The Truth About Cars » 1978 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:00:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 1978 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1978 Cadillac Seville Elegante http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1978-cadillac-seville-elegante/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1978-cadillac-seville-elegante/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920513 As Aaron Severson explains in great detail in his excellent Ate Up With Motor piece, the 1976-1979 Cadillac Seville (which was essentially a Chevy Nova under the skin), accelerated the long decline of the Cadillac Division that continued with the Cavalier-based Cimarron and didn’t really turn around until Cadillac started building trucks for rappers and […]

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

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

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

Just the car for adventurous Germans!

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

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

This ad was hitting Chrysler below the belt.

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

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

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

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Junkyard Find: 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 The 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 […]

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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: 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 The 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 […]

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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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Junkyard Find: 1978 Dodge Ramcharger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1978-dodge-ramcharger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1978-dodge-ramcharger/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=670298 Even though Denver wrecking yards are always full of old trucks, the Dodge Ramcharger isn’t quite as common as its GM, Ford, and Jeep rivals. In fact, this Royal SE ’83 Ramcharger is the only example we’ve seen in this series, prior to today’s find. This tan Dodge is every bit as Malaise-y as the […]

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15 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinEven though Denver wrecking yards are always full of old trucks, the Dodge Ramcharger isn’t quite as common as its GM, Ford, and Jeep rivals. In fact, this Royal SE ’83 Ramcharger is the only example we’ve seen in this series, prior to today’s find. This tan Dodge is every bit as Malaise-y as the yellow ’76 Wagoneer we saw last month, so let’s look at these photos and imagine what it was like driving a 9 MPG truck during a period of high inflation and steep gas prices.
03 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinTan with brown and orange stripes. I think the library— wait, I mean “media center”— in my junior high school was done up in very similar colors, back in 1979.
12 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou don’t want to know what kind of horsepower the 318 (or 360) made in 1978. The torque was enough, let’s leave it at that.
05 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAt least it has a real transmission.
13 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou don’t see many of these engine-coolant heaters these days.
10 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s a bit rusty, but probably still had some life left.

An all-around family car!

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Subaru Leone 4WD Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1978-subaru-leone-4wd-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1978-subaru-leone-4wd-wagon/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2013 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=661010 One thing that makes Colorado wrecking yards different from those in the rest of the country is the large numbers of Subarus in every yard. We’re talking the history of Subaru North America in every yard here. In fact, you’ll see more 1980s and 1990s Leones aka GLs, DLs, and Loyales in a typical Denver-area […]

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01 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne thing that makes Colorado wrecking yards different from those in the rest of the country is the large numbers of Subarus in every yard. We’re talking the history of Subaru North America in every yard here. In fact, you’ll see more 1980s and 1990s Leones aka GLs, DLs, and Loyales in a typical Denver-area self-serve yard than you’ll see Corollas or Civics. You’ll also find lots of more recent Legacies and Imprezas, not to mention XTs, BRATs, SVXs, and even the occasional Justy 4WD. 1970s Subarus, however, are getting pretty rare here; in this series, we’ve seen just this ’79 Leone wagon and this ’79 GL sedan so far. Today, we add this very-much-of-its-time ’78 wagon.
22 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack in 1978, your choices in four-wheel-drive vehicles were very limited; you could get a truck, you could get an AMC Eagle that drove like a truck… or you could get a Subaru.
12 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese things were ludicrously underpowered, rusted quickly, and didn’t come close to the reliability standards set by Honda and Toyota, but they got decent fuel economy and were competent in mud and snow.

Subarus were quite rare in the United States back in the Malaise Era, but the marque made it into popular culture with songs like this one.

Or this one.
07 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJudging by the quantity of pine cones and animal nests in this car, it hasn’t run for many, many years.
13 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot many places in Colorado damp enough for moss to grow on cars.
29 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSold in Colorado, will be crushed in Colorado.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Fiat X1/9 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19-2/#comments Thu, 01 Aug 2013 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=497724 We had an orange ’78 X1/9 Junkyard Find yesterday, so let’s stay in the Microsoft Windows Hot Dog Stand color range and follow up that Fiat with another ’78. This car is also a Denver find, though not at the same junkyard as the orange car. Yes, Fiat USA advertised the X1/9 on television. Then […]

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16 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe had an orange ’78 X1/9 Junkyard Find yesterday, so let’s stay in the Microsoft Windows Hot Dog Stand color range and follow up that Fiat with another ’78. This car is also a Denver find, though not at the same junkyard as the orange car.

Yes, Fiat USA advertised the X1/9 on television. Then they split the country a bit later, leaving these cars to be marketed as Bertones by Malcolm “Yugo King” Bricklin.
06 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCan’t open the trunk? Mr. Smooth took matters into his own hands here.
05 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has the look of a car that hasn’t run since Reagan was in the White House, but the engine appears unmolested.
04 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCritters have made a comfy-looking nest inside.
07 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI think an X1/9 would make a good first project car for a teenager these days— it’s a cool old sports car that’s fun to drive, parts are easy to find, and an Alfa 164 engine swap makes them very quick.

