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. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:48:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 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: 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 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 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 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 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 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 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!

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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 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.

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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 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!

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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Junkyard Find: 1980 AMC Eagle Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1980-amc-eagle-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1980-amc-eagle-coupe/#comments Sat, 30 Jun 2012 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=450472 The AMC Eagle must have sold better in Colorado than in any other part of the world, because I see so many of the things in Denver junkyards that I don’t even bother photographing most of them. This ’80, however, is a hyper-Malaise two-door with vinyl top and purple-and-red tape stripes, and that makes it special.
See, purple and red stripes! After this ’79 wagon, this ’81 SX/4, this ’82 hatchback, this ’84 wagon, this ’84 wagon, and this ’85 wagon, it was time for a proper Eagle coupe in this series.
Members of the Brown Car Appreciation Society will love this interior.
It was 106 degrees in Denver when I shot this photograph, and even the valve cover looked comfier than this scalding brown vinyl.
The good old AMC 258-cubic-inch L6, the most famous version of a family of engines built from 1964 through 2006. One of the better engines to come out of Detroit, er, Kenosha.
While cars don’t rust much in Great Plains Colorado, what with the single-digit humidity, the high-altitude sun is murder on vinyl tops. Someday I’ll add a selection of Peeling Vinyl Top images to my computer desktop wallpaper collection.
Because most drivers are just confused by the choice between two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive, AMC used a center differential in the Eagle and left it stuck in four-wheel-drive at all times (later versions could be purchased with an optional selector that enabled a fuel-saving rear-wheel-drive setting). This is a four-speed car, but it has “Automatic 4.W.D.” according to this dash emblem.
Even by the tolerant standards of 1980, this was a homely-looking car. But try taking your Fairmont or Cutlass up a 45-degree grade in the mud!

The Eagle has landed… on all fours. Huh?

24 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1980 AMC Eagle Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1971-toyota-land-cruiser/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1971-toyota-land-cruiser/#comments Mon, 25 Jun 2012 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=450085 While the regular junkyard visitor might run across the occasional FJ60 Land Cruiser in a cheap self-service yard, especially here in 4WD-centric Colorado, there are some Toyota trucks you just don’t see in such junkyards. One is the 4Runner (I’ve found exactly one so far) and another is the FJ40 Land Cruiser. But wait— look what I just found!
I shot this truck in the yard’s “not ready for customers to be pickin’ parts off yet” lot a couple of months back, and I assumed that it would be sold as a unit to a Toyota-specialist yard or collector instead of getting put out among the ’93 Tercels and Daewoo Lanoses. It looked pretty rough, but still had plenty of good stuff.
By the time I found it in the yard, it had been picked over pretty well.
Still, there’s always something worth pulling if you’re restoring a much-sought-after FJ40.
Like the glovebox door, for example, or what Land Cruiser folks call “the pocket.”

Holds seven in foam-seat comfort!

24 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1991 Subaru XT6 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1991-subaru-xt6/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1991-subaru-xt6/#comments Wed, 06 Jun 2012 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=447541 As I’ve mentioned before, Colorado junkyards are full of Subarus of the late 1970s through the early 1990s. Mostly I’m sort of indifferent to Subarus of this era, with two important exceptions: the BRAT and the XT. Both are fairly rare (the last time I saw a junked XT was last year, when I found this Juggalo-abused ’91), so I came to a screeching halt when I found this XT6.
Someday I will own an XT, though I’m torn between the pseudo-powerful XT6 and the digital instrument cluster of the XT Turbo. Such science-fiction optimism and goofy lines!
The era of loony-looking steering wheels like this ended when airbags became mandatory equipment. In ’91, manufacturers could substitute those maddening automatic seat belts for airbags.
These cars were supposed to have aircraft-influenced styling, which was the reason for the Ki-61-esque shift lever.
Remember analog EQs on car stereos?
Using “H” to designate a boxer engine just never seems right. Maybe call this one an ɛɜ6?

