The Truth About Cars » 4wd http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:00:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 4wd http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1983 AMC Eagle SX/4 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1983-amc-eagle-sx4-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1983-amc-eagle-sx4-sport/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934978 Ahh, the AMC Eagle! So much car-industry history wrapped up in the Eagle, which was a highly innovative machine made during the very last gasps of American Motors (and continuing as a Chrysler product, briefly, before Chrysler killed the Eagle and kept the name for its new marque, which was then slapped on a rebadged […]

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15 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAhh, the AMC Eagle! So much car-industry history wrapped up in the Eagle, which was a highly innovative machine made during the very last gasps of American Motors (and continuing as a Chrysler product, briefly, before Chrysler killed the Eagle and kept the name for its new marque, which was then slapped on a rebadged and modified Renault 25). Since I live in Colorado, I see Eagles on the street all the time— there are several daily-driver Eagles living within a few blocks of me— and I see them in the local wrecking yards. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’79 wagon, this ’80 coupe, this GM Iron Duke-powered ’81 SX/4, this ’82 hatchback, this ’84 wagon, this ’84 wagon, and this ’85 wagon. The AMC Spirit-based SX/4 is much less common than the larger AMC Concord-based Eagles, so today’s find (in Denver, of course) is quite interesting.
10 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI don’t see any SX/4 badging on this car, but I’m fairly certain that any Spirit Liftback was sold as an SX/4. AMC experts, please fill us in on the details of Late Malaise Era AMC branding/badging.
05 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one seems to have just about every possible option, including the optional center gauge cluster with clock and vacuum meter.
02 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAutomatic transmission, sporty steering wheel, air conditioning— this car is loaded!
14 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI found an old German 1-mark coin from the pre-Euro era on this car’s floor.
22 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe good old reliable AMC six, which Chrysler kept making into the current century.
18 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars aren’t tremendously valuable, so it is not shocking to see this rust-free example about to be crushed.

Yes, the SX/4 was pitched as a sports car.

Two-wheeling in style or four-wheeling in the wild!

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Tercel SR5 4WD Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-tercel-sr5-4wd-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-tercel-sr5-4wd-wagon/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=914002 I’ve owned quite a few Tercel wagons of this generation (though most of mine were the common-in-California front-wheel-drive type), and I respect these things for their simplicity, cargo capacity, and reliability. True, they were underpowered and not exactly inspiring to drive, but they could be very lovable. Living in Denver, I see these cars just […]

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20 - 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ve owned quite a few Tercel wagons of this generation (though most of mine were the common-in-California front-wheel-drive type), and I respect these things for their simplicity, cargo capacity, and reliability. True, they were underpowered and not exactly inspiring to drive, but they could be very lovable. Living in Denver, I see these cars just about every time I hit the junkyard, but mostly they don’t seem special enough to merit photographing. Realizing that this one is 30 years old, however, inspired me to pull out the camera.
17 - 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSold in New Mexico, died in Colorado. There’s some rust, but more of the paint-burned-off/snow-buildup variety than the cancerous Midwestern type,
18 - 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou are awesome!
19 - 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe notorious “ice maker” next to the license plate. I’ve never been fully clear on what you got with the SR5 package, which was available on just about everything Toyota sold in the 1980s.
06 - 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 3A engine was harder to kill than rats and cockroaches combined.
04 - 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBecause the driver had to select front- or four-wheel-drive manually, many owners of these no-center-differential-equipped cars tore up tires and/or wore out drivetrain components by driving 365 days a year on dry pavement in the 4WD setting. Probably most of those Tercel 4WD owners bought Subarus after this happened.
05 - 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith the air conditioning turned off, you were jamming econo.
09 - 1984 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI was able to skip chaining up when driving Donner pass in the winter in FWD Tercels, simply by picking up this emblem at the junkyard and adding it to my cars. Easiest 4WD conversion ever!

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Junkyard Find: 1997 Subaru Legacy AWD Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1997-subaru-legacy-awd-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1997-subaru-legacy-awd-sedan/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899666 Living in Denver, I see tremendous quantities of old Subarus in local wrecking yards. Subarus after about 1985 don’t make it into this series (unless they’re XTs or SVXs or 4WD Justys), but the Legacy 4WD sedan is quite rare even by Denver standards so I made an exception for this car. This one has […]

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07 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLiving in Denver, I see tremendous quantities of old Subarus in local wrecking yards. Subarus after about 1985 don’t make it into this series (unless they’re XTs or SVXs or 4WD Justys), but the Legacy 4WD sedan is quite rare even by Denver standards so I made an exception for this car.
13 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has a key, which means it probably came from an insurance company auction rather than a city tow yard.
02 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust barely over 100,000 miles on the clock.
15 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy 1997, all Legacies sold in the United States had all-wheel-drive, but this was still special enough to warrant these “AWD” badges.
12 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy this point, the Outback wagon (still bearing Legacy badging) was so much more popular than the Legacy sedan in the United States that most of us forgot that you could even get this thing in a three-box car shape.
04 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese engines remain legendary (get it?) for blowing head gaskets.
14 - 1997 Subaru Legacy Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSold in Denver, crushed in Denver.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Subaru BRAT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1984-subaru-brat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/junkyard-find-1984-subaru-brat/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=892298 The Subaru BRAT, basically a factory El Camino-ized Leone, has quite the lawsuit history in this country, due to the Chicken Tax-evading-but-dangerous jump seats in the bed that made the BRAT a “car,” legally speaking. The BRAT was sold in the United States until the 1987 model year, but it’s nearly impossible to find examples […]

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03 - 1984 Subaru BRAT Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Shawn RodgersThe Subaru BRAT, basically a factory El Camino-ized Leone, has quite the lawsuit history in this country, due to the Chicken Tax-evading-but-dangerous jump seats in the bed that made the BRAT a “car,” legally speaking. The BRAT was sold in the United States until the 1987 model year, but it’s nearly impossible to find examples built after the early 1980s. Here’s a reasonably nice-looking ’84 that Shawn Rodgers (you may recognize him as the hero of the Junkyard Build Quality Challenges, as well as the captain of the very fast Bunny With a Pancake On Its Head 24 Hours of LeMons Rabbit team) saw in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard last week and was kind enough to photograph for us.
02 - 1984 Subaru BRAT Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Shawn RodgersI shoot junkyard BRATs whenever I see them, and so far in this series we’ve seen this ’79, this ’82 (which still had its jump seats), and this Sawzall-converted ’86 (I’m a sucker for cruelly hacked-up Subarus).
21 - 1984 Subaru BRAT Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Shawn Rodgers73 horsepower, which would be considered absolutely unacceptable in any vehicle attempting to be even vaguely truck-like today.
10 - 1984 Subaru BRAT Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Shawn RodgersNice nearly-a-T-top double sunroof— called a “Halo Twin Roof”— on this one.
16 - 1984 Subaru BRAT Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Shawn RodgersJust the lo-fi solution for listening to bad mid-80s AM hits!

In Australia, the BRAT was called the Brumby and it was marketed with ads featuring pig passengers.