01 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Fiat X1/9 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19/#comments Wed, 31 Jul 2013 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=497573 For decades now, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider has been a regular sight in American self-service wrecking yards. The mid-engined Fiat X1/9, based on a healthy serving of Fiat 128 components, has been a bit less commonplace in such yards, but I still see them every now and then. We’ve seen this ’80 and this […]

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07 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFor decades now, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider has been a regular sight in American self-service wrecking yards. The mid-engined Fiat X1/9, based on a healthy serving of Fiat 128 components, has been a bit less commonplace in such yards, but I still see them every now and then. We’ve seen this ’80 and this ’86 so far in this series, and today we’re adding a brightly colored ’78 to the collection.
01 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe X1/9 is one of those cars that manages to rust anywhere. These cars will rust in Los Angeles, they’ll rust in Phoenix, and they rust very nicely in Denver (which is where I found this one). Every time I see one of these side scoops, I’m reminded of the X1/9 scoops I installed in the hood of my ’65 Impala.
02 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car is a beyond-sane-hope-of-repair basket case, but it still has quite a few useful parts. Some of you may recognize this car as the neighbor of the ’93 Honda del Sol we saw last week.
14 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ve driven a fair number of miles in X1/9s, and they’re much more fun than the 65-horsepower engine rating would suggest.

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Don’t forget to check out the Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™!

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/junkyard-find-1978-mercedes-benz-300d/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/junkyard-find-1978-mercedes-benz-300d/#comments Thu, 11 Apr 2013 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=484327 After finding a couple of Mercedes-Benz W123 coupes for this series, I decided to shoot the next four-door version of this legendary machine that I spotted. Here’s one in solid, stolid brown. It’s pretty tough to beat the diesel W123 for sturdy construction and utter lack of corner-cutting in the build-quality department. These cars cost […]

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After finding a couple of Mercedes-Benz W123 coupes for this series, I decided to shoot the next four-door version of this legendary machine that I spotted. Here’s one in solid, stolid brown.
It’s pretty tough to beat the diesel W123 for sturdy construction and utter lack of corner-cutting in the build-quality department. These cars cost plenty, and their owners (usually) got their money’s worth. The price tag for a new 300D in 1978 was $20,911. That’s close to 75 grand in 2013 bucks, for a slow car that was reasonably luxurious but utterly bling-free.
This one made it to just 216,623 miles during its 35 years on the planet. Not bad, but a bit low for one of these cars.
Once it got a little battered and its interior was no longer so nice, this car’s days were numbered. Most likely, something broke that would cost more than a couple hundred bucks to fix, and the owner just gave up on the car.
Here it is, the legendary OM617 five-cylinder diesel. Not a lot of power, but ready for Armageddon!
Some junkyard shopper thought about getting the grille, but then left it behind.

01 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/junkyard-find-1978-mercedes-benz-300cd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/junkyard-find-1978-mercedes-benz-300cd/#comments Mon, 26 Nov 2012 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=467905 Mercedes-Benz W123 coupes aren’t so easy to find these days, though I was able to spot this Crusher-bound ’78 280CE last year. Last week, in a different Denver-area yard, I ran across today’s find: an oil-burning ’78 300CD. With the 3-liter OM617 five-cylinder diesel engine, a strong contender for the Most Reliable Car Engine of […]

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Mercedes-Benz W123 coupes aren’t so easy to find these days, though I was able to spot this Crusher-bound ’78 280CE last year. Last week, in a different Denver-area yard, I ran across today’s find: an oil-burning ’78 300CD.
With the 3-liter OM617 five-cylinder diesel engine, a strong contender for the Most Reliable Car Engine of All Time Award, these things usually get scrapped only when they get too ugly to be worth fixing. 236,529 miles isn’t much for one of these cars.
The W123 coupes were sort of frivolous purchases at the time— if you wanted just two doors in your German luxury car, you were expected to get a BMW 6 Series and maybe a gold razor-blade medallion to get tangled in your exposed chest hair.
This one isn’t rusty and the body is pretty straight, but fixing the trashed interior wasn’t worth the cost to its final owner.

