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. Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:22:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » 1970s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Custom, with Bonus 1993 Newspapers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1973-oldsmobile-delta-88-custom-bonus-1993-newspapers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1973-oldsmobile-delta-88-custom-bonus-1993-newspapers/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126729 The full-sized Olds 88 was around for decade after decade, and we’ve seen a few of them in this series so far. There was this ’67 Delta, this ’70 Delta, and this ’84 Delta Royale Brougham, and of course many of us remain fans of music devoted to the now-defunct marque. Here’s a ’73 Delta […]

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30 - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Down On the Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

The full-sized Olds 88 was around for decade after decade, and we’ve seen a few of them in this series so far. There was this ’67 Delta, this ’70 Delta, and this ’84 Delta Royale Brougham, and of course many of us remain fans of music devoted to the now-defunct marque. Here’s a ’73 Delta 88 Custom (whoops, it appears to be a ’70) that I photographed in a Denver self-service yard last winter.
44 - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Down On the Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

When you find old newspapers in a junkyard car, you can assume that they date from the period just before the car was parked and forgotten. In this case, I found a March 16, 1993 edition of Denver’s Rocky Mountain News (a paper just as defunct as Oldsmobile now, though the Rocky outlived Oldsmobile by five years). Look, trouble in North Korea!

39 - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Down On the Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

Just as we saw with the 1982 papers I found in the trunk of a ’65 Chevy and the 1970 papers I found in a ’60 Plymouth, the classified ads from 22 years ago show some pretty good deals on now-insanely-priced cars. How about a ’65 Porsche 356 in good condition for $9,500? That’s about $15,600 in inflation-adjusted 2015 dollars, plus the costs for 22 years of storage and maintenance add up quickly, but it would have been a good bet. The ’83 Renault Fuego Turbo for $1,000? Still worth about $1,000 now!

09 - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Down On the Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

All those hot summers and snowy winters haven’t been kind to the paint and metal on this car.

10 - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Down On the Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

Some good interior and trim bits were available here and there, though. This car has been eaten by the crusher by now, so it’s too late to mourn.

Delta 88, Delta 88 nightmare!

If you’re ripping apart a ’73 Delta 88 in search for microfilm (like Popeye Doyle looking for Marseilles heroin in a Lincoln), you’ll find that it’s a well-built car.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Ford Ranchero http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1979-ford-ranchero/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1979-ford-ranchero/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1103057 Ah, the Malaise Era! Engines making one horsepower per three cubic inches. Broughams, Landaus, and molded-in fake stitching on petroleum-distillate Simu-Vinyl™ upholstery. And, of course, a pseudo-pickup based on the Ford Thunderbird platform. 1977-79 Rancheros still show up in California wrecking yards now and then, and that’s where I saw this green-on-green-on-green-on-some-more-green ’79 last fall. […]

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08 - 1979 Ford Ranchero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Ah, the Malaise Era! Engines making one horsepower per three cubic inches. Broughams, Landaus, and molded-in fake stitching on petroleum-distillate Simu-Vinyl™ upholstery. And, of course, a pseudo-pickup based on the Ford Thunderbird platform. 1977-79 Rancheros still show up in California wrecking yards now and then, and that’s where I saw this green-on-green-on-green-on-some-more-green ’79 last fall.
02 - 1979 Ford Ranchero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

It’s hard to imagine a greener interior. We’ve seen this phenomenon before.

06 - 1979 Ford Ranchero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin351-cubic-inch V8 making 19 horsepower, or something like that. I don’t feel like looking up the exact number, because it will make me sad.
00 - 1979 Ford Ranchero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Still, this face has a certain appeal. I know it’s wrong, but I could see driving one of these every day (I blame Mr. Mehta for this sickness).

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Dodge Colt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-colt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-colt/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096361 We’ve seen plenty of front–wheel–drive Colts in this series, but (prior to today) the only example of the rear-wheel drive Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Colt Galant we’d seen was this lichen-covered ’72 wagon. On a recent trip to California, I spotted this coastal-rusty example of tape-striped Malaise Mitsubishi glory. Obviously, this car sat outdoors and neglected for […]

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23- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We’ve seen plenty of frontwheeldrive Colts in this series, but (prior to today) the only example of the rear-wheel drive Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Colt Galant we’d seen was this lichen-covered ’72 wagon. On a recent trip to California, I spotted this coastal-rusty example of tape-striped Malaise Mitsubishi glory.
17- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Obviously, this car sat outdoors and neglected for decades.

08- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The severity of the top-down rust indicates that it lived near the ocean, or maybe under a leaky tarp in a shaded Bay Area yard.

11- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Someone took the cylinder head off and said “To hell with it.”

01- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Still, you can always find something useful on a car like this. The instrument cluster would be useful for a Colt restorer.

18- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Ah, Malaise.


Hemi engine!


This appears to be the same car, down to the blue tape stripes. Look, adjustable steering column!

