The Truth About Cars » amc http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 31 Oct 2014 19:42:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » amc http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1983 AMC Eagle SX/4 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1983-amc-eagle-sx4-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1983-amc-eagle-sx4-sport/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934978 Ahh, the AMC Eagle! So much car-industry history wrapped up in the Eagle, which was a highly innovative machine made during the very last gasps of American Motors (and continuing as a Chrysler product, briefly, before Chrysler killed the Eagle and kept the name for its new marque, which was then slapped on a rebadged […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1983 AMC Eagle SX/4 Sport appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

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

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

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

01 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1983 AMC Eagle Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1983 AMC Eagle SX/4 Sport appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1983-amc-eagle-sx4-sport/feed/ 39
A Son, His Father, and Mom’s Car, a 390 Cubic Inch AMX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/son-father-moms-car-390-cubic-inch-amx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/son-father-moms-car-390-cubic-inch-amx/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:54:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899474 A while back, I stumbled upon the fact that while car enthusiasts may be entertained by talk of things like independent rear suspensions, dual overhead cams, and launch control, people in general (and that set includes the subset of car enthusiasts) like to read stories about people. I think you’ll like the story of Clovis […]

The post A Son, His Father, and Mom’s Car, a 390 Cubic Inch AMX appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
IMG_0060

Full gallery here.

A while back, I stumbled upon the fact that while car enthusiasts may be entertained by talk of things like independent rear suspensions, dual overhead cams, and launch control, people in general (and that set includes the subset of car enthusiasts) like to read stories about people. I think you’ll like the story of Clovis “Mickey” Nadeau, his wife Betty and her 1968 American Motors AMX.

Full gallery here.

Full gallery here. Note: each AMX pictured in this post has a separate gallery.

Being that I’m attracted to the oddball and the unique, the regional American Motors Owners club meet held in Livonia on the Sunday immediately following the huge Woodward Dream Cruse is penciled in every year. This year because I was planning on photographing the original Boss 302 prototype at the big Mustang Memories show at Ford’s Product Development Center I didn’t have a lot of time to spend at the AMC meet. I wanted to take photos of a ’62 Rambler American convertible that I knew would be at the show, using my father’s Argus camera that he used when he himself owned a ’61 Rambler American. In addition to those photos, with my digital rig I decided to concentrate on the collection of first generation AMX cars at the show. That proved to be a fortuitous decision because I got to meet the Nadeau family and find out about Betty Nadeau’s muscle car.

While I’m a fan of most things AMC, I was a young teenager when the Javelin and AMX came out and they’ve appealed to me ever since then. Maybe it’s the non-conformist in me, but the Javelin was my favorite of the pony cars, and the shorter wheelbase, two seat AMX is the distilled essence of the Javelin’s shape. In the mid 1960s, AMC chairman Roy Chapin Jr., and president Robert Evans wanted to change the company’s image from being the staid manufacturer of Ramblers, competent and economical but not very exciting compact cars. In late 1965 AMC design head Richard A. Teague was given the assignment of coming up with four show cars that would demonstrate that the little car company that could, could indeed build exciting cars.

The most exciting of the four “Project IV” non-running “pushmobiles” was the AMX, for American Motors Experimental. It was a fastback coupe that had already been in progress in Chuck Mashigan’s advanced styling studio before AMC executives came up with the idea of putting their ideas on tour. Mashigan had a notable design career, including being the primary stylist of the Chrysler Turbine cars. A mockup of the AMX was built on the chassis of a trashed Rambler American. Besides the overall shape, familiar to us as the production AMX, the most distinctive feature of the car was the “Rambleseat” an updated version of the rumble seat. The trunk lid flipped back to reveal a third seat (the concept had a small conventional rear seat), while the rear glass flipped up to provide Rambleseat passengers with a windscreen. Teague referred to the seating arrangement as a 2 + 2 + 2.

66amc_amx_prototype_1

The response from the public to the AMX was so strong that the Vignale coachbuilding firm in Italy was hired to build a running model. Since the original AMX pushmobile and two running Vignale prototypes exist, it appears that Vignale built more than one.

I don’t know if Betty Nadeau’s 1968 AMX still exists or not. She and her husband Clovis, known as Mickey to his friends and family, were married in Ohio, where they grew up, in 1941. They moved to Detroit where Mickey found work and in 1949 moved to what then was a far suburb, Farmington, where they raised three kids including their youngest son, Mickeal. They must have done a good job because Mickeal and his wife Mary had brought his dad to the AMC meet to reminisce, which is how I happened upon them, walking a midst the AMXs. Mickey and Betty must have liked fast cars because in 1962, he bought her a baby blue Thunderbird, one of the “rocket birds”. It might have been too fast, though, because Betty found it hard to control, once doing an unintentional 360 degree spin. Also, her younger son kept borrowing it to impress the girls.

In 1968, Mickey took Betty to an AMC dealership to pick out a new car to replace the T-Bird. By then, the four-seat Javelin had been introduced, followed by more-true-to-the-concept AMX. In mid 1965, AMC had introduced a modern thin-wall “mid block” V8, originally in 290 CI displacement form. With boring and stroking, the same basic engine would eventually be stretched to 402 cubic inches (sold as the 401 to avoid branding conflicts with a Ford motor). In the AMX it had 390 cubic inches, good for 315 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Since the AMC V8 weighed less than the big block engines of similar displacement from the Big 3, AMCs could be surprisingly quick. Car and Driver measured a 0-60 mph time of 6.6 seconds.

IMG_0064

This 40,000 mile original condition survivor was formerly owned by AMC design chief Richard Teague. Full gallery here.

Clovis wanted to buy Betty a Hialeah Yellow AMX. She liked the black racing stripe but thought that with the bright yellow paint the car ended up looking like a bumble bee. I guess she wasn’t a Mopar fan. Instead she picked one out in Scarab Gold, with the requisite black racing stripes. According to her daughter in law, Mary “drove it and loved it”. Apparently it was some kind of limited edition because the family recalls there being a numbered plaque on the dashboard.

Fashions change though, so a few years later Betty wanted a new look and Mickey had the AMX painted candy apple red with a double black stripe. Betty looked great in it. She drove the AMX for 16 years, until 1984, when Mickey retired, and they sold the car. After spending a few years on the road as snow birds, though found desert living to their liking and settled in Tucson.

Betty has since passed away and Mickey was visiting his kids in the Detroit area when Mickeal and Mary decided to take him to the AMC meet to bring back some fond memories. Clovis has a very good son and daughter in law. It was very sweet of them to bring him to the car show.

I happened upon them as they were working their way down the row of stock 1968-1970 AMX cars. Mickey was pointing out to his son various features as he remembered them. As they got to the last car in the category, Mickey beamed. It was a near identical AMX to Betty’s in the same Scarab Gold with black stripes, though it was  a 1970 model, not a ’68. That color was a shade of light metallic green that was very *popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

When the owner of the AMX, Dennis Maljak, found out why the Nadeau’s were at the show, his grin was even wider than Mickey’s as he offered the older gentleman a chance to sit behind the wheel of an AMX like his wife had, once again. Mickey pointed out to the owner that the steering wheel wasn’t original. He knew because Betty always kept a $20 bill folded up and tucked behind the horn ring on her AMX’s steering wheel, just in case, for emergencies. The owner then retrieved the original steering wheel that he’s planning on restoring, from his trunk, and checked it for currency, just in case.

If you’re reading this and own a 1968 AMX that was originally painted Scarab Gold, check underneath the horn ring on your steering wheel. If there’s a twenty there, I can introduce you to the original owner who has some great stories about your (and his wife’s) car.

*I was talking to retired GM designer Jerry Brochstein and was relating the Nadeaus’ story and when I said the AMX was painted “baby shit green”, he laughed knowingly.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

AMXcolor2@1966Web221 amxclaypr 2975226216 1966amxg1 1966amxc1 1966amxa1 1966 AMC AMX Vignale Concept Car w-290HP Engine Rr Qtr BW 66amx1e 66amx1d1 66amx1a1 66amc_amx_prototype_1 projectIV_02_1500 kreig_sm dom7 dom2a c4986 amxrumble1 AMXprot1a amxpro1 amxpro4

The post A Son, His Father, and Mom’s Car, a 390 Cubic Inch AMX appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/son-father-moms-car-390-cubic-inch-amx/feed/ 23
American Motors AMX/3 – You Can Own Designer Dick Teague’s Favorite Concept Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/american-motors-amx3-you-can-own-designer-dick-teagues-favorite-concept-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/american-motors-amx3-you-can-own-designer-dick-teagues-favorite-concept-car/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 16:01:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=754337 Richard Teague is probably my favorite car designer. No disrespect intended towards the many other talented people who design cars and trucks but Teague was the original silk purse from a sow’s ear guy. He’s best remembered for heading the styling department at American Motors from 1961 to 1986, where limited development budgets forced his […]

The post American Motors AMX/3 – You Can Own Designer Dick Teague’s Favorite Concept Car appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
img_0194

Full gallery here.