In the United States, Ruth Gordon pitched the BRAT.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 International Harvester Scout II http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1972-international-harvester-scout-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1972-international-harvester-scout-ii/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862233 Here in Colorado, Scouts are all over the place, which means that Denver-area wrecking yards get a steady stream of worn-out or abandoned examples. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’73, and this ’74, and I’ve skipped over a bunch of totally-stripped Scouts that weren’t worth photographing. Today’s find […]

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01 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere in Colorado, Scouts are all over the place, which means that Denver-area wrecking yards get a steady stream of worn-out or abandoned examples. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’73, and this ’74, and I’ve skipped over a bunch of totally-stripped Scouts that weren’t worth photographing. Today’s find has donated a lot of parts to the local Scout ecosystem, but still intact enough to be of interest.
07 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe IHC V8 was a heavy, farm-equipment-grade brute. There’s probably some easy way to tell a 304 from a 345 at a glance, but I don’t know what it is.
08 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe smog sticker says it’s a 345, but owners of these trucks have always been notorious engine-swappers. Hey, why is there a California catalyst sticker on a ’72? This junkyard goes by VIN records when determining model year, so I suspect that some VIN-swapping magic was performed by a previous owner and we’re really looking at a late-70s Scout.
06 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIHC made a Rallye version of the Scout II, but this looks like a homegrown decal job.
09 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s not incredibly rusty, but there’s no reason to restore a truck like this when you can buy nicer runners for reasonable prices in Colorado.

Does everything a compact, big sedan, or station wagon can do!

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Review: 2015 GMC Yukon SLT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/review-2015-gmc-yukon-slt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/review-2015-gmc-yukon-slt/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 22:15:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=853377 Until a decade or so, if you wanted a three-row SUV your choices were pretty much limited to body-on-frame offerings, most of which were related to a pickup truck. But now, even GM’s own GMT960s (Enclave, Acadia), provide similar amount of interior space to this Yukon. Furthermore, they are less expensive, more efficient, and easier […]

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2015 GMC Yukon SLE front 34 left

Until a decade or so, if you wanted a three-row SUV your choices were pretty much limited to body-on-frame offerings, most of which were related to a pickup truck. But now, even GM’s own GMT960s (Enclave, Acadia), provide similar amount of interior space to this Yukon. Furthermore, they are less expensive, more efficient, and easier to drive. It’s possible to argue that the biggest, if not the only, advantage of these body-on-frame V8-powered SUVs is their towing ability.

So why do GM, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota still bother with these dinosaurs?

2015 GMC Yukon SLE rear 34

The simple answer is because people are buying them. Spend time on this nation’s roads this summer and you’ll see full-size SUVs loaded up with summer essentials, often towing boats, campers, or project cars. The merits of three-row unibody “trucks” aside, a full-size V8-powered SUV still holds appeal for many consumers.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE interior dash

Climb into the driver’s seat of this Yukon SLT 4×4 and prepare to be overwhelmed. Surrounding you, the driver, are:

  • 37 dash buttons,
  • 8 dash knobs,
  • 13 steering wheel buttons,
  • 13 door buttons,
  • 6 gauges,
  • 2 screens,
  • 1 shifter with a button,
  • 1 multi-functional stalk,
  • 3 toggle switches
  • 8 roof buttons,
  • 2 12v receptacles,
  • 4 USB ports and

It’s not as bad as it sounds, since many of those buttons are for secondary controls. That said, many of those secondary buttons could be combined with others or simply eliminated. Even grouping them to one area that’s hidden from view (Lexus does that) would visually clean up the interior. In daily driving, however, where most drivers just switch between presets, drink coffee, occasionally input a destination, take a phone call, or vary the temperature setting by a few degrees, the interior layout will suit most people just fine. Perhaps the center screen could be positioned more toward the driver as opposed to being in the middle of the very wide dash.

Where the interior does fall a bit short is in the quality of materials used. Self-appointed plastics experts will rightfully complain about flimsy feeling panels and a lack of soft-touch materials. The leather, with its contrasting stitching, a mark of luxury de jour, also does not seem soft or of high quality. A GMC is supposed to feel better than a Chevy but not as good as a Caddy. In the case of this particular GMC, the interior still seems average at best.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE interior details

GM’s biggest challenge seemed to be designing the two rows of rear seats. To be safe and comfortable, the seats have to be big. Buyers also want the functionality of a flat cargo floor. Furthermore, no one wants to pull heavy seats out of vehicles anymore, therefore the seats have to fold flat. In addition to all that, the middle row had to provide easy access to the third row, making the final design both complicated and compromised.

The solution to this was to raise the floor in the rear section of the vehicle, creating a compartment in the back, and making it even with the level of the folded third row. The middle row, (captain’s chairs in this tester, but a bench is available), is even with the third row when folded. This makes for a flat loading floor but takes away from overall cargo volume. The third row folds and raises with a push of a button. The middle row folds down with a push of a button, or via a lever, but needs to be raised manually. The middle seats also fold and tumble forward for passenger access to the third row. Nissan has a much nicer solution in its Pathfinder that even allows a rear-facing baby seat to remain in place when the seat is folded forward.

The power hatch has two settings: fully open or three-quarters open, to avoid potential impact with a garage roof. The rear window also opens independently of the hatch which is handy for dropping small things into the cargo area. The problem with that window is that it is only fourteen inches high, a relatively small opening for such a big vehicle. With the third row seats folded, the cargo area is generous. 12v outlets, cubbies, covered storage bin, and cargo tie down hooks further increase the functionality, but there is no cargo cover.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE tailgate trunk cargo

Notice the raised floor from the bottom of the the tailgate opening. Ignore the crib.

This Yukon is one of the quietest SUVs I have ever driven; wind noise and engine noise are basically absent, surprising given its large surface area and upright design. Gone, too, is the V8 burble. The ride is very smooth and it takes a sizable pothole to jolt the passengers. One of Yukon’s drawbacks is visibility; both A- and D- pillars are very thick, windows are relatively short, side mirrors are small, and when the optional rear entertainment screen is opened it completely blocks the inside rear view mirror. There are blind spot sensors, parking sensors, and a backup camera, but no surround view display, which would be very beneficial.

The Yukon, when equipped with the Max Trailering Package (ref. code NHT), is rated to tow 8200lbs (8500lbs for 2WD models). The package includes a 3.42 axle ratio, trailer brake controller, a self-leveling suspension, and a 2” receiver with a 7-pin connector. The receiver is hidden behind a cover which is held by two wing nuts. Roof rails are standard on the SLT.

Despite the rugged looks and a 22” step-in-height, the ground clearance is only eight inches, but the front air dam looks even closer to the ground. The twenty inch polished wheels are wrapped around in 275/55-20 Continental all-season tires that say “EcoPlus Technology” on them. While they seemed great on the highway I would not venture too far off pavement.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE interior rear details

EcoTec3 is the new series of GM’s V6 and V8 engines. The Yukon is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 version which produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. The OHV engine is sporting new(-ish) technologies such as direct fuel injection, cylinder deactivation, and variable valve timing, and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Loaded up with my family and a day’s worth of kids’ stuff, the engine pushed the 5700lb vehicle effortlessly in all situations but struggled to achieve 15mpg in heavy-footed mixed city/highway driving, short of EPA’s rating of 16 city, 22 highway mpg. Those wishing for more power can step up to the Denali and its 6.2-liter 420hp/460tq engine.