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Chevrolet Nova http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-nova/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-nova/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1085809 I see many Corolla-based, NUMMI-built Novas in my junkyard travels, but the earlier rear-wheel-drive X-body Nova has become a fairly rare sight in self-service wrecking yards during the last decade or so. Other than a handful of factory-performance versions, 1970s Novas were disposable, cheap transportation appliances, and so the ones that haven’t been crushed by […]

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06 - 1976 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I see many Corolla-based, NUMMI-built Novas in my junkyard travels, but the earlier rear-wheel-drive X-body Nova has become a fairly rare sight in self-service wrecking yards during the last decade or so. Other than a handful of factory-performance versions, 1970s Novas were disposable, cheap transportation appliances, and so the ones that haven’t been crushed by now tend to be nicely restored and/or drag racers. Still, I find a few; we’ve seen this ’77 two-door, this rare ’73 hatchback, this ’79 Oldsmobile Omega (one of GM’s many adventures in X-body badge engineering), and this ’78 Cadillac Seville Elegante (one of GM’s many adventures in Cadillac brand dilution) so far, and now we’ve got this ’76 in California.
05 - 1976 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I’ve owned one of these cars (a 250-powered two-door purchased for $100, or maybe it was $50), and it was a total hooptie that wasn’t much fun to drive but always ran. You can make them dangerously quick with a small-block Chevy equipped with cheapo bolt-on performance parts, of course.

01 - 1976 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one was called “CHEVY RYDER,” or maybe it was owned by someone who called himself by that name. I’m guessing that Mr. CHEVY RYDER now drives the BONE-MERO.

07 - 1976 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The engine is gone from this car, but we can assume that it had a badass hood scoop of some sort.

02 - 1976 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

It’s possible that CHEVY RYDER had a whole fleet of X-bodies and stripped the interior and powertrain out of this one before transplanting its parts into a nice one.


Apparently there is at least one of these cars in Israel.


The earlier version of the Nova was a much better automobile than O.J. Simpson.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood, Terrifying Ocean Rust Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1974-cadillac-fleetwood-terrifying-ocean-rust-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1974-cadillac-fleetwood-terrifying-ocean-rust-edition/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1086657 So many rusty Junkyard Finds lately! We had the Krusty Kressida earlier this week, and then a whole week of corroded Coloradans before that. Now we’re returning to San Francisco, where cars parked close to the ocean dissolve in strange top-down fashion thanks to the constant salt spray and chilly fog. I found this once-luxurious […]

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24 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

So many rusty Junkyard Finds lately! We had the Krusty Kressida earlier this week, and then a whole week of corroded Coloradans before that. Now we’re returning to San Francisco, where cars parked close to the ocean dissolve in strange top-down fashion thanks to the constant salt spray and chilly fog. I found this once-luxurious Fleetwood sedan in a Bay Area yard a few weeks ago.
22 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

472 cubic inches, 205 horsepower.

16 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The hood rained salty rust flakes for decades.

09 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The interior is still Whorehouse Red and doesn’t look as bad as the outside, but the mildew/seaweed smell is off-putting.

04 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I think losing most of a quarter-panel is a car’s way of telling you that its driving days are just about over.


This car is from the era when Cadillac was trumpeting sales figures rather than exclusivity. This didn’t work out so well in the long run.

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Junkyard Find: 1970 Ford Econoline Custom 200 Van http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1970-ford-econoline-custom-200-van/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1970-ford-econoline-custom-200-van/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082609 The second-generation Ford Econoline van abandoned the forward-control layout of its mid-engined predecessor and was a big sales success. I still see these vans in junkyards (in fact, I found one in Sweden last year), but I tend to photograph only the most hantavirus-laden campers, attractively weathered window vans, or Chlamydia-enhanced customs. I saw this […]

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12 - 1970 Ford Econoline Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The second-generation Ford Econoline van abandoned the forward-control layout of its mid-engined predecessor and was a big sales success. I still see these vans in junkyards (in fact, I found one in Sweden last year), but I tend to photograph only the most hantavirus-laden campers, attractively weathered window vans, or Chlamydia-enhanced customs. I saw this workhorse cargo Econoline (the technical term, coined by angry neighbors, for a featureless Detroit van with no windows is “Molester Van” or “Free Candy Van”) in a Denver yard recently, and it seemed like a good time to shoot this worn-out piece of van history.
19 - 1970 Ford Econoline Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

It appears that someone might have been living down by the river in this Econoline, based on the shag carpeting and insulation.

03 - 1970 Ford Econoline Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The driver’s door top hinge broke, was rewelded, and then broke again. This may have been the camel-back-breaking straw that sent this van to The Crusher.

24 - 1970 Ford Econoline Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I had no idea that Econolines came with the slide-out-step option, like my Dodge A100. These things are cool, but also a shin-bashing hassle.

25 - 1970 Ford Econoline Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Stickers with grenade logos are very popular these days. Anybody have an idea of what FS! stands for?


So much better than a forward-control van!