16 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1978 Mercedes-Benz 300CD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Datsun 810 Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/junkyard-find-1978-datsun-810-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/junkyard-find-1978-datsun-810-wagon/#comments Sun, 07 Oct 2012 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=462842 The Datsun 810 became the Nissan Maxima a couple of years into the 1980s, and you rarely see the 810 nameplate these days. Every once in a while, however, an 810 shows up in The Crusher’s waiting room. Here’s a ’78 wagon I found in California last month. The 810 shared quite a few components […]

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The Datsun 810 became the Nissan Maxima a couple of years into the 1980s, and you rarely see the 810 nameplate these days. Every once in a while, however, an 810 shows up in The Crusher’s waiting room. Here’s a ’78 wagon I found in California last month.
The 810 shared quite a few components with the 280Z, including the six-cylinder L engine. By 1978, the Z cars had 2.8 liter L28s, but the 810 got the 2.4 liter L24 out of the older 240Z.
The 810 wagon, with its need to carry heavy loads, didn’t get the independent rear suspension of the Z and the 810 coupes and sedans.
While modern-day drivers would consider this car intolerably cramped, it was sold as a fairly luxurious and high-tech machine back in the late 1970s.
Look at this engineer-designed array of warning lights!
The original purchaser of this Datsun opted for the three-speed automatic transmission. With 125 horsepower out of the L24, this car wouldn’t have been quite as slow as most slushboxed-up Japanese cars of the era.
A Ford Windsor V8 is a pretty easy swap into the engine compartment of a 280Z, which means the same swap should work in an 810 wagon. What a fine parts-hauling setup that would make!

This ad is for the sedan, but still gives a good idea of the “yacht-grade” luxury Nissan was after with the 810.

17 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 16 - 1978 Datsun 810 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Lotus Esprit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1978-lotus-esprit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1978-lotus-esprit/#comments Tue, 11 Sep 2012 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=459807 In all my years of crawling around in high-turnover self-service wrecking yards, not to mention old-timey slow-turnover wrecking yards, this is the first Lotus I’ve found. And it’s not just some boring Eclat— it’s a genuine mid-engined Elite! Granted, it’s been picked over pretty thoroughly… Someone with a Sawzall got most of the fiberglass body, […]

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In all my years of crawling around in high-turnover self-service wrecking yards, not to mention old-timey slow-turnover wrecking yards, this is the first Lotus I’ve found. And it’s not just some boring Eclat— it’s a genuine mid-engined Elite! Granted, it’s been picked over pretty thoroughly…
Someone with a Sawzall got most of the fiberglass body, but you can see hints of Lotus-ness here and there.
Thanks to all the valueless Jensen-Healeys out there, the Lotus 907 engine isn’t difficult to find these days. However, the transaxle in this car might be worth pulling.
Veglia gauges with what I assume are Lucas Electrics components— such a reliable combination!

17 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1978 Lotus Esprit Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Datsun B210 Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1978-datsun-b210-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1978-datsun-b210-coupe/#comments Fri, 17 Aug 2012 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=456787 We saw a 1975 Datsun B210 hatchback Junkyard Find a few weeks back, and this ’74 B210 hatch about a year ago. Today, we’ll look at a fairly solid example of the B210 coupe. This is a car that was once as numerous on American streets as is any mainstream 21st-century econobox today, but the […]

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We saw a 1975 Datsun B210 hatchback Junkyard Find a few weeks back, and this ’74 B210 hatch about a year ago. Today, we’ll look at a fairly solid example of the B210 coupe.
This is a car that was once as numerous on American streets as is any mainstream 21st-century econobox today, but the B210 was even more susceptible to rust than other Japanese cars of the era and it didn’t resist depreciation quite as well as its Corolla and Civic rivals.
For those of you too young to have experienced slushbox-equipped B210s in person, imagine that you’re driving a Chevy Aveo. In quicksand. Towing a trailer loaded with overflowing Porta-Potties. Uphill.
Still, if you were patient on freeway onramps and didn’t mind losing stoplight drag races to cement mixers, the B210 was a pleasant enough car to drive. The purchaser of this one sprang for the no-doubt-extremely-expensive factory AM/FM radio.
Once you’ve paid for the radio, however, why would you want frivolous gauges?
I can’t recall whether this style hubcap was a Honey Bee-only design or slapped on all B210s of the era.


The fuel-economy claims of Malaise Era manufacturers had to be taken with a grain of salt, but the real-world B210 did manage to get into the 40 MPG range on the highway.
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Junkyard Find: 1977 and 1978 Ford Mustangs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1977-and-1978-ford-mustangs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1977-and-1978-ford-mustangs/#comments Wed, 15 Aug 2012 13:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=456736 The Mustang II stands as the poster child of the Malaise Era; based on a miserable economy car yet bearing the name of a beloved icon from a more optimistic period. You don’t see many Mustang IIs these days, for obvious reasons, but a few are being kept alive by enthusiasts. Here’s a pair of […]