For 2015, the Yukon SLE 2WD starts at $47,330. The starting price for this SLT 4WD is $57,735. The Sun and Entertainment Package which consists of a sunroof, nav system, and rear seat DVD player (component input but no HDMI) adds $3255, less a $500 credit. 20″ wheels add $1400, second row bucket seats  are $590. The Max Trailering Package is a bargain of the bunch at $650, and an alarm is $395. Total MSRP with destination charge for the reviewed Yukon is $64,520.

For comparison, an equally loaded up Nissan Armada Platinum is $56,395 and its fancier Infiniti QX80 cousin is $80,245. A Toyota Sequoia is $65,410 and a Ford Expedition Limited is $61,113, all more or less equally loaded.

Yikes! That’s a lot of money, particularly when compared to the Pilots and Highlanders of the world. How much do you really want one of these? Enough to pay 5 Series money? Not to worry; if you’re not interested, someone else will be, and they’ll be tailgating you on the freeway shortly.

2015 GMC Yukon SLE side

Kamil Kaluski is the east coast editor for Hooniverse.com. Read his ramblings on eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous car stuff there. 

General Motors provided the vehicle for this review.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Honda Civic 4WD Wagovan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1988-honda-civic-4wd-wagovan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1988-honda-civic-4wd-wagovan/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=810810 Before Subaru finally nailed down the sales-clinching formula for a car that had four-wheel-drive but didn’t seem too truck-like, all the major Japanese car manufacturers took at shot at building little sedans and wagons with power going to all the wheels. Since I live in Colorado, I get to see examples of each of those […]

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17 - 1988 Honda Civic 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBefore Subaru finally nailed down the sales-clinching formula for a car that had four-wheel-drive but didn’t seem too truck-like, all the major Japanese car manufacturers took at shot at building little sedans and wagons with power going to all the wheels. Since I live in Colorado, I get to see examples of each of those 1980s efforts, most of which didn’t result in much showroom action but are still pretty interesting today. In this series, we’ve seen a Camry All-Trac, quite a few Corolla All-Tracs, lots of Tercel 4WD wagons, countless elderly Subarus, and so on. The Honda Shuttle aka Civic Wagovan shows up in Denver wrecking yards as well, and I don’t bother to photograph most of them. This late Wagovan with the futuristic “Real-Time” four-wheel-drive system, however, is a rare find even in Colorado.
26 - 1988 Honda Civic 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinReal-Time 4WD didn’t require the driver to throw a lever or push a button when snow or mud threatened, and thus you didn’t have to worry about leaving the car in four-wheel-drive on dry asphalt and tearing up the tires (or worse). Of course, there was a fuel-economy penalty for using a center differential and driving all four wheels all the time, but Subaru proved that this doesn’t hurt sales.
22 - 1988 Honda Civic 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere are emblems boasting of this technology all over the car.
03 - 1988 Honda Civic 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ’88 4WD Wagovan also got a super-low (I assume that’s what the “SL” stands for) first-gear, which was probably great for climbing steep driveways and busting CV joints.
12 - 1988 Honda Civic 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinUnder the hood, the pretty-potent-for-1988 106-horse D16A6.
02 - 1988 Honda Civic 4WD Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNearly 180,000 miles. No rust on the body, interior not too bad, so my guess is that a blown head gasket doomed this car.

I couldn’t find any Japanese-market ads with the screeching tires and macho voiceovers that the Civic Shuttle deserved.


At least they still appreciate the 4WD Wagovan in Sweden.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Subaru BRAT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1982-subaru-brat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1982-subaru-brat/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 14:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=733825 With so many old Subarus in Denver wrecking yards, I do run across the occasional BRAT. We’ve seen this ’79 and this very rare Sawzall Edition ’86 so far in this series, and today we’ll be looking at a well-used ’82 that still has the very rare lawsuit-inducing jumpseats in the back. Yes, those Chicken […]

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15 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith so many old Subarus in Denver wrecking yards, I do run across the occasional BRAT. We’ve seen this ’79 and this very rare Sawzall Edition ’86 so far in this series, and today we’ll be looking at a well-used ’82 that still has the very rare lawsuit-inducing jumpseats in the back.
14 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, those Chicken Tax-skirting jumpseats that made the BRAT, legally speaking, a car instead of a truck were loose in the bed of this Subaru when I found it a couple weeks back.
13 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI thought about buying the seats for my Dodge A100 van, but they’re missing the headrests and one of the grab handles, plus the floor-mounting brackets were beat to hell.
12 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars rusted very quickly, though Colorado’s arid climate spared this one from full-on Michigan-grade cancer.
10 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNice BRATs are worth quite a bit these days. Thrashed ones are worth scrap value.
05 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStrangely, I saw three vehicles with variations on this sticker during this trip to the junkyard. There’s meaning there somewhere.

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Piston Slap: Is The 2WD ‘Burb Ready for The Snow? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/piston-slap-is-the-2wd-burb-ready-for-the-snow/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/piston-slap-is-the-2wd-burb-ready-for-the-snow/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2013 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=675570 Jay writes: Professor Mehta, I have some friends that are moving to Colorado from native South Florida. They’ve never lived in a 4 season climate let alone driven in snow. They own outright a 2007 2WD Suburban (80k miles) L33/LS1 FTW. The other car is an Acura TL he drives for work. Since I’m the […]

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Jay writes:

Professor Mehta,

I have some friends that are moving to Colorado from native South Florida. They’ve never lived in a 4 season climate let alone driven in snow. They own outright a 2007 2WD Suburban (80k miles) L33/LS1 FTW. The other car is an Acura TL he drives for work.

Since I’m the resident car guy, they’ve asked for advice. Should they trade the Suburban and get her a CPO X5 (her dream car)? Or buy an MDX, RX350 AWD?

My thought is they should keep the Suburban, at least for the first winter, and put a really nice set of Blizzaks on it. That way they can learn to drive in snow, and get a feel for what kind of vehicle would thrive in their new town (commute, traffic, snow etc).

After all, if it’s horrible, they can always mosey down to the dealer and trade out. It’s also my concern that AWD would be seen as a cure all and/or bring overconfidence on the road. I told them AWD doesn’t do squat with braking. Am I giving proper advice? What do you think?

Don’t let Sanjeev anywhere near this Piston Slap!

Sajeev answers:

When I was a wannabe-car designer in Detroit, a friend (rural Ohio native) explained why he almost never used four-wheel drive in his Blazer.  He liked the control of a RWD power train, eliminating understeer with tail wagging oversteer as needed. Because, as you mentioned, AWD can inspire overconfidence…and understeer into something unforgiving.

That said, Detroit did plow/salt the roads when needed. And when it really, really snowed, you didn’t want to go outside until the plow could keep up. Such is metropolitan city life: there’s a chance your friends don’t need a 4×4/AWD SUV…unless they live on a real steep hill. Or they live in a suburb with less frequent plowing. Or…

Take it from me: your advice only goes so far with others (especially when that advice is horrible – Sanjeev) so if they either want OR need an AWD vehicle, they should test drive the X5 and some others, and let them buy whatever they want.