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1972-volkswagen-karmann-ghia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1972-volkswagen-karmann-ghia/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065402 After seeing this 1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 on Tuesday and this 1980 Volkswagen Dasher four-door hatchback on Thursday, it’s only fitting that we should wrap up this week’s Junkyard Finds with yet another old VW: a seldom-seen-in-self-serve-yards 1972 Karmann Ghia. Air-cooled VW Beetles show up in these high-inventory-turnover yards all the time, because 979 trillion […]

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After seeing this 1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 on Tuesday and this 1980 Volkswagen Dasher four-door hatchback on Thursday, it’s only fitting that we should wrap up this week’s Junkyard Finds with yet another old VW: a seldom-seen-in-self-serve-yards 1972 Karmann Ghia.
DOTJ-KGhiaGreen-4

Air-cooled VW Beetles show up in these high-inventory-turnover yards all the time, because 979 trillion of them were built and they tend to linger under tarps in yards for decades before finally getting junked, and I don’t bother photographing them (except for this ’73 Super Beetle). It’s not that I hate Beetles (I’ve owned a few), but I don’t think they’re of sufficient interest to shoot in the junkyard. A Squareback or Transporter, maybe, and a screaming green Karmann Ghia will make me take out the camera most of the time.
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This one is just about completely picked clean, which seems a shame because the body is so non-rusty by Volkswagen standards (i.e., there are some areas with no rust). I shot this car in Denver, which isn’t a very rusty place, but air-cooled VWs manage to rust in places like Albuquerque and the Atacama Desert.

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In stock form, the Karmann Ghia was slow even by the standards of its time; such underpowered sports cars as the MGB and Fiat 124 Sport Spider took on a distinct reddish color from the point of view of a Karmann Ghia driver, due to Doppler redshift effects, as they pulled away in a drag race.

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Look, a Beetle in the very next row!


Volkswagen’s marketers didn’t try to hide their sports car’s somewhat limited power (60 horses in 1972) in their TV commercials.


The lack of a back seat was also presented as a plus.


Elsewhere in the world, however, the car’s alleged performance got more prominence in TV ads.

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Junkyard Find: 1971 International Harvester 1200D Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1971-international-harvester-1200d-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1971-international-harvester-1200d-pickup/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1054353 I find quite a few International Harvesters in junkyards, mostly because I live in Colorado and the IHC Scout makes sense here. IHC pickups, though, aren’t as easy to find. We’ve seen this ’62 Travelette, this ’72, and this pickup-related ’71 Travelall in this series, and now I’ve found this well-used ’71 pickup in a […]

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12 - 1971 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I find quite a few International Harvesters in junkyards, mostly because I live in Colorado and the IHC Scout makes sense here. IHC pickups, though, aren’t as easy to find. We’ve seen this ’62 Travelette, this ’72, and this pickup-related ’71 Travelall in this series, and now I’ve found this well-used ’71 pickup in a San Francisco Bay Area yard.
03 - 1971 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I’m not sufficiently tuned in to the International Harvester world to be able to tell a 304 from a 345 V8 at a glance.

01 - 1971 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Looks like this truck made a trip to Garberville, hundreds of miles to the north of this yard, before something broke and it took that last tow-truck ride.

02 - 1971 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

As long as a truck can still carry a load, it’s worth something. When it’s 44 years old and a type that doesn’t have a huge following, though… well, The Crusher awaits when it needs a major repair.

Apparently, IHC didn’t consider Dodge trucks as real competition back then.

No IHC ads here, but you can get a sense of just how long ago this truck rolled off the assembly line. 45 years of work for this machine.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-monte-carlo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-monte-carlo/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041017 Examples of the rear-wheel-drive Chevy Monte Carlo have held their value pretty well, especially the A-body-based 1970-1977 ones. Even a fairly rough one can be worth restoring, particularly in Southern California, and so I don’t see many of these cars during my travels to the wrecking yards of the Golden State. Here’s a very rough […]

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08 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinExamples of the rear-wheel-drive Chevy Monte Carlo have held their value pretty well, especially the A-body-based 1970-1977 ones. Even a fairly rough one can be worth restoring, particularly in Southern California, and so I don’t see many of these cars during my travels to the wrecking yards of the Golden State. Here’s a very rough ’76 that I spotted in Los Angeles while visiting Cheech & Chong movie locations in a ’15 Ford Transit van.
12 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinGood things never happen when you scrape off a vinyl top and then drive the car that way.
09 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars make excellent lowriders, but to get this car into proper condition for nice paint and interior would have cost about three times the value of the finished result.
04 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m not sure what the junkyard symbolism of the ace of clubs could be.

Endorsed by this Canadian yacht designer.

Yes, Canadians were crazy about the Malaise Monte.

Makes you look rich!

