The Truth About Cars » 1990s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:58:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 1990s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1996 Buick Regal Olympic Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1996-buick-regal-olympic-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1996-buick-regal-olympic-edition/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=807738 01 - 1996 Buick Regal Olympic Edition Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBuick sold some special-edition Centuries as part of their sponsorship deal with the 1984 US Olympic athletes, and we saw one of these cars in this series last year. The later Olympic Edition Buicks are harder to find; there are still some ’88s around, but this is the first ’96 I can recall seeing anywhere. Let us admire its athletic grace.
11 - 1996 Buick Regal Olympic Edition Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA perfectly competent front-drive Detroit sedan, but it didn’t sell to many buyers born after 1920.

The advertising for this generation of Regal talked big about “European styling” and “Camry beating.”

The subsequent generation of Olympic Regals got a bit of star power in its ads.
04 - 1996 Buick Regal Olympic Edition Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe textured-velour Olympic-logo headrests didn’t change much between 1984 and 1996.
10 - 1996 Buick Regal Olympic Edition Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe good old Buick V6, which soldiered on (in the Lucerne) until the 2009 model year. By 1996, this engine was much smoother than its ancestors.

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Infiniti M30 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1992-infiniti-m30/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1992-infiniti-m30/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797130 09 - 1992 Infiniti M30 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen Nissan, not wanting to be left behind by Toyota, introduced the Infiniti marque in 1989, they needed a sporty coupe to sell alongside the mighty Q45 luxury sedan. No problem, just add some bling to the JDM Nissan Leopard, move the steering wheel to the left side, and you’ve got an instant Lexus SC300 competitor for the American market! Sadly for Nissan, few bought the M30 (though its J30 successor sold pretty well), and M30 junkyard finds are quite rare today. Here’s one that survived the Cash For Clunkers Japanese Luxpocalypse but then succumbed to depreciation five years later.
11 - 1992 Infiniti M30 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA good-looking car, but 1992 wasn’t a great year for California car dealers.
08 - 1992 Infiniti M30 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s the same VG30 V6 that M30′s 300ZX and Maxima contemporaries got.

Naturally, the Japanese-market ads for the F31 Leopard coupe are far superior to anything shown on the other side of the Pacific.

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Daihatsu Rocky http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1990-daihatsu-rocky/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1990-daihatsu-rocky/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=775281 13 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinRemember the Daihatsu Rocky? No? That’s OK, several vehicles of this type sank without a trace during the late 1980s and early 1990s (e.g., the Dodge Raider), and Daihatsu itself fled the United States in 1992. I see Daihatsu Charades in self-serve wrecking yards about every six months these days— including this ’89 and this ’90— and I don’t bother photographing most of them. A Rocky, on the other hand… well, let’s just say that this is the first Rocky I’ve seen anywhere in at least five years. How many are left on the street in North America? Hundreds? Dozens?
01 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThere must be at least one in the Denver area, because this junked example has been picked clean.
07 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThese little trucks came with a 1.6 liter engine and front- or four-wheel-drive.
04 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAre project Rockies worth anything? Apparently not.
20140315_120504Right after I photographed this Rocky, I felt compelled to go on eBay and buy a vintage Daihatsu Racing sticker for my travel laptop. I also got a Daihatsu patch for my race suit.
DaihatsuTerios2-900x540I was so inspired by the sight of this Rocky that I dove down the rabbit hole of 21st century Daihatsu mini-SUV ads, and there I found some seriously frenzied Daihatsu Terios-thrashin’ stuff. Perhaps Daihatsu will return to the US soon, with a Rocky-badged Terios. All right, let’s watch some Rocky ads!

The actors in this JDM Rocky ad need to lay off the helium, is all I have to say.

In Germany, a romantic approach was used to pitch the Rocky (badged as a Feroza in Europe).

For Australia, the Rocky (Feroza) was compared to the body of Surf Iron Man Champion Guy Leech.

Another Australian (or maybe New Zealand) ad shows the Turbodiesel Rocky, which was apparently half Ferrari and half tank.

Also an excellent choice for surfers who liked to crash through sand dunes. Wouldn’t some of those impacts have set off the airbags? Oh, right— pre-airbag era, carry on!