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The Mustang II stands as the poster child of the Malaise Era; based on a miserable economy car yet bearing the name of a beloved icon from a more optimistic period. You don’t see many Mustang IIs these days, for obvious reasons, but a few are being kept alive by enthusiasts. Here’s a pair of well-stripped examples that appear to have come from the reject bin of a Mustang II collector.
The ’78 has King Cobra decals on the doors. Could it be one of the very rare 1978-only King Cobra Mustang IIs?
Well, maybe, but there’s no King Cobra decal on the hood, and the underside of the hood has this emissions sticker for the never-installed-in-the-King-Cobra 2.8 liter Cologne V6. Maybe it’s a King Cobra with a hood swap, or an ordinary V6 Mustang with a door swap, or a random collection of Mustang II parts with King Cobra decals slapped on.
Whatever it is, we must admire the 70s-ness of the T-tops. Sure, all T-tops leaked like crazy, but that’s like saying that Quaaludes had unpleasant side effects.
Then there’s the ’77, which has a sort of Harlequin Mustang II effect with its multicolored body components.
If the chrome Moroso air cleaner don’t fit, cut a hole! Then, when you put your hot-rod 351W engine in some other Pinto family member, apply duct tape over the hole to keep the rain off the 2300.

14 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1977 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1977 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1977 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1977 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1977 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1977 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1977 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1977 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1977 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1977 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1979 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1978-mercedes-benz-450slc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1978-mercedes-benz-450slc/#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2012 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=447391 The Mercedes-Benz R107/C107 is one of those cars that tends to be valued according to a binary system: a near-perfect example sells for a healthy five-figure sum, while one that’s even slightly beat is worth about as much as an ’86 Nissan Sentra with an alarming rod knock and a glovebox full of used syringes. […]

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The Mercedes-Benz R107/C107 is one of those cars that tends to be valued according to a binary system: a near-perfect example sells for a healthy five-figure sum, while one that’s even slightly beat is worth about as much as an ’86 Nissan Sentra with an alarming rod knock and a glovebox full of used syringes. That means that examples of Mercedes-Benz’s SL-Class machine of the 1970s and 1980s are not at all uncommon in self-service wrecking yards.
At the same time, most car freaks who never set foot in wrecking yards just can’t believe that you can get running 107s for pretty close to scrap value. The outcry of “that ain’t no $500 car!” that I heard when Rally Baby Racing‘s 1975 450SL showed up to to the Real Hoopties of New Jersey 24 Hours of LeMons was just deafening. Rally Baby applied the large economy size bucket of Bondo to their car, than shot a looks-great-from-100-feet coat of silver paint onto it while in a dirt field at New Jersey Motorsports Park on the night before the race. Bugs in the paint and all, this (street-registered) race car looks so good that I’ve been trying to buy it ever since.
Most of the junkyard R107s I’ve seen have been the 80s-coke-dealer-motor-pool 560SL, and they’re much more common in California yards than here in Denver. Still, I know that if Rally Baby Racing ever retires their race car and sells it to me (or if I build one myself) I’ll have no problem finding parts.
It’s hard to beat a red leather interior if you want to be King of the Malaise Era.
From the finger-bustingly cramped engine compartment stuffed full of 4.5 liters of overhead-cam V8 to the bewildering electrical system to the über-upscale interior pieces, these cars are challenging for the backyard mechanic and utter nightmares to restore if you want a really nice one.
They’re also shockingly heavy for their size and not particularly quick; the ’78 450SLC had 180 horsepower to move 3,715 pounds.
What was the original price tag on this totally-used-up Benz? $27,090, or about $95,500 in 2012 dollars.

17 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 380SL race car - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Ford Fiesta Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1978-ford-fiesta-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1978-ford-fiesta-sport/#comments Mon, 28 May 2012 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=446407 We saw a junked first-year Plymouth Horizon last week, but Chrysler’s Simca-based econobox wasn’t the only Euro-Detroito subcompact to make its North American debut in 1978. The first-gen Ford Fiesta, which had been a tremendous sales success in Europe, showed up in American Ford showrooms… where it was met by puzzled stares from car shoppers […]

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We saw a junked first-year Plymouth Horizon last week, but Chrysler’s Simca-based econobox wasn’t the only Euro-Detroito subcompact to make its North American debut in 1978. The first-gen Ford Fiesta, which had been a tremendous sales success in Europe, showed up in American Ford showrooms… where it was met by puzzled stares from car shoppers who couldn’t quite get their heads around the tiny size of the latest car to bear the blue oval.