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280c-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280c-2/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023561 There’s a lot of talk going around about how every restorable example of the Mercedes-Benz W114 coupe is worth plenty these days. Five grand? Ten grand? The junkyard tells me that the real-world prices for these cars in non-perfect condition is still quite low, because I see them regularly. Here’s a solid, fairly complete ’73 […]

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15 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s a lot of talk going around about how every restorable example of the Mercedes-Benz W114 coupe is worth plenty these days. Five grand? Ten grand? The junkyard tells me that the real-world prices for these cars in non-perfect condition is still quite low, because I see them regularly. Here’s a solid, fairly complete ’73 without a speck of rust that I saw in a Northern California junkyard a few weeks ago, and this car comes on the heels of this ’71 250C, this ’73 280CE, this ’74 280C, and a bunch of W114 sedans that I haven’t even bothered to photograph. I’m sure that the cost to restore one of these things is just breathtaking, which is why those in the know rarely take on such projects.
12 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn their time, these cars made just about every conceivable competitor look like a shoddily-built, frivolous rattletrap, built for idiots who didn’t understand the value of a Deutsche Mark.
04 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow’s this for dignified air-conditioning controls?
10 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car listed at $11,530 new, which was about 61 grand in 2015 bucks. Meanwhile, the much bigger, cushier, more powerful 1973 Lincoln Mark IV cost just $8,694 (just for fun, how about a brand-new Citroën SM— about the least sensible car you could buy in 1973, yet also the most beautiful— for $13,350?), while the Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado— with five hundred cubic inches under the hood, no less— could be purchased for $7,360.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Plymouth Duster http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1972-plymouth-duster/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1972-plymouth-duster/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1022833 Compared to the stodgy-and-sensible Valiant on which it was based, the Plymouth Duster was pretty sporty and sold well to coupe shoppers who wanted a cheap car that could handle indifferent maintenance and bad road conditions (the Zaporozhets not being available in the United States). These things were amazingly reliable for the era, when not […]

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14 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCompared to the stodgy-and-sensible Valiant on which it was based, the Plymouth Duster was pretty sporty and sold well to coupe shoppers who wanted a cheap car that could handle indifferent maintenance and bad road conditions (the Zaporozhets not being available in the United States). These things were amazingly reliable for the era, when not so many cars made it to 100,000 miles, but most were discarded like empty pull-tab Burgie cans during the 1980s. The Duster survivors today tend to be lovingly restored trailer queens. That makes the 1970-76 Duster a rare Junkyard Find, so I broke out the camera immediately when I saw this ’72 in a Northern California wrecking yard.
13 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, you could still buy a Detroit car with four-wheel drum brakes as late as 1972. If you don’t like it, buddy, you can just move to Sweden!
07 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou don’t see many Slant-6 Chrysler A-bodies with air conditioning.
18 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI considered buying the A/C control panel, figuring that it’s probably worth something. Then I came to my senses.
05 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinUnlike rolling stones, cars that sit outdoors in the shade in Northern California tend to gather moss.
17 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack when it used to rain during the winter in this region, outdoor-stored cars would rust in areas in which water pooled.

For $73.95 more than the Chevy Vega, you could get the Duster with 15 more horsepower and whitewall tires!

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Volvo 145 Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-volvo-145-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-volvo-145-station-wagon/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 14:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1014482 If you listen to those who claim to love the Volvo 140, every example of the breed is extremely valuable and must be saved… and yet there’s a greater disparity between the Talking The Talk Quotient (TTTQ) and the Walking The Walk Quotient (WTWQ) seen among self-proclaimed Volvo fanatics than found among aficionados of any […]

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15 - 1973 Volvo 145 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf you listen to those who claim to love the Volvo 140, every example of the breed is extremely valuable and must be saved… and yet there’s a greater disparity between the Talking The Talk Quotient (TTTQ) and the Walking The Walk Quotient (WTWQ) seen among self-proclaimed Volvo fanatics than found among aficionados of any other marque. Yes, the TTTQ:WTWQ value approaches something like 100:1 when it comes to the poor old Volvo 140, a car whose basic design lived on well into the 1990s (in the form of the 140-descendent 240), and so almost none of these cars get rescued when they get down-at-the-heels (and the same goes for 240s). Here’s a San Francisco Bay Area 145 that shows signs of being well-cared-for during its first 15 years and then forgotten in a side yard for the following quarter-century.
18 - 1973 Volvo 145 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn this series so far, we’ve seen quite a few 140s, including this ’68 142, this ’69 145, this ’71 144, and this ’71 142. (plus there’s this bonus 164, which was based on the 140).
07 - 1973 Volvo 145 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car was full of registration receipts, smog-check certificates, and other stuff dating from the middle 1970s to the late 1980s. I didn’t find anything newer than that, so odds are that the car broke and then sat outdoors for decades.
01 - 1973 Volvo 145 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt appears that the car’s owner did a lot of camping and outdoor-type activities. Most of the maps date from the late 1960s and early 1970s.
14 - 1973 Volvo 145 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNow that’s what your organized Volvo owner does!
29 - 1973 Volvo 145 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou need to know what the weather is like when you’re heading to Mt. Lassen, and so you need this Radio Shack weather-band radio that transmits through the car’s AM radio.
19 - 1973 Volvo 145 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFour-wheel disc brakes were extremely rare on US-market vehicles when the first 140s appeared for the 1967 model year, and even front disc brakes weren’t universal as late as the early 1970s.
26 - 1973 Volvo 145 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlanning makes your camping trip go better!
StreetViewI thought I’d removed all the identifying stuff in the photos, but couple of readers were able to figure out the car’s former address (from a photograph of registration paperwork that I’d missed) and find it on Google Street View. I’ve removed that photograph (don’t want enraged Volvo fanatics tracking down the former owner), but have now added a photo of the car before it got towed away— MM.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford LTD II Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1977-ford-ltd-ii-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1977-ford-ltd-ii-station-wagon/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992610 In one of those confusing branding moves that’s up there with the baffling Toyota Corolla Tercel, Ford decided to name a Torino-based midsize car the LTD II while keeping the regular full-sized LTD. This went on for the 1977 and 1978 model years, and then for 1979 the “big” LTD went to the Panther platform […]