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If The Big Lebowski Were Filmed Today, What Car Would The Dude Drive? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/if-the-big-lebowski-were-filmed-today-what-car-would-the-dude-drive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/if-the-big-lebowski-were-filmed-today-what-car-would-the-dude-drive/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=773897 Big_Lebowski_Torino_Crash-550pxBefore the Clint Eastwood film (but after the cheezoid TV show), the most well-known Ford Gran Torino in cinema history was the beater ’73 sedan driven by Jeff Bridges’ character in The Big Lebowski. This film, which took quite a while to go from box-office dud to sacred document of the Lebowski Jihad, was released in 1998 and was set in late 1990 or early 1991 (a period during which I was also in Southern California and living a fairly Dude-ish lifestyle myself). The choice of a ’73 Gran Torino by the Coen Brothers makes some interesting statements for those who obsess about movie cars, and Monday is always the best day to discuss such things.
Big_Lebowski_Torino_Impound-550pxLooking at 1990/1991 from the perspective of 1998, you’ve got a nasty recession being observed via dot-com boom-tinted glasses, the first one-sided ass-kicking dished out by the US military since Vietnam from the point of view of an ascendant hyperpower, and so forth. At the same time, the latter years of the 1990s saw cars that could knock of 200,000 miles becoming commonplace, with carburetors and mechanical ignition systems dead as global Marxism-Leninism. With all that in mind, The Dude’s car had to be something from the Malaise Era, for symbolic location along the Malaise-Gulf War-Hyperpower continuum as well as for the fact that unemployable Los Angeles loadies could be expected to drive 18-year-old midsize sedans.
Big_Lebowski_Torino_Brochure-550pxSo the question here is: What would be this car’s equivalent today? If you’re just going by straight model years, a 2014 movie set in 2006 with the protagonist driving an 18-year-old midsize Ford sedan would give us a 1988 Taurus… and it’s easy to picture the 2006 Dude clanking along in a hooptified first-gen Taurus.
10 - 1986 Hyundai Excel Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' GredenHowever, the runup in global commodities prices in the second half of the first decade of the century meant that larger cars were worth a fair amount at the scrapper, which means that even the ugliest Taurus floated a bit above the very bottom of the car-value barrel. That’s why I think that The Dude of 2006 would drive an early Hyundai Excel. What do you think?

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Junkyard Find: 1994 Dodge Shadow ES http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1994-dodge-shadow-es/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1994-dodge-shadow-es/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=769394 09 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo many Chrysler P bodies in American wrecking yards today, so many that Shadows and Sundances generally make up a good quarter of your typical self-serve wrecking yard’s Chrysler section. You still see some of these cars on the street these days, though hit-bottom-years-ago resale values mean that a running Chrysler P is becoming semi-rare sight. I think the low-buck Shadow America and Sundance America are interesting enough to photograph, as is the Sundance Duster, but most of the time I just tune out the Ps when I see them during junkyard expeditions. The Shadow ES, with its goofy 80s-hangover tape graphics, manages to attract my attention, so let’s admire the exquisitely of-its-timeness of this ’94 that I spotted in Denver a couple months ago.
10 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars were pretty cheap, and they weren’t slow (by mid-90s standards).
08 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat is, they weren’t slow when equipped with the Mitsubishi 6G72 V6, as this car is. Though, as we’ve seen, this engine doesn’t guarantee reliability.
05 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe early 90s are notable for having introduced the world to fake wood trim that was much more realistic than the Tormented Souls In Hell Simu-Wood™ of the 1970s and 1980s. Look, 20 years old and not faded or cracked!
04 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere oughta be a law.
14 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe snow is obscuring the mean-looking hood bulge with V6 emblems, but it’s there.
07 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith manual transmission, this sort of car wouldn’t be a bad first car for a teenager interested in making a cheap machine to take to test-n-tune night. Grab the turbo hardware off a wrecked Stealth, experience the joys of Xtreem Torque Steer®.

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Troféo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1992-oldsmobile-toronado-trofeo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1992-oldsmobile-toronado-trofeo/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=754577 13 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou like rare cars? How about a final-year-of-manufacture Olds Toronado Troféo? I’ll bet there aren’t more than a few hundred ’92 Troféos left in the world! Here’s one that I spotted last week at a snowy Denver self-service yard.
08 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have an unhealthy obsession with the products of GM’s mid-80s-to-early-90s efforts to compete toe-to-toe with German luxury marques (or at least drop the average age of Buick, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac purchase from 96 to maybe 70 years old), and so I’m always happy to write about cars such as the Buick Reatta, Cadillac Allanté, and Olds Troféo. This car is the third Troféo in this series, after this ’89 and this ’90.
09 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven a 70-year-old in 1992 must have been aware that the Buick 3.8 V6 wasn’t exactly cutting-edge technology in the luxury-car world.
07 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLook, a driver’s-side airbag!
22 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAnd, depressingly, molded-in fake stitching on the not-quite-leather door panels.
20 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf this thing had had the touch-screen Visual Information Center, I’d have pulled it and bought it on the spot. Just analog gauges, though.
21 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith all its flaws, the ’92 Troféo has a certain amount of cool going for it.

