The Truth About Cars » 1980s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:58:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 1980s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1980-volvo-262c-bertone-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1980-volvo-262c-bertone-coupe/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=796986 08 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOnly 6,622 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupes were built during the Italo-Swedish machine’s 1978-1981 production run, and I’ve found two of them in California self-serve wrecking yards during the last year. We saw this silver ’79 (actually, all ’78 and ’79 262Cs were painted in Mystic Silver) last summer, and now there’s today’s find: a gold ’80. These cars were weird-looking and something of a puzzling marketing move by Volvo, but you’d think that their rarity would give them sufficient value to keep the survivors out of The Crusher‘s jaws. Nope!
02 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAssembled in Italy!
06 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 262C-specific glass and trim pieces have been pulled, and there’s plenty of typical Northern California upper-body rust in places where weatherstripping failure can let water in. The lower body panels are good and solid.
05 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe can assume that some project 262C will benefit from these parts.
07 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf I owned one of these cars, I’d ditch the unreliable Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 and replace it with a good old B230 (or something more interesting). In the case of this car, though, someone has grabbed the PRV.
13 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill a few pieces worth taking left on this car. Let’s hope they get pulled before the car gets crushed.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Electric Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-sprint-electric-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-sprint-electric-sport/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=788522 12 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNow that it’s possible to buy electric cars that actually do what cars are supposed to do, we mustn’t forget the very lengthy era— say 1970 to just a few years ago— during which all manner of optimistic-yet-doomed companies converted various econoboxes into lead-acid-battery-based EVs. Every once in a while, I’ll spot the remains of such an EV at a junkyard; we saw a junked EVolve Electrics 1995 Geo Metro EV conversion last year, and now a different Denver yard has given us this ’88 Sprint “Electric Sport.”
06 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Sprint aka Cultus wasn’t a bad choice for an electric vehicle, being lightweight and cheap.
01 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinElectric motors are worth money, either as working motors or as sources of valuable scrap copper, so the one in this car is long gone.
18 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe remnants of the battery tray may be seen in the rear cargo area.
17 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomeone grabbed the no-doubt-modified instrument cluster, too.
07 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBonus points to anyone who can track down the company that built the Electric Sport Sprint!

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1984-oldsmobile-firenza-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1984-oldsmobile-firenza-wagon/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=781729 05 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOf all the GM J-bodies sold in America, the Olds Firenza may be the rarest. In 1984, most Oldsmobile wagon shoppers wanted a stately rear-wheel-drive behemoth with a V8 engine, not some newfangled small wagon with a little communist-inspired four-cylinder engine driving the wrong wheels. Thus, Firenza wagons are rarer today than early AC Cobras. Here’s one that I found in a San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard last weekend, while I was in town for the fifth annual Sears Pointless 24 Hours of LeMons.
02 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the 2.0 liter version of the GM 122 pushrod engine. The 122 was a little less thrashy and rattly than the Iron Duke, but it also made less power. This LQ5 put out 86 horsepower, which was pretty miserable even by 1984 standards.
23 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHowever, at least this car had genuine electronic fuel injection. And not-so-genuine “wood paneling.”
19 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBrown-and-tan velour bucket seats.
03 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe last owner of this car must have had glaucoma or some other illness that requires the completely legitimate application of medical cannabis. If Mr. ex-Firenza Driver lived in my state, of course, he could just throw away the medical card, ride his Lambretta to the local dispensary, and buy some shatter hash.
20 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI must assume that this pin was applied when the car still had That New GM Velour Smell.
25 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSay what you will about the early J-bodies, but at least this one outlived most of its Japanese peers.

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Super Piston Slap: Poorvette Fever! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/super-piston-slap-poorvette-fever/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/super-piston-slap-poorvette-fever/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 12:12:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=775097

Aside from “real racers” who insist The 24 Hours of LeMons is a joke, everyone else understands this series’ willingness to embrace engineering and artistic creativity, providing somewhat-wholesome entertainment and—best of all– giving away a metric ton of track time for little cash.  As a member of the LeMons Supreme Court in their Texas races, well, bias from judicial bribes and heartless praise bestowed upon me aside…

…here’s a dirty little secret: you can go LeMons racing in any fully depreciated machine with ZERO PENALTY LAPS, no matter how awesome the vehicle was when new. Provided you bend (not break) the rules with your whip.  And give everyone a good reason to love/hate you.  The Poorvette is proof positive.

Now this ain’t no secret, as Murilee Martin already mentioned how the Poorvette shoulda been buried under penalty laps. But wasn’t.  Why?