19 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 01 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 02 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 03 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 04 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 05 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 06 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 07 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 08 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 09 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 10 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 11 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 12 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 13 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 14 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 15 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 16 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 17 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden 18 - 1991 Subaru XT6 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find, Denver Style: So Many Old Subarus! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-denver-style-so-many-old-subarus/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-denver-style-so-many-old-subarus/#comments Tue, 22 May 2012 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=445493 Every time I do a Junkyard Find with a Subaru (for example, the ’79 BRAT we saw yesterday), I mention the large numbers of other old Subarus to be found in the same yard. How many? Well, at the Denver U-Pull-&-Pay (where I found the BRAT), I decided to walk through the entire Imports section and get a photograph of every Subaru from the early 1990s or earlier.
Colorado is the most Subaru-centric place I’ve ever seen, by a big margin. Hell, even I have an Outback in my personal fleet, and I’ve never for a moment believed in the myth of Subaru reliability. With so many Subies on the street, it stands to reason that you’ll find tons of them awaiting digestion by The Crusher.
So, in addition to the BRAT and a certain early-90s Subaru that I’m saving for a later post, the count of two-decade-or-older Subarus at this yard stands at nine (though a couple of these Leones might have sneaked in from mid-90s territory, they’re based on the late-80s version).
This means that cheapskate owners of elderly Subarus are in good shape when they go parts shopping, with better selection of components than even the embarrassment-of-riches 1980s Tercels and Civics.

09 - Subaru Graveyard in Colorado - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - Subaru Graveyard in Colorado - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - Subaru Graveyard in Colorado - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - Subaru Graveyard in Colorado - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - Subaru Graveyard in Colorado - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - Subaru Graveyard in Colorado - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - Subaru Graveyard in Colorado - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - Subaru Graveyard in Colorado - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - Subaru Graveyard in Colorado - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - Subaru Graveyard in Colorado - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1979 Subaru BRAT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1979-subaru-brat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1979-subaru-brat/#comments Mon, 21 May 2012 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=445323 I find many old Subarus in Colorado wrecking yards. So many, in fact, that I don’t bother to photograph most of them. Usually, it takes an XT or a third-eye-equipped Leone to get my attention. However, a BRAT, no matter how trashed, is a very rare Junkyard Find, and I reach for the camera right away.
The BRAT has a fanatical following, which means that most examples are worth more than scrap value. This ’79 is pretty terrible indeed, which means that even the most devoted BRAT worshipers took one look and passed.
67 not-so-screaming horsepower lived under the ’79 BRAT’s hood. This was considered perfectly adequate for a small pickup during the Malaise Era.
But wait— this is no pickup! In order to circumvent Lyndon Johnson’s Chicken Tax, Subaru threw a couple of seats in the back, using these brackets, and carpeted the bed. That transformed the BRAT into a passenger car! Hardly anybody kept those stunningly dangerous jump seats in place, so you seldom see them today.
You can tell a truly hopeless junkyard vehicle when you see the mark from an engine being stored atop the hood for years prior to getting scrapped. I’ll bet there was a bullet-riddled water heater carcass nearby.

19 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-tercel-4wd-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-tercel-4wd-wagon/#comments Wed, 07 Mar 2012 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432320 Here’s a car that you still see frequently in Colorado, both on the street and in the junkyard. You see Tercel 4WD wagons on the street here because they’re cheap, sensible winter cars and they tend to keep grinding out the hundreds of thousands of miles in their Tercelian slow-motion fashion… and you see them in the junkyard because they’re not worth enough to fix when something major finally fails.
I’ve had a few of these things (as well as a few examples of the front-wheel-drive version) and I must say that the 1983-86 Tercel wagon is one of my favorite Toyotas of all time. It’s underpowered, funny-looking, and handles like a Fordson tractor, but it’s endearingly funky, can fit absurd quantities of cargo for its size, and is harder to kill than a wizened, street-smart sewer rat (disclaimer: all my Tercels were in California, where they don’t rust).
The reason that Subaru blew the four-wheel-drive-car competition off the face of the planet, starting a bit later in the 1980s, can be seen here. Look how confusing these instructions are! It’s like a truck or something— why can’t you just be in four-wheel-drive all the time?
Tercel 4WD owners that did leave their cars in four-wheel-drive all the time on dry pavement— as many did— soon discovered that they were chewing up tires and/or wearing out their differentials. No, they didn’t bother to read the owner’s manual.
How much power? Let’s just say horsepower in the double digits and leave it at that.
We need more interiors like this today! Toyota seems to have borrowed the fabric pattern from an early-60s IHC Travelall.