See if they’ll put Blizzaks (or similar) on the ‘burb, because it’s the smart use of their money.  That might be enough to make them believers.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Dodge Ramcharger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1978-dodge-ramcharger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1978-dodge-ramcharger/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=670298 Even though Denver wrecking yards are always full of old trucks, the Dodge Ramcharger isn’t quite as common as its GM, Ford, and Jeep rivals. In fact, this Royal SE ’83 Ramcharger is the only example we’ve seen in this series, prior to today’s find. This tan Dodge is every bit as Malaise-y as the […]

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15 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinEven though Denver wrecking yards are always full of old trucks, the Dodge Ramcharger isn’t quite as common as its GM, Ford, and Jeep rivals. In fact, this Royal SE ’83 Ramcharger is the only example we’ve seen in this series, prior to today’s find. This tan Dodge is every bit as Malaise-y as the yellow ’76 Wagoneer we saw last month, so let’s look at these photos and imagine what it was like driving a 9 MPG truck during a period of high inflation and steep gas prices.
03 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinTan with brown and orange stripes. I think the library— wait, I mean “media center”— in my junior high school was done up in very similar colors, back in 1979.
12 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou don’t want to know what kind of horsepower the 318 (or 360) made in 1978. The torque was enough, let’s leave it at that.
05 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAt least it has a real transmission.
13 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou don’t see many of these engine-coolant heaters these days.
10 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s a bit rusty, but probably still had some life left.

An all-around family car!

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Junkyard Find: Lada Niva http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-lada-niva/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-lada-niva/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=663946 When I went to Iceland to abuse some Subarus, I managed to visit a couple of Reykjavik junkyards and poke around a bit. In addition to the weird-to-American-eyes French cars and puzzling quantities of 1990s Chrysler products, I found this VAZ-2121 aka Lada Niva 3-door wedged nose-to-tail with a green Megane. The car’s doors were […]

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01 - Lada Niva Down on the Reykjavik Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen I went to Iceland to abuse some Subarus, I managed to visit a couple of Reykjavik junkyards and poke around a bit. In addition to the weird-to-American-eyes French cars and puzzling quantities of 1990s Chrysler products, I found this VAZ-2121 aka Lada Niva 3-door wedged nose-to-tail with a green Megane.
05 - Lada Niva Down on the Reykjavik Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe car’s doors were locked and the yard’s proprietor didn’t speak much English, so I couldn’t determine this Russian’s year of manufacture. The marker lights and some comments by Lada-admiring Icelanders later suggest that this car is from the early 1980s.
07 - Lada Niva Down on the Reykjavik Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s no way this car could have competed in the United States market, what with all the cheap Subarus, reliable Toyota Tercel 4WDs, and the perception that Ladas were just Fiats built by enslaved Stakhonovites in dirt-floored tents in the Gulag. Elsewhere, however, the Niva built up a reputation for T-34-grade toughness.
02 - Lada Niva Down on the Reykjavik Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThese days, the Niva’s appeal in Iceland has waned, and so this car will likely end up getting crushed soon.


Not many products benefit from association with the Soviet Union. The AK-47 and the Niva, that’s about it.


That’s how you treat a Lada.


In Iceland, they’re a little rougher on their Ladas.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Subaru Leone 4WD Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1978-subaru-leone-4wd-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1978-subaru-leone-4wd-wagon/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2013 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=661010 One thing that makes Colorado wrecking yards different from those in the rest of the country is the large numbers of Subarus in every yard. We’re talking the history of Subaru North America in every yard here. In fact, you’ll see more 1980s and 1990s Leones aka GLs, DLs, and Loyales in a typical Denver-area […]

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01 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne thing that makes Colorado wrecking yards different from those in the rest of the country is the large numbers of Subarus in every yard. We’re talking the history of Subaru North America in every yard here. In fact, you’ll see more 1980s and 1990s Leones aka GLs, DLs, and Loyales in a typical Denver-area self-serve yard than you’ll see Corollas or Civics. You’ll also find lots of more recent Legacies and Imprezas, not to mention XTs, BRATs, SVXs, and even the occasional Justy 4WD. 1970s Subarus, however, are getting pretty rare here; in this series, we’ve seen just this ’79 Leone wagon and this ’79 GL sedan so far. Today, we add this very-much-of-its-time ’78 wagon.
22 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack in 1978, your choices in four-wheel-drive vehicles were very limited; you could get a truck, you could get an AMC Eagle that drove like a truck… or you could get a Subaru.
12 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese things were ludicrously underpowered, rusted quickly, and didn’t come close to the reliability standards set by Honda and Toyota, but they got decent fuel economy and were competent in mud and snow.

Subarus were quite rare in the United States back in the Malaise Era, but the marque made it into popular culture with songs like this one.

Or this one.
07 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJudging by the quantity of pine cones and animal nests in this car, it hasn’t run for many, many years.
13 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot many places in Colorado damp enough for moss to grow on cars.
29 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSold in Colorado, will be crushed in Colorado.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Jeep Wagoneer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1976-jeep-wagoneer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1976-jeep-wagoneer/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=648490 Since Willys/Kaiser/Jeep/AMC/Chrysler built the Wagoneer from Biblical times until ten minutes ago (actually 1963 through 1991), and I live in Jeep-centric Colorado, I see these things just about every time I visit a wrecking yard. Mostly, I don’t photograph them (unless I see an unusually late example, such as this ’89, or one resplendent in […]

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01 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince Willys/Kaiser/Jeep/AMC/Chrysler built the Wagoneer from Biblical times until ten minutes ago (actually 1963 through 1991), and I live in Jeep-centric Colorado, I see these things just about every time I visit a wrecking yard. Mostly, I don’t photograph them (unless I see an unusually late example, such as this ’89, or one resplendent in purple paint and tape stripes, like this ’81), but today’s Junkyard Find— spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard a few weeks ago— was just so incredibly Malaise-y that I felt compelled to document it in its final parking space.
13 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinImagine having the guts to buy something this thirsty just a few years after the 1973 energy crisis, and the sinking feeling that the owner must have experienced when the 1979 energy crisis hit!
07 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, if you need a work truck you have to be willing to pay the fuel bills.
04 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFake woodgrain, refreshingly uncomplicated HVAC controls. Some things about the middle 1970s were pretty good.
15 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe AMC 360-cubic-inch V8 stayed in production all the way through 1991, thanks to Chrysler’s absorption of AMC in 1987.
06 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill some good parts left on this one.

Toughest four-letter word on wheels!

