The Truth About Cars » 1981 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:40:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 Junkyard Find: 1981 Buick LeSabre Diesel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/01/junkyard-find-1981-buick-lesabre-diesel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/01/junkyard-find-1981-buick-lesabre-diesel/#comments Wed, 20 Jan 2016 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1269633 Ah, the disastrous GM diesel V-8 cars of the 1978-85 model years, equipped with failure-prone engines that scared generations of Americans away from diesel cars. Nowadays, of course, diesels work just fine (except when they don’t), but it’s good to see the occasional reminder of these miserable GM cars in the junkyard as part of […]

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Ah, the disastrous GM diesel V-8 cars of the 1978-85 model years, equipped with failure-prone engines that scared generations of Americans away from diesel cars. Nowadays, of course, diesels work just fine (except when they don’t), but it’s good to see the occasional reminder of these miserable GM cars in the junkyard as part of […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Datsun 810 Maxima by Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/12/junkyard-find-1981-datsun-810-maxima-nissan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/12/junkyard-find-1981-datsun-810-maxima-nissan/#comments Mon, 21 Dec 2015 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1247458 The 1980s were confusing times for figuring out badges on U.S.-market Japanese cars. You had the Toyota Corolla Tercel (which wasn’t related to the Corolla). You had the ever-shifting miasma of various Mitsubishi-based Chryslers. You had the Nissan Stanza Wagon (which was a non-Stanza Prairie at home). And you had all the brand bewilderment of the […]

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The 1980s were confusing times for figuring out badges on U.S.-market Japanese cars. You had the Toyota Corolla Tercel (which wasn’t related to the Corolla). You had the ever-shifting miasma of various Mitsubishi-based Chryslers. You had the Nissan Stanza Wagon (which was a non-Stanza Prairie at home). And you had all the brand bewilderment of the […]

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Crapwagon Outtake: 1981 Fiat X1/9 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/10/crapwagon-outtake-1981-fiat-x19/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/10/crapwagon-outtake-1981-fiat-x19/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1186330 I like the unusual when it comes to cars — as must be quite clear from the pieces I’ve written over the last few months. However, my current fleet is quite mainstream, consisting of a Chrysler minivan, the wife’s Chevy Trailblazer, and a first-generation Miata. Perhaps that explains my wandering eye. Over the last couple […]

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I like the unusual when it comes to cars — as must be quite clear from the pieces I’ve written over the last few months. However, my current fleet is quite mainstream, consisting of a Chrysler minivan, the wife’s Chevy Trailblazer, and a first-generation Miata. Perhaps that explains my wandering eye. Over the last couple […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Citation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-2/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 12:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1134033 The well-publicized reliability troubles of the GM X-body family caused General Motors plenty of image damage during the 1980s, but the Chevy version sold well (at first). Now, of course, most are gone, but examples turn up in wrecking yards every once in a while these days. So far in this series, we’ve seen this […]

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The well-publicized reliability troubles of the GM X-body family caused General Motors plenty of image damage during the 1980s, but the Chevy version sold well (at first). Now, of course, most are gone, but examples turn up in wrecking yards every once in a while these days. So far in this series, we’ve seen this […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Junkyard Find: 1981 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Camper Type P22 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1981-volkswagen-vanagon-westfalia-camper-type-p22/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1981-volkswagen-vanagon-westfalia-camper-type-p22/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930666 This being Colorado, I see quite a few Volkswagen Vanagons on the street and in local wrecking yards. Mostly I ignore them for this series, because their local popularity means examples that show up at a Denver self-service yard get stripped immediately and aren’t very interesting photographic subjects. So far, we’ve seen just this exquisitely […]

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This being Colorado, I see quite a few Volkswagen Vanagons on the street and in local wrecking yards. Mostly I ignore them for this series, because their local popularity means examples that show up at a Denver self-service yard get stripped immediately and aren’t very interesting photographic subjects. So far, we’ve seen just this exquisitely […]

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Maserati Biturbo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1981-maserati-biturbo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1981-maserati-biturbo/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913882 Your typical Maserati Biturbo isn’t worth much these days, which means that the cost/benefit analysis of one sitting under a tarp in the driveway often results in a trip to the nearest wrecking yard. In this series so far, we’ve seen this super-rare ’86 Biturbo Spyder, this not-so-rare ’84 Biturbo, and today’s first-year ’81 ’84 […]

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Your typical Maserati Biturbo isn’t worth much these days, which means that the cost/benefit analysis of one sitting under a tarp in the driveway often results in a trip to the nearest wrecking yard. In this series so far, we’ve seen this super-rare ’86 Biturbo Spyder, this not-so-rare ’84 Biturbo, and today’s first-year ’81 ’84 […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-mercury-grand-marquis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-mercury-grand-marquis/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875617 Here’s another Junkyard Find that deserves the Sajeev’s Bitter Tears label. It qualifies for the Brown Car Appreciation Society, it’s an early Panther, and it’s a top-trim-level Grand Marquis (owners of which looked down their noses at lowly Marquis Brougham owners). Let’s explore this exquisite example of Late Malaise Era crypto-luxury, shall we? These cars […]