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08 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn one of those confusing branding moves that’s up there with the baffling Toyota Corolla Tercel, Ford decided to name a Torino-based midsize car the LTD II while keeping the regular full-sized LTD. This went on for the 1977 and 1978 model years, and then for 1979 the “big” LTD went to the Panther platform and sold alongside LTD IIs for that year. Why? Well, that’s like asking why Henry Ford II refused Soichiro Honda’s offer of cheap CVCC engines for the Fiesta a few years before! Anyway, here’s an extremely green first-year LTD II wagon (not a Country Squire, which was based on the larger “regular” LTD) that I spotted in Northern California a couple weeks back.
03 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDo you like green interiors, and by that I mean large expanses of petrochemical-residue-exhaling I Can Totally Believe It’s Not Leather™ vinyl that still looks good and vivid after nearly 40 years of California sun?
02 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car has you covered! This car’s seats would make nice garage couches.
13 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFord sent out 23 million of these recall-evading stickers, thanks to the generosity of Ronald Reagan, and thus didn’t go bankrupt in the early 1980s. Most owners didn’t apply them, but this car’s circa-1982 owner did.
04 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe engine compartment had a bit of a fire problem.
19 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe can assume this car was earning its keep until the day of the fire.

Ford didn’t hesitate to pitch the big LTD as more car for the money. Look, bigger than a Cadillac, yet cheaper!

As for the LTD II: if you’re a sporty guy with a sporty mustache, the “trimmer” LTD II is for you!

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1972-plymouth-valiant-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1972-plymouth-valiant-sedan/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=990106 There was a time when the late-60s/early-70s Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant sedan was the generic automobile in the United States, possibly the most invisible car on American roads. Swimming-pool blue and this queasy shade of green were the most common colors, and the cars were so cheap to maintain that they survived in everyday use much […]

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12 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was a time when the late-60s/early-70s Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant sedan was the generic automobile in the United States, possibly the most invisible car on American roads. Swimming-pool blue and this queasy shade of green were the most common colors, and the cars were so cheap to maintain that they survived in everyday use much longer than most of their peers. You don’t see the old A-bodies so much these days, but enough remain that they continue to show up in big self-service wrecking yards. Here’s one that I saw in Northern California last week.
11 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo 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, this ’75 Dart, and now today’s ’72 Valiant. Slant-6 engine, like most of them.
02 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of indicators that this Valiant’s last owner was a young guy.
05 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack in the early 1970s, AM radio offered some decent music, but now it’s tough to find much other than right-wing talk radio and religious sermons in Cantonese.
04 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFrom what I can tell, Driven Blackout is the Advance Auto house brand of car air-freshener.
14 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis Valiant was on pace to hit 500,000 miles when this happened.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 International Harvester Scout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1974-international-harvester-scout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1974-international-harvester-scout/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989282 With so many IHC Scouts here in Colorado, many of them wear out, rust out, get crashed, or get replaced by trucks with modern conveniences such as sub-100dB interior noise levels and air conditioning. In this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’72, this ’73, and this ’74, and now today’s well-used ’74. […]

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18 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith so many IHC Scouts here in Colorado, many of them wear out, rust out, get crashed, or get replaced by trucks with modern conveniences such as sub-100dB interior noise levels and air conditioning. In this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’72, this ’73, and this ’74, and now today’s well-used ’74. I saw this truck when I went to a Denver yard to celebrate Half Off Everything Day on the first day of the new year.
11 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf this is the original engine, it’s an AMC 258-cubic-inch straight-six. Given how Scout owners tend to mix-and-match engines, though, this could be just about any AMC six.
20 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s rust. Oh yes, plenty of rust.
04 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne good thing about trucks of this era is that there wasn’t much soft material in the interior to smell bad. Still, this Scout’s final owner decided that the truck needed That New Car Smell.
06 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinComplicated heater controls aren’t needed— just good old cable-operated levers.
08 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinScout production made it into the 1980s, just barely.
22 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne of my accomplices at the Half Off Sale party grabbed the grille for hanging on his living-room wall. Only $12!

