One of the interesting things about frequenting high-inventory-turnover wrecking yards is that you get a sense of when a vehicle’s value has reached a certain “not worth fixing when it breaks” threshold.
There will be no examples of this type of car in such yards, and then suddenly I’ll see a half-dozen in the space of a few months; the Mazda Miata was such a car, being extremely rare until about 2008, at which point you could count on finding a couple at most California U-Wrench-It-type yards. The BMW Z3 appears to have reached that point about now, with this one showing up in a Northern California yard that I visited last week. (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…)
One clever man who likes powaaah, steaks and punching people once said that you are not a real petrolhead until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo. Seeing how Alfas are either considered terrible, unreliable crap by sane and rational people or totally revered by devoted fans, I assumed there has to be something about them. Maybe it really is that fabled “automotive soul” everyone talks about.
When I drove modern Alfas, I tended to lean towards the “they’re crap” crowd. The Mito is just a Fiat Punto that’s been made worse and more expensive, while the Giulietta can be a hoot to drive, but you want to douse it in gasoline and light on fire every time you need to use it as transportation. It’s like someone did the first 90% of development and then decided to have some chianti instead of finishing the rest. Which is probably what happened.
Is there anything sadder than a junked ice cream truck? For that matter, is there anything creepier than the Boogie Man Ice Cream truck? We saw this 1974 AM General FJ-8A ice cream truck in Los Angeles last winter, and now I’ve found this unwanted-as-a-stale-Choco-Taco Ford Windstar ice cream truck in Denver. (Read More…)
After yesterday’s Corolla Junkyard Find, it seemed right to follow up with another, newer, Corolla. You know how you can tell when you’re a car’s final owner? Such was the case with the final owner of this much-abused Corolla, who drove his or her Corolla a couple thousand miles west, no doubt to be where cannabis is legal. (Read More…)
GM 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. (Read More…)
The 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. (Read More…)
The General produced quite a few not-so-quick front-drive cars with sporty-looking graphics and spoilers during the 1990s (e.g., the Beretta Z26), but the addition of an Eaton supercharger to the good old Buick V6 engine resulted in some fairly fast 90s machinery. Here’s a Grand Prix that had 240 horsepower at the front wheels during happier times. (Read More…)
Self-service junkyards, which tend to price parts based on type rather than vehicle of origin, don’t tend to get many “factory hot rod” cars of semi-recent vintage. Such cars usually get snapped up by specialty yards or shops at the auctions where big self-serve yards get their stock, so I did a double-take when I found this very solid-looking ’98 Neon R/T at my local yard. (Read More…)
By the mid-1990s, The General’s top thinkers had finally figured out that 90-year-olds don’t have many car-buying years left in them, which meant that Cadillac had to convince some sub-nonagenarians to buy their cars. Naturally, the focus of this effort would be more on marketing than on the vehicles themselves, but even Cadillac’s most PowerPoint-adept marketing wizards knew that they couldn’t slap Day-Glo orange “Brougham d’Elegance EXTRËËMË ËDITION” badges on the Eldorado ETC, hire Napalm Death as celebrity spokesmen, and expect hip/well-heeled 30-somethings to ditch their imports. No, a different kind of Cadillac would be needed. Hey, how about slapping some Cadillac emblems on the Opel Omega? Problem solved! (Read More…)
Yes, it is possible to buy an ugly, theft-victim 1998 Mercedes-Benz S500 and sell enough parts off it to get the purchase price under 500 bucks. No, it is not possible to win a weekend-long endurance race at a twisty, technical track with a monstrous, bloated, ungodly complex luxury sedan… yet the Team Opulence—We Has It S500 has done just that. For the second time. (Read More…)