  1. The team: historically they‘ve been nice to everyone, pre C4 Corvette ownership.  Sometimes that goes a long way in determining penalty laps, or lack thereof.
  2. The Poorvette’s somewhat believable story: being an earlier C4 (Tuned Port Injection) body with an LT-1/6-speed swap gone wrong (supposedly), then sold for cheap-ish and parted out to fit in LeMons rules.***
  3. Track record:  American V8 iron has rarely endured in LeMony races, much less possessing the fuel economy to match with the infrequent pit stops of more efficient metal. #notwinning
  4. Margin for error: you are guaranteed to enjoy passing every lily livered furrin’ car in your wedge-tastic Vette, to the point that euphoria nets you a black flag. Then serious repercussions (that often come with zero-penalty laps) in the judging area…resulting in no chance of winning.
  5. Not winning is a big “win” for everyone: the fanbois have grist for their mill, the haters do their thang, and LeMons tells another insane story.

Clearly this is a win-win for everyone. Especially you, oh cheaty race team.

Photo courtesy: (http://www.murileemartin.com)

And how did the Poorvette do? It led the pack, getting everyone all hot and bothered.  But then the stock fuel tank/pump had starvation issues in the corners, which was the icing on the cake after the power steering failed the day before in testing.  No matter how fast you’re going, those Z06-style wheels are too wide to ever make a lack of power steering acceptable. Even still, the Poorvette probably also set one of the fastest lap times, which totally means nothing in an endurance race.

Hare, meet the Tortoise…son!

But still, the Poorvette’s maiden voyage netted a respectable 6th place on a weekend lacking Corvette friendly weather.  Not bad considering how many Porsche 944s need far more work to accomplish similar results.  Perhaps one day we will see C4s give those Porkers the drubbing they got back in the 1980s. If so, don’t expect Judge Phil to be generous with C4s again. Ever.

No matter, the Poorvette’s crew even earned a Judge’s Choice Award, which proves once more: we need more C4s in LeMons!  Well not exactly.

Perhaps more “taboo” cars that aren’t of the E30 or retired Spec-Miata variety. Like more Porsche 928s, rear-wheel drive Maximas souped up with Z-car parts, more cheaty compact trucks (cough, RANGER, cough) and more GM sedans easily modified to DOMINATE in the slower classes: C and B.   And let’s not forget more super-durable CVPI Panthers, too.

So there you have it: good stuff happens in LeMons when you play your cards right. Thank the Poorvette for proving that.

*** Considering the early C4s utter domination in SCCA back in the day, and their still impressive autocross performances today, the Poorvette crew would do just as well in LeMons with the stock aluminum headed L98 and a close ratio 4+3 gearbox. Their LT-1 swap and wide ratio T-56 gearbox did very little for me. This is an endurance race, not a drag race!

 

 

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1986-toyota-cressida-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1986-toyota-cressida-wagon/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=770506 20 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Toyota Cressida is now at its moment of peak junkyard availability, with most examples finally getting to the point at which repairs just aren’t justified by the car’s value. The Cressida was an extremely well-built car by 1980s standards, and a pretty good car even through our jaded 21st-century eyes (which view vehicles that get scrapped before 200,000 miles as suspiciously crappy and/or abused). We’ve seen this ’80, this ’82 this ’84, this ’87, this ’89, and this ’92 in the Junkyard Find Series so far, but today’s Cressida is the first wagon.
07 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one had 234,392 miles on the clock when it finally took that last tow-truck ride.
17 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI shot this in Northern California in January, and this temporary registration expired in August. That means the car was probably still legal when it got towed away for parking tickets and its fines not paid (most likely) or sold for scrap.
08 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo rust. None at all. Fans of old Japanese cars in rusty areas, you’d better come west and rescue some stuff like this.
12 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe same DOHC 5M-GE engine that Supras got. In fact, the whole car is full of Supra drivetrain and suspension hardware.
01 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWorth restoring or converting into a drift car? Not in California!

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Dodge Aries K http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1986-dodge-aries-k/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1986-dodge-aries-k/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=764217 15 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe quantities of true Chrysler K-Cars in high-turnover self-service wrecking yards have been declining a bit in recent years, though I still see enough of them that I choose only the most interesting to photograph for this series. So far we’ve seen this “Hemi 2.6″ ’81 Dodge Aries wagon, this ’83 Dodge Aries sedan, this ’85 Dodge 600 Turbo, and this ’88 Dodge Aries wagon, and today I’m adding a gold Aries sedan that has special significance for me.
18 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou see, this is the car that provided the hood for the “Lee Iacocca, Comintern Agent” mural that went on the Plymouth Reliant wagon judged to be the Worst Car In 24 Hours of LeMons History.
20131122_121205This hood now lives somewhere in California, having been removed from the Reliant by Iacocca zealots.
12 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car was in pretty good shape for a 28-year-old sedan that depreciated to scrap value by about age 10: no rust, interior not bad.
05 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinLots of options, including air conditioning and AM/FM radio.
04 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinQuality engineered.
Don’t forget to visit the Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™!

