Tag: 1989

By on January 20, 2014

09 - 1989 Sterling 827 SLi Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen you find a Jensen Interceptor in one row and a Maserati Biturbo Spyder in the next row at a Los Angeles self-service wrecking yard, you can count on finding another weird import not far away. Sure enough, here’s a Sterling, a rare reminder of the short-lived Austin-Rover-Honda experiment of the late 1980s. (Read More…)

By on December 11, 2013

12 - 1989 Mazda 929 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIn the late 1980s, otherwise known as the Before Lexus LS Era, American car shoppers didn’t have many choices for big Japanese luxury sedans. You had the Toyota Cressida, the Nissan Maxima, and that was pretty much it (nitpickers might add the Mitsubishi Diamante to this list, since it was possible to buy one in late 1989; the same could be said of the Lexus LS, of course). Or was it? Oh yes, there was also the Mazda 929, a car that never made much of an impact in North America. I owned an ’88 929 for a fairly brief period about ten years ago (I made a complicated four-cornered car deal that resulted in the 929 and a Volvo 244 being added to my fleet) and I thought it was a very good car. Since that time, I’ve kept my eyes open for 929s, finding about zero on the street and this ’91 in the junkyard so far. On a trip to Northern California yesterday, I spotted today’s ’89. (Read More…)

By on November 13, 2013

02 - 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of front-wheel-drive Cutlasses go to The Crusher without being photographed for this series, but here’s one with an interesting customization job that attracted my attention. Why didn’t GM ever make a wagon with a red-glass option? (Read More…)

By on July 15, 2013

01 - 1989 Plymouth Acclaim Turbo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMembers of the Plymouth Sundance/Dodge Shadow K-Platform-based compacts of the early 1990s remain easy to find in self-service junkyards these days, but the larger stretched-K-derivative Plymouth Acclaim/Dodge Spirit isn’t so common. This probably has more to do with quantity sold than reliability, as both types are pretty similar under the skin. Here’s a first-year-of-production Acclaim Turbo, spotted in a Denver self-service yard a couple months ago. (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2013

11 - 1989 Peugeot 405 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPeugeot gave up on the North American market after the 1991 model year, thanks to poor sales of their new 405. I haven’t seen one of these cars on the street for at least 15 years, and junkyard sightings have been correspondingly rare. When I spotted this car at a Northern California self-serve yard a couple months back, it took me a moment to figure out what it was. (Read More…)

By on February 18, 2013

I now believe that at least half the Toyota All-Tracs ever sold ended up in Colorado, based on the quantities I see in junkyards around Denver. We saw the only Camry All-Trac I’ve ever found anywhere last month, and the Corolla All-Trac wagons are well-represented by this ’89, this ’89, and now today’s ’89. (Read More…)

By on November 18, 2012

Denver junkyards don’t have quite as many W126 Mercedes-Benzes or 1960s Detroit classics as the ones I grew up exploring in California, but they do have examples of just about every four-wheel-drive Japanese car made during the 1980s. Four-wheel-drive Toyotas, Subarus, and Civics are all represented, though I’m still trying to find a 4WD 80s Sentra. But hey, now I can check Mitsubishi off the list of Weird Japanese 4WD 1980s Cars I’ve Seen In The Junkyard, because here’s this Colt! (Read More…)

By on October 4, 2012

The 1984 Audi 5000 Junkyard Find reminded us about the nightmare faced by Audi after 60 Minutes framed the 5000 as a an unintended accelerator in 1986. Audi sales took a real beating in the late 1980s, but some 5000s (renamed the 200 in an attempt to banish the stigma of a car whose greatest sin was the proximity of the brake pedal to the gas pedal) were bought in 1989. Here’s an optioned-up example that I found in the same Denver junkyard as the ’84. (Read More…)

By on September 23, 2012

The Mitsubishi Sigma I found a couple weeks ago was one rare Junkyard Find, having been sold in the United States for just two model years. Today, though, we’ve got something even more obscure: an Isuzu Gemini badged with both Chevrolet and Geo emblems, available for just one year. (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2012

Remember the Mitsubishi Sigma? Nobody does! It was a semi-oddball four-door hardtop version of the Galant that was sold in the United States just for the 1989 and 1990 model years, and I believe this car— which I spotted at a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard over the weekend— is the first one I’ve ever seen in person. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2012

Back when I wrote the Automotive Survivors series (Part I and Part II), I specified that I was only considering cars built for 20 or more years, and I included boldface text stating NO TRUCKS! NO TRUCKS! Naturally, I got barraged with weeks of hate mail from the Land Rover Jihad (because Land Rovers were being slapped together out of mud and sticks by Celtic tribesman circa 600 BC and thus my cars-only restriction was fatwa-worthy), but that was nothing next to what I heard from the Wagoneer Jihad. Legendary industrial designer Brooks Stevens drew up the original SJ platform-based Wagoneer for Willys-Overland in the year 1905 (OK, the early 1960s), and Kaiser-Jeep, AMC, and Chrysler kept building great big SJ Cherokees and Grand Cherokees until the sun collapsed and became a red giant (OK, until 1991). That meant that Chrysler was building AMC 360s in addition to Franco-Swedish PRV V6s into the 1990s. And, just as you could buy Super 8 movie film at ordinary stores until the early 1990s, so could you buy Jeep SJs with Simu-Wood™ plastic woodie siding. Here’s an example I found last week in a Denver self-serve yard. (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2012

Has anyone seen a Daihatsu Charade on the street in the United States at any time during the current century? Strangely, I’ve now seen two of them in Denver junkyards this year. First there was this ’90 Charade SE, and now we have this ’89 Charade CLS. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2012

Here’s the new 1989 Ford Mustang! Well, that was the original plan for this cousin of the Mazda 626, but Mustang fans would sooner have accepted Leonid Breznhev’s face on the $20 bill than tolerate the sacred pony’s nameplate on a front-wheel-drive, Mazda-based car. So, the Mustang continued to be based on the increasingly elderly Fox platform until 1993… or 2004, if you consider the fourth-gen Mustang to be a Fox (which it was). Meanwhile, this car was sold as the Probe, and hardly anybody bought it. Here’s a first-year example I shot yesterday at a Denver self-serve junkyard. (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2012

Every so often during the 1970s and 1980s, the suits in Detroit had an inspiration: Take one of the corporation’s European-market vehicles, throw some new badges at it, and sell it in the United States. Chrysler did it with the Hillman Avenger aka Plymouth Cricket, GM did it with the Opel Kadett aka Buick Opel, and Ford did it with the Ford Capri aka “the Capri.” While these deals never worked out so well when it came to the bottom line (though the Simca-derived Omnirizon did pretty well for Chrysler), Ford didn’t give up on the idea. Bob Lutz decided that a Mercury-badged Ford Sierra with a turbocharged Pinto engine would be just the ticket for stealing BMW customers: the Merkur XR4Ti. (Read More…)

By on May 19, 2012

The Chrysler New Yorker has been a constant in the Junkyard Find series, from this genuinely luxurious ’64 to this Slant Six-powered New Yorker-ized Dodge Diplomat. The most recent New Yorker used the good-looking but shoddy LH Platform, but between the Diplomat and the LH were the K-Car-based New Yorkers. By 1989, the K platform had been stretched out, huge contracts with the largest diamond-tucked velour upholstery company Chrysler could find had been written up, and truckloads of “crystal pentastar” hood ornaments and steering-wheel emblems were being unloaded at Chrysler assembly plants. (Read More…)

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