Richard Teague is probably my favorite car designer. No disrespect intended towards the many other talented people who design cars and trucks but Teague was the original silk purse from a sow’s ear guy. He’s best remembered for heading the styling department at American Motors from 1961 to 1986, where limited development budgets forced his team to be creative.

 

The compact 1970 Hornet, itself based on Rambler mechanicals, ended up being the basis for a showroom full of cars. It got chopped into the subcompact Gremlin, upfitted into the slightly more upscale Concord and eventually lifted to make the Ur-crossover, the AMC Eagle 4X4 wagon. Teague was a master at recycling design ideas but keeping products distinct. The two-seat AMX concept was stretched to become the Javelin production car so the production AMX and the Javelin are obviously related but they are still easily distinguished from one another. Before coming to AMC, Dick Teague worked for GM and then Packard, where he was responsible for the last genuine Packards, the 1955 and 1956 models, which looked remarkably contemporary considering Teague was working with a body shell that dated to the early 1950s.

With the exception of the 1970s Matador coupe and the Pacer, both radical and polarizing designs, almost all of the cars designed under Teague at AMC were necessarily derivative. Even the Matador, which was based on an existing platform, and the Pacer, which was designed around the stillborn General Motors rotary engine, had constraints forced upon Teague and his team. Dick Teague did get the chance to do one clean sheet design while at AMC. It was called the AMX/3, a midengine Italian-American sports car that came within a hairsbreadth of production.

1956 Packard Caribbean

1956 Packard Caribbean

Teague considered the AMX/3 his masterpiece, the purest expression of his design philosophy and it’s fitting that his family still owns perhaps the finest example of the six cars that Giotto Bizzarrini fabricated for AMC in Italy before AMC management pulled the plug on the project.

img_0173

Following the success of Cooper in Formula One, Lotus at the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 and the Ford GT40 and similar cars in endurance racing, in the mid 1960s makers of production sports cars started to embrace the midengine layout those race cars had proven. Lamborghini introduced the Miura, in many ways the blueprint for most of the midengine cars to follow, Lotus introduced the Europa and Alejandro DeTomaso brought out the Ford powered Mangusta. The design studios at the American automakers in Detroit took notice and midengine concepts were produced at both Chevrolet and Ford. Eventually Ford would expand their relationship with DeTomaso, importing the 351 “Cleveland” V8 powered Pantera and selling it through Lincoln-Mercury dealers.

AMX/2 concept

AMX/2 concept

Teague also took notice and in 1968 he drew a two passenger fastback coupe with what he called an “airfoil” shape.  AMC group vice-president Gerald C. Meyers and chairman Roy Chapin, Jr. saw the sketch, liked it and gave their approval to making a full sized model. AMC staff designers Fred Hudson and Bob Nixon worked under Teague’s supervision to come up with a shape that looked good to people then and still has great proportions and attractive lines. They called it the AMX/2. Theoretically based around a midengine layout, the closest the AMX/2 came to reality was as a fiberglass pushmobile show car that debuted at the 1969 Chicago Auto Show. The reaction from the public and the press was very positive, with some people offering to put deposits down. The response was so good that Meyers and Chapin authorized the design and engineering of a limited production version to go on sale in the 1970-71 model year at a price of $10,000.

fiberglass

Dick Teague (3rd from left), modeler Keith Goodnough, stylist Jack Kenitz and an AMC executive (wearing the suit)

Giorgetto Giugiaro had recently opened up the Italdesign studio and the AMC executives commissioned a competition between Giugiaro and their in-house design staff headed by Teague. Joining Nixon and Teague on the design were Chuck Mashigan (who had prior worked at Ford and Chrysler, including penning the Chrysler Turbine car), Vince Geraci and Jack Kenitz. The full size clay model was shaped by Keith Goodnough and Ron Martin. Molds were pulled from the clay model and a full size fiberglass pushmobile was fabricated. Italdesign sent over their own foamcore based model. Though it’s never been seen in public, Giugiaro’s entrant has been described as typical of his designs of the day, low and angular, but AMC managers thought it looked “lumpy” compared to what became known as the AMX/3.

amx3zinn1

At first glance the AMX/3 shares a general shape with the Miura and the Pantera but it’s more angular than the Miura and has more curves than the Pantera. Some have called it “voluptuous”. Chris Bangle would likely approve of the surface detailing and panel shapes. The aggressive prow, more complex than the Pantera’s simple wedge, is backed by a hood with functional air extractors. Along the side of the car is an S shaped character line that you’ll recognize from the Matador coupe, though it works much better on the AMX/3. You can see the air cleaner of the AMC 390 CI V8 through the rear side windows and the back glass, the engine has a matte black cover with louvers, and everything wraps up in a very tidy rear end that featured something rather ahead of its day, a retractable spoiler.

It was not a very large car, just 175.6 inches in overall length and a hair under 75 inches wide, sitting on a 105.3 inch wheelbase. Tracks were substantial for the day at 60.6/61.2 inches front/rear. Overall height was just 43.5 inches, just 3.5″ taller than the Ford GT40 race car (which got the numeric part of its name from its height).

AMC’s factory in Kenosha was set up to mass produce conventional American cars, not limited production, tube framed, exotic sports cars. Though they turned down an Italian designer, AMC looked to Italy for the AMX/3’s engineering and fabrication. American car companies had been using Italian design and coachbuilding companies to make concept and limited production cars since the late 1940s. To turn Teague’s dream into a real car, AMC turned to Giotto Bizzarrini.

Before we go on with how the AMX/3 came into being, it’s appropriate to give a brief look at Giotto Bizzarrini’s background, so you have a better idea of the AMC supercar’s pedigree. The son of a wealthy landowner from Livorno, and grandson of a scientist who aided Marconi, Giotto Bizzarrini got his engineering degree from the University of Pisa in 1953, using a modified Fiat Topolino as his thesis. He was hired by Alfa Romeo, where he worked as both a test driver and as an engineer in their experimental department. According to a story, in 1957 Enzo Ferrari hired Bizzarrini because he was impressed with an engineer who could drive. Eventually moving up to chief engineer for Ferrari, his most notable accomplishment there was the 250 GTO, one of the greatest cars of all time. After a palace revolt against il Commendatore’s plans to reorganize the engineering department, Bizzarrini and four other Ferrari engineers left to form the short lived ATS, to compete in F1 and produce GT cars. That effort went belly up and Bizzarrini then worked with Count Giovanni Volpi on applying the latest aerodynamic theories to a Ferrari GTO chassis. The result is a rather famous car known as the Ferrari Breadvan, because of it’s long station wagon-like roofline and cutoff Kamm tail. He then worked with Iso Rivolta, though after a dispute with them he began building cars under his own brand name. Oh, and in between the Breadvan and the founding of Bizzarrini SpA, Giotto was engaged by one Ferruccio Lamborghini, who had had his own dispute with old man Ferrari, to design the V12 engine used in the first Lamborghini, the 350GTV. Bizzarrini’s design became the basis for every Lambo V12 made until the Murcielago went out of production in 2010.

Not a bad CV, eh?

The heart of any midengine car is the transaxle. Bizzarrini used a ZF box for the first of six prototypes he would build but the others were sourced from OTO Melara of La Spezia, Italy because it better handled the torque of the AMC 390 V8 that American Motors wanted to use. That V8 was mounted longitudinally with the transmission behind it in the tube space frame. Suspension was double wishbones and coil-overs at all four corners with dual shocks in back and sway bars front and back. Germany’s Ate supplied the vented disk brakes. Fifteen inch wheels were from Campagnolo, with 6.5″ wide fronts and significantly larger 9.5″ wide rims in back, mounted with 205mm and 225mm tires respectively. With a 3.45:1 rear end and 340 horsepower, the AMX/3 had a theoretical stop speed of 160 mph and Bizzarrini did do some high speed testing at the Nurburgring but he found that there was lift at high speed, almost getting airborne at 145. After adding a chin spoiler, at Monza the Italian engineer demonstrated to AMC executives that the AMX/3 was indeed capable of reaching the calculated top speed. He reportedly turned to the executives and asked, “Will 170 MPH be satisfactory?” Collector Walter Kirtland, who collects Iso Grifo cars and other 1960s Italian exotics, currently owns the Monza test AMX/3 and he says that Giotto Bizzarrini told him that it was the best handling car that he ever built. High praise considering he built the Ferrari 250GTO.

