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. Sun, 02 Aug 2015 16:00:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » 1980s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1981 AMC Concord http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1981-amc-concord/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1981-amc-concord/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 12:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1122097 We see a lot of AMC Eagles in this series, as well as the occasional Spirit or Encore or even an Oleg Cassini Edition Matador, but today’s Junkyard Find is our first-ever AMC Concord. Here’s an amazingly brown ’81 sedan for some Malaise goodness. Under the hood, we’ve got an Iron Duke four-cylinder, which made […]

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21 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

We see a lot of AMC Eagles in this series, as well as the occasional Spirit or Encore or even an Oleg Cassini Edition Matador, but today’s Junkyard Find is our first-ever AMC Concord. Here’s an amazingly brown ’81 sedan for some Malaise goodness.
17 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

Under the hood, we’ve got an Iron Duke four-cylinder, which made 86 mighty horsepower. That’s just 12 more than the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage (which weighs 864 pounds less than this Concord), a car much maligned by automotive journalists for its allegedly intolerable slowness. This Concord’s poor abused Duke had to drag 32.78 pounds with each of its gasping horsepower, while the new Mirage — which I say isn’t bad at all, for the price — has a much sprightlier 27.41 pounds-per-horse ratio. Think about that next time you hear some angry geezer complaining about cars being better in the old days.

07 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

This car came with AM and FM on the radio dial, all the better for listening to some of the year’s better music on KALX (if you had AM only, you were stuck with far schmaltzier stuff, though you might have lucked out into one of the better 1981 AM hits now and then).

18 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

Think about this: the AM/FM radio option in this car was $192 ($556 in 2015 dollars), while opting for the 258-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine was just $136 over the cost of the standard Iron Duke. Priorities!

10 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

American cars of this era tended to have headliner-hanging-down issues. I see this staple trick frequently in junkyards.

14 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

Luxury.

I didn’t spend a penny extra for all this luxury!

The Tough Americans, now with 10% rollback.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Nissan Maxima http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1984-nissan-maxima/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1984-nissan-maxima/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116233 Maximas of the ’80s, like their Toyota Cressida counterparts, were pretty reliable and held their heads above the scrap-value waterline for decades after all the early Sentras got crushed. We’ve seen this ’85 sedan with 5-speed, this gig-rig ’86 wagon with pleading note to the tow-truck driver and this super-weird ’86 sedan with brake fluid […]

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14 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Maximas of the ’80s, like their Toyota Cressida counterparts, were pretty reliable and held their heads above the scrap-value waterline for decades after all the early Sentras got crushed. We’ve seen this ’85 sedan with 5-speed, this gig-rig ’86 wagon with pleading note to the tow-truck driver and this super-weird ’86 sedan with brake fluid used as coolant and washer fluid in this series so far, and today we’re heading to the San Francisco Bay Area to see this last-year-of-rear-wheel-drive example.
06 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one has surprisingly low miles on the clock.

16 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

By 1984, the name-change from Datsun to Nissan was in its final transition year. These cars came with little Datsun badges and big Nissan badges (the Datsun ones have been pried off this car); for the 1985 model year, all U.S.-market Nissans would be Datsun-badge-free.

I recall the whole marque-renaming thing being puzzling at the time.

10 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Just like the 810 that preceded it, this car has a 2.4-liter L24 straight-six engine and Z-car-derived suspension. A year later, the Maxima would be motivated by the front wheels and powered by a V6.

19 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Many upscale Nissans would keep the weird phonograph-based “talking car” system for a few more years, but some models started getting solid-state voice units instead of the far cooler record-player types. Yes, I bought this one.

01 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Do these stickers really prevent speeding tickets?


Japanese car ads during this period were far superior to the North American ones.


At Nissan, we make every drive Major Motion.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Classic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-caprice-classic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-caprice-classic/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107577 The third-gen Chevy Caprice, made for the 1977 through 1990 model years, was the last of the traditional box Caprices. Those of us who came of driving age during the Late Malaise Era came to fear the rear-view-mirror sight of the grille of this car, the early Panther Ford LTD, and the Dodge Diplomat, due […]

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00 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The third-gen Chevy Caprice, made for the 1977 through 1990 model years, was the last of the traditional box Caprices. Those of us who came of driving age during the Late Malaise Era came to fear the rear-view-mirror sight of the grille of this car, the early Panther Ford LTD, and the Dodge Diplomat, due to their popularity among police departments in the 1980s. You don’t see many box Caprices these days, but enough were made that they appear in self-service wrecking yards now and then. Here’s a very governmental-looking example I saw in Denver a couple months ago.
01 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Made in Texas by Texans! Sajeev would approve, but his loyalty to the Blue Oval is stronger than his love of Texan-made automobiles.

13 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Carburetors were almost gone by this time, but the Caprice still had a good ol’ Quadrajet on its 305-cubic-inch V8. In 1989, the Caprice got electronic fuel injection (instead of the Holley double-pumper that should have been installed to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall).

14 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

GM had toned down all the heraldic crests and related gingerbread on the Caprice by the late 1980s, probably because police departments and rental-car companies don’t care about such things, but you still got a few fleur-de-lis scattered about the car.