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The 1980s: When Worse Was Better http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/the-1980s-when-worse-is-better/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/the-1980s-when-worse-is-better/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 21:06:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=764417 Click here to view the embedded video.

With the wife and kids out of the house on Sunday I finally had a little private time. Naturally, I did what a lot of men do when they find themselves home alone – I caught up on the current season of Top Gear. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about the world’s most popular television program. On the one hand I am generally unimpressed with lengthy reviews of million dollar hyper cars or high end luxury cars, the seats of which my ass will never grace, but I do enjoy the challenges and the occasional look back at cars of the past. Naturally, I was quite taken by this season’s premiere episode, a modern day test of the hot hatches of the 1980s.

For those of you who are too young to remember, the ‘80s was the greatest decade ever. Beginning with the official death of Disco on July 12, 1979 and ending only with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind on September 21, 1991 it was a decade that lasted almost 13 years. That’s astounding! Moreover, blah blah blah, Reagan, blah blah blah, MTV, blah blah blah cellphones the size of bricks instead of the size of a suitcase. Yeah, it was great. We had some things and we did some stuff but the best part was the cars.

Click here to view the embedded video.

In the Top Gear episode, our trio of aging heroes set out to prove that the small, sporty cars of their (our) youth were better than the youth oriented small cars of today. To support their claims, they are each given a small sum of money and are told to bring back an aging hot hatch. Because it’s Britain, the only car I could actually recognize was Jeremy Clarkson’s VW Golf GTI, but all three seemed to be small, “sporty” and, compared to today’s cars, terribly lacking in options or sophistication. They then put these cars through a series of “tests” in that special way that only Top Gear UK can manage and the results are a lot of fun. If you get BBC America, I highly suggest tuning in and watching the fun for yourself.

The episode put me in an introspective sort of mood. I lived through the entirety of the 1980s, actually beginning my first year of high school in the fall of 1979, but I was not a creature of the ‘80s. My tastes ran towards ‘60s muscle cars, ‘70s hard rock and that special sort of Pacific Northwest fashion sense that Nirvana made a grungy part of the ‘90s. Still, by the end of the ‘80s, with the arrival of my own Tuuuuurbo Dodge I had adapted enough that I at least (sort of) fit in.

Photo By T Kreutzer

It turns out that, like our Top Gear hosts, I miss those days and I find myself spending a good deal of time looking back at the cars of that era. I have this nascent idea of bothering poor unsuspecting people on Craigslist by posing as a buyer for their old car and then writing articles about my test driving experience, but of course, I have a problem in that, first, I’m not very good at telling lies and, second, cars of that era are a might thin on the ground in the Western New York region. Perhaps I will try this ploy once I relocate to less salty climates but for now I am stuck living in my own memories.

Compared to modern performance cars, the cars of the 1980s are pitiful pieces of machinery. The turbo Dodge I recall so fondly had a peaky turbo, suffered from massive amounts of torque steer, and blew a head gasket at just 90K miles, but it was light, flickable and, punched way above its weight. The 200SX Turbo I lionized at the beginning of my tenure here at TTAC was much better composed than my Shadow and was a speedy little thing but it turns out that it had just 120 horsepower – that’s actually 2 horsepower less than dowdiest little car Nissan makes today, the Cube. I could find other examples too, I am sure, but there is no point in beating a dead horse there is only one right answer to the question at hand. Today’s cars are far, far better in every way.

But the right answer is, I think, wrong. What we had then may have been technically worse, but it was also so much better. In that same way that a modern jet fighter can outperform a P51 Mustang the new cars have it all over the old ones, but ask any pilot which bird he wants to strap himself into and the vast majority will choose the old one. So it is with cars. I might lose a contest of seed and handling, but at least I’ll go down fighting with a smile on my face. And that’s what it’s really all about anyhow.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Chrysler Laser XE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1985-chrysler-laser-xe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1985-chrysler-laser-xe/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=752617 19 - 1985 Chrysler Laser Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Chrysler Laser was the futuristic K-car-based answer to all those science-fiction Japanese cars of the middle 1980s. We’ve seen some of the Dodge counterparts to this car in this series, including this ’92 IROC R/T, this ’90, this ’88, and this ’87 Shelby Turbo Z. Since I’ve been collecting Japanese 1980s digital dashes, I just couldn’t resist adding a Detroit 1980s digital dash to my collection, in the slipperiest of slippery slopes.
05 - 1985 Chrysler Laser Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, I’ve grabbed this Laser’s digital dash and hooked it up to power, and in the meantime I’ve grabbed a few more Detroit digital instrument clusters from junkyards.
04 - 1985 Chrysler Laser Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinCheck out the cool fader/balance joystick control. Less cool is the fact that Chrysler used this exact rig well into the 1990s.
03 - 1985 Chrysler Laser Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Laser XE came with all manner of computerized gadgetry, plus it talked! Unlike the earlier Nissan Maxima, this setup was all-digital.

