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…)
Everyone knows about the Cressidas of the 1980s, but we often forget that Toyota sold Cressidas in North America through the 1992 model year. That means that the Lexus LS400 and Toyota Cressida were available at the same time for three model years, giving Toyota shoppers the choice of two different rear-drive luxury sedans. I can’t recall ever seeing a ’92 Cressida prior to this one, so here’s a super-rare Junkyard Find from Denver. (Read More…)
I love my beater 1992 Honda Civic, and living near downtown Denver is great, but the combination of fifth-gen Civic and urban living means that thieves are going to try to steal my street-parked car on a depressingly regular basis. Would-be thieves tore up my steering column less than a year ago, and they did it again a couple of weeks back. Both times, my homebrewed kill-switch system kept the bad guys from starting the car. Both times, I got the car back on the road with cheap junkyard parts. (Read More…)
After the much anticipated (yes!) May World Roundup (no hyphen) article last Monday, I thought I’d spoil you and come back unannounced right in the middle of the week to lighten up a drab day at work. If you’re having a fantastic day at work, make your way out . If when you click on the link above you find you absolutely love that little Roundup of mine, then you are welcome to check out previous world Roundups here for March 2012 (“Has the Hybrid era started for good?”), and here for April 2012 (“Big change coming from India”).
Today, we are travelling through time to have a look at the best-selling models in the USA 20 years ago, in 1992. Yes, 1992 is 20 years ago. I know. I also feel like I just celebrated NYE 1993. But we are all 20 years older now. So if you are having a fantastic day at work, AND you were born after 1992, man/woman, just don’t talk to me ok?
So don’t talk to me and visit 164 additional countries and territories in my blog. There.
Now back to 1992.
And 1992 was the year of the Ford Taurus…
The Chevrolet Division hit one of its all-too-common low points in the early 1990s; the early-80s-design Camaro and Corvette looked more dated by the minute, the Cavalier was a laughingstock, the Lumina might as well have had gigantic “RENTAL CAR” badging on the decklid, and minivan shoppers ignored the confusingly-named Lumina APV in their mad rush to the nearest Chrysler dealership. (Read More…)
There’s a liberating feeling when you have to fix some interior component on a beater transportation car (e.g., my destined-to-become-a-track-car 1992 Civic DX) and you don’t care about color matching. Item #3,491 on the list of Parts Whose Failure Doesn’t Stop You From Driving, But Still Drives You Crazy: the glovebox door latch. (Read More…)
We’ve seen a few NUMMI-built Junkyard Finds in recent weeks, including this ’87 Nova and this ’87 Corolla FX16 GT-S. However, the car that really comes to mind when you think of NUMMI is the Geo Prizm. Here’s an example of GM’s rebadged Corolla that I found at a self-service junkyard about 20 miles from the car’s birthplace. It’s the circle of automotive life! (Read More…)
The early-90s Escort GT was a decently fast car for its day, but Escorts were always such disposable cars that you seldom see any of these semi-goofy-looking GTs these days, on the street or in the junkyard. Here’s an example that I found in a Denver self-service yard last week. (Read More…)
Mitsubishi has struggled mightily to get a solid toehold in the North American market. The Eclipse sold fairly well, but Mitsubishi’s top-of-the-line (for America; we never got the Debonair) luxury sedan never really emerged from obscurity. Here’s an example I found yesterday at a Denver self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)
To gather the photographs for the Junkyard Find series, I do a lot of walking around self-service wrecking yards, and mostly I’m just tuning out the common cars as background noise. You know, the 15-to-20-year-old Detroit stuff that won’t have any collector value until almost all are gone (as happened with the Pinto and Vega). The chaff. Right now, the Taurus/Sable is king of the Ford sections of these yards (I counted 188 of them in a 300-car section in a California yard not long ago), but you also see large numbers of Tempos and Topazes. Once I decided to pay attention to the lowly Tempo, I was surprised by the number of not-particularly-trashed examples I found at my local yard. Today, and just today, let’s pay attention to one of the most common vehicles in American self-serve junkyards today: the Tempo. (Read More…)
There are some fast LeMons cars that suffer from a single glaring weakness that knocks them out of the running after maintaining a lead for hour after hour. For example, the Acura Integra and Honda Prelude and their fragile head gaskets, or the Toyota MR2′s chronic engine-cooling/oiling woes. The Ford Taurus SHO, however, is constructed entirely from weaknesses; the transmissions explode, the engines throw rods (when they aren’t too busy spinning bearings and/or burning valves), the brakes overheat, and the suspensions crumble like pretzel sticks in a trash compacter. Wheel bearings, electrical components, you name it. But when a well-driven SHO doesn’t fall apart, very few LeMons-priced cars can catch it on a race course. (Read More…)
The D15B7 engine that Honda installed in my beater/daily-driver ’92 Civic DX was rated at 102 horsepower. Car and Driver managed to get the ’92 DX down the quarter-mile in 16.7 seconds… but that was at sea level, in a brand-new car. With its tired 200,000-mile engine gasping for air at 5,280 feet up, my Civic is definitely short on power in its new Colorado home. The good news is that I have an Integra GS-R B18C1 engine in the garage, and it’s getting swapped into my Civic very soon. That means I needed some “before” dragstrip numbers, so I can see just how much improvement the new engine will bring. Time to visit Bandimere Raceway for Test-&-Tune night! (Read More…)
Introduction • Part 1 • Part 2 • Part 3 • Part 4 • Part 5 • Part 6 • Part 7 • Part 8 • Part 9 • Part 10
In the last Impala Hell Project episode, the now-disc-brake-equipped Chevy and I hit Interstate 5 for some Generation X-style road tripping. Through late 1991 I continued my process of junkyard upgrades, and the car racked up some serious highway miles. (Read More…)