04 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

85 mph speedometers were no longer mandated by US law in 1988, but we can assume that GM had a few hundred thousand of these things in their warehouses and wanted to use them up.

PCH-SVO_vs_XR4Ti-Merkur-4

The Merkur XR4Ti also had an 85 mph speedometer, but it was presented with a certain amount of winking and nudging.

As you can see in this “Hearbeat of America” add from 1988, the Caprice wasn’t getting much emphasis in Chevrolet’s marketing in 1988.

Not the most expensive luxury car, but the most preferred.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Cressida Wagon, Salty Pacific Ocean Spray Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-cressida-wagon-salty-pacific-ocean-spray-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-cressida-wagon-salty-pacific-ocean-spray-edition/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 11:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1079161 Since we had some rusty Junkyard Finds recently and I just spent a couple of days driving around San Francisco looking at ocean-salt horror-story cars, let’s continue with the Toyota Rust theme and check out this frighteningly oxidized San Francisco Cressida. Cars in the non-mountainous regions of California mostly don’t rust much, unless they’re air-cooled […]

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40 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Since we had some rusty Junkyard Finds recently and I just spent a couple of days driving around San Francisco looking at ocean-salt horror-story cars, let’s continue with the Toyota Rust theme and check out this frighteningly oxidized San Francisco Cressida.
27 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Cars in the non-mountainous regions of California mostly don’t rust much, unless they’re air-cooled Volkswagens. Sometimes you’ll see old Detroit cars in California with rusted-out trunk floors (from rainwater leaking in during the winter) or rust beneath vinyl tops, but that’s about as bad as it gets… unless you live within a few blocks of the ocean. In that situation, you get salt spray kicked up by big waves, plus the constant damp and fog that neighborhoods right on the ocean get. The damage tends to start on top and work its way down. Eventually, a good-running Toyota becomes more of a rusty cheese grater and must be scrapped.

15 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This Cressida has San Francisco N Zone residential parking permits stretching from 1994 through a couple months ago. The Richmond District gets plenty of salt and chilly fog, being one of those SF neighborhoods with summer high temperatures in the 40s.

01 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The owner of this car experimented with several types of rust-covering fillers. This appears to be Sculpey and Rustoleum.

29 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I got so obsessed with documenting the rust “repairs” that I neglected to shoot the interior of this car. The icky Children’s Interactive Expo T-shirt as a seat cover is the only interior shot I took.

21 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The 5M engine might still be a runner. Only one way to find out!

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency, Old Glory Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1989-oldsmobile-98-regency-old-glory-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1989-oldsmobile-98-regency-old-glory-edition/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082281 I love the wrecking yards in my adopted state of Colorado, but you can’t beat the high-inventory-turnover big chain yards in urban California when it comes to weird Junkyard Finds with enjoyably incomprehensible backstories. Today’s San Jose find, an extremely patriotic 11th-gen Olds 98 sedan, must have a fascinating tale behind it… if only we […]

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14 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I love the wrecking yards in my adopted state of Colorado, but you can’t beat the high-inventory-turnover big chain yards in urban California when it comes to weird Junkyard Finds with enjoyably incomprehensible backstories. Today’s San Jose find, an extremely patriotic 11th-gen Olds 98 sedan, must have a fascinating tale behind it… if only we could puzzle it out.
13 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The paint stripes and star decals appear to have been done professionally, with no evidence of half-assed bugs-in-the-paint backyard work.

15 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The stars and stripes are sufficiently weathered that it’s possible they were applied when the car was new. Maybe some Olds dealership used the car for Fourth of July parades?

03 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

You don’t see many Fred Thompson 2008 presidential campaign stickers these days (nor did you in 2007), but this car has several. Thompson dropped out of the race early, after coming in third in the South Carolina primary.

23 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

If you’ve got a red-white-and-blue Oldsmobile, you need at least one “NEVER FORGET” 9/11 sticker. This car has two, if you count the half-peeled one on the driver’s door.

19 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Joshua Robert Rodgers came from Carson City, Nevada, so it’s possible that this is a Nevada Olds that made it to the San Francisco Bay Area late in its career.

22 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This sticker refers to Ignacio Ramos and José Compean, two Border Patrol agents who were jailed over a shooting incident near El Paso in 2005. President Bush commuted their sentences in 2009, so this car is starting to look like a 2007 time capsule. Note the spelling correction on the sticker.

32 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Not quite 130,000 miles on the clock.

34 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The body is solid, but the interior is heavily sun-damaged.

36 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Buick V6 power under the hood.


9% financing on the 98 Regency in Canada!

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Citation, Rock Salt Sandblasting Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-rock-salt-sandblasting-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-rock-salt-sandblasting-edition/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1074762 This is the third week in Themed Junkyard Find Week Madness. We started with 21st Century Junkyard Find Week, then had Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week, and now we’ve staggered right into Rusty Junkyard Find Week. Next week, I might return to ordinary jumbled-up Junkyard Finds, or I might subject you to an entire month of […]

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Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This is the third week in Themed Junkyard Find Week Madness. We started with 21st Century Junkyard Find Week, then had Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week, and now we’ve staggered right into Rusty Junkyard Find Week. Next week, I might return to ordinary jumbled-up Junkyard Finds, or I might subject you to an entire month of Chrysler LH Junkyard Finds.