The stated weight target was 3,100 lbs but the finished prototypes may weigh as much as 3,500. As many off the shelf AMC components that could be used, were, so items like the steering wheel and column, air conditioning controls, assorted switches and exterior door handles will look familiar to anyone who’s driven an AMC car from that era. They may also recognize the AMC engine with its distinctive air cleaner.

Bizzarrini started fabricating the first five cars with steel bodies based on the fiberglass model and BMW was contracted to get the design ready for production. The finished AMX/3 was debuted in Rome, Italy in March of 1970.  The original plan was for the AMX/3 to be a prestige building halo car, with a $10,000 retail price, a big jump up from the $4,000 production AMX two seater it was going to replace.

Teague said later, “We were into racing at that time with Trans Am and all that, and it was really kind of a tool, but a serious one, to create an image for the company that was something other than four-door Ramblers and ‘Ma and Pa Kettle’ cars.”

Mark Donohue was then racing Javelins in Trans-Am and he liked the AMX/3. So did all the journalists who drove it. Reports from the time quote a 0-to-60 time of 5.5 seconds, and a 1/4 mile time of  13.5, credible times now, supercar times then. An unrealistic announced run of 5,000 units was scaled down to two dozen cars for 1970, with output increasing as demand called for it. However, it was not to be.

1969-amx-2-concept-car-and-1970-amx-3-6

Mark Donohue with the AMX/3

Production, according to the sources, was greenlit. Tooling was designed, suppliers for purchased parts were lined up and the car was even unveiled before the Pantera. However, the AMX/3 never made it to dealer showrooms. The UAW local in Kenosha struck AMC in late 1969 for 20 days, demanding, and getting, parity with UAW workers at the Big 3 automakers. Not only did the strike cost AMC money in lost production that it couldn’t afford to lose, it delayed the introduction of the Hornet, a critical car for AMC. The financial aftermath caused the company to cancel most special projects. Also, accounting determined that they’d have to charge at least $12,000 for the AMX/3 to make a business case for it. With the Pantera introduced at the AMX/3’s original target price of $10,000, that made the AMC sports car a no-starter.

Also, the times were changing. Teague told Muscle Cars of the ’60s and ’70s, that “…the program was done on a shoestring, and we were on the verge of entering a new era. The musclecar period was ending, and industry priorities were starting to change.” Government regulations were also becoming a factor. To stay in production the AMX/3 would have needed bigger bumpers and emissions controls including catalytic converters. There was simply no money at AMC for those developments. The program was killed. According to Hemmings, Bizzarrini had already completed five cars and had begun work on a second batch of five, when AMC shelved the AMX/3. Bizzarrini’s business partner, Salvatore Diamonte, finished a sixth car from remaining parts and supposedly cut up the remaining bodies which have not yet resurfaced.

Four of the six completed prototypes ended up in private hands while the remaining two were left exposed to Michigan winters outside of AMC’s suburban Detroit headquarters.

In 2005, Teague’s son Jeff, also an automotive designer, told Motor Trend that in 1980, “Dad got tired of seeing those two cars–one silver, one silver blue–rotting away outside the AMC offices and asked company CEO Jerry Myers what could be done.” Old concept cars were worth nothing back then and Myers suggested that they would be crushed. “No way my father would let that happen, so Myers asked Dad if he wanted to buy them. He did, of course, even though they’d deteriorated over the previous decade. We also got hold of a couple dozen unused transaxles.”

Teague restored both cars. He was a big fan of primary colors, so during their restorations the silver car was painted yellow and the blue car was painted red. The AMC VP of styling sold the yellow AMX/3 during the 1980s, but he kept the red one, his favorite of the six, until the end of his life.

All six AMX/3 cars that were made still exist. Four of them have been restored. Dick Teague’s personal red AMX/3, considered the best of the six, remains in the possession of his family, a treasured heirloom if there ever was one. It’s been on display at a couple of museums including the Petersen and last year the Teague’s had it at the Chicago Auto Show where these photos were taken. Some of the other restored cars have been shown at concours level shows, so it’s not as though the AMX/3 is unknown, but I’m a bit of an AMC buff, I’ve known about the AMX/3 for a while and it was a big treat to be able to see one in person at the Chicago show.

If you’d like to own an AMX/3, you’re in luck. To begin with, Walter Kirtland is selling one of the original six cars, the same vehicle that Giotto Bizzarrini drove at 160+ mph at Monza. He put it on sale last fall for $895,000, later lowering the price to $795K. I spoke to him while preparing this post and the car is still for sale. Kirtland told me that he’s gotten a couple of serious offers, but he said but for less than the current asking price, he’d rather keep it. Besides the fact that the AMX/3 is one of my favorite cars, I think the asking price is fair. To begin with, not many high profile, fully engineered and running concept cars come to market in the first place and while there are enough for guys like Joe Bortz and Steve Juliano to have amassed specialized collections of just concept and show cars, the number of AMC concepts out there has to be very small. The last time one of the six AMX/3s was sold was 17 years ago. So Kirtland’s AMX/3 is a rare thing. While AMC cars are usually an inexpensive way to get into the car collecting hobby, there are some very serious AMC enthusiasts who can afford a near seven figure car. Add in the provenance of Giotto Bizzarrini and Richard Teague and I won’t be surprised if someone eventually meets Kirtland’s price. It would certainly be on my lottery list.

Walter Kirtland's AMX/3, which Giotto Bizzarrini test at 160+ mph, is for sale for $795,000

Walter Kirtland’s AMX/3, which Giotto Bizzarrini tested at 160+ mph, is for sale for $795,000

If  seven hundred and ninety five thousand dollars is a bit steep for you, there’s another way that you can own an AMX/3, though it’s going to involve some work. In one of those great stories, someone in 2007 saw a local classified ad and posted it in an AMC enthusiast’s forum. Tom Dulaney saw the post, realized what the car was, called and bought what he determined to be the original fiberglass pushmobile AMX/3. The pushmobile is probably the purest expression of Teague’s design, since Bizzarrini made some slight changes. Rather than retell the story about how it surfaced, I’ll let Dulaney, who has a site devoted to the AMX/3, tell it in his own words:

On Monday, April 9th 2007 in the evening I was reading the For Sale section on an amc forum website and saw a post by “AmcKidd” that read as follows.

AMX-3 !! not mine
Apr 9th, 2007, 11:39am
just looking through local rag paper, i dont do extreme Collector cars, so someone will get a DEAL if its what its advertised as !!!

1970 AMX-III-mid engine proto-type, Roller needs restored, worth 225000. when finished, as- is 22,000.00 Kelsey-hayes 20 spoke, original tires, OTO molero 4 speed transmission, Complete history, photos, & ads- Phone or Number (???? exactly as posted)
Cmon deep pockets, jump on THIS one !! LOL
Even though it had been several hours after the posting first appeared when I read it, I called the number and the line was busy, the line was busy for the next 30 minutes, but eventually Mr. Jim Jensen answered the phone and the conversation went something like this.

Jensen “Hello”.
Dulaney “Hello, I am calling about the car for sale, I know you have probably been getting a lot of calls.”
Jensen “Yea, you probably heard the busy signal.”
Dulaney “Yes Sir, I did, has the car sold yet?”
Jensen “I was talking to a guy for quite a while and he wants me to send him some pictures of the car.”
Dulaney “I have an idea, you don’t have to send pictures. I live in San Diego and I have a car trailer. I am going to take a quick shower and get in my car and drive up there right away. I will buy your car and we can put it on the trailer.”
Jensen “Well, I am not going to come down in price, I will no accept a penny less than $22,000.”
Dulaney “I would not dream of trying to negotiate with you, I will pay your full price, I bank at Union Bank of California”.
Jensen “Well the first person to show up with the money can have the car”.
Dulaney “ I will be driving up tonight and I will be there tomorrow around noon.”
Jensen “Well if you are the first one to show up, you can have it”.
Dulaney “I’ll take it, I am on my way”.
I drove straight up 600 miles and arrived a little after noon.
Jensen “My son put some pictures up on the forum. I have been getting a lot of calls and my Grandson says there a lot of e-mails about the car. Some folks have been offering considerably more for the car. But I told you that you could have it for $22,000 and here you are, so I will keep my word. Would you like to see the car?”
Dulaney “No Sir, I would like to go to the bank and get you your money”.

After our transaction at the bank and lunch, he showed me the car and parts he had and we loaded the car up. As I looked in the rear view mirror on the drive home, I felt as if I was being followed by a museum piece in primer, thanks Jim.

