The Saturn Ion is one of those cars you still see on the street today, perhaps not enough to notice, but it’s of minor historical interest as the Saturn-branded cousin of the Chevy Cobalt/Pontiac G5.
Most of the time, the Ion is just background noise to me in the GM section of a big self-service wrecking yard, something I pass by while looking for a Cimarron or Reatta. However, I had heard that the Knoxvegas Lowballers 24 Hours of LeMons team had adapted Ion electric power steering to their mid-Duratec-powered Geo Metro, and I was curious as what this alleged steering column-mounted rig looked like. (Read More…)
What American car buyers in 2004 really needed was a lengthened Daewoo Leganza with Giorgetto Giugiaro styling, a transverse-mounted straight-six engine, and Suzuki badging … or so GM Daewoo Auto & Technology believed. Not so surprisingly, American car buyers weren’t so excited about the Verona, and these things are now nearly as rare as the similarly puzzling Isuzu Oasis.
Here’s one that I spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard. (Read More…)
Ford Panthers are easy to find in American self-service wrecking yards, to put it mildly, and the most common Panther of them all is the P71 Police Interceptor version of the Crown Victoria.
I daily-drove an ex-San Joaquin County Sheriff’s ’97 P71 for most of the 2000s and thought it was one of the best car-per-dollar-spent deals I’ve ever had. However, it takes a very special Crown Vic to stand out sufficiently from the junkyard crowd and get into this series. (Read More…)
Just about every kind of vehicle shows up at the low-priced, high-inventory-turnover self-service wrecking yards, sooner or later. It took until the late 2000s before I started seeing Mazda Miatas in such yards, and now it appears that the advance scouts for a steady flow of RX-8s are here. I saw this silver ’04 at the same Denver-area yard that gave us the biohazardous 2009 Kia Rondo. (Read More…)
The internet hivemind is a funny thing. Considering nearly everyone on the earth has an easy way to broadcast their opinions worldwide, one would think there would be a wide variety in those opinions. Often, though, through groupthink or whatever, a solid consensus emerges as an overwhelming favorite.
See bacon. Or cat videos. Or Bernie Sanders (I promise, that is the last political statement I’ll make on these pages).
The Dodge Stratus Coupe was another one of those badge-engineering/branding oddities that will be driving parts-counter employees crazy for many years to come; it had very little in common with the Stratus sedan and in fact was a close relative of the Mitsubishi Eclipse. I see never-ending lines of Stratus sedans at wrecking yards these days (only the near-valueless Sebring outnumbers the Cloud Cars in the Chrysler sections of U-Wrench-It today), but R/T Coupes are fairly uncommon. Here’s a clean one I spotted in a Denver yard last week. (Read More…)
Not many cars appear and disappear while leaving as little trace as did the Suzuki Aerio, which was sold in the United States for the 2002-2007 model years. Normally, I ignore such new cars when I’m wandering around the wrecking yards of Denver, but I’ll break out the camera when I find something of historical significance— for example, an example of the final year of the GM J-body’s 24-year run— or when I see a car that doesn’t seem to exist on the street any more. This Aerio is such a car. (Read More…)
Pontiac rolled with the Plastic Cladding Era about as far as it could, even as most other car manufacturers entered the 21st century in a de-cladifying mood. The Sunfire had cheerful molded plastic panels all over the place, but that isn’t enough to give this car the historical significance it needs to make it as a Junkyard Find. No, what made me pick up the camera when I saw this car is that the ’04 Sunfire is just about the last of the J Bodies, which makes it a close cousin to the Cadillac Cimarron d’Oro. (Read More…)