Like art cars, vehicles that have been turned into team-color-painted, sticker-bedecked sports-team fanmobiles tend to spend their lives just one minor mechanical problem away from that final tow-truck ride. This “whale” Caprice was, we can assume, the life of the tailgate party at freezing-ass Candlestick Park and maybe that new stadium that’s nowhere near San Francisco. (Read More…)
The 1970 Buick Gran Sport 455 was one of the most ridiculously overpowered, tire-frying machines of the Golden Age of Muscle Cars, and GM also slapped GS badging on some fairly muscular — or at least muscular-looking — Wildcats and Rivieras back then. Fast forward a decade or so, and you had W-body (think Lumina) third-gen Buick Regals with Gran Sport option packages.
Here’s one that I shot in Denver while scouting for the All You Can Carry For $59.99 Junkyard Sale last month. (Read More…)
1993 wasn’t a great year for the station wagon in the American marketplace; the final Volvo 245 came out that year, minivans and SUVs were kicking hell out of wagon sales as families decided that each child required a thousand pounds and/or 150 cubic feet of gear for any trip, and nobody seemed aware that wagon versions of everything from the Sable to the Camry were available for sale.
It’s easy to forget that the not-so-hot-selling Diamante had an even slower-selling wagon version back then, but I was reminded by the sight of this one in a Northern California wrecking yard. (Read More…)
I see so many stunningly depreciated German luxury cars in pretty nice condition at the cheap self-service wrecking yards that they don’t register in my consciousness much more than your typical Sebring or Sephia. These days, though, I’m making an effort to notice such cars, since it seems that many of you thought this big V12-powered BMW was interesting.
I was headed over to the Denver U-Pull-&-Pay last week, in search of some bits for my ’41 Plymouth project, and I resolved to find and photograph a high-end Audi. Sure enough, here’s this clean A8, not as new as I’d like, but still an excellent example of what happens to such cars soon after they get into the hands of their third or fourth owners. (Read More…)
Three years ago, after becoming obsessed with 1990s Japanese luxury cars and, failing to find a non-thrashed Infiniti Q45 (or even a nice J30), I bought a very clean 1997 Lexus LS400 Coach Edition. It’s still my daily driver and still in great shape, but you always have a need for a few bits and pieces when you drive an older car. The early LS400s are extraordinarily common in low price, self-service wrecking yards these days, but the UCF20 1995-1997 LS is still worth enough that it’s a rare sight at U-Wrench-It.
Last winter, I finally found one in a Denver yard, and it has stories to tell. (Read More…)
When you spend as much time in fast-turnover self-service wrecking yards as I do, you get this lesson over and over: Nothing depreciates like high-end German luxury cars. Once the interior gets a little rough, or the cutting-edge elaborate electrical system gets a bit confused, or the next generation of engine makes an additional 50 horses… well, your big A8 or 7-series or S-class passes through a sequence of increasingly budget-challenged owners, and then there’s another $700 repair needed, and here comes the tow-truck to take it to U-Wrench-It. Mostly I don’t pay much attention to these cars, because the yards are paved with German luxury, but the numbers of discarded V12 E32s peaked about 5 years ago and they’re getting harder to find now. Here’s one that I saw yesterday in a Denver-area yard. (Read More…)
By the 1980s, Japanese carmakers had established themselves as making the most reliable vehicles in the minds of plenty of American car shoppers. Meanwhile, the Europeans had conquered much of the sporty/sophisticated market by that time. General Motors responded by stamping out millions of plastic badges with the magical letters “E-U-R-O” molded in (as well as by doing stuff like putting pushrod front-drive V8s in bodies flown over from Italy). You could get a Chevy Celebrity Eurosport, and— a few years later— a Chevy Lumina Euro. I’ve been overlooking these cars in junkyards for many years, but now I realize that they have a certain historical significance. Here’s one I spotted in Denver. (Read More…)
The Nissan NX was never much of a big seller in the United States, and only the first-cousin-of-the-Sentra-SE-R NX2000 gets any attention from potential diamond-in-the-rough rescuers today. That means that you won’t see many of these cars in the wrecking yards, so I decided to photograph this purple-duct-tape-customized example in a Denver yard a couple months back. (Read More…)
The Olds Bravada started out as an Oldsmobized Chevy Blazer and ended (along with Oldsmobile itself) as an Oldsmobated Chevy Trailblazer. They show up in Colorado junkyards in startlingly large numbers. Who bought Bravadas? For that matter, who bought Isuzu Ascenders? Anyway, because the idea of an Oldsmobile-badged midsize SUV made about as much sense as an Oldsmobile-badged cruel-parody-of-a-luxury-car J-body and is thus sort of interesting, I’ve finally decided to do a Bravada Junkyard Find. We’ll return to the usual Pontiac-badged Daewoos soon enough. (Read More…)
The Chevy Cavalier sold in enormous quantities during its 23-year production run, and so most of them stay in the background for me at wrecking yards, much like Chrysler Sebrings and Ford Tempos. But the Cavalier Z24, on the other hand— that’s an interesting Junkyard Find! (Read More…)