Tag: 1990s

By on September 21, 2017

Image: 1991 Lancia Thema 8.32, via seller

It would be understandable if the Lancia Thema you see above put you immediately in mind of a Rare Ride from a few days ago, the gold-plated DeLorean DMC-12. While that car had an entirely different purpose from the Lancia you see before you, the two did have a couple of things in common. Both were designed by Italian legend Giorgetto Giugiaro. And like the DeLorean, the Lancia also suffered (in normal trims) with the same Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 engine that made Eagle Premier owners miserable.

But that’s where the similarities end. Because today’s Thema sheds its multinational, mediocre V6 power for some purebred Ferrari horses. And you don’t even have to do the import paperwork.

(Read More…)

By on August 31, 2017

Image: 1990 BMW Z1, image via seller

Though not the first BMW-powered vehicle in our Rare Rides series, and not the first with two doors, it is the first BMW convertible we’ve seen here. And the two aforementioned doors on this little convertible have One Simple Trick up their sleeve — disappearing into the body of the car. It’s the kind of detail you’d only expect on some crazy old Citroën.

But that’s not the only unique aspect of the Z1. Want to learn something?

(Read More…)

By on August 25, 2017

Image: 1991 Chevrolet Corvette Callaway Speedster, via eBay

From a forgotten sidebar of automotive history, today’s Rare Ride is perhaps a bit more obscure than normal. Just 10 total examples of the Speedster were produced, making it exceptionally rare. And while the front clip says, “I’m still a C4 Corvette,” the rest of the car underwent quite a transformation at the Callaway shop.

Slip on your stonewashed Jordache jeans and get ready for this rapid Rare Ride.

(Read More…)

By on August 14, 2017

Image: 1998 MSV, image via seller

Look at the large creature before you. A fiberglass cacophony of components from various manufacturer parts bins, known as the MSV. Initially, I thought the short acronym could only mean My Special Van, but those letters actually represent the company behind this beast: Mauck Specialty Vehicles.

Hop in the back, and we’ll embark on a voyage to… recreation.

(Read More…)

By on July 31, 2017

1993 Dodge Colt in Arizona junkyard, hood - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
Chrysler began importing Mitsubishi Colt Galants for the 1971 model year, and Mitsubishis bearing Dodge (or Plymouth) Colt badging streamed across the Pacific Ocean and into American dealerships for the following 23 years.

I spotted this vibrantly decorated ’93 model in a Phoenix self-serve yard earlier this month. (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2017

1991 Toyota Camry in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
When I poke through automotive graveyards in search of the rare and the interesting, I always take a look at late-1980s/early-1990s Toyota Camrys for the very rare All-Trac all-wheel-drive versions and extremely rare manual-transmission versions.

So rare that its existence in the wild is merely theoretical, however, is the V6-powered manual-transmission Camry… and I just found one in Denver. Let’s take a look! (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2017

Image: 1990 Pontiac 6000 SE AWD, image via Craigslist

Deep from the catacombs of General Motors history comes this all-wheel-drive Pontiac 6000. While the 6000 was a fairly pedestrian car, this SE example seems in great condition and has the added rarity of a drivetrain not found in other vehicles from the General.

It’s only a good idea to keep reading if you like gold-tone alloys, many identically shaped buttons, and copious amounts of ribbed cladding.

(Read More…)

By on July 3, 2017

1996 Chevrolet Beretta Z26 in Arizona wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
The Chevrolet Beretta and its sedan sibling, the Chevrolet Corsica, were built for the 1987 through 1996 model years. Today, both models are nearly as forgotten as the wretched Celebrity, though you’ll still see the occasional example on the street today (usually sporting at least one space-saver spare tire).

Here’s a last-year-of-production Beretta — outfitted with the high-performance Z26 package — spotted in a Phoenix yard a few months back. (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2017

Image: Toyota Prius with jazz Solo Cup paint

Making its way around the internet lately is this photo of a Toyota Prius, tastefully modified by its present owner. Dancing boldly across the side of the hybrid is the iconic 1990s teal and purple Solo Cup theme. This jazzy decal is well known to anyone who has drank a beverage between 1992 and now.