Still, the Fiesta was very cheap ($300 less than even the bare-bones Horizon), it held four passengers, and its excellent fuel economy gave drivers a measure of freedom from the whims of sheikh and ayatollahs.
66 horsepower in a car scaling in at 1,780 pounds made the Fiesta quicker than the ’78 MGB (2,338 pounds, 62.5 horsepower). Actually, that’s not a fair comparison; just about every car in 1978 was quicker than the black-bumper MGB.
The “Sport” option package added $556 to the Fiesta’s price tag. I can’t figure out what you got for that money beyond the “S” decals and tape stripes; it appears that all the US Fiestas got the same engine in ’78.
Even back in the day, you didn’t see many Fiestas on American streets. Before this one, I hadn’t even seen one in the junkyard for a few years.
If you’re interested in the history of the Fiesta, I recommend this Ford-backed (yet still fascinating) book.
13 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1978 Ford Fiesta Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Plymouth Horizon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1978-plymouth-horizon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1978-plymouth-horizon/#comments Sat, 26 May 2012 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=446120 Yesterday’s Junkyard Find was one of the better-known examples of the Simca-based “Omnirizon” platform, and you still see 80s Dodge Chargers here and there. What you won’t see often is today’s Junkyard Find, a first-year Plymouth Horizon. I found this one languishing in a Denver self-serve junkyard. This car was the first true subcompact car […]

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Yesterday’s Junkyard Find was one of the better-known examples of the Simca-based “Omnirizon” platform, and you still see 80s Dodge Chargers here and there. What you won’t see often is today’s Junkyard Find, a first-year Plymouth Horizon. I found this one languishing in a Denver self-serve junkyard.
This car was the first true subcompact car Chrysler ever built in North America, and it (along with its Dodge sibling, the Omni, and the French-market Talbot/Simca Horizon) was a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Prior to the Omnirizon, the only subcompacts sold by Chrysler in the United States had been rebadged Mitsubishis, Hillmans, and Simcas, all built overseas.
The Plymouth Horizon was an Americanized version of a Chrysler of Europe design, and it wasn’t any more miserable to drive than other front-drive subcompacts of the late 1970s (e.g., the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Rabbit, Datsun 310). If that sounds like faint praise, remember that expectations were lower during the depths of the Malaise Era.
The ’78 Horizon listed at $3,976, which was actually 200 bucks more than a new Plymouth Volaré two-door (but $250 less than a new Rabbit). With gas prices and inflation soaring year after year, however, the gas-sipping Horizon looked like a good deal next to the much thirstier (and not much roomier) Volaré.
You see some odd little luxury touches in this otherwise minimalist econobox. Look, “wood” on the glovebox door!
The Omni, Horizon, and their L-body variants continued production in the United States until 1990. By that time, the mid-70s-ness of the design had become a bit embarrassing for Chrysler.

14 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 01 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 02 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 03 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 04 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 05 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 06 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 07 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 08 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 09 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 10 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 11 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 12 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 13 - 1978 Plymouth Horizon Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Datsun 510 Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1978-datsun-510-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1978-datsun-510-sedan/#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2012 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=435066 Wait a minute— this Malaise Era heap, with its solid rear axle and AMC Hornet-esque lines, this car can’t be a 510! That’s what I thought when I spotted this car at a Northern California self-service yard last month, having forgotten that Nissan’s American marketers slapped 510 badges on the 710/Violet/Stanza/200B for the ’78 and […]

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Wait a minute— this Malaise Era heap, with its solid rear axle and AMC Hornet-esque lines, this car can’t be a 510! That’s what I thought when I spotted this car at a Northern California self-service yard last month, having forgotten that Nissan’s American marketers slapped 510 badges on the 710/Violet/Stanza/200B for the ’78 and ’79 model years. This is the first time I’ve seen one of these things in at least 20 years.
This car was no doubt a perfectly serviceable commuter, with its L20 engine and nicer-than-the-Chevette interior, but it’s no more a 510 than the ’91 Olds Calais Quad 4 was a 442.
This factory FM radio was probably a $300 option when new. Yes, the old days sucked in many ways.

17 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 16 - 1978 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 510 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Volkswagen Transporter http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1978-volkswagen-transporter/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1978-volkswagen-transporter/#comments Tue, 06 Mar 2012 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432301 Like the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, your typical second-gen VW Transporter typically spends many years as a never-started project in a back yard or driveway (because everyone loves an air-cooled VW bus!), then washes ashore at a junkyard. I’ve been seeing these vans in about the same numbers in junkyards for a couple of decades […]

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Like the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, your typical second-gen VW Transporter typically spends many years as a never-started project in a back yard or driveway (because everyone loves an air-cooled VW bus!), then washes ashore at a junkyard. I’ve been seeing these vans in about the same numbers in junkyards for a couple of decades now, even as only the nicest street-driven examples have been kept alive. Here’s a ’78 with some extremely Malaise-y custom touches that I spotted in a Colorado yard last week.
It’s hard to imagine anything more 70s than a brown Transporter with hideous crypto-Native-American custom striping, also in shades of brown.
Like most junkyard VW vans, this one sat for many, many years before taking its final tow-truck ride.
The question here is: did the van’s final owner store the engine inside, or was it placed there by a junkyard customer who pulled the engine and then decided not to buy it?
It’s not especially rusty, by air-cooled VW standards (i.e., it’s not a vaguely vehicle-shaped red stain on the pavement), but it’s pretty much used up. Next stop: Crusher!