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Fiat X1/9 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19-3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19-3/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982969 The Fiat X1/9, like the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, is one of those old European cars that hasn’t held its value so well, which means you’ll see plenty of them in the sort of self-service wrecking yards that I frequent. We’ve seen this ’78, this ’78, this ’80 and this ’86 so far in this […]

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07 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe Fiat X1/9, like the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, is one of those old European cars that hasn’t held its value so well, which means you’ll see plenty of them in the sort of self-service wrecking yards that I frequent. We’ve seen this ’78, this ’78, this ’80 and this ’86 so far in this series, and now I’ve got another ’78 to show you.
05 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinBertone did the design on these things, and Malcolm Bricklin kept bringing Bertone-badged X1/9s in after Fiat retreated from the United States market.
01 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe running gear was Fiat 128 stuff, swapped from the front of the 128 to just behind the driver in the X1/9. Power wasn’t much, but the car was quite agile.
02 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThis one will go to The Crusher with the steering wheel lock still in place.

The incomparable, dynamic Fiat X1/9!

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1977-ford-maverick-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1977-ford-maverick-sedan/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973001 You just don’t see Ford Mavericks and their Mercury Comet brethren on the street these days; they haven’t picked up a huge amount of collector interest and their place at the bottom of the just-above-scrap-value beater-car food chain has been replaced by the early Ford Taurus. For some reason, though, a steady trickle of Mavericks […]

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06 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinYou just don’t see Ford Mavericks and their Mercury Comet brethren on the street these days; they haven’t picked up a huge amount of collector interest and their place at the bottom of the just-above-scrap-value beater-car food chain has been replaced by the early Ford Taurus. For some reason, though, a steady trickle of Mavericks and Comets shows up in California wrecking yards. My guess, based on the 1980s and 1990s detritus I find in some of them, is that they spent a decade or three forgotten in a back yard or driveway before being sold to U-Wrench-It. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’75 Maverick two-door, this ’75 Comet sedan, this ’77 Comet sedan, and now today’s ’77 Maverick sedan. Let’s examine this Malaise Mainstay more closely.
03 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinBack in the early 1980s, the owner of this car was willing to put the sticker that saved Ford from the biggest recall in automotive-industry history on his dash. Most of the 23 million owners of the affected vehicles opted not to uglify their dashes with these “Park-To-Reverse” stickers.
14 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI’m not sure what an Oregon Free Ride sticker was for, but I’m guessing that neither ass, nor grass, nor ass is involved.
07 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI couldn’t get the hood to open, but there’s about a 99.999% chance that what’s underneath is not interesting. Probably a 7-horsepower 200 L6 or a 9-horsepower 302 V8, yawn (cue enraged emails from the Maverick Jihad™, letting me know that the 200 made 96 hp and the 302 made 130 hp).
05 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinStill one hubcap left!

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Dodge Aspen Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-dodge-aspen-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-dodge-aspen-station-wagon/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=968594 Commonplace as the Dodge Aspen was during the Middle and Late Malaise Era— you saw them on American roads in 1980 or so about as often as you’d see, say, Hyundai Accents today. The Aspen (and its Plymouth sibling, the Volaré) didn’t hold their value so well, and nearly all of them were crushed by […]

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13 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCommonplace as the Dodge Aspen was during the Middle and Late Malaise Era— you saw them on American roads in 1980 or so about as often as you’d see, say, Hyundai Accents today. The Aspen (and its Plymouth sibling, the Volaré) didn’t hold their value so well, and nearly all of them were crushed by the early 1990s. I photograph them whenever I see them, of course, but that isn’t often. In this series before today, we’ve seen this ’76 Aspen sedan, this ’76 Volaré sedan, this brown-on-beige ’77 Volaré coupe and this ’77 Volaré Premier wagon, and now we’ve got a mossy, lichen-covered Northern California Aspen wagon.
07 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe winters in the San Francisco Bay Area are cold and wet, and a car that spends a few years (or maybe a couple of decades) parked in shade will gather moss.
20 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAnd, much like cars that spend years in the birch forests of northern Sweden, this car has provided a home for lichens.
10 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThink the 318 under the hood is still good? Probably so, but these engines get few takers these days.
06 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSuch an expanse of brown vinyl!