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

01 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 1973 Pontiac Grand Am - Picture Courtesy of Old Car Brochures 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix-  Picture Courtesy of Old Car Brochures 1982 Ford Fairmont Futura- Picture Courtesy of Old Car Brochures RamirezPainting1280px-3 ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1984 Chevrolet Corvette http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1984-chevrolet-corvette/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1984-chevrolet-corvette/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=740409 01 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou know how there was no 1983 Corvette, and then the C4 finally came out in 1984, and it had this terrible twin-throttle-body fuel-injection system? Of course you do. Anyway, C4 Corvettes are worth enough these days that they’re not common sights in self-service wrecking yards, and those that I do find have been picked pretty clean.. Shops that specialize in Corvettes intercept most basket-case examples before they get to these yards, but I found four C4s all together at a Southern California yard last month. Let’s check out a well-stripped example of the first of the good-handling Corvettes.
08 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is rough, the interior smells like the blue water in a Porta-Potty, and you’ll get a case of fiberglass-itch if you get too close.
12 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut the Cross-Fire Injection is pretty cool-looking.
06 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI didn’t bother to shoot the other three C4s, because they were all in similar condition.
09 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m sure these carcasses will stay out on the yard until there’s nothing left of them.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1981-dodge-aries-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1981-dodge-aries-station-wagon/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=735681 22 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Chrysler K platform spun off many K-based descendents, but genuine, pure Ks have been fairly rare in this series. We’ve seen this ’83 Dodge Aries sedan, this ’85 Dodge 600 Turbo, and this ’88 Dodge Aries wagon so far, though I’ve passed over many dozens more. Still, when I see a first-year Aries wagon in this weird chalky gray-green color and it has a “Hemi 2.6″ engine, I break out the camera!
13 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars depreciated just as fast as all the other Detroit front-drivers of the 1980s, which means that only relatively trouble-free ones managed to survive 33 years on the street. One expensive problem after about 1989, good-bye!
12 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Hemi 2.6 was really the good old Mitsubishi Astron 4G54 engine, which made 114 not-so-bad-for-1981 horses. Sadly, Chrysler never used any Simca-derived engines in the K family.
07 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis wagon has plenty of options, including air conditioning and futuristic digital chronometer.
05 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs the street price of a battered Aries-K approached scrap-value levels, the socioeconomic status of the average K-car owner also dropped.
03 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, you can see hints of former luxury in the much-used faded-mint-green vinyl interior.

As you can see here, the ’81 K-cars were sold on price, period.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Subaru BRAT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1982-subaru-brat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1982-subaru-brat/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 14:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=733825 15 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith so many old Subarus in Denver wrecking yards, I do run across the occasional BRAT. We’ve seen this ’79 and this very rare Sawzall Edition ’86 so far in this series, and today we’ll be looking at a well-used ’82 that still has the very rare lawsuit-inducing jumpseats in the back.
14 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, those Chicken Tax-skirting jumpseats that made the BRAT, legally speaking, a car instead of a truck were loose in the bed of this Subaru when I found it a couple weeks back.
13 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI thought about buying the seats for my Dodge A100 van, but they’re missing the headrests and one of the grab handles, plus the floor-mounting brackets were beat to hell.
12 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars rusted very quickly, though Colorado’s arid climate spared this one from full-on Michigan-grade cancer.
10 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNice BRATs are worth quite a bit these days. Thrashed ones are worth scrap value.
05 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStrangely, I saw three vehicles with variations on this sticker during this trip to the junkyard. There’s meaning there somewhere.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Porsche 928, Weird Movie Car Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1985-porsche-928-weird-movie-car-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1985-porsche-928-weird-movie-car-edition/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=727354 11 - 1985 Porsche 928 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSouthern California really is the Promised Land of cool Junkyard Finds, and sometimes you’ll find a car that was used in a film or TV shoot before getting scrapped. Such appears to be the case with this puzzling camo-and-Boeing-emblems-wrapped 928.
02 - 1985 Porsche 928 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe engine is gone, the interior is stripped, and it has a hole in the hood that suggests that the car once had a goofy intake setup.
13 - 1985 Porsche 928 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 125,180 miles on the clock.
09 - 1985 Porsche 928 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPerhaps this car participated in the Silver State Classic Challenge. Or maybe it just has the sticker.
08 - 1985 Porsche 928 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOK, bonus points for anyone who can unearth some history of this car on the internetz (but only if you’re doing your research on The Man’s clock).

