Tag: 1974

By on March 6, 2014

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. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2014

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. (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2014

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. (Read More…)

By on November 1, 2013

09 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe air-cooled Volkswagen was so rust-prone that it managed to get serious cancer in the normally rust-free San Francisco Bay Area, but quite a few have managed to hang on to life in that region. This last-year-of-production Karmann Ghia coupe showed up at the same Oakland wrecking yard that gave us the beachfront rust victim ’84 Toyota MasterAce and the gory Integra Halloween display last week. Its rust isn’t quite in the same league as the van’s, but then it probably lived further from the ocean. (Read More…)

By on October 11, 2013

10 - 1974 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince I’ve been haunting self-serve wrecking yards since the early 1980s, I’ve seen some patterns in the average age of various junkyard inhabitants. Detroit cars show up in large numbers after about 10-13 years on the road. Toyotas and Hondas need about 20 years. Off-brand Japanese stuff (e.g., Mitsubishis, Daihatsus, Suzukis) appear in under a decade. 1980s Hyundais started showing up in these yards when they were under five years of age, which is a terribleness record. Mercedes-Benz cars, however… well, the stuff they built in the early-to-middle 1970s is just now appearing in large numbers at U-Wrench-It. (Read More…)

By on October 4, 2013

10 - 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee MartinThe fourth-gen Olds Cutlass was one of the few bright spots for The General as the Malaise Era grew darker for Detroit. You could get T-tops, factory 8-track players, velour interiors in a wide range of bright colors, and who cared if engines were making less than one horse per two cubic inches? The Salon was the top-of-the-line Cutlass for ’74, with reclining bucket seats, radial tires, and other futuristic goodies. Here’s one that I spotted in a Denver self-service yard not long ago; nearly 40 years of personal luxury for this Olds. (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2013

15 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere in Denver, the Jeep DJ-5 often shows up in Junkyard Finds. Another truck that forms a regular part of The Crusher’s diet in Colorado is the International Harvester Scout. Yes, there was once a time when a farm-equipment manufacturer made highway-legal light trucks, and the Scout was (and is) a Colorado favorite. Here’s a battered ’74 I spotted a few weeks back. (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2013

09 - 1974 Porsche 914 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was a time, maybe a decade ago, when you saw Porsche 914s and Fiat 124 Sport Spiders in about equal numbers in self-service wrecking yards. I still find the Fiats these days, but junked 914s have become quite rare. That makes today’s Junkyard Find something a bit special. (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2013

When I lived in California, I’d see R107s in self-service junkyards all the time; since moving to Denver a couple of years back, I see them only occasionally. There was this ’78 450SLC last summer and that was about it. Last week, though I found this screaming yellow Malaise Era kokainwagen. (Read More…)

By on July 28, 2012

When you write about one Malaise Era Dodge pickup, you might as well follow it up with another on the very next day. These days, crew cabs are nearly ubiquitous on big pickups, but the idea of a truck with a back seat in the cab was still something of a novelty in the middle 1970s, so this truck is an interesting truck history lesson. (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2012

There was a time, let’s say in the late 1980s, when the quantity of Pintos in junkyards went from “glut” to “famine,” as if a switch was flipped and all the Pintos just disappeared. The same thing happened with the early Hyundai Excel, too, only they lived, died, and got scrapped within a five-year period versus the 10-to-15-year period for the Pinto. Still, every so often I find a lone Pinto that hung on an extra couple of decades before getting junked. For example, this tan ’74 that showed up in a Denver self-service yard last month. (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2011

Scouts are still pretty commonplace in Colorado, for reasons too obvious to get into here, and that means that some of them are going to wear out and take that final tow-truck ride. This one is a bit rusty, but should have been good for a few more years of farm-equipment-style abuse. (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2011

I’ve never owned an Alfa, and every time I see one in the junkyard I feel a twinge of guilt for never having rescued some poor abandoned Spider project prior to the inevitable ride to the junkyard that all such Alfas take after a decade or two spent sitting under a tarp in the driveway. Here’s yet another rust-free Spider that’s going to get eaten by The Crusher because nobody was willing to save it. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2011

Yesterday, we saw an once-ubiquitous 80s Japanese econobox that has nearly disappeared from the face of the earth; at the same Denver junkyard, I found a once-ubiquitous 70s Japanese econobox that also hasn’t been seen on the street for many years. The little fastback B210 was once everywhere. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2011


While I do think that the early 1990s produced some great cars, the US government-mandated automatically-deployed shoulder belts of the era (for vehicles without then-optional airbags) were utterly maddening. When the mechanisms went bad— as they often did— you had no shoulder belt or, perhaps even worse, a belt that deployed and retracted constantly during a drive; I experienced this once in a Mazda 323 and was hoping for a quick, painless nuclear war to remove me from the planet by the end of the drive. However, the American driving public had become mostly pro-seat-belt by that time, what with the debunking of the “you want to be thrown clear from the wreck” myth, and public outcry over automatic belts was limited to some minor grumbling. This was most definitely not in 1974, when all new cars and light trucks sold in the United States featured DOT-mandated interlocks that prevented engine starting unless driver and front-passenger belts were fastened; widespread outrage blowtorched the ears off of every congressman in the country, and the House killed the starter-interlock requirement late in the year. (Read More…)

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