Presented without comment.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Eagle Summit Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1993-eagle-summit-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1993-eagle-summit-wagon/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=737769 10 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs with so many things surrounding the bewildering swirl of Renault/AMC- and Mitsubishi-derived products sold by Chrysler brands during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Eagle Summit wagon is something of a puzzler. The Eagle Summit car was a rebadged Mitsubishi Mirage, which itself was the same car as a Dodge/Plymouth Colt. But the Summit wagon was actually a Mitsubishi RVR, sold in the United States as the Mitsubishi Expo LRV and the Dodge/Plymouth Colt Wagon. In Europe, this thing was known as the Space Runner. Space Runner!

In fact, this is a good time to watch a European commercial for the Space Runner. And, just as I did with the ’12 Chevy Sonic rental-car review, I’m going to find some more not-very-relevant ads for the RVR.

A whole lot more than a four-door!

How about Bugs Bunny riding an RVR to the beach while getting red-eyed to Japanese reggae?

Apparently Bugs was the RVR spokesman.

You could get a Space Wagon in Brazil, too.
18 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Eagle brand lasted all the way until 1999, though (disappointingly) the AMC Eagle that donated the name was never sold by Chrysler as an Eagle Eagle.
07 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mitsubishi Sirius 4G63 engine went into everything from the Mitsubishi Cordia to the second-gen Hyundai Elantra to the mighty Proton Perdana. You can always find plenty of 4G63s in American wrecking yards.
21 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe sliding side door was extremely useful, but image-conscious American car shoppers were beginning to hate minivan practicality by this time. Within a few years, just about every potential Eagle Summit buyer would be looking at SUVs.
04 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, just imagine the proud family that owned this Summit Wagon back in 1993, putting some of 1993′s greatest hits on the cassette deck for the family vacation to Action Park.

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

Photo courtesy of Craigslist.org

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

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

Photo courtesy of Craigslist.org

Photo courtesy of Craigslist.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of Craigslist.org

Photo courtesy of Craigslist.org

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

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Plymouth Horizon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1990-plymouth-horizon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1990-plymouth-horizon/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=704962 11 - 1990 Plymouth Horizoni Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinNo, that’s not a typo— Chrysler made the Simca-derived Omnirizon all the way until the 1990 model year. I’ve been looking for a final-year example of an Omni or Horizon for quite a while now, and I finally found this one in a Denver self-serve yard over the weekend.
06 - 1990 Plymouth Horizoni Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWould you believe an airbag in this cheap little car, as early as 1990? Standard equipment for the ’90 Omnirizons!
05 - 1990 Plymouth Horizoni Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin5-speed, factory tach, no rust, only 114,325 miles on the clock.
12 - 1990 Plymouth Horizoni Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinVery, very rare, and an interesting bit of history, but not really worth saving from The Crusher.
17 - 1990 Plymouth Horizoni Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIf you want to split hairs, the Omnirizon outlived the original Chrysler K platform by a year (though cars based on the K were built until 1995). By 1987, the Chrysler 2.2— originally developed for the K-cars— was the only engine available in these cars.
Even with the airbag, the last-year-of-production Omnirizon wasn’t much different from the original 1978 version. The new Dodge Omni does it all!

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

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

Throw that rulebook out the window!

Is there a safer way to lose your heart?

The 1980s were still going strong in 1993 Germany.

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Junkyard Find: 1996 Plymouth Neon Expresso http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1996-plymouth-neon-expresso/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1996-plymouth-neon-expresso/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=669282 01 - 1996 Plymouth Neon Expresso Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Neon sold in respectable numbers during its 1995-2005 production run, most Detroit cars in high-turnover self-serve wrecking yards are 12-15 years old, and so you’ll see many, many Neons in such yards these days. Most of the time, Neons are just junkyard background noise to me as I look for interesting cars to photograph for this series; I’ll shoot a rare Neon R/T, but that’s about it. Still, something about the dot-com-boom optimism of the Expresso trim level catches my attention, so I paused to document this ’96 in its final parking spot.
05 - 1996 Plymouth Neon Expresso Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars were cheap and had a bit more power than their similarly priced imported competitors, but they never built up much of a popular reputation for longevity.
04 - 1996 Plymouth Neon Expresso Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was a time when 16-valve four-cylinder engines were exotic, as were 5-speeds and fuel injection.
11 - 1996 Plymouth Neon Expresso Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car has the automatic, though. Note the cheerful party-style seat fabric.


