Here’s a fun game for those of us with petrol-addled minds: Go to eBay Motors, and type in “Project” in the search field. Marvel at the sea of rust. When I’m feeling forlorn about the enormity of the project I have on jackstands, seeing the guy who exploded his Ferrari V8 on the way home from buying it tends to cheer me up in a perverse way.
This sobering look at the bottom end of the classic-car spectrum also reminds me that I’m not exactly swimming in cash. Yet, there are automotive desires that must be met someday. My wife, for example, has only two cars that she has dreamed of owning: A lifted, large-tired, full-sized pickup (a remnant of her childhood in Appalachia, I’m sure) and a Corvette convertible.
The ongoing automotive journalist meme that Mazda’s nearly perfect Miata is the answer to everything may not technically be true. But, this “Lifted Rally” Miata sure makes a good case in its favor.
A couple of years have passed since the last Manny, Moe, and Jack Edition Junkyard Find, so we’re due for another car that was customized with every manner of stick-on hood scoop, property-value-lowering vinyl decal, and brightly-colored interior-trim piece that can be had at your local auto-parts chain store. Here’s a fourth-gen Toyota Tercel done up as a shoestring-budget Fast-n-Furious-type machine. (Read More…)
By 1991, Chrysler was using the K platform as the basis for everything from penny-pinching econoboxes to minivans to the once-majestic Imperial. One thing about the Whorehouse Red Interior Era (approximately 1983 through 1994), though, was that enough red velour and gold-plastic emblems could make even an Iacoccan front-wheel-drive first cousin to the Plymouth Reliant-K into a quasi-credible luxury sedan. Here’s a ’91 Chrysler Imperial that I found in California a couple of weeks ago. (Read More…)
The Storm, a rebadged second-gen Isuzu Impulse sold by GM’s short-lived Geo division, was with us for just the 1990 through 1993 model years and didn’t leave much of an impression. I see the occasional Storm in wrecking yards these days, but it takes a factory-hot-rod GSi version to get me to reach for my camera. We saw this ’90 Storm GSi in a Colorado yard a couple years back, and now I’ve found another in Northern California. (Read More…)
I 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. (Read More…)
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! (Read More…)
Finding an example of the last of the GM J Bodies in the junkyard was fun, and now I’m following that find with another interesting piece of GM history: one of the final generation of cars to be powered by GM’s Iron Duke engine. Yes, you could get an Iron Duke in the 1990s! (Read More…)
Honda stood in a seemingly unassailable position in the American marketplace, with customers willing to pay whatever it took to get a Civic or Accord… until the 1990s dawned. The asset-price bubble burst in 1991, founder Soichiro Honda died the same year, the competition had caught up to the Civic and Accord, the Legend and Integra weren’t smash hits, nobody could figure out the point of the Vigor, and Honda USA was getting sweated over decades of kickbacks and general dealership hanky-panky. Oh, and American Peugeot dealers were having an easier time moving the 404 (even as Peugeot was packing up to leave the continent) than Honda was in selling the fourth-gen Accord wagon. You never saw many of them on the street and just about all of them are gone by now, but I’ve managed to find this 344,000-mile example in a Denver self-service yard. (Read More…)
When we talk about Japanese luxury cars of the early 1990s, we usually mention the Lexus LS400, the Infiniti Q45, and maybe— if we’re allowing smaller front-wheel-drive machines to fit our definition of genuine luxury— the Acura Legend. Once in a while, maybe some edge-case type might thrown in a reference to the Mitsubishi Diamante, but one car that almost never comes up in the discussion is the Mazda 929. Why not? It’s a big, comfy, rear-wheel-drive sedan with healthy V6 power. The late-80s/early-90s 929 is just about extinct these days, but I managed to spot one in a California self-service yard a few weeks back. (Read More…)