01 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1974 International Harvester Scout II http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1974-international-harvester-scout-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1974-international-harvester-scout-ii/#comments Sat, 17 Aug 2013 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=499600 Here in Denver, the Jeep DJ-5 often shows up in Junkyard Finds. Another truck that forms a regular part of The Crusher’s diet in Colorado is the International Harvester Scout. Yes, there was once a time when a farm-equipment manufacturer made highway-legal light trucks, and the Scout was (and is) a Colorado favorite. Here’s a […]

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15 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere in Denver, the Jeep DJ-5 often shows up in Junkyard Finds. Another truck that forms a regular part of The Crusher’s diet in Colorado is the International Harvester Scout. Yes, there was once a time when a farm-equipment manufacturer made highway-legal light trucks, and the Scout was (and is) a Colorado favorite. Here’s a battered ’74 I spotted a few weeks back.
02 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn this series so far, we’ve seen this ’70 Scout, this ’71 Scout, and this ’73 Scout. Today’s find has a bit of rust, a well-worn interior, and seriously sun-bleached paint.
13 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOh yeah, and it appears to have had a minor rollover mishap.
10 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen IHC needed to add instructions for window-regulator replacement, they went for combine-harvester-style stenciled instructions rather than the decals that the Detroit Big Three would have used.
03 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m pretty sure this is the 304-cubic-inch IHC V8, but I don’t know enough about these engines to distinguish the 304 from the 345 at a glance. Either way, it’s a little four-wheel-drive truck with farm-grade V8 power!
01 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe blue-and-white two-tone paint is more like light-blue-and-off-white by now, but it probably looked great when new.
12 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAre there any Scouts without a hunting- or fishing-related window decal? No, there are none.

18 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Jeep Wagoneer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1981-jeep-wagoneer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1981-jeep-wagoneer/#comments Sun, 23 Jun 2013 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493042 The Jeep Wagoneer was made for about 180 years (OK, actually just 28 years), going through three corporate owners during that period. This is only our second Wagoneer Junkyard Find (after this late-in-the-game ’89), though I walk past many more every time I hit my favorite Denver wrecking yard. This ’81 grabbed my attention with […]

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09 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Jeep Wagoneer was made for about 180 years (OK, actually just 28 years), going through three corporate owners during that period. This is only our second Wagoneer Junkyard Find (after this late-in-the-game ’89), though I walk past many more every time I hit my favorite Denver wrecking yard. This ’81 grabbed my attention with its super-Malaise-y purple paint, so here we go!
11 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGas prices doubled again? Emission-control regulations got your big-displacement V8 making 130 horses? Add more tape stripes!
06 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m not even going to look up the power figures for this AMC 360 V8, because they would just get us all depressed.
01 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis could be a genuine Wagoneer Brougham, but the distinguishing Broughamic features are no longer present.
13 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinUnder Chrysler, these trucks were built into the 1990s, stretching from JFK’s presidency to the dawn of the World Wide Web.
04 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinShielded by THE PROTECTOR!

01 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1981 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Alphabet Soup: 4×4 vs 4WD vs AWD Where’s the Differential? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/alphabet-soup-4x4-vs-4wd-vs-awd-wheres-the-differential/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/alphabet-soup-4x4-vs-4wd-vs-awd-wheres-the-differential/#comments Mon, 17 Jun 2013 23:09:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491128 Four wheel drive, all wheel drive, 4WD, AWD, full-time, part-time, 4Hi, 4Lo, 4×4. There are many names and just as many ways of motivating every wheel a vehicle has on the ground. What’s the difference between four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive? In one word: Marketing. Want to know more? Click past the jump as we dive in […]

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2012 Jeep Patriot Latitude, Exterior, trail rated badge, Photography by Alex L. Dykes

Four wheel drive, all wheel drive, 4WD, AWD, full-time, part-time, 4Hi, 4Lo, 4×4. There are many names and just as many ways of motivating every wheel a vehicle has on the ground. What’s the difference between four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive? In one word: Marketing. Want to know more? Click past the jump as we dive in the most controversial topic since “Dodge vs Chevy.”

Motivating four wheels in a car isn’t new, we’ve been doing it for over 110 years. If you thought this was a recent affectation, you’re not crazy. Over the last 30 years there has been an explosion in the number of vehicles powering a quartet of tires. There has also been a similar explosion in the number of ways we power four wheels. At the same time the way systems are designed, marketed and used have converged and with them the terms AWD and 4WD have have practically merged. Of course, the SAE does have a definition “an all-wheel-drive vehicle is one that has an on-demand feature that occasionally sends power to the non-primary powered wheels.” But what that means has changed a great deal over time.

The Good Old Days

Let’s set the way-back-machine to 1970. Trucks and “Jeeps” had 4WD aka 4×4 systems. The system had to be engaged manually once you were on a loose surface because they “locked” the inputs of the front and rear differentials together making turning difficult on high traction surfaces. Engaging AWD on pavement could result in damage to the systems, or at the very least strange road manners. These systems were found on vehicles that would otherwise be RWD like trucks and truck-based “things.” Frequently the transfer case featured a reduction gear for more severe situations. 1970 Land Rover Range Rover, picture courtesy of Land Rover

Then came the 1970 Land Rover Range Rover (above), the self-proclaimed “first mass-produced vehicle with full-time AWD.” (Note they didn’t call it 4WD until later.) The system used a lockable center differential that allowed the front and rear axles to spin at different rates on pavement allowing the system to be engaged at all times. The system was designed with off-roading in mind, so the transfer case had a low range like like the rugged truck based systems at the time in addition to the full-lock feature.

Then came the AMC Eagle. AMC jammed a new NP119 transfer case made by New Process Gear behind a Chrysler transmission. The unit featured a viscus coupling to the front axle that would allow power to flow to both axles simultaneously while still allowing them to turn at different rates. But this AMC wasn’t a truck, didn’t have a low-range and had an independent front suspension. Not knowing what to call it, AMC called it 4×4. So much for standards.

16 - 1989 Dodge Colt 4WD Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin

Then Audi released the Quattro in 1980, but despite featuring a manually lockable center differential, Audi chose to call it “all-wheel-drive” or AWD. (Later Quattros were automatic.) The AWD vs 4WD differentiation was born. Soon everyone was getting into the four-wheel-motivation game but nobody agreed what to call the systems. In 1982 Fiat introduced the world to the first four-wheel-motivated vehicle with a transverse engine layout and a transaxle (the Fiat Panda 4×4). It was the start of a revolution. Some car companies followed Audi’s suit and referred to car systems as AWD while the  Toyota Tercel, Dodge Colt and others sported 4WD or 4×4 labels. This was the start of the “that’s not four-wheel-drive, that’s all-wheel-drive” argument.

By the ’90s SUVs started to roam the land. The box-on-frame creatures borrowed their drivetrains from  truck parts bins and brought with them 4×4 and 4WD monikers. (And a bevy of full-time and part-time systems.) Meanwhile, the proliferation of AWD systems exploded and we soon started seeing them in everything from Chrysler minivans to the Porsche 993. Despite the proliferation, the industry had more-or-less settled on calling longitudinal “truck” systems 4WD/4×4 and “car” systems (especially transverse systems) AWD.

2012 MINI Countryman, Exterior, rear, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The 21st Century

Crossovers happened. In truth the crossover was born in the 20th century, but the era of the “modern crossover” dawned within the last 15 years. In 1995, crossovers were a microscopic segment composed of jacked-up station wagons. By 2005 the non-truck utility vehicles accounted for more than 50% of the segment. At the dawn of the 2014 model year there are few “traditional” SUVs left, especially in the volume mid-sized segment. Those that remain account for a minority of sales.