Since then, Dulaney has had a female mold made from the pushmobile and has made a small number of fiberglass replica bodies that he hopes to sell.

repo3

American Motors always seemed to punch above its weight, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that AMC tried to make a credible midengine sports car, or that the one it tried to make got as close to production as it did. In the case of gthe AMX/3, though, their reach exceeded their grasp. Still, it was a noble effort and the fact that all six of the cars that were built are all at least preserved is one indication that these are special cars, valued by informed enthusiasts.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

1969_AMC_AMX_2_Concept_05 69amc_amx-2_5 repo3 fiberglass AMX-II Amx_2 img_0193 img_0191 img_0190a img_0189 img_0188 img_0187 img_0186 img_0185 img_0180a img_0178 img_0177 img_0176 img_0174 img_0173 img_0202 img_0201 img_0199 img_0197 img_0194 amx3zjfixed amx3zinn2 amx3zinn1 amx3zifixed 1969-amx-2-concept-car-and-1970-amx-3-6 1969-amx-2-concept-car-and-1970-amx-3-2

The post American Motors AMX/3 – You Can Own Designer Dick Teague’s Favorite Concept Car appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/american-motors-amx3-you-can-own-designer-dick-teagues-favorite-concept-car/feed/ 27
Junkyard Find: 1974 AM General FJ-8A Ice Cream Truck http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1974-am-general-fj-8a-ice-cream-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1974-am-general-fj-8a-ice-cream-truck/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=706234 We see quite a few AM General DJ-5 mail Jeeps in this series, but what about all the big FJ-series mail trucks built by AMC with help from its Overland-Willys-Kaiser ancestry? For that, I had to venture to Southern California. Most of those 1970s FJ-8s seem to have become more or less sketchy ice cream […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1974 AM General FJ-8A Ice Cream Truck appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
21 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWe see quite a few AM General DJ-5 mail Jeeps in this series, but what about all the big FJ-series mail trucks built by AMC with help from its Overland-Willys-Kaiser ancestry? For that, I had to venture to Southern California. Most of those 1970s FJ-8s seem to have become more or less sketchy ice cream trucks, and it’s hard to find a creepier Junkyard Find than a dead ice cream truck.
BoogieManIceCream-1280px-4The ice cream trucks that aren’t in the junkyard yet can also be pretty scary. Here’s the “Boogie Man Ice Cream” truck, which I spotted on San Leandro Street in East Oakland a few years back. For the full effect, you’ll need to download some authentic ice cream truck music files.
18 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s hard to beat this seat for simplicity.
05 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinJust a big steel box with an engine, a seat… and ptomaine.
14 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m sure this truck distributed many a stale Choco Taco in its day.
11 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe newest Long Beach food-vendor license seems to be 2005.
02 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAm I looking at this wrong, or is this AMC six installed backwards?

01 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1974 AM General FJ-8A Ice Cream Truck appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1974-am-general-fj-8a-ice-cream-truck/feed/ 40
Junkyard Find: 1985 Renault Encore http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1985-renault-encore/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1985-renault-encore/#comments Mon, 11 Nov 2013 14:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=646930 While the US government decided Chrysler was too big to fail and bailed out the company with loan guarantees in 1979, American Motors was judged just the right size to fail and had to get bailed out by the French government. This led right to the weird history of the Renault Alliance, which included a […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1985 Renault Encore appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
12 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhile the US government decided Chrysler was too big to fail and bailed out the company with loan guarantees in 1979, American Motors was judged just the right size to fail and had to get bailed out by the French government. This led right to the weird history of the Renault Alliance, which included a Wisconsin-ized Renault 11 hatchback called the Encore. The Encore wasn’t a huge seller in North America and the car tended to deteriorate quickly under American conditions, so today’s Junkyard Find is a rare one.

Can you see yourself in, or maybe as an Encore?

Driverless, stretchy Encores bend lysergically about the nation’s mountain roads!
13 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car spent at least part of its life being towed behind a giant RV.
05 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s no telling how many of these miles took place under the Encore’s own power.
02 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin23-channel CBs had been obsolete for quite a few years before this car was built, so this Surveyor rig was an antique even in 1985.
08 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJanuary 10, 1985 was a fine day in Kenosha.
03 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinKenosha or not, this HVAC control panel has a suspiciously foreign look about it.

03 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1985 Renault Encore Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1985 Renault Encore appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1985-renault-encore/feed/ 74
Junkyard Find: 1971 AM General DJ-5B Mail Jeep http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1971-am-general-dj-5b-mail-jeep/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1971-am-general-dj-5b-mail-jeep/#comments Fri, 16 Aug 2013 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=499578 Some say the huge US Postal Service contract to buy Jeep DJs saved AMC (well, postponed AMC’s final downward spiral by a decade or so), and everyone will agree that vast quantities of USPS-surplus Mail Jeeps gave cheapskate Americans low-cost steel boxes to drive for the last few decades. These things must have been extremely […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1971 AM General DJ-5B Mail Jeep appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
12 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSome say the huge US Postal Service contract to buy Jeep DJs saved AMC (well, postponed AMC’s final downward spiral by a decade or so), and everyone will agree that vast quantities of USPS-surplus Mail Jeeps gave cheapskate Americans low-cost steel boxes to drive for the last few decades. These things must have been extremely popular in Colorado, because I see them all the time in Denver-area wrecking yards; in this series, we’ve had this Chevy-powered ’68, this Audi-powered ’79, this AMC six-powered ’72, this GM Iron Duke-powered ’82, and now today’s AMC-powered ’71.
07 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere wasn’t much to go wrong with these things, which were rear-wheel-drive automatics with right-hand drive and enough bodywork to keep most of the rain off the mail.
01 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDid AM General use Dymo embossing label-makers for DJ-5 controls? Just about every one I’ve seen has these.
08 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe good old 232-cubic-inch AMC L6 got the job done.

01 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1971 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1971 AM General DJ-5B Mail Jeep appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1971-am-general-dj-5b-mail-jeep/feed/ 35
Junkyard Find: 1979 AMC Spirit DL http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1979-amc-spirit-dl/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1979-amc-spirit-dl/#comments Tue, 06 Aug 2013 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=498384 The AMC Spirit-based ’82 Eagle SX/4 Junkyard Find that we admired last week was an interesting car, but it was pretty well picked over and started its junkyard career as a basket case. In the very same Denver junkyard, however, sits this much nicer and more complete ’79 Spirit DL. It was so nice, in […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1979 AMC Spirit DL appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
24 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe AMC Spirit-based ’82 Eagle SX/4 Junkyard Find that we admired last week was an interesting car, but it was pretty well picked over and started its junkyard career as a basket case. In the very same Denver junkyard, however, sits this much nicer and more complete ’79 Spirit DL. It was so nice, in fact, that I had to buy some parts from it!
19 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI needed a headlight dimmer switch for my ’66 Dodge A100 van, and so many vehicles of the 1959-1984 period used the same switch that I was able to get one for my van from this ’79 Spirit. It works perfectly.
02 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m not quite the AMC expert I ought to be, but I can tell that this Spirit came with plenty of options. Check out this sporty steering wheel, for example.
03 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car had the fairly rare Rally Pak gauge panel— complete with Malaise-fuel-price-friendly vacuum gauge— on the center console, and I just had to buy it. Maybe I’ll put it in my van, maybe I’ll sell it on eBay, or maybe I’ll just admire it next to my collection of 80s Japanese digital instrument clusters. For 15 bucks, I couldn’t say no.
14 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy late 1970s standards, the 258-cubic-inch L6 offered plenty of power.
05 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinTan pleather buckets, floor-shift automatic, gauges, probably an 8-track player for your Gary Wright tapes, torquey engine… what’s not to like about this fine Wisconsin machine?
23 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe owner’s manual is still inside.
17 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOK, so it wasn’t the best-looking car on the road in 1979, but at least it was prettier than the astonishingly hideous Datsun F10.

If forced to choose between a Spirit and a Chevette… well, that’s no choice at all. Spirit all the way!

Let the spirit move you!

And the Spirit was immune to rust, according to this ad.

In Mexico, where the Spirit was sold as the VAM Rally, the ads were más macho than what we got north of the border.

The VAM Rally AMX American GT came with the Rally Pak gauges and an overwhelmingly bordellic red interior.