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Buick Century Olympic Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1984-buick-century-olympic-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1984-buick-century-olympic-edition/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=707178 08 - 1984 Buick Century Olympic Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, GM was a major sponsor of US Olympic athletes at the 1984 Summer Olympics (which were boycotted by most of the Warsaw Pact as payback for Jimmy Carter and friends boycotting the ’80 Olympics over Part XXIV in the War In Afghanistan), which meant that you could buy an Olympic Edition Buick Century that year. I moved to Southern California while the ’84 Olympics were going on, but all I remember about them was my friend who made the national news by drunk-driving over tens of thousands of orange cones set up for the bicycle-road-race event in Orange County (delaying the start of the event and earning five years of weekend orange-vest-freeway-cleanup duty)… and the sight of all these Olympic Centuries being driven around by low-level employees of the Games. Here’s one that managed to stay on the street for nearly 30 years, before washing up in an Oakland self-service yard.
12 - 1984 Buick Century Olympic Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSort of a forgettable member of the forgettable Celebrity/6000/Ciera family, but the US Olympic Team badging makes it a rare find.
11 - 1984 Buick Century Olympic Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m sure this Olympic hood ornament is worth at least several dollars today.
06 - 1984 Buick Century Olympic Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinCheck out these Olympicized headrests!
25 - 1984 Buick Century Olympic Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIf a Buick buyer was too cheap to spring for the cassette deck (as this car’s buyer was), GM supplied a radio with the cassette door replaced by a plastic block-off plate. I’ll bet all the cassette-deck mechanism is in place behind this plate, too.
28 - 1984 Buick Century Olympic Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinGold pinstripes.
20 - 1984 Buick Century Olympic Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinEven the first year after the end of the Malaise Era was still fairly Malaise-y.

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Thinking About An Older, Sporty Car: What Do You Suggest? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/thinking-about-an-older-sporty-car-what-do-you-suggest/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/thinking-about-an-older-sporty-car-what-do-you-suggest/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 21:07:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=706778 Photo courtesy of Craigslist.org

Photo courtesy of Craigslist.org

The decision is in, and my long awaited overseas assignment has been postponed for another year. I still have a move in my future, however, but it won’t be outside the border it will be the heartland – Leavenworth, KS. After looking at the alternatives, I’ve decided that this is the best opportunity I was presented with. It’s a chance to work with some folks I might not have otherwise worked with and, while I am there, maybe I’ll even learn a few things. The added bonus is that the move gets me out of the rust belt and back into a place where old cars are a lot more common.

Since the 300M went to a new home a little less than a year ago I’ve had an empty place in my heart to match the one in my driveway. The family mini-van and my Pontiac Torrent are both wonderful, competent daily drivers, but they aren’t really what I think of as “fun.” There’s never a hint of drama with either of them, they just do their jobs every day without complaint and, while I admire and rely upon their stolidity, I miss having something to play with. The time has come to rectify that.

Photo courtesy of Craigslist.org

Photo courtesy of Craigslist.org

With an eye towards understanding the local used car market, I’ve already spent a little time perusing the Kansas City Craigslist and I’ve found some things that I have liked. Some of the usual suspects have flitted through my brain, if you’ve ever read anything I have written you know I have an unhealthy obsession with Turbo Dodges and the mid-80’s Nissans, but I’m open to all suggestions within reasons and I thought we might have some fun discussing the alternatives. My ground rules are thus:

Given the short-term nature of my assignment, I’m not willing to drop a whole lot of cash so I’m going to set a limit of $4K for the initial purchase and that’s already on the high side so my mantra is “cheaper is better.”

Projects are OK, but even though I’m not against solving a few mechanical gremlins, I won’t be swapping out entire engines, getting involved in a “frame-up” anything or ending up in a car that needs major body work.

I’d prefer something from the 80s or 90s, but would consider a smaller car, say some kind of Japanese or British classic from the 60s or 70s, but no old luxury barges. The point is that I want something small and sporty, not big and heavy.

I would like something with a manual transmission, I’ve really missed those over the past few years, but I have no real preference for which set of wheels get driven. Front and rear wheel drive cars are both on the table.

That’s it. I know there is a lot of experience on this site so I am interested in your suggestions and expect a healthy debate about the various merits of some fun old cars. Because I won’t move until summer, I’m not ready to purchase this minute and don’t need to be hooked up with a specific seller so please, for the love of God, don’t call anyone up and bother them. Besides, most of the time, thinking about what I could buy proves to be more fun than actually buying it. Let’s prolong that feeling as long as possible. What would you get if you were in my position?