Better than a Nova? That’s a tough call.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Pontiac Sunbird http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-pontiac-sunbird/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-pontiac-sunbird/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=964802 The story of the Chevrolet Monza and its badge-engineered Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac siblings goes much like the tale of its ancestor and platform-mate, the Vega: many sold, almost none made it to age 15. I hadn’t seen an H-body Monza, Starfire, Skyhawk or Sunbird in a self-service wrecking yard for at least five years […]

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08 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe story of the Chevrolet Monza and its badge-engineered Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac siblings goes much like the tale of its ancestor and platform-mate, the Vega: many sold, almost none made it to age 15. I hadn’t seen an H-body Monza, Starfire, Skyhawk or Sunbird in a self-service wrecking yard for at least five years when I spotted this one near me in Denver.
04 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPontiac later applied the Sunbird name to the J-body-based front-drivers it built in the 1980s and 1990s.
11 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou still see members of the Monza family at race tracks, because V8s bolt in and they’re pretty aerodynamic for their time.
06 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has been picked over in a big way.
02 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA friend in high school had a ’76 Skyhawk that suffered a door striker rust failure and had to be welded, just as this one did. That was in California, in a 7-year-old car. I shudder to think of the rust that afflicted these cars in places like Michigan and New Hampshire.
03 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAnybody need a genuine Delco AM radio?

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Cadillac Sixty Special Fleetwood Brougham http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1976-cadillac-sixty-special-fleetwood-brougham/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1976-cadillac-sixty-special-fleetwood-brougham/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957130 Once the price of crude oil quadrupled in 1973, even your Cadillac-buying demographic felt some pain when contemplating the thirst of a Fleetwood. Still, the biggest Cadillac (not intended for chauffeur operation) projected the sort of majesty that rich (if elderly) car shoppers sought during the Middle Malaise Era. I spotted this battered example of […]

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12 - 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOnce the price of crude oil quadrupled in 1973, even your Cadillac-buying demographic felt some pain when contemplating the thirst of a Fleetwood. Still, the biggest Cadillac (not intended for chauffeur operation) projected the sort of majesty that rich (if elderly) car shoppers sought during the Middle Malaise Era. I spotted this battered example of the breed yesterday in Northern California.
10 - 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhile the quarter-panels, floors, and fenders are rust-free, the areas of the hood where rainwater (or maybe ocean spray, if the car lived within a couple of blocks of the Pacific) collected picked up some rot.
06 - 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFisher and Fleetwood, working together.
01 - 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car would have been perfect for Spec Land Yacht racing.
09 - 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin500 cubic inches, 190 horsepower. Let’s not dwell on that.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Buick Skylark Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-buick-skylark-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-buick-skylark-sedan/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=953433 After seeing this ’72 Ford Econoline one-ton camper van on Tuesday and this ’72 Mercury Monterey coupe on Monday, how about another 1972 Junkyard Find? Here’s a ’72 Buick Skylark that I shot in a Denver yard, all the way back in 2010; I’d been saving these photos until I could come up with a […]

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DOTJ-72Skylark-03After seeing this ’72 Ford Econoline one-ton camper van on Tuesday and this ’72 Mercury Monterey coupe on Monday, how about another 1972 Junkyard Find? Here’s a ’72 Buick Skylark that I shot in a Denver yard, all the way back in 2010; I’d been saving these photos until I could come up with a whole week’s worth of GM A-body cars, but the A-bodies have become so valuable (and thus rare in cheap self-serve wrecking yards) that I’ve run out of patience. Welcome back to 1972 Junkyard Week™!
DOTJ-72Skylark-11Actually, I shot these photos immediately after moving to Denver to marry my long-distance girlfriend. Hey, that reminds me of a family legend I hear every time I’m around my in-laws, about the time my future wife, at age six, got carsick and barfed all over the interior of the brand-new ’71 Skylark coupe her father had just bought the day before (in her defense, she’d warned the grown-ups that she wasn’t feeling so good). So much for That New Car Smell!
DOTJ-72Skylark-02The Buick 350 was completely unrelated to the Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac 350s, but GM ensured many decades of parts-counter confusion by giving them all the same nominal displacement number and doing plenty of mix-and-match engine roulette later in the 1970s. The Buick and Olds 350s were the best for convenience-store-parking-lot burnouts, in my opinion.
DOTJ-72Skylark-07Yes, I bought this dealer emblem. I sent it to a Swedish lover of old Detroit cars (along with a few license plates) for garage decor a couple of months back.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford Econoline 300 Camper Van http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-ford-econoline-300-camper-van/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-ford-econoline-300-camper-van/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 14:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=953217 After yesterday’s 1972 Mercury Junkyard Find, it makes sense— in some circles— to stick with model-year 1972 vehicles this week. With that in mind, here’s a very biohazardous second-gen Ford Econoline that I braved without benefit of a space suit. I’m pretty sure I didn’t catch hantavirus, scabies, or dioxin poisoning, but it’s still too […]