01 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1979 AMC Spirit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1979 AMC Spirit DL appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1979-amc-spirit-dl/feed/ 29
Junkyard Find: 1982 AMC Eagle SX/4 Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1982-amc-eagle-sx4-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1982-amc-eagle-sx4-sport/#comments Sat, 03 Aug 2013 13:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=497975 The AMC Eagle may have disappeared from public consciousness decades ago outside of Colorado, but Eagles are still all over the place in the Mile High City. I can think of a couple of daily-driven Eagle survivors within several blocks of my house (not to mention several VW Vanagon Syncros, but that’s another story), and […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1982 AMC Eagle SX/4 Sport appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
08 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe AMC Eagle may have disappeared from public consciousness decades ago outside of Colorado, but Eagles are still all over the place in the Mile High City. I can think of a couple of daily-driven Eagle survivors within several blocks of my house (not to mention several VW Vanagon Syncros, but that’s another story), and fallen Eagles show up in Denver-area self-service wrecking yards with great regularity. In this series, we’ve seen this ’79 wagon, this ’80 coupe, this ’82 hatchback, this ’84 wagon, this ’84 wagon, and this ’85 wagon. As for the very rare AMC Spirit-based Eagle SX/4, we’ve seen just this Iron Duke-powered ’81 prior to today’s find.
11 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA two-door, quasi-sporty car with four-wheel-drive… put out by a company that, by 1982, was obviously doomed. Still, some SX/4s were sold.
02 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith the good old bulletproof AMC 258 straight six, this car had all the torque it needed to unstick itself from mud and snow. Fuel economy wasn’t so great, but gas prices dropped quickly as the mid-1980s approached.
01 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinChrysler stuck with the AMC six well into our current century, but axed the Eagle just a year after its 1987 takeover of American Motors. Confusingly, Chrysler made the Eagle name into a separate marque.

Did this car really get 32 highway MPG? Maybe at 47 MPH, downhill!

01 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1982 AMC Eagle SX4 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1982 AMC Eagle SX/4 Sport appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/junkyard-find-1982-amc-eagle-sx4-sport/feed/ 39
Vellum Venom: 2012 Honda Crosstour http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/vellum-venom-2012-honda-crosstour/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/vellum-venom-2012-honda-crosstour/#comments Tue, 30 Jul 2013 12:42:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=497250 Here are a few books I consider required reading for Transportation Design students: The Reckoning, Rude Awakening, All Corvettes are Red and Car: A Drama of the American Workplace.  These show what it takes to make a car…to make a designer’s work come to fruition. Sadly, during my (short) time at the College for Creative […]

The post Vellum Venom: 2012 Honda Crosstour appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
title

Here are a few books I consider required reading for Transportation Design students: The Reckoning, Rude Awakening, All Corvettes are Red and Car: A Drama of the American Workplace.  These show what it takes to make a car…to make a designer’s work come to fruition.

Sadly, during my (short) time at the College for Creative Studies, we focused on creativity at all costs: pay no attention to the business behind the curtain.  So while the Honda Crosstour is a curious stylistic exercise, does this dog hunt in the real world?

 

1

First, let’s just be surprised (impressed?) this design made production.  The Crosstour’s XXL-sized grin proves something in the land of bloated CUVs, perhaps giving the impression there’s a big rig Cummins Turbo diesel behind it? This grille needs a good head shrinker, so to speak.

 

2

While the grille’s 2013 redesign (scroll to the end) helps tremendously, this frame’s massive size combined with its dull gray plastic frame doesn’t impress.  To the 2012’s credit, the wraparound grille’s teeth add visual excitement not available with the 2013’s thick, wholly generic chrome rim.

The hard angles and modest chrome trim catches the eye, though a body color paint job in lieu of the gray plastic is price appropriate.

 

2_5

One of my more favorite angles: the hood sports sweeping and fluid creases, in the proud Detroit tradition of long noses for overt style and swagger.  Unlike every other CUV, the Crosstour has some Vista Cruiser DNA. Not enough wretched excess, but the proportions and general attitude are the closest we’ve seen in a long while to yesteryear’s Olds wagon.

3

Aside from the appealing wedge at the bumper’s base, this nose is way over-styled. Note the headlight’s uncomfortable transition from the pleasantly proportioned yellow reflector to that massive center signal light with oversized black plastic frame: necessary to integrate the bloated grille into the bumper’s demure-ish form. Honda designer’s did a reasonable job cramming 10lbs of shit into a 5lb bag, indeed.

Then clock the fog light: the negative area (in the paint) at the leading edge of the fog light assembly needs to disappear to reduce the bumper clutter.

3_5

That said, the over styled negative area is trick when zooming in. Except for the fake slots in the black plastic: a smarter-textured alternative wouldn’t cost much more! Hell, make it out of  fake carbon fiber instead of this Band-Aid look.

4

The bumper’s strong lower wedge is also present from here.  The lower grille’s texture is simple, logical, and remarkably well proportioned…unlike so many elements on the Crosstour.

5

Shades of the Accord: the Crosstour’s headlights, fender flares and the fender/door’s swage line harken back to the last-gen Accord.  It’s all good, because the Crosstour is a station wagon at heart.  Aside from the suspension lift kit, clearly seen here by the big wheels and poseur-tall ride height.

But just wait…the lifted station wagon theme gets worse as we go further back.

6The chamfered edge of this flare is unique, and worthy of possible implementation elsewhere in automobilia.  The only problem? It tends to fight other elements presented on the Crosstour’s body.

7

Like the rim of the 1999-ish Chevrolet Silverado (and countless other GM products from this era) these fake wheel holes don’t evoke extra strength, performance or curb appeal. They merely look cheap. Either you add a hole at the bottom of this space or you fill it in. No excuses.

 8

The Crosstour’s cowl is tidy enough, except that it’s not: the A-pillar’s bulk(?) requires a plastic filler panel for the fender to meet with the base of the windshield. A poor implementation, perhaps stemming from the Accord cowl’s inadequacies for CUV duty?

9But wait…did this just happen?  NO DLO FAIL?  The A-pillar, fender and door are so happy together?  ZOMG SON THE CROSSTOUR IS TEH BOMB!

9_1Another shot of the Accord-esque swageline.  Unlike most swagelines that start small but grow upwards, the Crosstour’s goes down as it enters the front door.  While not hideous, it’s certainly bizarre…you’ll see why in the next shot.

10
Combine the odd swage line with the fake slots (nestled in a negative area in the rocker panel) and there’s a lack of correlation. The design gets undefined, busy and generally messy.  That bolt-on mudflap could keep more dirty lines from entering the equation, but the Crosstour’s undersized affairs don’t match the fender flare’s prodigious width, nor do they hide that line separating the fender and the rocker panel.

Visualize the alternative: reduce the fender flare’s width, fatten the mud flap and make the swage line “bend” at the deepest part of the negative area (i.e. the top row of slots) and bingo: a cleaner implementation.

11

Speaking of, make the fake slots go away!  Banish them to the land of silver painted interior trim and faux fender vents! And, by the way, thank you for not putting fender vents on this beast. 

Unlike the Pontiac Aztek’s profile, the Crosstour isn’t wholly hideous.  There’s a bit of five-door hatch, a smidgen of AMC Eagle wagon, and the sky high beltline of a modern vehicle. Which definitely makes the Crosstour something unique, if not outstanding.

While this Evox image is too perfectly manicured, the Crosstour’s front-to-back flow works well.  There’s a smart up kick around the rear door handle, a tough shoulder line (that shadow) above the taillight, a fast D-pillar, and a strong static line at the base of the doors that elengantly merges with the rear wheel’s arch. It all flows nicely without being too bubbly or too square.

And no DLO fail to speak of. Woot!

13

Not so pretty in the flesh, eh?  First, the matte black C-pillar needs to be shinier to go with the chrome trimming. Second, the door cut line crashes through the fender flare, instead of following/dancing with that arch. More to the point, integrate the door cut line into the lowest point of the fender flare’s negative area. Sure, this exposes more rocker paneling, but draping door sheetmetal over everything looks decidedly…cheap.

Lastly, the swage line (what’s left of it) slams through the door handle’s negative area instead of flowing over: not elegant.

13_5

In case you missed it, here’s how the swage line intersects with the door handle’s negative area.  The line should be further north to avoid this mess. And while you don’t see the BIG problem yet, the body’s increasing height and bulk is becoming a problem.

 

15

That’s not to say the rear isn’t without charm: the fast D-pillar, tapered greenhouse (i.e. gets slightly smaller past the rear door) and slight tumblehome looks elegant and somewhat muscular. No other CUV can pull this off…hell, even the Porsche Panamera looks flabbier from this angle.

14

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for…drum roll please…the moment when the Crosstour goes from quirky and interesting to just plain offensive.

Because of the increasing height, the hatchback needs glass between the taillights and below the integral spoiler. (to improve visibility?) While that spoiler adds excitement, highlighting the acres of glass with a bubble dome hatchback like the Fox Body Mercury Capri woulda been so much sweeter.