Back to the marketing. Now, more than ever, the lines between truck and car are being blurred by marketing speak. Ford calls their Explorer AWD while Nissan is claiming the Pathfinder had 4WD and Chrysler says the Jeep Patriot is a 4×4. The truth is all three drivetrains operate on the same general design as that 1982 Fiat Panda: the transverse AWD system. The system Fiat called “4×4″ in the 1980s is now thought of as “AWD” by Fiat in this decade. What gives?

2012 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R-Design, Exterior, Photography Courtesy of Alex L Dykes

The Current State of Affairs

This brings us to the present. Now that we know the AWD vs 4WD vs 4×4 battle is a war of marketing speak, and we have a bit of history under our belts. Let’s talk about how AWD systems work. Why? Because it’s more important to know how the systems work than what they are called. Let’s go over them one by one. Since I’m not a graphic artist I’ll toss in a rough power-flow diagram to show how each system works.

Part time locking AWD System, Drawing Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Part time locking systems with a longitudinal layout

In the picture above we have a traditional “truck” system, the one that some people will call a “real 4×4.” There is no center differential so the system shouldn’t be used on-pavement because the front and rear axles cannot spin at different speeds. The system has to be engaged by the user in some manner, either with a lever or a button. Most systems use a chain drive to connect the front and rear axles so power flow is (in theory) locked 50/50 front/rear. If one rear wheel is freely spinning, the front wheels will still have grip. If one front wheel and one rear wheel freely spin, the vehicle won’t move. To solve that problem the systems usually include some form of locking or limited slip differential in the rear or both rear and front axles. The systems are typically very rugged and if the system employs fully-locking axles on the front and rear power is exactly 25/25/25/25 percent wheel to wheel and if three wheels lost traction the remaining wheel can consume all 100% of available power. Some systems integrate a low-ratio reduction gear into the transfer case.

Full time locking RWD based AWD System, Drawing Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Full time systems with a longitudinal layout

Based on the part-time systems we just talked about, Land Rover was the first company to use an existing idea to improve their new luxury off-roader and added a center differential after the reduction gear. This system became all the rage after AMC brought it to the mainstream in 1979 for the 1980 Eagle. These systems can take a variety of different forms. The “center differential” can be a simple open unit, a limited slip, a Torsen that apportions power unequally (i.e. 75% rear, 25% front unless slip occurs) or a simple viscous coupling which isn’t technically a differential at all. Each type of stem has benefits and drawbacks depending on your application. Open diffs apportion power equally, but if the front or rear wheels loose traction the car can’t send power to the other axle. Limited slip systems (including manual or auto-locking units) can connect the front and rear together, thus operating like a part-time system when the unit is fully engaged. If the system engaged on pavement however you can get a “binding” feel in tight turns. Torsen units are primarily used in performance oriented systems like high-performance variants of SUVs where you want added traction but a decidedly RWD bias.

You’ll find full-time systems of some description in the current Audi Q7, Jeep Grand Cherokee/Wrangler, Mercedes ML/GL/GLK/G, BMW X1/X3/X5/X6, GM’s full-size SUVs, Dodge Durango, Infiniti EX/FX, Land Rover LR4/Range Rover/Range Rover Sport, Lexus GX/LX, Nissan Armada, Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg, Subaru Forester/Tribeca/Outback/XV, Toyota FJ/Land Cruiser/4 Runner/Sequoia.

Is that a long list? Yes. However that a complete list (insofar as I know) of SUVs currently sold on our shores with this type of a system. Why did I bother to list them all? Because it shows how few of this type of system there really are in the utility vehicle segment. Just a few years ago this number was higher and the market share of this system was higher still.

Subaru AWD Comparison, Courtesy of Subaru

Subaru and Audi you ask? Yes indeed. Audi’s longitudinal systems and Subaru’s AWD systems claim to be different or superior to the competition, but in reality the only difference is that they merge the center and front differentials into the transmission housing resulting in a space savings, but not necessarily a weight savings. (Mercedes claims 4Matic will take a scant 150lb toll in 2014, 50lbs lighter than Quattro.) This also means that the Subaru systems share design elements with traditional rugged body-on-frame SUVs, something that Subaru owners seem to rarely know but might want to brag about.

Front Wheel Drive Biased Transverse AWD System, Drawing Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Transverse engine based systems

British Motor Corporation popularized transverse engine front-wheel-drive systems in 1959 with the launch of the original Mini. The drivetrain layout has been so popular that the same basic design is used by 16 of the top 20 best-selling vehicles in America. (Everything but the full-size pickups on the top-20 list.) This drivetrain layout represented a challenge to AWD development, so it wasn’t until 1982 that Steyr-Daimler-Puch produced a four-wheel motivation system based on a transaxle. (For that Fiat Panda.)

What’s a transaxle? Excellent question. A transaxle is a transmission that integrates a front differential into its casing. That’s an important thing to keep in mind because the transaxle is why FWD layouts are preferred for fuel economy. In a transverse transaxle the power doesn’t have to “turn” 90 degrees to spin the front wheels. HOWEVER, in a transverse transaxle based AWD system, the power has to make two 90 degree turns on its way to the rear wheels. First power leaves the transmission, then heads to an angle gear which sends it to the back. Then power flows to the rear differential which turns power 90 degrees to the wheels. This is part of the reason that transverse full-time systems that always send power to the rear are [in general] just as efficient as longitudinal “RWD based” AWD systems. (This is why most of them disconnect the rear wheels whenever possible.)

V70R_AWD_System

While there are exceptions to this rule, 99% of transverse FWD systems have a fundamental difference from longitudinal systems because of the integrated front differential. Instead of creating a purpose built AWD transaxle, what car makers do is just extend the power output of the transmission (before the differential) out of the transmission case and into the angle gear that sends power to the back. (See the diagram above.) This means that the input to the front and rear differentials are tied, just like a part-time locking system that we discussed above. To keep the system from binding and improve fuel economy a clutch pack or a viscus coupling is placed between the angle gear and the rear differential. This allows the rear wheels to be uncoupled, but does nothing about the front wheels. Systems like this are incapable of sending more than 50% of the power to the rear unless the front wheels have zero traction. Acura’s SH-AWD system takes things one step further and uses an “acceleration device” aft of the clutch pack to make the rear wheels spin faster than the front wheels thereby giving the vehicle a slight rear “bias” even when the front wheels have traction.

Transverse systems come in many different flavors so it’s important to know what you’re buying before you sign on the line. Some systems on the market are “slip-and-grip” systems like the Honda CR-V which won’t lock the center clutch pack unless front wheel slip occurs. Then we have systems like the Ford Explorer which usually sends some power to the rear, locks the coupling during hard acceleration and varies it depending on vehicle dynamics. The Honda Ridgeline allows the center coupling to be locked in first gear while Jeep’s Patriot allows the center coupling to be almost fully locked at all speeds.