For now, though, let’s finish up our third Themed Junkyard Find Week with a case of genuinely puzzling rust.
Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation Detail 1 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Unlike most of the interesting cars I shoot in junkyards, this ’81 Chevy Citation is represented here by just a single photograph. I was visiting the yard just before closing time, to grab a Dodge D100 pickup fuel gauge for my get-it-done-today A100 instrument-cluster rebuild project, walked past this Citation, and shot a single cellphone photo.

Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation Detail 2 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

So, we’ll look at details from that single photo, like conspiracy theorists studying a single frame of the Zapruder Film. This car had some rust all over, but the vertical surfaces of the right side of the body had terrifying and weirdly localized rust. How? Why? There’s no evidence of a fire burning off a patch of paint, so perhaps the car spent several years lying on its right side in the manure pond of a western Kansas pig farm?

Let’s time-travel back to 1979, when “the first Chevy of the 80s” hadn’t yet hit the streets in large numbers and existed mostly in the minds of Americans who were hoping that the gloom of the previous decade would be washed away by a car that showed that the days of bad Chevrolets were over.


Well, long-term-wise, that didn’t work out so well, with the Citation merely ushering in a decade of brand-damaging disasters and puzzling attempts to compete with German luxury marques. Today, we laugh at the Citation, though there was a time when they were as commonplace as are Malibus today.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, Spray-Foam Rust-Repair Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-corolla-hatchback-spray-foam-rust-repair-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-corolla-hatchback-spray-foam-rust-repair-edition/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1074322 Let’s follow up 21st Century Junkyard Find Week and Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week with Rusty Junkyard Find week, shall we? On Tuesday, we saw this ’83 Toyota pickup with not-so-effective fiberglass-and-Bondo cover-up-the-rust-and-hope-it-goes-away repairs, and today we’ll be looking at a thoroughly used-up Corolla with similar squeeze-another-few-months-out-of-this-heap repairs done by someone who knew he or she […]

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14 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLet’s follow up 21st Century Junkyard Find Week and Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week with Rusty Junkyard Find week, shall we? On Tuesday, we saw this ’83 Toyota pickup with not-so-effective fiberglass-and-Bondo cover-up-the-rust-and-hope-it-goes-away repairs, and today we’ll be looking at a thoroughly used-up Corolla with similar squeeze-another-few-months-out-of-this-heap repairs done by someone who knew he or she would be the vehicle’s last owner.
43 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAmericans didn’t much like the look of the AE82 Corolla hatchback, although we bought a fair number of its NUMMI-built Chevy Nova siblings.
51 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDoes this rust mean that important structural components are likely to fail soon? You bet!
32 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo close to that magical 300,000-mile mark, but another 38,868 miles in this hooptie would have been pretty miserable.
36 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven if the structure held together, there is no quantity or type of air freshener that could cover the stench of the fast-food-detritus-and-bodily-fluids-caked interior of this car.
13 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlus it’s a real hassle to have a hatchback with a nonfunctional hatch.
09 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCrab Spirits is sure to find inspiration about this Corolla’s previous owner via the large number of stickers on the back glass. For example, he or she was a fan of Propaganda E-Liquid.
10 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis retailer of smoking accessories also gets a shout-out on the Corolla’s rear glass.
47 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou could get a diesel version of this car, but few did. Wikipedia editors believe that the 4A-LC engine was sold only in Australia, Switzerland, and Sweden, but you’ll see plenty of these two-digit-horsepower cockroaches in US-market Corollas.

US-market ads for Corollas and their kin seldom employed the word “sexy.”

San Franciscans— hundreds of them, lining the streets— doubted that the ’84 Corolla sedan could do anything.

John Davidson pitched a special New Zealand version of this car.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Pickup, Adobe Rust Repair Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-pickup-adobe-rust-repair-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-pickup-adobe-rust-repair-edition/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 11:15:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073818 Toyotas of the 1970s and 1980s were quite reliable for the era, if you’re just talking about running gear. If you lived in a rust-prone area, though (say, a block from the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco), Toyotas were eaten by the Iron Oxide Monster in a hurry. Here in Denver, where the snow usually […]

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08 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Toyotas of the 1970s and 1980s were quite reliable for the era, if you’re just talking about running gear. If you lived in a rust-prone area, though (say, a block from the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco), Toyotas were eaten by the Iron Oxide Monster in a hurry. Here in Denver, where the snow usually doesn’t stick around long enough to warrant the application of road salt and the single-digit humidity dries out pockets of moisture trapped behind body panels before they can cause much harm, you don’t see too many rust horror-shows in junkyards. However, being conveniently located to both the western edge of the Rust Belt and the salty-road mountains means that I do see some interesting approaches to the Rotting Toyota Problem. Here’s a camper-shell-equipped Missouri Hilux (sold as, simply, the “Toyota Truck” in the United States) with some fiberglass-and-body-filler bodywork that may have bought it another year or two on the road.
19 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Actually, the shell came from Missouri; there’s no telling where the truck came from (though the shell appears to have been on the truck since it was new-ish).