Because I spend a lot of time watching low-budget race cars clank around road courses, I think of the Neon as a very good cheap racer— quicker and more reliable than most Japanese LeMons cars, and of course there’s that incredible junkyard parts selection. Here’s in-car video from one of those Neons in action.


It’s a pretty hot little number!


Neon-style cuteness was definitely out in the minds of car marketers of the 21st century, and so the Neon’s successor got ads like this. Stupid little fairy!

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Alfa Romeo 164 S http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/junkyard-find-1991-alfa-romeo-164-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/junkyard-find-1991-alfa-romeo-164-s/#comments Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=637561 11 - 1991 Alfa Romeo 164 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI see plenty of Fiat 124 Spiders and Fiat X1/9s in junkyards (and even a couple of Maseratis), but Alfa Romeos are worth a bit more and thus are harder to find. We’ve seen this ’79 Alfa Romeo Sport Sedan and this ’74 Spider in this series, and that’s about it prior to today’s find.
02 - 1991 Alfa Romeo 164 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 164 was the last car that Alfa Romeo sold in the US before its retreat in 1995, and the big front-wheel-drive Alfa sedan had a tough time competing with increasingly ruthless German and Italian manufacturers at that time.
03 - 1991 Alfa Romeo 164 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot only is the interior in this one pretty nice, the car is the rare 5-speed model.
05 - 1991 Alfa Romeo 164 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin172,886 miles— not bad!
09 - 1991 Alfa Romeo 164 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI couldn’t get the hood open to shoot the engine, but I assume the original 3.0 liter V6 was still there.
07 - 1991 Alfa Romeo 164 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOoh, 1990s Italian electronics!

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Junkyard Find: 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/junkyard-find-1998-chevrolet-cavalier-z24/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/junkyard-find-1998-chevrolet-cavalier-z24/#comments Wed, 23 Oct 2013 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=630138 13 - 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGM made many, many Cavaliers during the model’s 23-year production run, and these days the mid-to-late-90s models are most common in high-turnover wrecking yards. Mostly I don’t photograph Cavaliers for this series, though I did shoot this ’90 Cavalier RS last year. However, I do think that cars powered by the Oldsmobile Quad 4 engine are worthy of Junkyard Find status— we’ve seen this ’90 Cutlass Calais International Series and this ’93 Achieva SCX so far— and the Cavalier Z24 was the last GM car to get the Quad 4, so let’s take a look at this ’98 that I spotted in Denver last week.
04 - 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFor the 1996 model year, GM had come up with the LD9 Twin Cam 2.4 version of the Quad 4, which featured balance shafts plus a torque-enhancing stroke-increase/bore-decrease treatment. Power was 150 horses, which was pretty good for a car this small.
11 - 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe late 1990s were all about body-colored plastic cladding and trim.
01 - 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Getrag 5-speed is pretty rare in these things, so I was disappointed to find the usual automatic shifter inside.

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Junkyard Find: 1996 Oldsmobile Silhouette http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1996-oldsmobile-silhouette/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1996-oldsmobile-silhouette/#comments Fri, 09 Aug 2013 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=498716 15 - 1996 Oldsmobile Silhouette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinExamples of the first-generation GM “Dustbuster” minivan abound at self-service wrecking yards these days, even as they disappear from the street, and every time I pass a Trans Sport or Lumina APV on my way to shoot something older and/or more interesting I say to myself, “I really need to do a Dustbuster Junkyard Find one of these days.” Well, that day has come!
10 - 1996 Oldsmobile Silhouette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese vans were startlingly weird-looking when they first showed up in 1990, but then we became jaded and the Dustbuster just looked ugly.
06 - 1996 Oldsmobile Silhouette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe keep hoping to see one of GM’s long-snouted minivans in a 24 Hours of LeMons race, but so far we’ve had just a single post-Dustbuster Montana in a race.
08 - 1996 Oldsmobile Silhouette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe dash surface of these things was deep enough that you could lose items if they rolled all the way forward to the windshield. I’ve heard that an extra-large pizza box will fit well here.
13 - 1996 Oldsmobile Silhouette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMany members of the GM V6 family (both 60° and 90° types) were installed here.

Futuristic!

Let’s riiiiiiide!

It’s the King’s ride.