Well, not sweet enough.  The Crosstour’s rounded bottom tries too hard to be a sporty 5-door hatchback. At this (ahem) elevation, that dog won’t hunt.  Instead of soaring upwards (at the side windows) the body’s belt line should remain static, emulating the height of the front door.  Combine that with a flatter/boxier butt (keeping the bubble dome hatchback idea) and there’d be a quirky cool version of the AMC Eagle instead.

18_1

The glass has interesting touches, like the floating Honda emblem. The defroster/defogger lines delightfully contour around said emblem and the integral washer nozzle at the top (not pictured, my bad) are also a minimalist’s treat.  In a world of afterthought CUV emblems, oversized and haphazardly slapped on a tailgate’s limited real estate, the Crosstour did a good job right here.

 

22_trucktrendcom

Too bad the wiper arm can’t hide under that spoiler!  While the Crosstour’s strong haunches (above the taillights) and tumblehome are both sporty and elegant, everything goes horribly wrong south of the license plate. No more tall buffalo butts, please!

   19
While the taillights start at the “end point” of the spoiler, they aren’t flush with the hatchback.  The lense’s silver insert has no logical reason for its location: moving lower, where the hatch bends at the base of the glass would help integrate the form and reduce unnecessary “lines” on the body. (i.e. start the silver where that indoor light’s hard reflection is on the hatchback.)

20

What a mess! These hard lines make no sense with the upper half’s round glass and muscular haunches in the quarter panels. They are too harsh for too “long” of a form on this body.  Unrefined!

Either the northern hemisphere needs some hard bends or this area needs softening up.  Much like how the rear doors blanket over the natural location of the rocker panels, the tail lights shouldn’t be exposed in this bumper fold.  The lights should be smaller to let the painted bumper flow naturally from the bottom of the tailgate to the base of the roof: one simple, logical sweep of painted body. Too bad about that!

21

Once more: too many harsh lines, accentuated by rounded and beveled tailpipes.  Combined with the softer stuff up top and the excessive height brought about from the rear doors, the Crosstour’s butt steals defeat from the hands of victory.**

**provided you believe that a quirky alternative to a CUV is a good thing!2013_redesignAnd yes, a quirky alternative to a CUV is a worthy endeavor for any designer.  And any would-be CUV buyer, at least in theory.

While the 2013 model looks a bit more interesting (especially in brown, ‘natch) the Crosstour doesn’t fit the CUV bill. When you combine CUV, hatchback and station wagon in this manner, you insult all three automotive genres in one vellum rendering. Too bad about that, because this idea has potential. And possibly merit.

Thanks for reading, have a great week.

The post Vellum Venom: 2012 Honda Crosstour appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/vellum-venom-2012-honda-crosstour/feed/ 61
Gremlin Of The Forest: Another Kenny Stork Adventure http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/gremlin-of-the-forest-another-kenny-stork-adventure/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/gremlin-of-the-forest-another-kenny-stork-adventure/#comments Thu, 25 Jul 2013 15:36:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=497012 The used baby-shit green AMC Gremlin arrived in the Stork’s driveway about the time their long lived 1967 Chrysler Newport made its last tip out of the driveway and into its final resting place in the forested acreage behind the house. The oil shock had meant a lot of changes, but Wayne had been willing […]

The post Gremlin Of The Forest: Another Kenny Stork Adventure appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
1971_amc_gremlin_emblem

The used baby-shit green AMC Gremlin arrived in the Stork’s driveway about the time their long lived 1967 Chrysler Newport made its last tip out of the driveway and into its final resting place in the forested acreage behind the house. The oil shock had meant a lot of changes, but Wayne had been willing to deal with the high prices so long as it hadn’t meant purchasing a new car, but by the time the old Chrysler finally gave up the ghost it was a given that the next vehicle he purchased would be smaller and more fuel efficient. Compared to the Chrysler, the Gremlin was smaller and more fuel efficient, but compared to my family’s Opel Kadett it was an anachronistic piece of junk. It’s a wonder it lasted an entire year before it broke down.

The little car languished at the side of the carport and gradually became a sort of semi permanent shop bench where the various odds and ends of daily life ended up when their usefulness had passed. The unused part of a 2×4 found a home atop the car as it waited to be used in some other project, a broken toaster found its way into the back seat and a well used weed-eater was placed atop the cowl at the bottom of the windshield as it awaited a trip to the hardware store. Along with these and various other things that gradually accumulated over time, virtually all of the Stork’s dozen or so outdoor cats established their own perches atop the car and soon after that, a place atop the car’s hood was cleared for their food and water dishes. Like so many other things around the Stork’s house, the car soon became a part of nature itself and we kids found ourselves ignoring it.

Photo courtesy of aaca.org

Photo courtesy of aaca.org

When the forest behind the Stork’s house grew tall enough, Wayne saw the opportunity to make some money contracted with a local logging company to come and harvest some of the trees that grew there. The entire crew appeared on our street one morning, a small group of men driving big trucks with impressive looking log skidders atop lowboy trailers. In a matter of minutes the crew had their machines off the trucks and into the woods. The sound of chainsaws and cracking trees filled the air for days and soon the big skidders had clawed out rudimentary roads through the undergrowth as they worked to bring the long logs to a central landing where the trucks could load them and carry them to the mill. Truck after truck came and went and the forest behind the house was gradually denuded of its many alders, though the tall cedar trees, which required a special permit to cut, remained. When the job was done, what had once been an are of perpetual twilight beneath the tall trees was a barren ruin of broken stumps and trimmed branches. Amidst this carnage, dozens upon dozens of primitive roads wended their way through the destruction.

The roads soon became bicycle trails and we wore them flat with the passage of our tires. Nature reasserted itself over the scene and soon a mass of undergrowth sprang up and wherever the sun’s rays shined salmon berry bushes, vine maples and large patches of giant sticker bushes we called “devil’s clubs” grew thick. As time passed many of the lesser traveled paths were lost to us, but the ones we used remained. But pedaling a bicycle through the various hills and gullies of the Pacific Northwest wilderness can be tiring and so, one day, we determined that we should find something with an engine.

amc_gremlin_gray_1971

The whole project began with the surreptitious questioning of Wayne Stork. Why exactly had the Gremlin been parked, and why had it not been consigned to the graveyard behind the house? It turns out that it needed a simple repair, a new alternator, and that Wayne had been waiting for the right time to fix the little car. I knew enough about basic mechanics to know that an alternator is a nice thing to have, but that it isn’t really essential to make a car run so long as you have a fully charged battery. It was a small step to dig out the Stork’s battery charger, which had been conveniently left on the front seat of the car anyhow, and hook it to the battery. A day later, we filled the car’s four flat tires from a nearby air tank and, with the battery now fully charged, commenced to cranking. Lo and the little car fired and struggled into a smokey idle.

We added a couple of gallons of fresh lawn mower gas to the car’s tank and, after we had cleared off the bits of junk and shooed away all the cats, all the neighborhood kids climbed aboard while Kenny claimed the driver’s seat as his own. Throwing the car into reverse, he backed it down the driveway, pointed it into the woods and mashed the gas. The car responded with an unhappy groan as its six cylinder engine worked to move it forward but failed to even spin the tires in the gravel driveway as it began to work up momentum.

cc-27-173-1000

Trees flashed by at the grand speed of around ten miles an hour and at the main intersection of the property, the area that had been used as a landing by the loggers, Kenny threw the car down into low gear and headed down one of the old skidder trails. The undergrowth closed in around us and branches slapped at us through the open windows as we passed. The Gremlin ground its way on through the brush, up and over a hill and down into a gully where a small woodland stream ran nearly empty in the summer heat. Water splashed as we dove headlong in and the car’s wheels began to sink but our momentum carried us across and up the hill on the other side. At the back of the property Kenny spun the car around and we headed back through the forest to the driveway.

All day long Kenny drove the car through the forest like a madman. At one point he missed a curve and slammed the Gremlin into a giant boulder, a remnant of Western Washington’s ice glacial past, and made a huge dent in the car’s fended. Undeterred he plowed on, back through the small saplings and assorted undergrowth and back onto the road. By the time we finally ran out of gas the car was covered in long streaks of mud, bore the scratches of a million branches and had leaves and branches hanging from the grill. The situation was so bad that there was no hiding it and so we put it back on the car port and awaited Wayne’s return, or rather Kenny did as the rest of us beat feet before he got there.

As Kenny tells it Wayne came home, walked past the little car and came into the house where he found his son watching television. A man a few words, Wayne sat down in his chair and began to watch TV before broaching the subject. “I see you’ve been driving the Gremlin.” He said simply.