05 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Not even 200,000 miles on the clock.

06 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Bondo over rust solves the problem in about the same way that painting over termite damage fixes your house.

21 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I keep hearing that 20R heads are worth plenty to the guys who want to swap them onto their 22R off-road trucks and get higher compression, but I never see them removed at junkyards. Urban legend?

11 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Mechanically speaking, this truck probably had a lot of life left in it, but watching shards of your vehicle tumbling behind you in the rear-view mirror while listening to the howl of wind through all the rust holes… well, it gets old.


There are parts of the world, however, where Hilux owners don’t worry about how rusty their trucks might be.


The Australians have always had better Hilux ads than North Americans.


See what I mean?

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Four-Door Hatchback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1980-volkswagen-dasher-four-door-hatchback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1980-volkswagen-dasher-four-door-hatchback/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065138 With the 1986 Quantum GL5 Junkyard Find we had a couple of days ago, we might as well make this a VW junkyard week. With that in mind, I present this icky-looking Volkswagen Dasher today. I shot this car in Northern California a few months ago, and it showed all the hallmarks of a car […]

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00 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

With the 1986 Quantum GL5 Junkyard Find we had a couple of days ago, we might as well make this a VW junkyard week. With that in mind, I present this icky-looking Volkswagen Dasher today.
04 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

I shot this car in Northern California a few months ago, and it showed all the hallmarks of a car stored outdoors for decades: low miles, paint burned off upper surfaces, moss and lichens growing on the shaded areas. Look, not even 100,000 miles on the clock!

11 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one was a luxurious model with sunroof and air conditioning a diesel injection pump.

01 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

The 1980 four-door hatch version of the Dasher listed at $8,190, which was $2,300 more than the Rabbit four-door hatch. Meanwhile, the far more luxurious and powerful (keep in mind that 1980’s standards for luxury and power differ from the ones we might apply today) Datsun 810 wagon (soon to be rebadged as the Maxima) listed at $8,129. Not that Dasher and 810 shoppers were the same people, but these comparisons are fun to make.

03 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

Yes, I bought the MotoMeter clock… and it works!

The car of choice for Kentucky Colonels.

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1986-vollkswagen-quantum-gl5-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1986-vollkswagen-quantum-gl5-sedan/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064938 The original Volkswagen Passat (aka Audi 80) was sold in the United States as the Dasher, and we’ve seen a few of them in this series. Then, when the second-generation Passat came out, the US-market version was called the Quantum. These cars, which were available here for the 1982 through 1988 model years (after which […]

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03 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The original Volkswagen Passat (aka Audi 80) was sold in the United States as the Dasher, and we’ve seen a few of them in this series. Then, when the second-generation Passat came out, the US-market version was called the Quantum. These cars, which were available here for the 1982 through 1988 model years (after which VW decided, what the hell, they’d call its successor the same thing they called the European version), weren’t what you’d call hot sellers, and just about all of them are long gone. That makes today’s Junkyard Find a rarity for the 21st century.
08 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The GL5 had the Audi five-cylinder engine, which would be a lot cooler in this car if the original buyer had opted for the manual transmission.

10 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

It’s in very nice condition. No rust, body is straight, interior is nice. Why is it here in this Denver wrecking yard?

11 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I found the original owner’s manual and a big stack of maintenance records inside. The original owner took great car of this car for many years.

18 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The records stop after about 120,000 miles and the odometer shows 143k, so I’m guessing that something broke a decade ago and the car sat in a garage until now.

19 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Check out these pop-out cassette tape holders!


In Brazil (and many other places, including China), this car was called the Santana.


They just stopped making this car in China a couple years back.


The 2000 Chinese model had a George Baker soundtrack.


Engineered to give you a great exit… and a grand entry.

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Plymouth Caravelle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1987-plymouth-caravelle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1987-plymouth-caravelle/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 11:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1063130 The alphabet soup of platforms that Chrysler based on the K-car during the 1980s and 1990s gets a little overwhelming to sort out. The “extended” K-car chassis was known as the E Platform and included the Dodge 600 (we’ve seen one in this series), the Chrysler E-Class (we’ve seen one of those as well) and […]

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00 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The alphabet soup of platforms that Chrysler based on the K-car during the 1980s and 1990s gets a little overwhelming to sort out. The “extended” K-car chassis was known as the E Platform and included the Dodge 600 (we’ve seen one in this series), the Chrysler E-Class (we’ve seen one of those as well) and the Plymouth Caravelle — essentially an E-class with a different grille — appearing for the 1985 model year. They didn’t sell particularly well, nor did they retain much value over the years, so spying one in a wrecking yard today is unusual.
10 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

No cassette deck, but at least you had FM to go with your AM in this car.

16 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Not quite the “Tormented Faces In Hell” badness of the Ford Granada’s fake wood, but still not very convincing.

14 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The owner’s manual stayed with this car to the very end.

17 - 1987 Plymouth Caravelle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The interior is a sea of cushy Simu-Velour™ upholstery.


A Plymouth, engineered with quality and luxury to challenge the Buick Century and Olds Ciera… but for hundreds less.