27 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 16 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 17 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 18 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 19 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 20 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 21 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 22 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 23 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 24 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 25 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 26 - Junked 1983 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon - Pictures courtesy of Philliip 'Murilee Martin' Greden tercelawd Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Review: 2012 Infiniti QX56 Take Two http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/review-2012-infiniti-qx56-take-two/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/review-2012-infiniti-qx56-take-two/#comments Mon, 16 Jan 2012 21:58:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=425908 If you thought high gas prices and a questionable economy meant the era of big SUVs was over, you’d be wrong; 2011 saw large SUV sales in the US grow 3.7% with a 7.4% growth in the luxury SUV segment. If you are one of those people with six-figure salaries and snow-filled school runs, the Cadillac Escalade is probably on your short list. But what about the person who isn’t ready to look “gangsta” while dropping Jimmy Jr. off at softball practice? Infiniti might just have the answer: the all-new, all-enormous QX56. Michael Karesh snagged a QX56 from a dealer back in March 2011, and in December Infiniti tossed me the keys to a 7-seat QX to see what the behemoth is like to live with for a week.

The luxury SUV formula is simple (and almost universally applied); take a mass-market SUV, add bling, softer leather, and wood trim (real or fake, take your pick). The Cadillac Escalade is the best known example. The Caddy borrows so heavily from the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon that it’s hard to tell them apart unless you’re looking at them head-on.  Toyota/Lexus uses the same formula to make the LX570 out of the Toyota Land Cruiser.  If this doesn’t appeal to you, Nissan/Infiniti may have been listening. While Infiniti’s last generation QX was a tarted up Nissan Armada, this time around the QX is a re-badged Nissan Patrol. Same story different names you say? Not quite, the Patrol has never been sold in America, and in all likelihood never will be. You see, the Patrol is not some budget Nissan, it’s Nissan’s flagship SUV in markets where Infiniti doesn’t exist. This sounds strange to the average American buyer, however it is perfectly normal (in many markets) for a single brand to compete in the budget-compact market and the full-size luxury niche at the same time.

Outside, the QX looks big. Really big. Infiniti attempted to put the QX on a visual diet by adding the Infiniti signature grille and “bubbly” hood treatment. The nip/tuck works to some extent and made me believe the QX56 is smaller than the competition, until I parked between an Escalade and GL550. At over 208-inches long and 80-inches wide, the QX56 is 6-inches longer and more than an inch wider than the Escalade (if want an SUV that rivals river-barges, Cadillac’s Escalade ESV is 229-inchs long). The QX is so large that while on the freeway I came too close to a pair of Smart Fortwos and accidentally pulled them into orbit. While I find the quarter-panel “portholes” an awkward styling job, the rest of the slab-sided QX is more attractive in my mind than the sedate LX570, the angular GL or the Escalade.

The super-size theme continues inside with wide, flat-bottomed front seats, a large center console between the front and second row seats (in the 7-seat QX) and large expanses of real wood trim. Anyone who owns or has driven a late model year Infiniti will feel immediately at home inside the QX as Infinit’s interior design department still chants the “same sausage, different sizes” mantra, and I’m OK with that. Parts quality inside the QX is extremely high with all the major touch points lacking the plastic feel the Cadillac is burdened with. Still, budgets are a way of life and back in 2010 when I reviewed the redesigned M56, I loved the “knurled” rings around the speedo and tach, the QX borrows the style but not the 3-D plastic bits opting instead for a painted-on faux knurl. Other than the painted gauge bling, the QX’s cabin is  easily on par with Mercedes’ GL and Lexus’s LX.