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Here’s another Junkyard Find that deserves the Sajeev’s Bitter Tears label. It qualifies for the Brown Car Appreciation Society, it’s an early Panther, and it’s a top-trim-level Grand Marquis (owners of which looked down their noses at lowly Marquis Brougham owners). Let’s explore this exquisite example of Late Malaise Era crypto-luxury, shall we? These cars […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-alfa-romeo-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-alfa-romeo-spider/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=856321 Prices for (non-164) Alfa Romeos have been getting somewhat crazy in recent years, but it’s still possible to get a restorable 1970s or 1980s Spider for non-insane bucks. The proof of this is that rougher examples still show up now and then at the self-service wrecking yards I frequent. In this series so far, we’ve […]

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Prices for (non-164) Alfa Romeos have been getting somewhat crazy in recent years, but it’s still possible to get a restorable 1970s or 1980s Spider for non-insane bucks. The proof of this is that rougher examples still show up now and then at the self-service wrecking yards I frequent. In this series so far, we’ve […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Dodge Colt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1981-dodge-colt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1981-dodge-colt/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=854209 By the final years of the Malaise Era, Chrysler had their econobox needs covered on the one hand by much-modified rebadged Simcas, and on the other by not-at-all-modified rebadged Mitsubishis. These cars were no worse than their Ford and GM competitors (which isn’t saying much), but the inherent cheapness of the 4th-gen Mitsubishi-built Colt meant […]

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By the final years of the Malaise Era, Chrysler had their econobox needs covered on the one hand by much-modified rebadged Simcas, and on the other by not-at-all-modified rebadged Mitsubishis. These cars were no worse than their Ford and GM competitors (which isn’t saying much), but the inherent cheapness of the 4th-gen Mitsubishi-built Colt meant […]

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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 The 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 […]

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The 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 […]

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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 So 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 […]

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So 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 […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Jeep Wagoneer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1981-jeep-wagoneer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1981-jeep-wagoneer/#comments Sun, 23 Jun 2013 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493042 The Jeep Wagoneer was made for about 180 years (OK, actually just 28 years), going through three corporate owners during that period. This is only our second Wagoneer Junkyard Find (after this late-in-the-game ’89), though I walk past many more every time I hit my favorite Denver wrecking yard. This ’81 grabbed my attention with […]

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The Jeep Wagoneer was made for about 180 years (OK, actually just 28 years), going through three corporate owners during that period. This is only our second Wagoneer Junkyard Find (after this late-in-the-game ’89), though I walk past many more every time I hit my favorite Denver wrecking yard. This ’81 grabbed my attention with […]

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Adventures In Marketing: The Cocainiest Car Ad of All Time! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/adventures-in-marketing-the-cocainiest-car-ad-of-all-time/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/adventures-in-marketing-the-cocainiest-car-ad-of-all-time/#comments Fri, 29 Jun 2012 14:30:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=450612 Right before AIDS and Reagan ruined the party, the early 1980s were a time of meaningless random sex, 20% inflation, sub-100-horsepower midsize sedans, Quaaludes, and— most of all— mountains of white powder (in imagination, not in the reality of the ’81 recession). This ad for the 1981 Ford Mustang captures the spirit of its time. […]

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Right before AIDS and Reagan ruined the party, the early 1980s were a time of meaningless random sex, 20% inflation, sub-100-horsepower midsize sedans, Quaaludes, and— most of all— mountains of white powder (in imagination, not in the reality of the ’81 recession). This ad for the 1981 Ford Mustang captures the spirit of its time. […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Toyota Corolla Tercel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1981-toyota-corolla-tercel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1981-toyota-corolla-tercel/#comments Wed, 09 May 2012 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=443563 No, the first-gen Tercel wasn’t related to the Corolla, but the marketing suits at Toyota USA hoped that some of the Corolla’s reputation for reliability would rub off on their smaller, cheaper, front-drive subcompact. It worked, mostly because the Tercel really was as bulletproof as the Corolla. It was also noisier, slower, and less comfortable, […]

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No, the first-gen Tercel wasn’t related to the Corolla, but the marketing suits at Toyota USA hoped that some of the Corolla’s reputation for reliability would rub off on their smaller, cheaper, front-drive subcompact. It worked, mostly because the Tercel really was as bulletproof as the Corolla. It was also noisier, slower, and less comfortable, […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Toyota Corolla Liftback Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1981-toyota-corolla-liftback-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1981-toyota-corolla-liftback-coupe/#comments Thu, 26 Apr 2012 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=441680 After 15 years of sales in the United States, the Corolla had become as familiar to Americans as the Nova or Dart. By 1981, Toyota had confused matters by badging the unrelated Tercel as the “Corolla Tercel,” but the actual Corolla was still selling well. With the gas lines of the 1979 energy crisis— by […]