Here’s the Canadian version.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Nissan Maxima http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1985-nissan-maxima/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1985-nissan-maxima/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1061778 A front-wheel-drive Nissan Maxima in the junkyard must have something special to induce me to shoot photographs. We’ve seen this gig-rig ’86 wagon with pleading note to the tow-truck driver and this super-weird ’86 sedan with brake fluid used as coolant and washer fluid in this series so far, and now I’ve found this extremely […]

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14 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

A front-wheel-drive Nissan Maxima in the junkyard must have something special to induce me to shoot photographs. We’ve seen this gig-rig ’86 wagon with pleading note to the tow-truck driver and this super-weird ’86 sedan with brake fluid used as coolant and washer fluid in this series so far, and now I’ve found this extremely rare 5-speed-equipped ’85 in a Northern California yard.
08 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The body is pretty dinged up but there’s no rust. Just over 100,000 miles on the clock of this 1985 Nissan Maxima.

10 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

By the middle 1980s, almost no luxury-sedan buyers had any use for a manual transmission. You’ll see the occasional BMW or Audi from this era with a 5-speed, but a three-pedal mid-80s Maxima is about as easy to find as a two-headed snake.

01 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Interestingly, this car has a solid-state version of the phonograph-based Voice Annunciator System used in earlier Datsuns. The harness connector is identical to the one on the early-80s units, but the box is full of digital circuitry.

03 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Naturally, I had to buy it.

I haven’t hooked it up to power and a speaker yet, so I don’t know if the voice is the same as the one on the tiny phonograph in the 1982 version.

Ah, the cult of the Talking Nissan.

06 - 1985 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

In addition to being the Turbo Decade, the 1980s was the Cassette Equalizer Decade as well.

In Japan, schmaltz was applied heavily to the ’85 Bluebird ads.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1984-cadillac-eldorado/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1984-cadillac-eldorado/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1054497 As the owner of a proper California-built custom, I’m always on the lookout for down-at-the-heels examples of the breed when I return to my former state of residence. Last month, I spotted this flamed-and-custom-grille-equipped Eldo in a San Jose-area yard. It’s not in terrible shape, but there’s some rust in areas with lots of body […]

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08 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

As the owner of a proper California-built custom, I’m always on the lookout for down-at-the-heels examples of the breed when I return to my former state of residence. Last month, I spotted this flamed-and-custom-grille-equipped Eldo in a San Jose-area yard.
10 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

It’s not in terrible shape, but there’s some rust in areas with lots of body filler and the interior is a bit on the beat side.

14 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Watsonville, where hot rodder Wally Klock lived his life, isn’t far from this yard.

01 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

All this car really needed was a Biarritz interior swap.

11 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I hope some Eldorado owner will spot this grille and rescue it before it gets eaten by The Crusher.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Mazda RX-7 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1983-mazda-rx-7/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1983-mazda-rx-7/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052833 First-generation RX-7s aren’t as common in self-service wrecking yards as they were five years ago, but it’s not hard to find a couple in a typical large yard in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Most of the time I don’t photograph these cars, but we’ve seen this ’79, this ’79, this ’80, and […]

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12 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

First-generation RX-7s aren’t as common in self-service wrecking yards as they were five years ago, but it’s not hard to find a couple in a typical large yard in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Most of the time I don’t photograph these cars, but we’ve seen this ’79, this ’79, this ’80, and this ’85 so far in this series, and now we’ve got today’s beat-looking but low-mile ’83 from Northern California.
03 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Do you suppose this is the actual mileage, or did the speedometer cable break in 1991? It seems unlikely that the car has 1,068,798.3 miles on it.

01 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

While California’s tailpipe-emission limits in 1983 seemed incredibly strict by the standards of the other 49 states in 1983, these grams-per-mile numbers are filthy compared to current standards. For example: in 1983, your new California car could spew 0.7 grams of nitrogen oxides per mile; in 2015, the limit is 0.05 grams/mile.

14 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I hope these “GS” emblems weren’t applied by Mazda. At least it has the beautiful rotareeeee.

The more you look, the more you like!

11 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1986-chevrolet-spectrum/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1986-chevrolet-spectrum/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1042738 Even as GM was selling Suzuki Cultuses badged as Chevrolets and Daewoo LeManses badged as Pontiacs, your friendly Chevy showroom offered Isuzu Geminis with Chevrolet badges (a decade later, you could get an Opel Omega with Cadillac badges, but that’s another story). A few years back, we saw this 1989 Spectrum, which came with both […]

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10 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinEven as GM was selling Suzuki Cultuses badged as Chevrolets and Daewoo LeManses badged as Pontiacs, your friendly Chevy showroom offered Isuzu Geminis with Chevrolet badges (a decade later, you could get an Opel Omega with Cadillac badges, but that’s another story). A few years back, we saw this 1989 Spectrum, which came with both Chevrolet and Geo branding, but today’s Junkyard Find came from the era prior to GM’s creation of the soon-to-be-defunct Geo brand.
05 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars were more or less invisible back in the 1980s, and they remain invisible today. This doesn’t stop Craigslist sellers from claiming to have Geo “barn finds,” of course.
04 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one sat outdoors for a long time before its final tow-truck ride.
16 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 76,000 miles. If you’re the president of the Chevrolet Spectrum Owner’s Club and you’re reading this in 2057, understand that we early-21st-century Americans just didn’t understand how rare and valuable these cars really were. Sorry about that!
02 - 1986 Chevrolet Spectrum Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinPower by Isuzu.