Under the QX’s bulbous hood beats but one engine option: the lightly re-worked 5.6-liter direct-injection V8 VK56VD. While the V8 is shared with the M56 sedan, exhaust differences reduce the output by 20HP and 4lb-ft to 400HP at 5,850RPM and 413lb-ft at 4,000RPM. Despite the downgrade in twist, the new engine is more powerful than all of the competition except the Escalade’s 403-horsepower, 417lb-ft 6.2-liter pushrod V8. Despite being down on displacement versus the Caddy, Infiniti’s direct-injection and variable valve timing tech help the QX’s V8 not only deliver its peak torque earlier than the Caddy’s 6.2L V8, but it doesn’t run out of breath as easily either.

As a result of the advantageous torque curve, high horsepower and a well matched 7-speed transmission, the QX56 recorded a faster 0-60 time than the 2011 Infiniti G37 convertible we tested recently. The QX boasts an 8,500lb towing capacity (slightly higher than Escalde), and in a back-to-back test with a friend’s 2011 Caddy and the same trailer, the QX felt far more composed going up steep grades with a 5,000lb trailer. The fast acceleration times and improved towing feel are largely due to the 7-speed automatic which spent less time hunting than GM’s 6-speed. Overall, the QX transmission’s shifts are fast and crisp like other Infiniti products (with rev-matched down-shifts), however the unit is programmed to be up-shift happy for fuel economy reasons. Fear not piston heads; romping the go peal will still trump the EPA. All 400 ponies are routed to the tarmac via the rear wheels or an optional all-time four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case. Sadly the terrain selection dial (ala Land Rover) from the Nissan Patrol didn’t make it into the QX.

Out on the road, the QX’s 121-inch wheelbase (5-inches longer than Escalade), independent rear suspension and standard 60-series rubber help the QX deliver a fairly compliant ride. Upgrading to the 22-inch wheel package drops the aspect ratio on the tires to 50 but improves the look of the vehicle whiel taking a slight toll on harshness over rough pavement. If handling is a priority for you, look beyond the 22-inch low profile tires and shop the   300lb lighter Mercedes-Benz GL550 or a crossover. Compared to the LX570, the QX delivers better grip than the Lexus, but slots firmly between the base Escalade and the Escalade with GM’s Magnetic Ride Control. Does any of this matter? I say no. Let’s face it – as long as a large SUV handles as well as a 1980s minivan it has succeeded in my book.

While Green Peace will never give a thumbs-up to any full-size SUV, the 5,850lb QX56 manages to win the award for the most fuel efficient “full-size non-hybrid SUV,” delivering 14 city MPG and 20 highway MPG. (The Escalde and GL450 both scrape the bottom at 13 MPG city/18 MPG highway.) During our 640-mile week with the QX56, we averaged a respectable 15.2MPGs in mixed driving and a daily commute over a 2,200ft mountain pass and our best highway mileage of 22MPG was achieved during a 48-mile run on level highway.

 

Lately Infiniti has been taking nanny state to the next level with “prevention systems” rather than just “warning systems.” As much as I may dislike systems that take control at any time (as opposed to systems that take control when you are inattentive), when you are driving a living room sized vehicle aroundm it’s probably a good idea for the nannies to kick in early. Sure, the Lexus LX has a pre-collision system and the Mercedes GL can be had with lane departure warning, but the QX takes electronic prevention to a whole new level. “Lane Departure Prevention” not only tells you when you cross the line without signalling, it will actually use the brakes to “steer” you back in your lane. Similarly, “Blind Spot Avoidance” will act (more drastically) to keep you from side-swiping that motorcycle or Smart car in your blind spot. While the Lane Departure system’s intervention is a gentle tug, the Blind Spot system is more of a shove back in your lane. I can hear HAL now: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Most luxury brands offer radar cruise control as an option, but Infinit’s packs a socialist twist: an accelerator pedal that fights back. The radar cruise control with “Intelligent Brake Assist” will brake for you [even to a complete stop] in many situations. The easiest way to describe the behavior is this: you are following a car on a surface street, the car begins to slow for a red light, if the QX56 sees that you are closing on the car in front of you it will begin pushing the accelerator pedal up at you to indicate your need to act, if you lift off the accelerator and you are close enough to the car in front, the QX will automatically apply the brakes taking you all the way to a complete stop. Once stopped the car will hold the brakes for a few seconds, then beep indicating your need to touch the brake pedal and then release it’s death grip on your stoppers. I will leave the debate over this making QX drivers depend too much on technology to our readers.