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Audi V8 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1990-audi-v8/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1990-audi-v8/#comments Thu, 08 Aug 2013 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=498606 05 - 1990 Audi V8 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAudi has been building cars with V8s for decades now, but the very first Audi V8 came installed in a car named, appropriately enough, the Audi V8. These cars cost plenty when the buyer signed on the line that is dotted, and they continued to cost plenty over the life of the car. I used to see quite a few of these cars in self-serve wrecking yards about five years ago, but now we’re seeing the long-term survivors whose owners took a look at the most recent repair estimate and, finally, barked GENUG! Here’s a high-mileage example that I spotted yesterday in my favorite Denver wrecking yard.
02 - 1990 Audi V8 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin247 screaming German horsepower, fed to all four wheels and providing a good living for Audi mechanics.
07 - 1990 Audi V8 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRemember factory car phones? Do any phone companies still provide the analog connections they need?
11 - 1990 Audi V8 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin250,525 miles! Who needs a Camry? Note the fuel gauge calibrated in gallons.
09 - 1990 Audi V8 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAfter the “unintended acceleration” debacle of 1986, Audi printed up vast quantities of these stickers and applied them on the shifter bezels of most of their automatic-equipped cars until, what, sometime in the mid-90s? They also recalled older cars and slapped stickers on them as well. Did these stickers prevent elderly drivers from mixing up the gas and brake pedals? Let’s hope so!
14 - 1990 Audi V8 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNow that Audis are packaged as carefully as any Apple product, we can assume that the company would rather sell itself to FAW-Hongqi for 11 bucks than slap a sticker this hideous on a door panel.
10 - 1990 Audi V8 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot satisfied with the ECON/PWR transmission-mode choice available in the Lexus LS400 (and most other slushboxed Toyotas of the era), Audi V8 drivers could choose between “Sport,” “Economy,” and “Manual” modes, courtesy of this switch.

Here’s a nice German-market mini-movie advertisement for der Audi V8.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Honda Del Sol http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1993-honda-del-sol/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1993-honda-del-sol/#comments Thu, 25 Jul 2013 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=496976 10 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs the owner of a much-loved 1992 Honda Civic (unfortunately, I’m not the only one who loves fifth-gen Civic hatchbacks), I know how hard it is to find parts for my V8-hauling hooptie at my local self-serve wrecking yard. The 1992-95 Civic has become to the 2010s what the ’57 Chevy was in the 1970s: the affordable car with great performance potential that all the 24-year-olds want. That means that these cars get picked clean within minutes of showing up at a low-price/high-inventory-turnover wrecking yard. The two-seat Del Sol version of the Civic is even harder to find in such yards; in fact, this is perhaps the third Del Sol I’ve seen in my last five years of junkyard crawling.
08 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has about as much flesh left on its bones as the remains of a roadkill squirrel after a month on a highway median.
03 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinTo carry the ’57 Chevy analogy further, the 102-horsepower D15B7 engine is about as desirable to Honda guys now as was the 235 six to shoebox Chevy freaks in, say, 1976. A good, reliable engine, but pretty much worthless. My own Civic is getting a B18C1, just as soon as I knock out Items 1 through 48 on my Hell Project To-Do List.
02 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf this car ever had a custom leather interior, it’s long gone now.
04 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDuring my Generation X slacker period in the early 1990s, with recession raging, I took a temp job driving brand-new ’92 Del Sols from a dirt field at the Port of Richmond to a trainyard a couple miles away (the return trips took place in an Econoline with no doors). I had this job for about a week, and I drove about four plastic-wrapped new Del Sols per hour with no lunch breaks, which means my lifetime driving experience includes approximately 160 Honda Del Sols. In other words, I have driven more Del Sols than any other type of car.
06 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSoichiro Honda died at just about the same time I was driving Del Sols, and I often wonder if he knew what a betrayal the replacement of the beloved CRX felt like to the generation of young drivers who worshiped the zippy little Civic two-seater. As Chrysler learned with the Neon, cuteness in a car equaled showroom death in post-Gulf War America, and the Del Sol was sickeningly cute. Fortunately for Honda, the Super Cub helped keep the company afloat.

No mention of the incredible driving-fun-per-buck ratio of the CRX in the ads for its successor.

Though, as always, the Japanese-market ads were more fun.

Still, the Del Sol was no CRX, and sales weren’t so great.
07 - 1993 Honda Del Sol Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMeanwhile, Acura had no V8 to compete with its rivals, and Honda’s amazing 15-year run of success faltered.

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Junkyard Find: 1998 Cadillac Catera http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1998-cadillac-catera-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1998-cadillac-catera-2/#comments Thu, 04 Jul 2013 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494103 10 - 1998 Cadillac Catera Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Cadillac Catera, a rebadged Opel Omega that was supposed to entice car shoppers about 50 years younger than the typical (non-Escalade) Cadillac buyer of the time, disappeared from the streets of North America without leaving much of a trace. Sufficient Cateras remain, however, to ensure that examples will show up in wrecking yards from time to time; in this series, we’ve seen this ’97, this ’98, and now today’s find.
02 - 1998 Cadillac Catera Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 77,582 miles on the clock— that’s just about new!
06 - 1998 Cadillac Catera Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith a 200-horse twin-cam V6 under the hood and rear-wheel drive (but no manual transmission option), The General hoped to claw back some formerly Detroit-centric car shoppers who’d switched to BMWs in the 1980s.