I was 20 years old when this ad came out. I don’t remember it, but I’m sure I would have been horrified by the idea of “Spectrumality.”

I’ll bet the media launch for this car was what press-car-killin’ car writer Jay Lamm refers to as a “tents and corn dogs affair.”

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1988-pontiac-fiero-formula/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1988-pontiac-fiero-formula/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039665 Ah, the Pontiac Fiero. So much potential, but ultimately a disappointment for The General. I see the occasional Fiero during my wrecking-yard wandering, but it takes a special one to inspire me to shoot photos. This screaming yellow ’86 Fiero GT was one, and today’s final-year-of-production ’88 Fiero Formula is another. GM saved money on […]

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12 - 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinAh, the Pontiac Fiero. So much potential, but ultimately a disappointment for The General. I see the occasional Fiero during my wrecking-yard wandering, but it takes a special one to inspire me to shoot photos. This screaming yellow ’86 Fiero GT was one, and today’s final-year-of-production ’88 Fiero Formula is another.
01 - 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinGM saved money on the original Fieros by using a parts-bin suspension (Chevy Citation in the rear, Chevette in the front) and the not-so-sporty Iron Duke four-cylinder pushrod engine, instead of the Fiero-only suspension penned by the engineers and the bespoke aluminum V6 of their dreams. By 1988, though, the Fiero finally got the suspension intended for it… just in time for the end of production.
20 - 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car looks to have been picked over by junkyard vultures, but it’s still possible to see that it has all sorts of options. Air conditioning!
06 - 1988 Pontiac Fiero Formula Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinIs it possible that we’re looking at a 419,807-mile car here? The off-centeredness of the odometer numerals may indicate mechanical troubles rather than an incredible number of miles.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Chevrolet Nova Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-nova-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-nova-sedan/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1037009 For reasons that trolly shouters on both extremes of the American politico-socio-automotive spectrum know to be the truth, the exact same workers at the Fremont Assembly plant who couldn’t hammer together a decent-quality Buick Regal or GMC C/K— no matter how many Mickey’s Big Mouths they guzzled in some South Hayward parking lot before their […]

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10 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFor reasons that trolly shouters on both extremes of the American politico-socio-automotive spectrum know to be the truth, the exact same workers at the Fremont Assembly plant who couldn’t hammer together a decent-quality Buick Regal or GMC C/K— no matter how many Mickey’s Big Mouths they guzzled in some South Hayward parking lot before their shifts— suddenly became capable of building rebadged Corollas that were every bit as good as the ones made by their Japanese counterparts, once the plant became NUMMI (nowadays they build Teslas there). Of course, each of you knows that this is due to (insert damning indictment of those dupes who believe Wrong Things here) with a touch of (insert bilious tirade that sounds the alarm about Some Evil Conspiracy here), and to provide ammunition for your arguments I present this 1988 Chevrolet-badged AE82 Toyota Sprinter aka Corolla.
08 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars are not uncommon in self-service wrecking yards nowadays, especially in California. In this series, we’ve seen this ’87 sedan and this ’87 hatchback, and now we’ve got today’s final-year-of-production (before it became the Geo Prizm) Nova, which I spotted in a Denver yard a few months back.
04 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin244,816 miles, which is impressive even by 2015 standards. Sure, they probably weren’t very exciting miles, but nobody bought a NUMMI Nova for adventure.
07 - 1988 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe good old 4A engine family, which went into Coronas, Corollas, MR2s, Celicas, Sprinters, and so forth, all the way into the late 1990s. Some 4As made great power, but the 4A-LC was more about longevity and fuel economy.

Brought to you by Chevrolet and Toyota.

You can get an American car and a foreign car!

Of course, the Japanese version was much more sexy.

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-buick-lesabre-estate-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-buick-lesabre-estate-wagon/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1029577 The traditional full-size Detroit station wagon was in trouble by the end of the 1980s, thanks to the rise of the minivan. Increasingly car-like SUVs would kick the other leg out from under big rear-drive wagon sales during the 1990s, and so this great big GM B-platform wagon is one of the last of its […]

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02 - 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe traditional full-size Detroit station wagon was in trouble by the end of the 1980s, thanks to the rise of the minivan. Increasingly car-like SUVs would kick the other leg out from under big rear-drive wagon sales during the 1990s, and so this great big GM B-platform wagon is one of the last of its type. Look, it’s even a woodie!
04 - 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Buick Estate name goes way back in GM history. The version we’re looking at in this Northern California wrecking yard is from the final generation of the Estate Wagon, built on the downsized B platform for the 1977 through 1990 model years (after that, you could get a Roadmaster Estate).
09 - 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe “wood” on this car isn’t particularly convincing.
11 - 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe cassette deck came with auto-reverse, still a futuristic technology in the eyes of Buick customers in 1989.
14 - 1989 Buick LeSabre Estate Wagon Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe non-wagon LeSabre had gone to the front-drive H-body platform by this time, which must have been a bit confusing for Buick shoppers.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1983-mitsubishi-cordia-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1983-mitsubishi-cordia-2/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028673 The Mitsubishi Cordia was one of the first Mitsubishi-badged cars to be sold in the United States (prior to that, US-market Mitsubishis were Chrysler captive imports). They didn’t sell in huge quantities, and we don’t remember the Cordia as well as the Starion or even the Mighty Max, but I still see the occasional example […]