“Yeah,” answered Kenny, “We had to work on it. Can you believe that it still runs?”

“Of course it does.” answered Wayne, “It ran when I parked it.” And with that, the subject became a non issue and so far as I know was never raised again.

Looking back now, I am sure that Wayne had mixed emotions about our adventure. On one hand he was probably upset that his son had virtually destroyed the little car, but on the other he was probably proud that his son had the wherewithal to actually get out under the hood of the car, figure out the problem and implement a solution. From that day on, the car was Kenny’s plaything until it had been so broken and so abused that it could not run again. Then it too joined the others in the great junkyard that it had so often passed by on the way down one trail or another. By the time it arrived there, it had truly earned its place and I am sure that it remains there today, quietly decomposing amid the others, but alive still in my memory and now yours.

Not the real car, but close - photo courtesy of amcrc.org

Not the real car, but close – photo courtesy of amcrc.org

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

The post Gremlin Of The Forest: Another Kenny Stork Adventure appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/gremlin-of-the-forest-another-kenny-stork-adventure/feed/ 40
Junkyard Find: 1957 Nash Metropolitan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1957-nash-metropolitan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1957-nash-metropolitan/#comments Wed, 24 Jul 2013 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=496832 When we had a 1960 Nash Metropolitan Junkyard Find a couple months back, you may have thought “Well, that was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion!” As it turns out, finding examples of the little Austin-built proto-AMC commuter in cheap self-service wrecking yards isn’t difficult at all— here’s another one, discovered at a yard in Denver. This one […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1957 Nash Metropolitan appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
16 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen we had a 1960 Nash Metropolitan Junkyard Find a couple months back, you may have thought “Well, that was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion!” As it turns out, finding examples of the little Austin-built proto-AMC commuter in cheap self-service wrecking yards isn’t difficult at all— here’s another one, discovered at a yard in Denver.
12 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is much rougher than the ’60 in California; it’s not very rusty, but its paint has been well-nuked by many decades in the Colorado sun.
02 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou can smell the decaying horsehair through the glass of your computer monitor.
05 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe BMC B engine, a larger-displacement version of which went into the MGB, looks intact.
15 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWorth restoring? No way. Still, some good parts await pulling by owners of nicer Metropolitans. In fact, the trunk contained some NOS Pleasurizers.

01 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1957 Nash Metropolitan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1957 Nash Metropolitan appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/junkyard-find-1957-nash-metropolitan/feed/ 24
Junkyard Find: 1981 Jeep Wagoneer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1981-jeep-wagoneer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1981-jeep-wagoneer/#comments Sun, 23 Jun 2013 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493042 The Jeep Wagoneer was made for about 180 years (OK, actually just 28 years), going through three corporate owners during that period. This is only our second Wagoneer Junkyard Find (after this late-in-the-game ’89), though I walk past many more every time I hit my favorite Denver wrecking yard. This ’81 grabbed my attention with […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1981 Jeep Wagoneer appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

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

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

The post Junkyard Find: 1981 Jeep Wagoneer appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1981-jeep-wagoneer/feed/ 19
Fast Times: How getting rid of an AMC Javelin led me to a better life http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/fast-times-how-getting-rid-of-an-amc-javelin-led-me-to-a-better-life/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/fast-times-how-getting-rid-of-an-amc-javelin-led-me-to-a-better-life/#comments Sat, 02 Mar 2013 14:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=479346 It was 1984. Van Halen, Iron Maiden, and the Scorpions were on the radio stations I listened to, while Prince, Wham, and some guy named Michael Jackson were on the stations I avoided. I was a young punk and I ran with a fast crowd. Whatever, I was into fast. At just 17 years old, […]

The post Fast Times: How getting rid of an AMC Javelin led me to a better life appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>

Not the real car Rick owned, but pretty much the same thing,

It was 1984. Van Halen, Iron Maiden, and the Scorpions were on the radio stations I listened to, while Prince, Wham, and some guy named Michael Jackson were on the stations I avoided. I was a young punk and I ran with a fast crowd. Whatever, I was into fast.

At just 17 years old, my best buddy Rick had already owned a string of jalopies. His first car had been a VW Beetle of dubious quality and it had made him famous around the school when its throttle stuck wide-open. Fortunately the gate to the high school football field happened to open and Rick was able to pilot the car out onto the perfectly maintained grass where he was forced to do donuts for his very life until the poor beast finally sunk up to its axles. After that had come a string of unremarkable cars, but then finally, he managed to score some real muscle, a 1974 AMC Javelin.

Rick’s Javelin was an amazing machine and I was instantly taken with its quirky style and it funky purple color. Equipped with a 304 small block and an automatic transmission, the car was not really as muscular as it probably seemed at the time but it did alright on the road. We spent a lot of Friday and Saturday nights cruising the around looking for pick-up races, some of which we won or standing around in parking lots trying our best to look tough and pick up girls, both of which we failed at.

By 1991 those days were long gone. I was a 24 year old merchant marine and I spent about 8 months a year at sea. It was a good living for a young man. I got to see a lot of the world and, thanks to a plentiful overtime, I always came home with my pockets stuffed with cash. I took care of business first, of course, and after a couple of trips had paid off my only bill, the note on my Turbo Shadow. Because I lived at home with my parents when I wasn’t aboard ship, my money was my own and, like most young men, I was determined to waste as much of it as possible. That’s how a dirty brown 1972 Javelin SST ended up in my father’s driveway.

Yours truly on the deck of a container ship in KaoSuing Taiwan circa 1990

My father had probably the finest yard in Snohomish county, WA and today, many years later, I can understand how he felt when I brought the car home. At the time, however, I thought a barely running 18 year old muscle car decomposing alongside my father’s carefully tended lawn was perfectly acceptable and didn’t understand what he was so angry about. I didn’t have long to hear him complain though, less than a week after I purchased the car I was back to sea and headed to the far side of the world.

The mind wanders when you are at sea. Your 12 hour work day is spent in the heat of the engine room or out in the in the constant wind on deck but the tasks you must perform are generally menial. You spend most of your time underway chipping rust, sweeping, painting, wiping up spills or checking gauges and doing preventative maintenance on ancillary systems. That isn’t to say that you aren’t needed, ships are expensive and if you didn’t keep up with things the situation could deteriorate pretty quickly, but for the most part you are not doing work that occupies your mind. Thus, without a girl to think about, my thoughts naturally turned to the car I had waiting for me at home.

When I got home six months later, what I found was not what I thought I had left. Over the months at sea I had pictured in my mind’s eye a near perfect project car that I could put into showroom condition with just a little TLC and few magic twists of a wrench. What I found, after months of Washington state winter, was what appeared to be a giant molding turd that, thanks to four deflated tires, looked like it was glued to the ground. It was a mess and I was lucky my father hadn’t had it it dragged off in my absence.

Perhaps if I had known about the missing weather stripping and the leaking windows I could have added to my father’s unhappiness by throwing a blue tarp over it before I left, but now it was too late. While I had been overseas, at least three inches of water pooled on the floor inside of the car, soaking the carpet and anything I had been foolish enough to leave there. The headliner and the seats were water logged as well and the only thing that had prevented a full-on mildew attack was the fact it was still too cold outside. To make matters worse the car had a constant misfire and despite changing all the usual parts I was unable to solve the problem.

I would have been happy if my own Javelin was half as nice as this one.

Now that I was looking at spending more hard earned cash I was looking with a more critical eye and it was obvious I had bought a whole load of trouble. That realization, in combination with the constant ass-chewing I was getting from my dad, made me want out of this mess in a hurry and I took quick action. First, I pumped up the four flats and then, using my dad’s shop vac, I pulled gallons of water out of the car’s interior. On sunny days I set up a window fan to blow air over the damp surfaces and gradually the car dried out. I worked on the engine and got it running passably if not exactly right and I spent some time working on the paint. The end result was nothing like the car I had imagined, but at the very least it was sellable.

The best way to sell anything is by word of mouth and I told my neighbor Kenny, who was better connected than I, to spread the word. In a small town news gets around fast and two days later a guy named Rusty was on my doorstep offering a deal. Would I take an old motorcycle in trade for the car?

My GS850G after it was completed 1991

It turned out that Rusty had bought the motorcycle, a big old GS-850 Suzuki, so he could go one rides with his father and brothers. But Rusty had never owned a bike and on one of his first outings he had laid the massive machine down. The damage, he told me, was not bad, a scuffed Vetter fairing, a smashed saddle bag and a ground-away crash bar. It was still usable he said, but the wreck had frightened him and he wanted no more of life out in the wind. Would I exchange my troubles for his?