“I’d been doing the BMW thing for a while. I just thought I’d see what else was out there.”
01 - 1998 Cadillac Catera Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSadly for GM, their German-built Cadillac didn’t break any sales records. The interior does seem nice, though.

“Ziggy,” the Catera’s cartoon-duck mascot, didn’t help the car’s image as much as GM had hoped.
LeMons_South_Fall_2012_Winners-OrgChoiceThere’s a Catera racing in the 24 Hours of LeMons, and we always have high hopes for it. On paper, it should be able to compete with the BMW E30s and Alfa Milanos.
IMG_3553However, the Catera’s weak points (engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, electrical system, ECU, fuel system) have conspired to limit the car’s on-track time. Maybe its next race will be different!
14 - 1998 Cadillac Catera Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe good news for Catera racers is that parts are cheap and plentiful— you can find them in the junkyard or just buy a whole parts car on Craigslist for 300 bucks.

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1992-geo-metro-lsi-convertible/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1992-geo-metro-lsi-convertible/#comments Wed, 26 Jun 2013 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493354 04 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs a former Metro owner— about ten years ago, I found a low-mile ’96 Metro with four-cylinder and automatic for a scrap-value price and couldn’t say no to the deal— I’ve always sort of liked Suzuki’s little no-lux gas miserwagen. It takes a special Metro for me to include it in this series, however; we’ve seen this ’90 Metro El Camino, this electric-powered ’95 Metro, and this ’91 Suzuki Swift so far, plus this bonus Honda CBR1000-powered LeMons race-winning Metro, and now I’ve found one of the very rare Metro convertibles at a California self-service wrecking yard.
02 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe early 1990s was a good period for cars, mostly; carburetors were finally gone forever, horsepower ratings were really starting to climb, the Japanese carmakers still hadn’t slid into their current take-no-chances boring design philosophy, and you could get cheap convertibles.
09 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA three-cylinder, 1.0 liter engine coupled to an automatic transmission made for leisurely acceleration. Actually, it made for dangerously slow acceleration.
06 - 1992 Geo Metro LSi Convertible Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut so what? It was a convertible for dirt cheap!

You got what you paid for with the Metro, which is more than you could say for a lot of its contemporaries.

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Junkyard Find: 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1996-cadillac-fleetwood-brougham/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1996-cadillac-fleetwood-brougham/#comments Tue, 25 Jun 2013 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493173 07 - 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin1996 was the last year of the Cadillac Fleetwood and possibly the last year for any General Motors Brougham edition. Can it be that The General has been Brougham-less for 17 long years now? Here’s a reminder of what Cadillacs were like when the postwar Cadillac-buyer demographic (i.e., those old enough to remember Prohibition) remained just barely young enough to buy new cars.
10 - 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars were proper rear-wheel-drive, floaty luxury machines, powered by the same LT1 engine that went into the mid-90s Roadmasters and Impalas.
03 - 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNone of that fancy European-looking switch hardware on this car— what was good enough for the ’79 Sedan de Ville was good enough for the ’96 Fleetwood!
02 - 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is pretty well used up, but it doesn’t take much imagination to picture it cruising placidly on US 50 at 95 per.
11 - 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWill expanses of chrome like this ever make a comeback?

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Chrysler Imperial http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1992-chrysler-imperial/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1992-chrysler-imperial/#comments Sat, 22 Jun 2013 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=492945 05 - 1992 Chrysler Imperial Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe most luxurious member of all the extended Chrysler K-Car family had to have been the K-based (actually Y-based, the Y being yet another variety of stretched K chassis) 1990-1993 Imperial. We’ve seen some serious Whorehouse Red interiors in this series— this ’80 Skylark, for example, or this ’83 Pulsar, or this 1993 Dynasty— but no vehicle interior this side of a Acapulco Gold-scented custom van ever came with as much screamin’ red velour as this Imperial.
35 - 1992 Chrysler Imperial Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s hard to believe that this octogenarian-targeted dreadnaught is the descendent of the tiny, sensible Aries and Reliant K-Cars of a decade earlier.
18 - 1992 Chrysler Imperial Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinChrysler went through periods during which the Imperial was a separate marque, but this generation was badged as a Chrysler.
04 - 1992 Chrysler Imperial Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEagle medallions are all over this car.
11 - 1992 Chrysler Imperial Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s in very nice condition, as befits a 120,457-mile California car. No rust, interior in great shape, body straight. The only blemishes are some spots with peeling paint.
01 - 1992 Chrysler Imperial Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo Mitsubishi engine for this car— you’re looking at a Chrysler-designed, 3.8 liter 60-degree V6 here. 150 horsepower wasn’t anything special, but the car was pure Detroit.
22 - 1992 Chrysler Imperial Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPadded landau roof, of course!
25 - 1992 Chrysler Imperial Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinABS was still something special in the early 1990s.
33 - 1992 Chrysler Imperial Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinList price on this car was $29,381, which was about $49,000 in inflation-adjusted 2013 dollars. That’s about the same price as a base 1993 Acura Legend, or a ’93 BMW 325i. Not that Imperial shoppers would have considered those cars.