Jeeo Cherokee Front Wheel Drive Biased AWD System, Drawing Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

Perhaps the ultimate hybrid and head scratcher will be the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Chrysler has yet to release complete details about the system, but what we can glean from the spec sheets and interviews is a system that meets all the criteria of a “traditional” 4×4/4WD system but has a functional layout similar to the systems “real” off-roaders would laugh and point at. We have a 9-speed automatic, nothing unusual there, but next we get something new for a transverse vehicle: a 56:1 (I4) or 47:1 (V6) reduction gear positioned after the transmission but infront of the differentials. (That’s lower than the Grand Cherokee and not too far off the 71:1 in the Wrangler.) Like the other systems, inputs for the front and rear diffs are mechanically tied and a clutch pack is used to connect or disconnect the rear axle from the transmission. Unlike many of the systems however, the 2014 Cherokee can fully lock the center coupling and Jeep tossed in an electronic locking rear differential.

I’ll close by posing a question: If my 2001 GMC Envoy (GMT360 SUV) with its two-speed transfer case and locking center differential can be considered a 4WD/4×4 vehicle. What is the Cherokee? AWD or 4WD? With 4-Low range and a locking rear differential it meets all the traditional requirements, but under the hood you’ll find a four-cylinder or V6 engine sitting sideways. This author’s humble opinion is that the name doesn’t matter if the vehicle does what you expect of it. That Cherokee? We’ll have to wait and see but I suspect it will be as capable as a Grand Cherokee mostly thanks to a substantially lighter curb weight.

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Dodge Colt Vista 4WD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/junkyard-find-1991-dodge-colt-vista-4wd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/junkyard-find-1991-dodge-colt-vista-4wd/#comments Wed, 24 Apr 2013 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=486040 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 […]

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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!
The ’41 Plymouth is a bare frame with Lexus SC400 subframes mocked up on it at the moment, and I’ve decided to go with the Vortec 4200 six as its powerplant. I’ll be buying a complete donor vehicle, preferably a 2006 or newer Trailblazer/Envoy/Rainier/97-X/Ascender, but having an engine that I can strip down to a bare block for chassis-fit purposes would be a big plus. Sadly, the ’02 Trailblazer I found in the online inventory turned out to be picked completely clean of anything I might want.
With so much snow on the cars, I didn’t see many photographic opportunities. However, a Mitsubishi Chariot aka Dodge Colt Vista 4WD looks best when covered with the white stuff.
Chrysler used the Colt name for quite a few members of the Mitsubishi family over the decades, and it will always be a disappointment that they didn’t call this car the name they used for the Chariot in Europe: Space Wagon. Space Wagon!
213,000 miles isn’t too bad for a Mitsubishi of this era.
Supposedly there’s a 98-horse 4G63 engine in there.

It appears that Japanese-market Chariots of this generation had some sort of weird marketing arrangement with Disney. C-H-A-R-I-O-T!

For added incomprehensibility, here’s the European Space Wagon Trance Remix.

Calling it the Colt Vista led to boring North American ads.

02 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1991 Dodge Colt Vista Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1995 Range Rover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/junkyard-find-1995-range-rover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/junkyard-find-1995-range-rover/#comments Fri, 22 Mar 2013 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=481910 Here in Colorado, retired members of the Land Rover family are lined up in large numbers in every self-service wrecking yard. Range Rovers and Discoveries were (and are) extremely popular here, most likely as a form of rebellion against the Subaru Outback-driving hordes whose maintenance expenses (even with all the blown head gaskets and nuked […]

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Here in Colorado, retired members of the Land Rover family are lined up in large numbers in every self-service wrecking yard. Range Rovers and Discoveries were (and are) extremely popular here, most likely as a form of rebellion against the Subaru Outback-driving hordes whose maintenance expenses (even with all the blown head gaskets and nuked center diffs) come to a boring 0.004% of the total per-vehicle annual cost of Range Rover ownership. I’ve been ignoring these trucks when I see them in junkyards, but today we’re going to look at a typical example, chosen at random.
The most interesting thing about these trucks, from a junkyard-scavenger perspective, is the fact that most of them have the 4.2 liter Rover V8 engine, which means that a homemade MGB-GT V8, or even— shudder— a TR7-to-TR8 conversion— is an easy, low-budget proposition. You’ll want to ditch the Lucas fuel-injection system, of course, but that sort of goes without saying.
These things are very comfortable for those willing to keep them running; this one made it to a pretty respectable 164,774 miles during its 18 years of service.
Of course, there are some Land Rovers around here that are safe from the cold steel jaws of The Crusher!

02 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1995 Range Rover Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/junkyard-find-1989-toyota-corolla-all-trac-wagon-3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/junkyard-find-1989-toyota-corolla-all-trac-wagon-3/#comments Mon, 18 Feb 2013 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=477898 I now believe that at least half the Toyota All-Tracs ever sold ended up in Colorado, based on the quantities I see in junkyards around Denver. We saw the only Camry All-Trac I’ve ever found anywhere last month, and the Corolla All-Trac wagons are well-represented by this ’89, this ’89, and now today’s ’89. Toyota […]

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I now believe that at least half the Toyota All-Tracs ever sold ended up in Colorado, based on the quantities I see in junkyards around Denver. We saw the only Camry All-Trac I’ve ever found anywhere last month, and the Corolla All-Trac wagons are well-represented by this ’89, this ’89, and now today’s ’89.
Toyota didn’t go in for crazy-futuristic dashes like so many of their 1980s Japanese competitors (unlike, for example, Subaru and Mitsubishi), but the Corolla All-Trac still got this cool center-diff control panel. Yes, back in those days you had to make decisions about car four-wheel-drive while driving.
Bondo as rust repair?
213,269 miles on the clock, which is pretty good for a 1980s car.
The Toyota 4A engine family was the real workhorse of its era, going into everything from AE86s to MR2s. This one appears to be the not-particularly-hot 4A-FE.
The interior in this one is pretty nice, but the rust is bad by Colorado standards and it just wasn’t worth keeping. Next stop, crusher!

01 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1971 International Harvester Scout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/junkyard-find-1971-international-harvester-scout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/junkyard-find-1971-international-harvester-scout/#comments Mon, 11 Feb 2013 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=477137 Because I live in Colorado, I see quite a few Scouts in wrecking yards— this ’70 and this ’73, for example— and most of the time I don’t photograph them. IHC pickups and SUVs, sure, but the Scouts just blend in like DJ-5 mail Jeeps. This ’71 had a cool custom paint job, plus I’ve […]

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Because I live in Colorado, I see quite a few Scouts in wrecking yards— this ’70 and this ’73, for example— and most of the time I don’t photograph them. IHC pickups and SUVs, sure, but the Scouts just blend in like DJ-5 mail Jeeps. This ’71 had a cool custom paint job, plus I’ve realized that all Scouts are interesting, so we’ll check it out.
It’s disappointing that you can no longer buy a new street vehicle made by a farm equipment manufacturer.
Did all Scouts get the Canadian seal of approval?
I’ve never been much interested in off-road machinery, but I must admit I’ve been tempted to buy a Scout (or a Subaru Justy 4WD) since I moved to Colorado.
01 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1971 IHC Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Subaru BRAT, Sawzall Style http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1986-subaru-brat-sawzall-style/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1986-subaru-brat-sawzall-style/#comments Wed, 16 Jan 2013 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=473945 You could buy the Subaru BRAT in the United States until the 1987 model year (though removing the Chicken Tax-loophole jump seats— which made the BRAT a passenger car, legally speaking— meant that it got a lot more expensive in 1985). Thing is, Coloradans love BRATs, which means you can’t even find a total basket-case […]