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24 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAfter yesterday’s 1972 Mercury Junkyard Find, it makes sense— in some circles— to stick with model-year 1972 vehicles this week. With that in mind, here’s a very biohazardous second-gen Ford Econoline that I braved without benefit of a space suit. I’m pretty sure I didn’t catch hantavirus, scabies, or dioxin poisoning, but it’s still too early to know for sure.
22 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the big, industrial-strength one-ton version of the early front-engined Econoline.
19 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBuilt in Long Beach by the now-long-defunct (as far as I know) Sierra Vans.
11 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 1998 newspapers indicate a van that sat for quite a while.
07 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHowever, the 2005 calendar on the stove might mean more recent habitation. Perhaps the newspapers were serving as insulation. It’s a shame to see a perfectly good propane stove go to waste— a little scrubbing and it will be 19% less disgusting than it is now!
10 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRVs in junkyards manage to combine lots of sharp edges with the smell of human feces. Yucko! Since this is in California, chances are that dozens of black widows (and maybe a rattlesnake or two) await as well. Normally I’d stay far away from this thing, but journalists have to face danger now and then.
15 - 1972 Ford Econoline Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn 1980, Ford stuck millions of these decals on the dashes of automatic-transmission-equipped vehicles, in hopes of warding off future lawsuits in the infamous “park-to-reverse” fiasco. If they’d been made to recall all the affected vehicles, it would have involved at least 23 million cars and trucks.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Mercury Monterey Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-mercury-monterey-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1972-mercury-monterey-coupe/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=953081 After seeing this ’72 Ford LTD Brougham coupe a few months back, it seems fitting that I’ve spotted the Mercury sibling to that car at the very same San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard. The images of this rust-free 42-year-old big Ford coupe should result in bitter tears flowing from Sajeev’s eyes, not to […]

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08 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAfter seeing this ’72 Ford LTD Brougham coupe a few months back, it seems fitting that I’ve spotted the Mercury sibling to that car at the very same San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard. The images of this rust-free 42-year-old big Ford coupe should result in bitter tears flowing from Sajeev’s eyes, not to mention much wailing and gnashing of teeth among Rust Belt Ford lovers who haven’t seen such an unoxidized Mercury since the start of the Ethio-Somali War. Here we go!
10 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinActually, this car isn’t quite as cherry as it looked at first glance, despite the straight bumpers and not-particularly-bashed bodywork.
06 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat’s due to the engine fire that ruined the underhood area and much of the dash.
12 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, compared to replacing rusted-out quarter-panels and floors, how hard could it be to fix this damage?
01 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin50 years in AAA! It’s a safe assumption that the original owner of this car drove it until it caught on fire.
05 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhy buy one of these instead of a same-year LTD? You got much more rococo with the Mercury!
14 - 1972 Mercury Monterey Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLet’s hope that someone salvages those nice bumpers, grille, and taillights before The Crusher eats this car.

W.C. Fields was a popular counterculture figure of the late 1960s/early 1970s era, for reasons that probably made sense at the time.

I’ll bet the original owner of this car was a fan of the “Road Hogs” sequence of If I Had a Million.

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Volkswagen LT 28 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1973-volkswagen-lt-28/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1973-volkswagen-lt-28/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950569 As far as I know, the Volkswagen LT van was never sold new in the United States, and this is the first one I’ve ever seen in an American wrecking yard. At first glance, I assumed it was some sort of Grumman or specialty body on a Big Three chassis. But as soon as I […]

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18 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs far as I know, the Volkswagen LT van was never sold new in the United States, and this is the first one I’ve ever seen in an American wrecking yard. At first glance, I assumed it was some sort of Grumman or specialty body on a Big Three chassis.
09 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut as soon as I saw this VW/Audi four-cylinder in the front, I knew I was looking at something German (and incredibly, dangerously slow).
06 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt makes sense that someone in the San Francisco Bay Area would want to drive a European-market box truck, and it has the stickers to suit that image.
10 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLooks like a very useful vehicle for urban deliveries, though extended highway drives must have been pretty miserable with double-digit horsepower moving this big box.
15 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of cargo space.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Chevrolet Nova Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1977-chevrolet-nova-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1977-chevrolet-nova-coupe/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:30:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950249 The fourth-generation Chevrolet Nova sold in huge numbers, wasn’t a bad car by the standards of its time, and stayed on the street in significant quantities well into the 1990s. However, the Malaise Era Nova just never gathered much of an enthusiast following compared to its predecessors— if you want to restore a Nova these […]

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12 - 1977 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe fourth-generation Chevrolet Nova sold in huge numbers, wasn’t a bad car by the standards of its time, and stayed on the street in significant quantities well into the 1990s. However, the Malaise Era Nova just never gathered much of an enthusiast following compared to its predecessors— if you want to restore a Nova these days, you’ll get a ’64 or ’70, not a ’78— so the few remaining survivors go right to the scrapper when they die. Here’s a very worn-out example that I saw in California last week.

I’m quite familiar with this generation of Nova, having owned a $50 beater as an extra car in the early 1990s.
07 - 1977 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMine had the 250-cubic-inch L6, just like this one. It was slow and plasticky and the ride was nowhere near luxurious, but it worked every time I wanted it to.
19 - 1977 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one had factory air conditioning. Turning on the AC on the highway probably felt similar to hitting the parking brake.
03 - 1977 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomeone grabbed the interior, perhaps for a Seville.

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