 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinJust a big steel box with an engine, a seat… and ptomaine.
14 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m sure this truck distributed many a stale Choco Taco in its day.
11 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe newest Long Beach food-vendor license seems to be 2005.
02 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAm I looking at this wrong, or is this AMC six installed backwards?

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Junkyard Find: 1971 Volvo 144 S http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1971-volvo-144-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1971-volvo-144-s/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=693177 23 -1971 Volvo 144 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWhile Volvo 240s continue to be crushed in alarming quantities, I also see quite a few Volvo 140s during my wrecking-yard trips. Prior to today, we’d seen this ’68 142, this ’69 145, this ’71 144 and this ’71 142, and now another non-rusty, solid-looking 140 is going to be eaten by The Crusher.
09 -1971 Volvo 144 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYears before American and Japanese car companies went to six-digit odometers, Volvo had enough optimism to go past 99,999 miles on theirs. This car averaged just over 3,000 miles per year during its life.
11 -1971 Volvo 144 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 140 was very advanced for its day, with four-wheel disc brakes as standard equipment.
14 -1971 Volvo 144 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSome might say that a pushrod engine with SU carburetors wasn’t so advanced, but the B18 got the job done.
03 -1971 Volvo 144 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe combination of a rear defroster and a manual choke is one you don’t see every day.
01 -1971 Volvo 144 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSometimes I miss my hooptie 144, but not quite enough to try to rescue a car like today’s Junkyard Find. Still, a 142 with 16-valve B230 engine might be fun.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Ford Fiesta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1978-ford-fiesta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1978-ford-fiesta/#comments Fri, 03 Jan 2014 14:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=691874 10 -1978 Ford Fiesta Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Ford Fiesta story is an interesting one, with this car being a huge gamble for Ford’s global operations back in the 1970s. This car was intended for the European market from day one, but a fair number of Mk1 Fiestas were sold the United States for the 1978 through 1981 model years (eventually, the Mazda-designed/Kia-built Ford Festiva filled the US-market Ford lineup spot vacated by the Fiesta. These cars have been rare to the point of near-extinction for decades now, being disposable cheapo commuters and all, but they do show up from time to time in self-serve wrecking yards. I found this ’78 Fiesta Sport in Denver a couple years back, and last month I spotted today’s find in Northern California.
IMG_9516We have a handful of semi-modified Mk1 Fiestas in the 24 Hours of LeMons, and they do pretty well on a road course.
01 -1978 Ford Fiesta Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars had interiors that were no-frills even by Malaise Era subcompact standards.
09 -1978 Ford Fiesta Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAmerican Fiestas got the 1.6 liter version of the Kent pushrod four, which made 66 horsepower.
05 -1978 Ford Fiesta Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has a Realistic AM/FM radio installed in whatever you call a glovebox with no lid.
15 -1978 Ford Fiesta Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinDo real aviators also drive Fiestas?


0 to 50 in just 8.8 seconds. The fact that they used a 0-50 standard speaks volumes about 1978.

No baby ever held the road better!

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