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After 15 years of sales in the United States, the Corolla had become as familiar to Americans as the Nova or Dart. By 1981, Toyota had confused matters by badging the unrelated Tercel as the “Corolla Tercel,” but the actual Corolla was still selling well. With the gas lines of the 1979 energy crisis— by […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Honda Prelude http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1981-honda-prelude/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1981-honda-prelude/#comments Sat, 14 Apr 2012 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=439469 Remember how small the early Preludes were? It had been quite some time since I last saw one of these cars, so I was a bit startled by the diminutive dimensions of this example in a California self-serve yard. The first-gen Prelude was smaller and much slower than the versions that followed later in the […]

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Remember how small the early Preludes were? It had been quite some time since I last saw one of these cars, so I was a bit startled by the diminutive dimensions of this example in a California self-serve yard. The first-gen Prelude was smaller and much slower than the versions that followed later in the […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1981-pontiac-bonneville-brougham/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/junkyard-find-1981-pontiac-bonneville-brougham/#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2012 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=439381 Here’s a Junkyard Find that really takes me back. My dad bought a Bonneville new in 1979, and it seemed like a very nice car when I was 13 years old. A few years later, I borrowed the Bonneville to take my date to the high-school prom (in spite of this being the early 1980s, […]

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Here’s a Junkyard Find that really takes me back. My dad bought a Bonneville new in 1979, and it seemed like a very nice car when I was 13 years old. A few years later, I borrowed the Bonneville to take my date to the high-school prom (in spite of this being the early 1980s, […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Toyota Celica Liftback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1981-toyota-celica-liftback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1981-toyota-celica-liftback/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2012 00:30:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=430110 We saw a fairly solid junked ’80 Celica coupe yesterday, and a good example of its liftback sibling was located in the same California self-service wrecking yard. It’s like a history lesson in Sporty Malaise Era Commuter Cars With Truck Engines! In fact, these two Celicas are parked side-by-side as they await The Crusher’s jaws. […]

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We saw a fairly solid junked ’80 Celica coupe yesterday, and a good example of its liftback sibling was located in the same California self-service wrecking yard. It’s like a history lesson in Sporty Malaise Era Commuter Cars With Truck Engines! In fact, these two Celicas are parked side-by-side as they await The Crusher’s jaws. […]

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Junkyard Find: Iron Duked 1981 AMC Eagle SX/4 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/junkyard-find-iron-duked-1981-amc-eagle-sx4/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/junkyard-find-iron-duked-1981-amc-eagle-sx4/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2011 13:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=410681 I find a lot of AMC Eagles in Denver, both in and out of the junkyards, but almost all of them are wagons. During a recent junkyard visit, I spotted the first Spirit-based Eagle I’ve seen in a long time. The pushrod Iron Duke was standard equipment on ’81 Eagles, and it clattered out a […]

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I find a lot of AMC Eagles in Denver, both in and out of the junkyards, but almost all of them are wagons. During a recent junkyard visit, I spotted the first Spirit-based Eagle I’ve seen in a long time. The pushrod Iron Duke was standard equipment on ’81 Eagles, and it clattered out a […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Citation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation/#comments Thu, 14 Jul 2011 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=402619 When GM finally decided to muster its vast resources and engineering talent and build a front-wheel-drive compact car… well, things didn’t go so well. The sclerotic GM bureaucracy described a few years earlier by John DeLorean in On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors produced a car that looked like a fat Chevette, […]

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When GM finally decided to muster its vast resources and engineering talent and build a front-wheel-drive compact car… well, things didn’t go so well. The sclerotic GM bureaucracy described a few years earlier by John DeLorean in On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors produced a car that looked like a fat Chevette, […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Chrysler LeBaron http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/junkyard-find-1981-chrysler-lebaron/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/junkyard-find-1981-chrysler-lebaron/#comments Wed, 06 Jul 2011 13:10:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=401638 Chrysler has used the LeBaron name on and off since the 1930s, and the prestige level of the LeBaron badge has been on a gradual downward spiral all along. Some may disagree with that assessment, however, depending on whether they judge the transition from the M (Dodge Diplomat) platform to the K platform in 1982 […]

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Chrysler has used the LeBaron name on and off since the 1930s, and the prestige level of the LeBaron badge has been on a gradual downward spiral all along. Some may disagree with that assessment, however, depending on whether they judge the transition from the M (Dodge Diplomat) platform to the K platform in 1982 […]

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Mazda GLC Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/junkyard-find-1981-mazda-glc-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/junkyard-find-1981-mazda-glc-sedan/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2011 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=401069 The Mazda GLC, aka Familia aka 323 was once a fairly common sight on American roads, but just about all of the GLCs were hatchbacks. Here’s a rare sedan that was able to hang on for 30 years before being discarded. Mazda tried to play up the “driving excitement” angle of the GLC with this […]

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The Mazda GLC, aka Familia aka 323 was once a fairly common sight on American roads, but just about all of the GLCs were hatchbacks. Here’s a rare sedan that was able to hang on for 30 years before being discarded. Mazda tried to play up the “driving excitement” angle of the GLC with this […]

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