There is no luxury… without engineering.

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Geo Metro-amino Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1990-geo-metro-amino-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1990-geo-metro-amino-pickup/#comments Fri, 14 Jun 2013 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491854 14 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt takes a really special Geo Metro to achieve Junkyard Find status; the last one that managed the feat was this bright green electric-powered ’95, which turned out to be a Ree-V conversion made in Colorado during the EV optimism of the late 2000s. During a trip to my old San Francisco Bay stomping grounds a few weeks ago, I spotted today’s Junkyard Find parked just a few yards away from this will-make-you-haz-a-sad 1960 Nash Metropolitan.
07 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese conversions (if based on a GM car, the correct term is “El-Caminoization”; Fords are “Rancheroized” and Chryslers get “Rampagized”) usually result when a hooptie car owner who owns a Sawzall but no cash really wants a pickup truck, right now. This one looks like it was built pretty well, by the standards of the genre.
12 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo big-block Suzuki four-banger here; this is the genuine 50-plus-MPG three-cylinder engine.
06 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCargo capacity is quite small, which is a good thing considering the front-drivedness and tiny size of this machine.
04 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Metro wasn’t quite as miserably slow as you’d expect, but that’s more due to low expectations than actual performance.
09 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Apple sticker is a weird touch; the kind of person who would build such a hacked-up piece of backyard engineering most likely doesn’t feel comfortable with the don’t-resist-the-Cupertino-way philosophy behind Apple products. I’d guess that the builder of this car runs non-Cupertino/non-Redmond operating systems on surplus hardware. Of course, it’s possible that the builder sold his or her Metroamino to someone who bought it for a single Burning Man trip and then scrapped it.
02 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhat’s next, a Geo Stormamino? A Cateramino? Achievamino?

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Dodge Shadow America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/junkyard-find-1992-dodge-shadow-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/junkyard-find-1992-dodge-shadow-america/#comments Fri, 26 Apr 2013 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=486235 When I go to my local wrecking yards to photograph cars for this series, I’m looking for historical significance. Some might say that the Chrysler P-body (based on the ancient and venerable K platform, like so many Chrysler products of the 1980s and 1990s) lacks such significance, and that I should instead shoot the 60s Chevy pickups and VW Beetles I mostly ignore, but I disagree. Someday, wise old men will discuss the importance of the fourth Plymouth to bear the Duster name, but it’s the “America” series of stripper P-bodies that really get my attention. Jack Baruth explains why the Omni America and the cut-price P-bodies that followed it sold so poorly, and it’s the rarity of these things that gets my attention. So far in this series we’ve seen just two: this 1991 Sundance America and today’s ’92 Shadow America.

The selling points of the Shadow/Sundance America were spelled out very plainly in this ad: cheaper than the Civic, cheapest car with a standard airbag, and cheaper (per day) than lunch. Did we mention cheap?

The non-America versions had an equally exciting commercial.
The base two-door 1992 Shadow America with manual transmission listed at $7,984; the four-door we have here would have listed at $8,384. You could get a ’92 Hyundai Excel for $6,595, a Subaru Justy for $6,445, or a complete stripper Honda Civic CX for $8,100.
This one didn’t rack up many miles, and the condition of the paint and interior suggest that it spent a decade or more parked in the Colorado sun.
If Allpar is to be believed, the 2.2 engine was still being built in China as of 2000. Its final year in an American-built car was 1994.
The optional automatic transmission would have added $585 to the cost of a new ’92 Shadow, and what would have been the point of such extravagance?