(Read More…)

By on May 15, 2017

1993 Plymouth Voyager in Colorado wrecking yard , LH front view, © 2017 Murilee Martin

The original K-platform-based Chrysler minivans, built for the 1984 through 1995 model years, sold like mad, helped kill the station wagon, and forced the competition to get serious about selling minivans in the United States. Buyers could get the 1984-95 four-cylinder Caravan, Voyager, or Town & Country with a five-speed manual transmission, though few did.

Here’s the first 5-speed second-generation Chrysler minivan I have ever found in a wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on March 20, 2017

1990 Mitsubishi Sigma in Colorado junkyard, RH front view- ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The fifth-generation Mitsubishi Galant came in a funky “pillared hardtop” configuration for the United States market in the 1988 through 1990 model years. Few bought them and almost none survived into the current century, making a Sigma one of the rarest of Junkyard Finds. Five years ago, I found this ’89 in a California yard, and now I have discovered this ’90 in Denver. (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2017

1990 Land Rover Range Rover in Denver wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Denver drivers love their luxury SUVs, and European luxury vehicles tend to depreciate in a hurry. This means plenty of Land Rovers show up in the area’s big self-service wrecking yards. While this is good news for the several Coloradans who might be interested in finding a Rover V8 to drop into a homegrown MGB-GT V8, I don’t pay much attention to these trucks. IHC Scouts, sure, and maybe the occasional Jeep Cherokee get into this series, but I have walked right by hundreds of discarded British status-boxes and not paid much attention.

A Range Rover with 266,666 miles on the clock, though, is another story. (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2017

1984 Volkswagen GTI

Earlier this week, our Matthew Guy inquired about your favorite automotive “oops” moment — a time when it all went wrong for a manufacturer’s model or idea. Today, we’re going to flip it around, switch it up, and reverse it.

There are times when everything comes together at the right place and time in the automotive world. Whether by complete accident or cunning planning (often years in advance), a manufacturer hits an idea out of the park. It might be a single model in a new style, a superb entry into a crowded marketplace, or something that fills a void hitherto left empty in the lives of hungry consumers. No case of schadenfreude here — just success, dollars, happy children, puppies, and smiling regulators and accountants.

So which tale of automotive success is your favorite? While the GTI shown above is interesting and is credited with creating the new hot hatch segment, it’s not my pick today.

(Read More…)

By on January 11, 2017

Ford Bronco

Sometimes, we’ll reach into the past and find a model that pegs our Ace of Base meter. Not all base vehicles from the pages of history were appalling dumpster fires of mediocrity. Most were, but not all. Here’s a good example.

During Ford’s Monday morning press conference at NAIAS in Detroit, it was finally confirmed that the Bronco nameplate will be returning in 2020. This news made our Managing Ed giddy with delight, enamored as he is with all things Bronco, and seemed to be a fitting announcement for what will likely be the last automotive product announcement in Joe Louis Arena (which is scheduled for demolition later this year).

Dispensing with fripperies like information on drivetrains, styling, and actual details, Ford left a lot to the imagination of Bronco fans. My mind immediately wandered to the fifth-generation Bronco, which bucked its way off dealer lots from the 1992 to 1996 model years.

(Read More…)

By on December 19, 2016

1996 BMW 328i E36 in California junkyard, front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Internet Car Experts have spent the last decade explaining to the rest of us how every example of the BMW E30 3 Series, no matter how decrepit, is worth at least a couple of grand. This claim is even more ridiculous than most of the bad information with which ICEs clog comments sections and forum threads, and I still see plenty of solid-looking E30s at U-Wrench-It-type wrecking yards.

However, the quantity of discarded E30s has declined a bit in the last few years (from a half-dozen per big California yard to two or three), and the E36 has become the reigning King of the Junkyard 3 Series.

Here’s one of six E36s that I spotted at a San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard a few weeks ago. (Read More…)

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