The QX56 shares its 8-inch navigation/infotainment system with the rest of the Infiniti lineup and as such provides excellent Bluetooth and iPod/iPhone integration. While the software has not been significantly improved since the former QX, it is fairly competitive with the Lexus and Cadillac systems. With an intuitive interface that combines physical buttons on the dash and steering wheel as well as a touch screen, navigating through your music device or the nav system is easy and can be done primarily via the steering wheel. While the Infiniti system allows voice control of the navigation system and Bluetooth phone dialing, it unfortunately still lacks voice command of your Apple music device ala Ford’s SYNC or Kia’s UVO. The large screen is also used by Infiniti’s “Around Monitor” system which takes images from four different cameras around the car and digitally manipulates the image to give you a bird’s eye view of your surroundings. While this feature is nifty in a mid-size luxury sedan, it’s a matter of wheel-life-or-death on large SUVs and thankfully it is standard on all QX models.

So how much does one of these babies set you back? Logically, full-size SUVs have full-size price tags and the QX56 is no exception. The 2012 Infiniti QX56 starts at $58,700 for the rear wheel drive QX and $61,800 for the four-wheel drive model. Aside from the all-wheel motivation, the $3,100 also buys the driver a windshield de-icer and a 260lb increase in curb weight. Strangely enough the 4WD system does not come standard with a reduction in fuel economy with 2WD and 4WD models scoring the same in the EPA tests (your mileage may vary of course). Our tester was a fully-loaded AWD model retailing for $75,140. Our options list included: the $2,950 “Theater Package” with dual 7-inch headrest monitors for the second row, wireless headphones, second row power-folding heated seats and a built-in 120V AC inverter; the $4,100 “Deluxe Touring Package” with heated and cooled front seats, semi-aniline leather, dynamic body roll control, climate control with air quality management, a Plasmacluster air purifier and burl wood trim; and the $3,000 “Technology Package” which includes all the safety nannies we covered earlier. While $75K sounds steep, the QX56 is actually a “bargain” in the luxo-hauler class. Similarly equipped, the Mercedes GL550 will set you back $89,818, the Cadillac Escalade Platinum  $82,035 and the Lexus X570 will ding you $89,356. It should be noted that despite the Cadillac of price tags, the Escalade lacks many of the advanced active safety features of the QX.

As much as I might like to think of myself as a mild-greenie, I have always had a strangely large place in my heart for large vehicles. You know you like ‘em big too. However politically incorrect it may be to drive a large SUV, and keeping the fact that few people really “need” a full-size SUV, the QX56 is a solid entry in this niche and 2011 sales bear this out with the QX outselling the Lexus LX570 fourfold. Indeed the QX outsells all but the Escalade, and for good reason, with a fresh new look, upscale interior and more electronic doodads than the competition for a lower price point, the QX56 should be at the top of your super-sized list.

 

Statistics
0-30: 2.161 seconds
0-60: 5.61 seconds
1/4 Mile: 14.27 seconds @ 97 MPH

Infiniti provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior Front, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior Front, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior Front 3/4, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior Front 3/4, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior Rear, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes I2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior Rear Side 3/4, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior Side, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Engine, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Engine, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior Grille, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Headlamps, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Portholes, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior, Infotainment / Nagivation Screen, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Gauges, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Gauges, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX Audio Controls, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX Cargo Area, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX Cargo Area, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX Cargo Area, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Side. Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Side. Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Side. Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Side, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX 56 Exterior, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Side. Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Side. Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Side.Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Side. Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Exterior, Side. Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Wheels, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior. Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Dashboard, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Dashboard, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Dashboard 2, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Dashboard 1, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Second Row, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Middle Row, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Third Row, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Seating - View from cargo area, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Seating, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Seating 2, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Seating, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Front Door, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior Center Stack, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior AWD Mode Selector, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior AWD Mode Selector, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Interior, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Instrument Cluster (gauges), Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Instrument Cluster (gauges), Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 Instrument Cluster (gauges), Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Infiniti QX56 All-Around-View, Photography courtesy of Alex L. Dykes infiniti_qx56_thumb ]]>
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