Photo courtesy of Craigslist.org

Photo courtesy of Craigslist.org

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Sterling 827 SLi Fastback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1989-sterling-827-sli-fastback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1989-sterling-827-sli-fastback/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 14:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=702546 09 - 1989 Sterling 827 SLi Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen you find a Jensen Interceptor in one row and a Maserati Biturbo Spyder in the next row at a Los Angeles self-service wrecking yard, you can count on finding another weird import not far away. Sure enough, here’s a Sterling, a rare reminder of the short-lived Austin-Rover-Honda experiment of the late 1980s.
08 - 1989 Sterling 827 SLi Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinBased on the Rover 800, which itself was a sort of Rover-ized Honda Legend, the idea behind the Sterling brand was that American car buyers could get a luxurious British-style interior coupled with Japanese build quality and reliability.
06 - 1989 Sterling 827 SLi Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSterling 827 buyers got the 2.7-liter 24-valve Honda V6, same as the Japanese-market Legend (the first-gen US-market Acura Legends had a slightly less powerful version), but they also got cars full of Lucas electrics, hammered together by angry Englishmen who saw the union-busting face of Maggie Thatcher in every fastener they pounded. American buyers edged away in horror.
10 - 1989 Sterling 827 SLi Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, the interiors were very nice, lots of wood and leather.
04 - 1989 Sterling 827 SLi Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one barely made it past 100,000 miles. Checking the VIN in the California smog-check records database indicates that this car failed the smog test just about every time, but managed to get registered as recently as 2008. Since that time, it probably sat in a driveway, awaiting some repair that just wasn’t worth doing.
12 - 1989 Sterling 827 SLi Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWith 5,907 Sterlings sold in the United States for the 1987 model year, these cars were always pretty rare.

Connally Leather, which has to be better than Corinthian Leather!

There was a Japanese version, of course.

The 800 was pitched as being romantic in the UK, no hint of the Honda innards.

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Nissan Maxima, Brake Fluid Overdose Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1986-nissan-maxima-brake-fluid-overdose-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1986-nissan-maxima-brake-fluid-overdose-edition/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=701706 01 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou see some weird stuff in San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yards, from lunatic-with-a-glue-gun art cars to dipped-in-battery-acid rust to chopped, Italianized Swedes. Last weekend, I stopped by a well-stocked Oakland self-serve yard and found this puzzling brake-fluid test vehicle.
03 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m thinking that Cartel Products probably didn’t hire some East Bay Maxima driver to use their silicone brake fluid and advertise the fact with scary-looking nail-polish-painted signs all over the car. That leaves the question: who, and why?
06 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWell, nail-polish and mailbox stick-on letters.
09 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe radiator smelled like brake fluid.
12 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinBut it gets weirder than that. Who puts brake fluid in the windshield washer system? And then installs inline fuel filters in the squirter lines?
08 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is one of those 1980s Japanese cars that had all the control labeling translated directly into English, regardless of hyphenation. SECU-RITY!

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Maserati Biturbo Spyder http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1986-maserati-biturbo-spyder/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1986-maserati-biturbo-spyder/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=700721 12 - 1986 Maserati Biturbo Spyder Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYesterday, we saw a junked Jensen Interceptor that I photographed during a trip to Los Angeles. Today, I’ll follow that up with another rare import from the same yard: a Maserati Biturbo Spyder! This is only the second Biturbo in this series, after this ’84.
08 - 1986 Maserati Biturbo Spyder Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinI lived in Orange County during the mid-to-late 1980s, and the torrents of ill-gotten cash being sloshed around Irvine and Newport Beach during what became the the S&L Crisis (the notorious Lincoln Savings and Loan, poster child of the scandal that tarnished the reputations of John Glenn and John McCain, was headquartered a mile or so from my home at the time) resulted in an explosion of low-level scamsters buying brand-new European status cars. Most of them bought BMW E24s or E28s, but a significant minority went Italian and got Alfa Milanos or Maserati Biturbos.
02 - 1986 Maserati Biturbo Spyder Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinI have a vivid 1987 memory of being at a stoplight at Jamboree and Campus in Irvine and pulling up behind a brand-new Biturbo convertible in my hooptie-ass 1968 Mercury Cyclone. I remember having Yello’s “I.T. Splash” (part of the excellent “Frank Johnson’s Favorites” compilation) on cassette at that moment. I thought the E24 was sort of a cool car at the time, though as much out of my financial reach as a Jupiter Base would be out of the reach of the Guyanese Space Program, but the sight of this top-town twin-turbocharged Maserati made me feel a deep and painful longing.
07 - 1986 Maserati Biturbo Spyder Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinOf course, it wasn’t long before it became clear that the Biturbo was really a profoundly terrible car (the Milano turned out to look pretty good in hindsight, but maybe that’s just me), but it was a badass machine for about 18 months in S&L-looting circles.
17 - 1986 Maserati Biturbo Spyder Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe car I remember was blue, so this one— spotted at a wrecking yard about 35 miles away from that intersection— is a different one. The dirt and grime suggest that it sat dead in a back yard or driveway for the last couple of decades, then got junked when it became clear that even a Biturbo convertible isn’t worth restoring.
03 - 1986 Maserati Biturbo Spyder Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWhat would I have bought, had I gotten my nose in the Lincoln Savings trough in 1986? Sad to say, probably a Starion.
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Junkyard Find: 1982 Cadillac Cimarron http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1982-cadillac-cimarron-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1982-cadillac-cimarron-2/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 14:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=694241 10 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSometimes I just have to choose a Junkyard Find car based on its potential for a good Crab Spirits Story™, and that’s what’s happening today. The Cadillac Cimarron— well, there’s not much we need to say here about the image-tarnishing disaster that finished the brand-devaluing job GM started a few years earlier with the Seville (other than the fact that it took many years to undo the damage and convince car buyers that Cadillacs weren’t just badge-engineered bait-and-switches. The Cimarron never sold very well, and the J-body cars weren’t known for longevity, so Cimarron sightings are extremely rare today; we’ve seen this ’82 and this ’83 Cimarron d’Oro, plus the very first Down On The Street car. Here’s an ’82 that I found during a recent trip to California.
12 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, it turned out that Cadillac badges on a Cavalier just wouldn’t translate into a thick stream of pure cash for The General.
04 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinLeather or Pleather? Does it matter?
08 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou couldn’t get the Iron Duke in a Cimarron (Cadillac Division execs probably expended all their remaining political capital to keep the raspy, shaky half-a-Pontiac-301 out of their J-Car); instead, the base engine in ’82 was the developed-for-the-J pushrod 1.8 four-banger.
01 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWould a Coupe Deville buyer have slapped this Chevron Travel Club sticker on a side window?
18 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinCimarron By Cadillac!
Why not start the day with a Cimarron promotional film, while Crab Spirits works on the real story of this fine automobile?