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You could buy the Subaru BRAT in the United States until the 1987 model year (though removing the Chicken Tax-loophole jump seats— which made the BRAT a passenger car, legally speaking— meant that it got a lot more expensive in 1985). Thing is, Coloradans love BRATs, which means you can’t even find a total basket-case example for cheap here. What to do? Why, take a beater 4WD Leone aka GL hatchback and apply ingenuity!
Other than the mini-pickup-bed in the back, there really isn’t much difference between the mid-80s Subaru Leone hatchback and the BRAT of the same era.
Oh, sure, nitpickers might point out that the BRAT had a rear window and associated body structure, but the problem of roof flutter at high speeds can be solved with a couple of S-hooks and an old bicycle inner tube. Bungee cords are too expensive!
There’s this weird hallucination among Subaru lovers that 80s Leones were million-mile survivors that needed zero maintenance, when in fact most of the examples of these things I see in the junkyard have less than 200,000 miles on their clocks. 80s Subarus fell somewhere between 80s Nissans (pretty good) and 80s Mitsubishis (don’t ask) on the Japanese-car reliability spectrum.
One of the dangers of the Sawzall convertible can be seen in this photograph. Safety tip: always duct-tape some pipe insulation over the sharp metal pillar edges after you make a “roadster” out of your car. Your passengers will be glad you did!
Given that it spent the final months of its life with wind-in-your-hair (and face, and everywhere else) modifications, passengers in the Sawzall Subaru probably didn’t look at this placard and curse the original buyer for cheaping out on the dealer-installed AC.
We’ll grant you that this car was about half as good as a real BRAT. But it only cost a fourth as much! WINNING!

02 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1986 Subaru Homemade BRAT - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac LE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1990-toyota-camry-all-trac-le/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1990-toyota-camry-all-trac-le/#comments Mon, 14 Jan 2013 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=473580 Here in Colorado, the self-service wrecking yards tend to be museums of four-wheel-drive cars that disappeared into obscurity a couple of decades back. When it comes to Toyota, everyone knows about the Celica All-Trac, and of course you still see the occasional mid-80s Tercel 4WD wagon. Go to a Denver junkyard, though, and you’ll see […]

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Here in Colorado, the self-service wrecking yards tend to be museums of four-wheel-drive cars that disappeared into obscurity a couple of decades back. When it comes to Toyota, everyone knows about the Celica All-Trac, and of course you still see the occasional mid-80s Tercel 4WD wagon. Go to a Denver junkyard, though, and you’ll see lots of Corolla All-Tracs. But a Camry All-Trac? We’ve all heard of them, but this may be the first four-wheel-drive Camry I’ve ever seen in person. It was fitting that I found this one during my freezing-cold Half Price Sale adventure on Saturday.
This was the generation of Camry that really established the car’s reputation as a cockroach-immortal, if stunningly boring, family sedan.
Just another 1,397 miles— Denver to San Francisco via Cheyenne and I-80, more or less— and this car would have made it to the magical 300,000-mile mark.
Because I’ve never been in a Camry All-Trac, nor has anyone I know, I can’t tell you what it’s like driving one in snow or mud.
Fortunately, at least one All-Trac driver has documented the experience for us.
01 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1990 Toyota Camry All-Trac - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1988-volkswagen-quantum-syncro-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1988-volkswagen-quantum-syncro-wagon/#comments Thu, 13 Sep 2012 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=460100 Because I have some friends who race a Quantum Syncro, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for junkyard parts sources. After several years (including two of them in a state that has more weird four-wheel-drive vehicles than any other), I’ve finally found one! Most Volkswagens, Audis, and Volkswagen-Audi mashups that you see in the junkyard […]

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Because I have some friends who race a Quantum Syncro, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for junkyard parts sources. After several years (including two of them in a state that has more weird four-wheel-drive vehicles than any other), I’ve finally found one!
Most Volkswagens, Audis, and Volkswagen-Audi mashups that you see in the junkyard show fewer than 200,000 miles on the clock. Not this car! 301,533 miles.
Judging from the bodywork and not-particularly-thrashed interior, someone loved this car enough to keep it in fairly presentable shape for decades.
The Quantum name was used for the North American-market Passat during the 1980s, and the Syncro used the drivetrain from the Audi 80 Quattro. When I called the team captain of the Chicken & Waffles 24 Hours of LeMons Quantum Syncro, he said he didn’t need any parts because the team is building a new car. That means what may be the only Quantum Syncro race car in America is being retired.
17 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Dodge Ramcharger Royal SE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1983-dodge-ramcharger-royal-se/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1983-dodge-ramcharger-royal-se/#comments Tue, 28 Aug 2012 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=458034 In the final year of the Malaise Era, truck shoppers could still get a Chrysler SUV that wasn’t trying to be a tall New Yorker. Because the echoes of the vans-and-Quaaludes ethos of the 1970s were still quite loud in 1983, this Ramcharger came equipped with groovy earth-tone stripes. The Royal SE package came with […]

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In the final year of the Malaise Era, truck shoppers could still get a Chrysler SUV that wasn’t trying to be a tall New Yorker. Because the echoes of the vans-and-Quaaludes ethos of the 1970s were still quite loud in 1983, this Ramcharger came equipped with groovy earth-tone stripes.
The Royal SE package came with all sorts of options that seem fairly primitive by 21st-century SUV standards: cigarette lighter, bucket seats, and so on. I am unable to determine whether the stripes were factory-installed or applied by a custom-minded owner with vivid memories of steamboating Acapulco Gold through a toilet-paper tube.
Power came courtesy of the same 318 or 360 engine that motivated variations of just about every rear-drive Chrysler product from the late 1960s until well into the present century.
It is a disappointment that no Royal SE Brougham Edition was ever sold.

16 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 83 Dodge Ramcharger - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Jeep J10 Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1975-jeep-j10-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1975-jeep-j10-pickup/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2012 16:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=452243 This being Colorado, I see many old Jeeps in my local self-service wrecking yards. Just about all of them are Cherokees and Wagoneers, so this four-wheel-drive pickup caught my attention earlier this week. There must be somebody looking for a rugged AMC 360 V8 for a project car or truck. Right? And a factory 4-on-the-floor […]

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This being Colorado, I see many old Jeeps in my local self-service wrecking yards. Just about all of them are Cherokees and Wagoneers, so this four-wheel-drive pickup caught my attention earlier this week.
There must be somebody looking for a rugged AMC 360 V8 for a project car or truck. Right?
And a factory 4-on-the-floor manual transmission!
The J10 name wasn’t as cool as the Gladiator name that went on big Jeep pickups until 1970, but it was less import-sounding than the J2000 name used in the early 1970s.
Here’s a fine example of industrial-grade vehicle upholstery. Sweaty, sticky vinyl.


Here’s a dealer training film for the ’73 version of this truck. Note the driver smoking a pipe while off-roading with a load of hay.

21 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1975 Jeep J10 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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