The Geo Metro, a Suzuki Cultus imported by GM, came after the Chevrolet Sprint version of the Cultus but before GM axed the Geo brand and started selling Chevrolet Metros, which sold in respectable numbers during its 1989-1997 run.
There was a convertible version of the Metro, which allowed thin-walleted drivers to enjoy open-air driving without having to take a Sawzall to a 20-year-old Corolla, and I’ve found one of the few remaining ones at a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard. (Read More…)
Living in Colorado, I have become something of a connoisseur of low-sales volume, all/four-wheel-drive versions of otherwise commonplace vehicles. The rarest one so far has got to be this ’87 Ford Tempo AWD, but I also have managed to find some fairly unusual All-Trac-equipped Toyota vehicles.
There’s this ’90 Camry All-Trac, a car that’s a rarity even in this state and just about unheard of anywhere else, and a few examples of the Corolla All-Trac wagon. Now we have this gleaming gold Previa All-Trac. (Read More…)
General Motors brought Opel Kadetts into the United States via several routes over the years. They came from Germany and were badged as Opels at first, Isuzu built “Buick Opels” a bit later, then Isuzu dealers sold them as I-Marks (the Chevette was also a Kadett sibling, but at least it was American-built). By the late 1980s, the Kadett’s American cousin was the Daewoo LeMans, a crappily-built Korean front-wheel-drive miserybox based on the Kadett E. Few were sold, and nearly all of those were three-door hatchback versions.
Here’s an exceptionally rare LeMans sedan, from the next-to-last year of American-market sales, that I spotted last week in a Denver self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)
Imagine it’s 1992 and you’re shopping for a sporty convertible: Do you get an Australian-built front-wheel-drive Mazda based on the 323 … or do you get a Miata?
Exactly. (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…)
Chevrolet finished work restoring its 1,000,000th Corvette after it was damaged in a Kentucky sinkhole that swallowed it — and other Corvettes — at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the automaker announced.
The celebratory 1992 Corvette had signatures on every part from auto workers at its Bowling Green, Kentucky plant. The restoration project included getting those signatures on refurbished parts, and on the two parts that couldn’t be saved, scanning and replicating the signatures.
The entire process took more than four months, and more than 1,200 man-hours to complete, according to Chevrolet. That works out to about two full-time employees working 40 hours a week, but it’s still very cool.
The details get better.
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…)
When 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. (Read More…)
You 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. (Read More…)
As 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. (Read More…)
The 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. (Read More…)
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. (Read More…)