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Datsun 510 Liftback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1981-datsun-510-liftback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1981-datsun-510-liftback/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=693889 09 -1981 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSo there’s the “real” Datsun 510, which was sold from the 1968 through 1973 model years and is the one everyone means when they talk about the now-incredibly-valuable BMW 2002 competitor… and then there’s the A10 Nissan Violet, which was sold in the United States with 510 badging from 1977 through 1981. These cars are extremely rare, but I found one in Oakland in 2012 and now I’ve found another in Denver.
07 -1981 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the 1952cc Z20 engine, which was sort of a halfway evolutionary step between the good old L engines and the modern-ish KA engines. 88 horsepower, and it says a lot about 1981 that this wasn’t too bad for the era.
03 -1981 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, this car is a cruel parody of the Gr-r-r-rooovy 510 of a decade earlier.
15 -1981 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, a very rare Junkyard Find.
Nobody loves a good race more than Datsun!
The slightly earlier version, sold as a Nissan Stanza in Japan, was full of romance.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Ford Fairmont Futura http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1980-ford-fairmont-futura/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1980-ford-fairmont-futura/#comments Mon, 30 Dec 2013 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=689442 13 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Fairmont was the Fox platform-based cheap midsize Ford that replaced the Maverick, and nobody ever paid much attention to the Fairmont sedans. However, the sporty coupe version of the Fairmont— the Futura— had a certain style, much like Mercury Zephyr Coupe, and so I decided this ’80 was worth photographing when I spotted it in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard a few months ago.

There’s a little bit of ‘bird in every Futura!

The result of computer modeling!

Buy smart— it makes you look good.
10 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Fox platform was fairly advanced for Malaise Era Detroit, and these cars weren’t bad to drive.
07 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 200-cubic-inch (aka 3.3 liter) straight-six wasn’t the engine of choice for dragstrip domination, but it was reliable.
16 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAir conditioning!
18 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe horn button was pretty classy.
01 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe psychedelic City of Hope sticker is a nice touch.

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Junkyard Find: Volvo 440 GLT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-volvo-440-glt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-volvo-440-glt/#comments Fri, 27 Dec 2013 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=688626 04 - Volvo 440GLT Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDuring my recent trip to Iceland, I stopped by a few Reykjavik wrecking yards to see what kind of stuff those Norsemen send to The Crusher. We’ve seen this Lada Niva, and this Renault Megane, some Dodges, and now we’ve got a DAF-connected Volvo that was never sold in the United States.
02 - Volvo 440GLT Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 440 was a front-wheel-drive hatchback, which seems so un-Volvo-like for the late-80s/early-90s.
05 - Volvo 440GLT Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou could get the 440 with a no-doubt-godawful continuously variable transmission (known as the Transmatic), but this one has a 5-speed.
03 - Volvo 440GLT Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s the likely reason it is no longer on the street.

It’s telling that most of the results I found for a search for Volvo 440 videos were of the “let’s kill this terrible car” variety. Here’s a fiery, smoky brick-on-the-gas-pedal example.

Throw that rulebook out the window!

Is there a safer way to lose your heart?