15 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 01 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 02 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 03 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 04 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 05 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 06 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 07 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 08 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 09 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 10 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 11 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 12 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 13 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden 14 - Junked 1978 Volkswagen Transporter - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Ledwinka' Greden transporter Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Datsun 280Z http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1977-datsun-280z/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1977-datsun-280z/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 14:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432187 After a couple of 1970s Italian sports cars for our last two Junkyard Finds, it’s time to look at the Japanese competition. Malaise Era Z Cars are not uncommon in California junkyards, and I spotted this fairly rough example in an Oakland yard last month. Judging by the extremely weathered paint, I’m guessing this car […]

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After a couple of 1970s Italian sports cars for our last two Junkyard Finds, it’s time to look at the Japanese competition. Malaise Era Z Cars are not uncommon in California junkyards, and I spotted this fairly rough example in an Oakland yard last month.
Judging by the extremely weathered paint, I’m guessing this car spent at least a decade in outdoor storage, getting fried by the Northern California summer sun and picking up body rust during the rainy Northern California winters.
The old-school Raiders sticker, from the era before the team went to Los Angeles, indicates that this car is an East Bay native.
The L28 engine in the ’77 280Z made 149 horsepower in a 2,628-pound car, pretty decent numbers for the time. The ’77 Corvette weighed 3,448 pounds and had 210 horses (if you got the optional L82 engine), which gave the Chevy a slight power-to-weight advantage… and a price tag of $9,143 versus the Z’s $6,999.
The Camaro is probably a fairer comparison to the 280Z, however, given the similar demographics of the two cars’ purchasers. A ’77 Z28 with the optional 170-horse 350 sold for $5,380 and weighed 3,529 pounds. Which would you have bought? This debate could go on and on.
Early catalytic converters tended to run very, very hot, and cars not initially designed for them sometimes had less-than-optimal cat locations. If the floor above the cat got too hot, this warning light would come on, probably after the carpeting started to smolder. Fiat’s approach to the same problem was a “SLOW DOWN” light.
There’s no telling the significance of this 70s-vintage vanity plate.
Though this car doesn’t seem to suffer from rust-through problems, you can still get much nicer 280Z project cars in California for reasonable prices. Some of this car’s parts will live on in one of those cars.

23 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 01 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 02 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 03 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 04 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 05 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 06 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 07 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 08 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 09 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 10 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 11 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 12 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 13 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 14 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 15 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 16 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 17 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 18 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 19 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 20 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 21 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 22 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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When You See a Clean Corinthian Leather Bench Seat In the Junkyard, You Buy It! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/when-you-see-a-clean-corinthian-leather-bench-seat-in-the-junkyard-you-buy-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/when-you-see-a-clean-corinthian-leather-bench-seat-in-the-junkyard-you-buy-it/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2012 18:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=428125 When I saw the interior of today’s Junkyard Find, I knew: I must have that Corinthian Leather bench seat! Maybe I’ll put it in the back of my ’66 Dodge A100 van, or maybe I’ll just convert it into a comfy, Ricardo Montalban-grade garage couch. Either way, I returned to the junkyard yesterday with a […]