01 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1992 Dodge Shadow America Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1991 Dodge Colt Vista 4WD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/junkyard-find-1991-dodge-colt-vista-4wd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/junkyard-find-1991-dodge-colt-vista-4wd/#comments Wed, 24 Apr 2013 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=486040 Unless there’s a super-rare find that requires immediate action or it’s half-price day, I usually avoid hitting Denver junkyards when it’s snowing and/or below freezing out. Thanks to the magic of high altitude, it feels more like December than late April here… but checking the online inventory at my local self-service yard revealed a potential engine-donor for my ’41 Plymouth project. Disregard the snow, pack up the tools!
The ’41 Plymouth is a bare frame with Lexus SC400 subframes mocked up on it at the moment, and I’ve decided to go with the Vortec 4200 six as its powerplant. I’ll be buying a complete donor vehicle, preferably a 2006 or newer Trailblazer/Envoy/Rainier/97-X/Ascender, but having an engine that I can strip down to a bare block for chassis-fit purposes would be a big plus. Sadly, the ’02 Trailblazer I found in the online inventory turned out to be picked completely clean of anything I might want.
With so much snow on the cars, I didn’t see many photographic opportunities. However, a Mitsubishi Chariot aka Dodge Colt Vista 4WD looks best when covered with the white stuff.
Chrysler used the Colt name for quite a few members of the Mitsubishi family over the decades, and it will always be a disappointment that they didn’t call this car the name they used for the Chariot in Europe: Space Wagon. Space Wagon!
213,000 miles isn’t too bad for a Mitsubishi of this era.
Supposedly there’s a 98-horse 4G63 engine in there.

It appears that Japanese-market Chariots of this generation had some sort of weird marketing arrangement with Disney. C-H-A-R-I-O-T!

For added incomprehensibility, here’s the European Space Wagon Trance Remix.

Calling it the Colt Vista led to boring North American ads.

02 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1995 Range Rover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/junkyard-find-1995-range-rover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/junkyard-find-1995-range-rover/#comments Fri, 22 Mar 2013 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=481910 Here in Colorado, retired members of the Land Rover family are lined up in large numbers in every self-service wrecking yard. Range Rovers and Discoveries were (and are) extremely popular here, most likely as a form of rebellion against the Subaru Outback-driving hordes whose maintenance expenses (even with all the blown head gaskets and nuked center diffs) come to a boring 0.004% of the total per-vehicle annual cost of Range Rover ownership. I’ve been ignoring these trucks when I see them in junkyards, but today we’re going to look at a typical example, chosen at random.
The most interesting thing about these trucks, from a junkyard-scavenger perspective, is the fact that most of them have the 4.2 liter Rover V8 engine, which means that a homemade MGB-GT V8, or even— shudder— a TR7-to-TR8 conversion— is an easy, low-budget proposition. You’ll want to ditch the Lucas fuel-injection system, of course, but that sort of goes without saying.
These things are very comfortable for those willing to keep them running; this one made it to a pretty respectable 164,774 miles during its 18 years of service.
Of course, there are some Land Rovers around here that are safe from the cold steel jaws of The Crusher!

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Clues That a Car Is Junkyard Bound, Part XI: The Space-Saver Spare http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/clues-that-a-car-is-junkyard-bound-part-xi-the-space-saver-spare/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/clues-that-a-car-is-junkyard-bound-part-xi-the-space-saver-spare/#comments Fri, 15 Mar 2013 13:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=481268 The car companies say that those little “donut” spares shouldn’t be driven at highway speed, and that they shouldn’t be driven for long distances… but they also say that you shouldn’t use a Vise-Grip as a steering wheel! Just the other day, I watched a Mazda 323 with two space-saver spares (on the left side, of course) dicing with a tippy-looking Wrangler at 105 MPH on I-25 in Denver, and I remembered this A6 with three not-so-high-speed-rated wheels, spotted during the coldest Half Price Junkyard Day I’ve ever experienced. Let’s admire it!
This ’97 Audi A6 was once a pricey, sporty sedan, and the engineers that designed its suspension almost certainly debated the benefits of various tire sizes in meeting after meeting. Hell with that, said the car’s final owner, I’ve got a whole set of perfectly good wheels and tires that will save me a couple hundred bucks over some Dae Yung Radical Radials!
We’ll never know if this Audi was shod in a complete set of space-savers, because one corner of the car was wheel-less. It was too snowy for me to check for the other sign of imminent junkyard residence— many Little Tree air fresheners— but I’m sure there was at least one New Car Scent tree in there.
So what’s worse: this car on three or four space-savers, or a 1973 Buick Century Luxus wagon with just one?
01 - 1997 Audi A6 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1997 Audi A6 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1997 Audi A6 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1997 Audi A6 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1997 Audi A6 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1997 Audi A6 Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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