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08 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mitsubishi Cordia was one of the first Mitsubishi-badged cars to be sold in the United States (prior to that, US-market Mitsubishis were Chrysler captive imports). They didn’t sell in huge quantities, and we don’t remember the Cordia as well as the Starion or even the Mighty Max, but I still see the occasional example in California wrecking yards. There was this ’83 Cordia Turbo (from which I obtained the amazing digital instrument cluster), this ’84 Cordia, and this ’87 Cordia Turbo, and here’s this well-worn ’83.
03 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat’s a lot of miles for an early-80s Mitsubishi. Actually, even (non-diesel) Mercedes-Benzes were hard-pressed to get to 200k back then.
04 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car has been used up.

You can’t talk about the Cordia without showing this maddening Australian-market ad.

This Japanese-market one is a puzzler.

Then there’s this list of “Cars whooped by my Cordia.”

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Nissan Pulsar NX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-nissan-pulsar-nx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-nissan-pulsar-nx/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1022657 The Nissan Pulsar NX was a weird little two-seater sold in the US market for the 1983 through 1990 model years. Now, the coolest thing about the Pulsar NX was the Sportbak wagon-conversion option, available on the second-gen version, but I have yet to see a Sportbak in a junkyard. So far in this series, […]

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04 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe Nissan Pulsar NX was a weird little two-seater sold in the US market for the 1983 through 1990 model years. Now, the coolest thing about the Pulsar NX was the Sportbak wagon-conversion option, available on the second-gen version, but I have yet to see a Sportbak in a junkyard. So far in this series, I’ve photographed this ’83, this ’87, and now today’s ’89.
15 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThis being a California car, it’s not a bit rusty. Maybe it wouldn’t pass the smog test, maybe it broke something costing more than a few hundred bucks to fix, maybe it picked up too many San Francisco parking tickets, or maybe it just plain wore out.
09 - 1989 Nissan Pulsar Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinOver 200,000 miles.


Someone please explain: why is 1980s nostalgia big these days?

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-chevrolet-celebrity-eurosport-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-chevrolet-celebrity-eurosport-sedan/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020529 Since we had a 1989 General Motors Junkyard Find yesterday, let’s look at another 1989 GM car today. The Chevrolet Celebrity, sold for the 1982 through 1990 model years, was one of those cars that disappeared from our memories without much of a trace. The Celebrity wasn’t as spectacularly bad as the Chevy Citation and […]

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16 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince we had a 1989 General Motors Junkyard Find yesterday, let’s look at another 1989 GM car today. The Chevrolet Celebrity, sold for the 1982 through 1990 model years, was one of those cars that disappeared from our memories without much of a trace. The Celebrity wasn’t as spectacularly bad as the Chevy Citation and its corporate siblings, but nobody loved it (except for these guys) and most examples were fed into the cold steel jaws of The Crusher before the 1990s were over. Here’s an example from the sedan’s final year of production.
01 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Eurosport package got you black window trim and an allegedly stiffer suspension. My parents— loyal buy-American Midwesterners who wanted to stick with Detroit cars— bought an ’85 Celebrity Eurosport new, and that car was the last Detroit machine they’d ever purchase. Coming on the heels of a particularly miserable Ford Granada, the unreliable, unpleasant-to-drive Celebrity forced them into the waiting arms of Honda and Toyota, where they have remained ever since. Repeat this process with a tens of millions of Americans like my parents during the 1970s and 1980s and it’s easy to see how GM’s image ended up in such a deep sinkhole for so long.
09 - 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin85 mph speedometers were no longer required in 1989, but some cars kept them.


For people who have grown up… without growing old.


Successful businessman “J.B.” knows that the ’89 Celebrity is actually a display of wealth, power, and good taste.

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-cadillac-eldorado-biarritz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1989-cadillac-eldorado-biarritz/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1019865 The Eldorado got downsized for the 1986 model year, as part of GM’s doomed 1980s efforts to beat Mercedes-Benz and BMW (which included such interesting-but-deeply-flawed money-losers-with-vaguely-European-sounding-names as the Cadillac Allanté, Buick Reatta, and Olds Troféo), and of course you could get this car with the tufted-button upholstery and padded roof that made it a Biarritz. […]