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When I saw the interior of today’s Junkyard Find, I knew: I must have that Corinthian Leather bench seat! Maybe I’ll put it in the back of my ’66 Dodge A100 van, or maybe I’ll just convert it into a comfy, Ricardo Montalban-grade garage couch. Either way, I returned to the junkyard yesterday with a sense of grim determination: that seat will be mine!
It’s very rare that you find a 34-year-old car in a wrecking yard with a front seat in this condition. No rips, no cracking, hardly any staining. I’m guessing that the car’s owner kept it garaged and safe from the upholstery-frying Colorado sun, and perhaps he or she even kept a seat cover over the front bench.
Those of you who know old Chrysler products are familiar with this seat-mounting system: studs going through the car’s floor, held in place by nuts on the underside of the car. Yes, where they’re exposed to salt, dirt, roadkill, and big rocks.
I knew what to expect, so I’d brought some deep sockets and my grungiest coveralls. The weather in Denver had been chilly for a week or so, but yesterday got into the low 60s. Hooray, icy mud under the car!
I threw some old floor mats under the car and crawled beneath. The bench seat in a Cordoba is held in with four nuts and big washers, just like all the Mopars of its era. While I removed the first three nuts, I recalled a prank pulled on me while driving a ’73 Fury in high school: some clever friend removed all four seat nuts in my car, so that when I stepped on the gas the seat (with me in it) flew all the way into the back seat. I must say that got my attention; fortunately, I was able to crawl forward and jam my hand on the brake pedal before the car hit anything expensive.
When I got to the nut holding the front of the driver’s side of the seat in place, my heart sank. Yes, that’s a junkyard jack-stand (i.e., two steel wheels welded together) blocking access to the last seat mounting nut. Damn.
By this time, I was pretty well chilled by the semi-frozen mud beneath the car (having spent most of my life in California, this snow-and-ice-at-the-junkyard business is still a new phenomenon to me) and started considering my options. The most attractive option involved finding a jack, preferably of the old-school bumper-ratchet variety, in the trunk of a nearby car and just lifting the car enough to move the jack-stand. No dice: this yard clears all the jacks out of the cars when they show up. I considered asking the yard employees to use the forklift to reposition the car, but I’ve had bad experiences with this sort of thing; lots of times, resentful junkyard workers will not only refuse to help, they’ll come back later and vandalize the part you wanted to get.
However, there was a third option. If I cut the parking-brake cables and bent the brake line out of the way, I might be able to sneak a wrench over the top of the jack-stand and get it onto the nut. Here goes the brake cable.
At this point, I should apologize for the crappy quality of these cell-phone photos; I was in such a rush to get out the door and grab my Corinthian Leather prize that I forgot to bring a proper camera. But even with a phone camera, you can see that it is just barely possible to get a 1/2″ wrench onto the offending nut. It turned out that it was also possible to get about 1/16th of a turn with the wrench before it fell off and clattered into the mud. Repeat. Endlessly.
After about 45 minutes of profanity-enhanced wrench-dropping fun, I was able to get the nut far enough down the threads to get a quarter-drive socket onto it. Success!
My junkyard toolbox doesn’t have the 7/8″ socket I’d need to remove the seat belts (which couldn’t be pulled out of the seats), the driver’s-side lap belt had been cut already, and so I sliced them with a knife. I hate doing this, but 70s Chrysler seat belts are easy to find.
I’d brought a hand truck, an old sheet, and some rope, and I hoped to get the seat out to my car without getting it too muddy. This thing probably weighs 80 pounds.
I couldn’t resist removing and buying the opera lights on the C pillars. These will look good in the interior of my A100.
I should have tied the seat to the roof of my cargo-hauling Civic, but instead I got lazy and brought the Outback. Hey, got to keep that white Corinthian Leather in good shape!

21 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 01 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 02 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 03 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 04 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 05 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 06 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 08 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 10 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 11 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 13 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 15 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 16 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 17 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 19 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 20 - Chrysler Cordoba Corinthian Leather Bench Seat - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Personal Luxury' Greden 13 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Chrysler Cordoba http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1978-chrysler-cordoba/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1978-chrysler-cordoba/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2012 14:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=428086 We all make fun of the Cordoba now, but we mustn’t forget that Chrysler’s personal luxury coupe sold quite well back in the day, helping slow the company’s slide towards what appeared to be certain doom. I’m going to follow up yesterday’s junked early-70s personal luxury coupe with one built a little later in the […]

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We all make fun of the Cordoba now, but we mustn’t forget that Chrysler’s personal luxury coupe sold quite well back in the day, helping slow the company’s slide towards what appeared to be certain doom. I’m going to follow up yesterday’s junked early-70s personal luxury coupe with one built a little later in the decade.
Yes, the Cordoba was once a fairly common sight on North American roads. It was based on Chrysler’s venerable B platform, which means this car is a close relative of the General Lee and the Plymouth Superbird.

Of course, what we all remember about the Cordoba (which Chrysler’s marketers decided to pronounce with the stress on the second syllable, rather than the way the residents of its namesake city— Córdoba, Spain— do it) is Ricardo Montalban’s TV ads. Even if your parents weren’t even born when the Cordoba was new, you know about “soft Corinthian Leather.” Yes, that’s soft, not rich. You’ll win some trivia contests with that knowledge.
Speaking of soft Corinthian Leather, check out this comfy living room of a car interior! By 1978, the Corinthian Leather seats (technically an option, but I’ve yet to see a Cordoba with the base velour seats) in the Cordoba were a little less pimpin’ than the ’75 model’s deep-tufted buckets, but they still made shoppers in the Chrysler/Plymouth showroom feel they were being cheap for even considering the Fury and its cheapo vinyl upholstery. Yes, I went back and bought this car’s bench seat.

By the time of the Cordoba’s fourth model year, sales were declining a bit. Ricardo was still helping to move that iron, though!
360 cubic inches. How many horses? Who cares? Soft Corinthian Leather!
What happened to opera lights on Detroit luxury machines? Let’s import some opera lights from Detroit for the ’13 Chryslers!
That’s AM and FM radio right there. There was a time, believe it or not, when thieves would steal factory FM radios.
Including the steering wheel, fenders, door panels, and taillight lenses, I counted seven of these “golden” Cordoba medallions on the car. I believe there should be one more for the hood ornament, but this example (found in a Denver self-service yard) lacks that component.
Then there’s the Cordoba badging on the trunklid, fenders, and dash.
The original Cordoba “chronometer” was a mechanical-digital deal, but Chrysler found a source for an LED (or maybe green fluorescent) version. I might have to go back and get this fine clock for my collection, to accompany the beautiful digital clock I pulled from this ’80 Toyota Cressida.
“I know my own needs, and what I need from an automobile I get from this new… Cordoba.