The 1980s were still going strong in 1993 Germany.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Chevrolet Chevette CS Diesel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1984-chevrolet-chevette-cs-diesel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1984-chevrolet-chevette-cs-diesel/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=683722 15 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDid you know that the Chevrolet Chevette was manufactured in the United States through the 1987 model year? It’s true! Serious fans of Chevette trivia also know that American car shoppers could buy a new Chevette with an Isuzu diesel engine; Chevette Diesel owners could eke out tremendous range in their oil-stinking, cramped, rear-drive econoboxes, and isn’t that really what car ownership was all about in the middle 1980s? I see the occasional Chevette in my travels (not to mention on the race track), but this California find is the first diesel Chevette in this series.
07 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith all the San Francisco Bay Area veggie-oil-diesel freaks snapping up Peugeot 504 and Mercedes-Benz W123 diesels for conversion to never-to-be-finished french-fry-grease-burners to take to Nevada, you’d think that this Chevette would have been worth enough to evade The Crusher. Guess not.
10 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAt least it has a manual transmission, so the 51-horse engine would have been just miserable instead of completely intolerable.
01 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDon’t use starting fluid!
02 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Isuzu engine in these things was a very reliable, if gutless, powerplant.
11 - 1984 Chevrolet Chevette Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow many GM products got this exact HVAC-control panel?
20-Chevette-1The most famous Chevette Diesel in the world is, of course, the Zero Budget Racing car, which has done very well in 24 Hours of LeMons racing.

OK, let’s watch some Chevette ads from around the world! Here’s Brazil.

The Chevette Amigo was just the car for picking up streetwalkers in Venezuela.

The Daewoo Maepsy was the Korean Chevette.

In Canada, they ice-race Chevettes aka Pontiac Acadians.

Canadian Chevettes were badged as Chevrolets, too.

To get a sense of the incredible slowness of the Chevette Diesel, here’s some rear-facing video from the Zero Budget Chevette Diesel at Gingerman earlier this year.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Dodge Raider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1988-dodge-raider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1988-dodge-raider/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=682026 18 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo, out of the entire series of Junkyard Finds, which goes back three years and includes more than 600 posts, which vehicle has attracted the most readers? Strangely, it’s this 1987 Dodge Raider, which I shot in a Denver yard about a year ago. Why? Perhaps fans of the rebadged Mitsubishi Pajero are especially obsessed devoted, to a degree that the rest of us (I’m sure Raider/Montero/Pajero fans have a derisive nickname for us) will never understand. Anyway, here is exactly the second Raider I’ve seen in a wrecking yard since the start of this series; I found this little gold devil during my visit to the San Francisco Bay Area last week.
02 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 136,000 miles on the clock, but I’m sure they were manly miles.
09 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI don’t recall ever seeing Ram emblems on a Raider before. Could these have been lifted from a Dodge Ram 50 aka Mitsubishi Mighty Max?
08 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMarques in the Chrysler family got pretty hard to follow by the late 1980s, what with all the DNA from AMC, Renault, Mitsubishi, Simca, and assorted second cousins of those badges coursing through the company’s veins at this point. The Raider makes for some good automotive trivia questions, though not quite as weird as questions related to early 1970s captive imports or the greatest Brazilian Chrysler of all time.
01 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI don’t recall hearing about the lawsuits that must have led to these warning labels. Anybody know this story?
14 - 1988 Dodge Raider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe coolest truck in the Napa High School parking lot!

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Mazda 929 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1989-mazda-929/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1989-mazda-929/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 14:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=677362 12 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIn the late 1980s, otherwise known as the Before Lexus LS Era, American car shoppers didn’t have many choices for big Japanese luxury sedans. You had the Toyota Cressida, the Nissan Maxima, and that was pretty much it (nitpickers might add the Mitsubishi Diamante to this list, since it was possible to buy one in late 1989; the same could be said of the Lexus LS, of course). Or was it? Oh yes, there was also the Mazda 929, a car that never made much of an impact in North America. I owned an ’88 929 for a fairly brief period about ten years ago (I made a complicated four-cornered car deal that resulted in the 929 and a Volvo 244 being added to my fleet) and I thought it was a very good car. Since that time, I’ve kept my eyes open for 929s, finding about zero on the street and this ’91 in the junkyard so far. On a trip to Northern California yesterday, I spotted today’s ’89.
14 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinRear-wheel drive, semi-imposing dimensions, and a potent (for 1989) 158-horsepower V6 made the 929 a solid rival for the Cressida. Who knows, it may have stolen a few sales from the BMW 5-series here and there.
06 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin18 valves, a number you’d expect to see in some obscure prewar French straight-nine flathead. Mazda went to a 24-valve version of the 3.0-liter V6 for the 929S version.
02 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin172,969 miles, which comes to just over 7,000 miles per year.
01 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe leather in this 929 has seen better days, but you can see that this car had some credible luxury going on.

Known as the Luce in its native Japan, the 929 was Big Personal!

Eight grand less than those pricey Germans, points out James Garner.
01 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin

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