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14 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Eldorado got downsized for the 1986 model year, as part of GM’s doomed 1980s efforts to beat Mercedes-Benz and BMW (which included such interesting-but-deeply-flawed money-losers-with-vaguely-European-sounding-names as the Cadillac Allanté, Buick Reatta, and Olds Troféo), and of course you could get this car with the tufted-button upholstery and padded roof that made it a Biarritz. Not many of these cars were sold in 1989, so today’s Junkyard Find is another one of those rare-but-not-so-valuable ones.
24 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe price of a base ’89 Eldorado Biarritz with leather seats was $30,240, which comes to about 57 grand in 2015 dollars. A BMW 525i listed at $37,000 and the Mercedes-Benz 280E was $39,200, so any car shopper who felt the Eldorado Biarritz measured up to those two machines was getting a good deal with the Cadillac (though the ’89 Acura Legend LS coupe was a mere $28,377).
05 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSans-serif fonts make cars look more European, right? Right?
18 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe can make fun of these cars now, but the ride on these cushy seats was very comfy.
11 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 4.5 liter version of the HT4100 V8 wasn’t quite as sophisticated as the luxury-car powerplants coming from across the oceans in 1989, but at least it wasn’t a Buick V6.

“Its driver-oriented engineering brings the road alive!”

01 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Datsun 200SX Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1981-datsun-200sx-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1981-datsun-200sx-coupe/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1010170 The S110 Nissan Silvia, sold in the United States as the Datsun 200SX for the 1979 through 1983 model years, has all but disappeared from American roads by now. We’ve seen a couple of the S110’s successor, the S12, in this series: this ’86 200SX and this ’86 200SX Turbo, and that’s it. Late last […]

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22 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe S110 Nissan Silvia, sold in the United States as the Datsun 200SX for the 1979 through 1983 model years, has all but disappeared from American roads by now. We’ve seen a couple of the S110’s successor, the S12, in this series: this ’86 200SX and this ’86 200SX Turbo, and that’s it. Late last week, I spotted this faded but unrusty two-tone ’81 at a Northern California wrecking yard.
09 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA mere 158,000 miles on the clock.
14 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis switch is the tipoff that there’s a phonograph-based Voice Annunciator System box somewhere in the car, but I couldn’t reach it with the screwdrivers-and-a-needlenose toolkit I had on me at the time. Anyway, I’ve got at least four of the things in my hoard at this point.
03 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo CONELRAD stations indicated on this AM/FM radio, but it does have an analog signal-strength meter and an exquisitely early-1980s equalizer.
25 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou could get these cars in beige-and-brown two-tone, though this one is a more subdued blue-on-blue.

The US-market ads for this car were a little boring, but such was not the case in Japan.

01 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Mazda B2000 Sundowner Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1984-mazda-b2000-sundowner-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1984-mazda-b2000-sundowner-pickup/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1005386 Plenty of Mazda B-Series pickups were sold in the United States, mostly badged as Ford Couriers, but starting in 1983 (when the Ranger appeared) your only choice for obtaining one of these cheap-and-simple little trucks was your Mazda dealer. I spotted this somewhat rusty ’84 in a Denver wrecking yard on Saturday, and it looked […]

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33 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of Mazda B-Series pickups were sold in the United States, mostly badged as Ford Couriers, but starting in 1983 (when the Ranger appeared) your only choice for obtaining one of these cheap-and-simple little trucks was your Mazda dealer. I spotted this somewhat rusty ’84 in a Denver wrecking yard on Saturday, and it looked like it still had some good miles left in it.
70 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 147k miles in 31 years.
56 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ignition key is there and the windshield sports auction-company “RUN AND DRIVE” stickers, which means we’re probably looking at a dealer trade-in that nobody wanted to buy.
06 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Sundowner was the long-wheelbase version of the B2000.
12 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is covered with clues that tell us a story about the final owner. “Hang Up and Drive” and Black Flag stickers plus a hand-painted mystical eyeball here.
46 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIs there the requisite “KILL YOUR TELEVISION” sticker? Yes, here it is!
26 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s the 1,970cc F engine, which was good for 90 horses in 1984. Can you imagine Americans buying a pickup with just 90 horsepower today? That would be like asking us to turn down our thermostats in the winter!

This tough little truck is loaded for bear!

When you’ve got something this good, you take care of it.

Here’s the optioned-up SE-5. Sakes alive!

03 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 28 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 29 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 31 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 33 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 36 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 38 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 40 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 42 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 44 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 45 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 46 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 49 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 52 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 53 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 55 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 56 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 59 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 63 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 64 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 66 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 68 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 70 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 71 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider-3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider-3/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002290 Will the steady procession of Fiat 124 Spiders into America’s self-service wrecking yards never cease? So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, this ’80, and now yet another sporty little Fiat from the Malaisiest year of them all. Here’s a beat-up but not […]

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04 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWill the steady procession of Fiat 124 Spiders into America’s self-service wrecking yards never cease? So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, this ’80, and now yet another sporty little Fiat from the Malaisiest year of them all. Here’s a beat-up but not hopeless example I spotted in Northern California.
01 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinUnlike its MGB competitor (then on its last year of production), you could get the 1980 124 Sport Spider with factory fuel injection. 80 horsepower, which today’s American car buyers would consider unacceptable in a lawn tractor.
05 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior yielded some good stuff to a lucky Fiat owner, looks like.
08 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars rusted even in California, but this one looks solid.

01 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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