31 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 01 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 03 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 04 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 05 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 07 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 08 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 09 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 12 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 13 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 14 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 15 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 16 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 17 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 18 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 19 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 20 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 21 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 22 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 23 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 24 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 26 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 27 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 28 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 29 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden 30 - 1978 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phillip 'Corinthian Leather' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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When Embarrassing Presidential Relatives Got Model Kits: Billy Carter’s Redneck Power Pickup! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/when-embarrassing-presidential-relatives-got-model-kits-billy-carters-redneck-power-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/when-embarrassing-presidential-relatives-got-model-kits-billy-carters-redneck-power-pickup/#comments Thu, 19 Jan 2012 19:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=427357 Last month, while I was judging at the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons, a team with a Billy Carter-themed Ford Fairmont Futura handed me something I’ve been trying to find for years: a gen-yoo-wine Malaise Era 1:25 scale Revell model kit of Billy Carter‘s customized Chevy Stepside. I am so happy! I was 10 […]

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Last month, while I was judging at the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons, a team with a Billy Carter-themed Ford Fairmont Futura handed me something I’ve been trying to find for years: a gen-yoo-wine Malaise Era 1:25 scale Revell model kit of Billy Carter‘s customized Chevy Stepside. I am so happy!
I was 10 years old when Billy’s big brother, Jimmy, was elected President of the United States, and the beer-swilling, quasi-street-smart Billy made quite a positive impression on me and my peers (remember, Northern California in the mid-70s was all about the celebration of dissipation and substance abuse, preferably involving a Chevrolet truck). Billy posed in a suit of chainmail made from beer-can pull tabs and scammed the Libyans out of a half-million bucks while his wholesome, atomic-scientist, turn-the-other-cheek-Christian big brother dropped a big wet blanket on America by telling us we couldn’t have everything we wanted all the time. Yes, chronic screwup Billy was a big embarrassment to straight-arrow Jimmy, and I’m sure there was some head-clutching in the White House when Jimmy learned that Revell was going to turn a generation of American model-building boys into Southern-fried drunken gearheads in the Curtis Turner mold. Hell, Revell might as well have included a couple of Lynyrd Skynyrd 8-tracks, a church key, and a pack of Zig-Zags in every kit.
Some of the younger racers at Buttonwillow had no idea who Billy Carter was. “He was sort of like the Roger Clinton of the 70s, only more flamboyant,” I told them. Anyway, when the Redneck Power Pickup model came out, I was more into building models of sissified, moral-backbone-weakening European cars like the BMW E24 and never did pick up Billy’s truck at Alameda Hobbycraft (I would have ended up blowing it up with an M-80, fate of most of my kits, so it was just as well). I haven’t built a model kit since Max Tork’s Hooptie-Ass ’70 Impala 20 years ago, but I’m definitely going to assemble the Redneck Power truck real proper-like.
The Redneck Power Fairmont Futura of Team Billy Beer Malaise Forever Re-Election Racing looked great on the race track, and its million-mile 200-cubic-inch L6 engine lasted longer under race abuse (12 hours) than anyone expected.
The guys on Team Billy Beer Malaise Forever Re-Election Racing scanned the decal sheet from the Revell kit and had full-size versions made for their race car. Now that’s historical accuracy!
Check out the custom features included with the Redneck Power kit. It’s like a laundry list of truck fashion trends from Plains, Georgia, circa 1978.
I’m pretty sure the real Billy Carter wouldn’t have had cases of “soft drink can” in his truck bed. Maybe I’ll modify this kit to include a few dozen Pabst empties instead.
Perhaps Revell could revive this concept with a full line of Embarrassing Presidential Relatives scale models. How about a 1:25 kit of Onyango Obama’s Mitsubishi Montero, for starters? Jenna Bush’s college-student car (I’m picturing an Explorer, but maybe it was something Infiniti J30-grade cool) and the luxury machine Donald Nixon probably bought when Howard Hughes “loaned” him all that cash for his “Nixonburger” operation?
I’ll definitely be a big cheerleader for the Embarrassing Presidential Relatives Series, but for now I’ll be content to have a Redneck Power Stepside parked next to the collection of weird diecast cars that fills my office.

Ford Fairmont Futura at 24 Hour of LeMons - Picture Courtesy of Nick 'Still Tippin' Pon 02- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 03- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 04- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 05- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 06- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 07- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 08- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 09- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 10- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Revell 11- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of Phillip Greden 12- Billy Carter's Redneck Power Pickup Truck Model - Picture Courtesy of BrooklynGrowler.com Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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