Logic is a weird thing. Did I want a crappy old car that didn’t run right and came with its own marsh on the interior or some kind of big old wrecked motorcycle? It wasn’t a tough decision really, I already had a motorcycle and I liked riding so I really wasn’t afraid of getting the bike. To top it off, a car took up a lot of highly visible space in the driveway and I could keep the bike out of sight in the woodshed which my father wouldn’t yell about. Naturally, I took the deal.

Rusty got a good deal. He took the Javelin down to a local shop where they diagnosed its lingering engine troubles as a bad distributor and they made the repair for right around $100. He used the car for months afterwards, often roaring by my parent’s house in a gross display of power and arrogance, often honking at me when I was outside to make sure I knew it was he who had come out on top in our deal.

What Rusty didn’t know is that it was I who had got the better deal. Within a week of getting the old Suzuki home, I had stripped away the scuffed fairing and the other damaged parts to reveal a machine in surprisingly good condition. With some of my hard earned cash I bought a new exhaust header, got a racier set of handlebars and some sticky Metzler tires and turned the old bike into the hot rod I so earnestly desired. I ended up owning the GS Suzuki for the better part of a decade and the experience turned me from a casual motorcyclist into a real crotch-rocket jockey. The bike changed my life.

It was 1991 and who cares what was on the radio, I had the sound of wind in my ears. I was a young punk and I ran with a fast crowd. Whatever, I’m into fast.

Fast Company – Me aboard my GS850 circa 1995

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself

Not the real car Rick owned, but pretty much the same thing, I would have been happy if my own Javelin was half as nice as this one. Me making a color change on my GS850 circa 1994 My GS850G after it was completed 1991 Yours truly on the deck of a container ship in KaoSuing Taiwan circa 1990 Fast Company - Me aboard my GS850 circa 1995 The Rising Sun paint job on my GS850G circa 1997 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

The post Fast Times: How getting rid of an AMC Javelin led me to a better life appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/fast-times-how-getting-rid-of-an-amc-javelin-led-me-to-a-better-life/feed/ 17
Junkyard Find: 1968 Kaiser Jeep DJ-5A, With Factory Chevy Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1968-kaiser-jeep-dj-5a-with-factory-chevy-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1968-kaiser-jeep-dj-5a-with-factory-chevy-power/#comments Sun, 27 Jan 2013 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475373 After I found the very rare Audi-engined ’79 AM General DJ-5G “Mail Jeep” in a Denver junkyard, I thought I’d go back to ignoring most junked DJ Jeeps. They’re very common in Colorado, and this series has always been more about historically significant vehicles than just plain old ones. However, DJs built before AMC bought […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1968 Kaiser Jeep DJ-5A, With Factory Chevy Power appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
After I found the very rare Audi-engined ’79 AM General DJ-5G “Mail Jeep” in a Denver junkyard, I thought I’d go back to ignoring most junked DJ Jeeps. They’re very common in Colorado, and this series has always been more about historically significant vehicles than just plain old ones. However, DJs built before AMC bought Kaiser-Jeep, and featuring the nearly-forgotten Chevrolet Nova four-cylinder engine, deserve some attention.
You could get a Chevy II aka Nova with a 153-cubic-inch L4 engine until 1969. Just as the later Iron Duke was based on the Pontiac 301 V8, the 153 was based on the Chevrolet 230-cubic-inch L6. Hardly any Nova shoppers bought this engine, because gas was cheap and the six didn’t cost much more up front, but Kaiser-Jeep knew a good deal when they saw one. When AMC gobbled up Kaiser-Jeep in 1970, the good old AMC Six replaced the Nova four.
Even by 1968 truck standards, these controls were super-minimal.
Believe it or not, Jeep DJs were sold to customers other than the Postal Service. This one has left-hand-drive, so it probably spent its life hauling something other than junk mail (unless it was purchased by the Royal Jamaican Postal Service for left-side-of-the-road deliveries).
Maybe it was some seriously tight-walleted cheapskate’s commuter car? Do you really need more than a steel box on wheels to get from Point A to Point B?

02 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1968 Jeep DJ-5A Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1968 Kaiser Jeep DJ-5A, With Factory Chevy Power appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1968-kaiser-jeep-dj-5a-with-factory-chevy-power/feed/ 41
Junkyard Find: 1979 AM General DJ-5G Jeep, With Factory Audi Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1979-am-general-dj-5g-with-factory-audi-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1979-am-general-dj-5g-with-factory-audi-power/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2013 14:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=474678 Even though the DJ Jeep was two-wheel-drive, Coloradans must really love them. I see DJ-5 “Mail Jeeps” in Denver-area wrecking yards all the time (for example, this ’82 and this ’72). I’ve mostly stopped photographing them for this series, because how much can anyone say about the steel box on wheels that delivered our mail […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1979 AM General DJ-5G Jeep, With Factory Audi Power appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Even though the DJ Jeep was two-wheel-drive, Coloradans must really love them. I see DJ-5 “Mail Jeeps” in Denver-area wrecking yards all the time (for example, this ’82 and this ’72). I’ve mostly stopped photographing them for this series, because how much can anyone say about the steel box on wheels that delivered our mail for much of the 1970s? However, a Jeep with a factory-installed Audi engine is interesting, so here we go.
You could also get AMC Gremlins and Concords with Audi 2.0 liter engines, which means that Gremlins and Porsche 924s had lots of interchangeable parts (I need to remember this true fact next time I’m yelling at a LeMons miscreant with PCA patches all over his race suit). The one-year-only Audi-engined Jeep may be the rarest of all the Audi-fied AMCS, though.
To go with the mighty 95 horses of the Audi engine, the DJ-5G came with a Chrysler Torqueflite 904 automatic transmission.
As iron became rust in this Jeep, the lost mass was replaced by rodent nests. The interior of Uncle Sam’s former mail sled is very hanta-riffic now!
This dash is probably what Audi Designer Hell looks like.

01 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 27 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

The post Junkyard Find: 1979 AM General DJ-5G Jeep, With Factory Audi Power appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1979-am-general-dj-5g-with-factory-audi-power/feed/ 15
Junkyard Find: 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1989-jeep-grand-wagoneer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1989-jeep-grand-wagoneer/#comments Tue, 14 Aug 2012 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=456670 Back when I wrote the Automotive Survivors series (Part I and Part II), I specified that I was only considering cars built for 20 or more years, and I included boldface text stating NO TRUCKS! NO TRUCKS! Naturally, I got barraged with weeks of hate mail from the Land Rover Jihad (because Land Rovers were […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Back when I wrote the Automotive Survivors series (Part I and Part II), I specified that I was only considering cars built for 20 or more years, and I included boldface text stating NO TRUCKS! NO TRUCKS! Naturally, I got barraged with weeks of hate mail from the Land Rover Jihad (because Land Rovers were being slapped together out of mud and sticks by Celtic tribesman circa 600 BC and thus my cars-only restriction was fatwa-worthy), but that was nothing next to what I heard from the Wagoneer Jihad. Legendary industrial designer Brooks Stevens drew up the original SJ platform-based Wagoneer for Willys-Overland in the year 1905 (OK, the early 1960s), and Kaiser-Jeep, AMC, and Chrysler kept building great big SJ Cherokees and Grand Cherokees until the sun collapsed and became a red giant (OK, until 1991). That meant that Chrysler was building AMC 360s in addition to Franco-Swedish PRV V6s into the 1990s. And, just as you could buy Super 8 movie film at ordinary stores until the early 1990s, so could you buy Jeep SJs with Simu-Wood™ plastic woodie siding. Here’s an example I found last week in a Denver self-serve yard.
Would you believe that this truck was built only 23 years ago?
The “wood” trim looks fairly convincing from 100 feet away. Up close, not so much.
These things rode like early-60s trucks, and they drank gas like early-60s trucks. Still, they were competent and generally reliable machines, and there was no reason for anybody to stop building them as long as customers craved the SJ.

20 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1989-jeep-grand-wagoneer/feed/ 56
Junkyard Find: 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1976-amc-matador-barcelona/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1976-amc-matador-barcelona/#comments Fri, 06 Jul 2012 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=451460 A couple of days ago, I accompanied a friend on a journey to pick up a couple of Rabbits at a mysterious not-open-to-the-public yard that sprawls across a couple of square miles of prickly-pear-covered prairie east of Colorado Springs. I’ll tell the story of that adventure soon, but I just couldn’t wait to share this […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
A couple of days ago, I accompanied a friend on a journey to pick up a couple of Rabbits at a mysterious not-open-to-the-public yard that sprawls across a couple of square miles of prickly-pear-covered prairie east of Colorado Springs. I’ll tell the story of that adventure soon, but I just couldn’t wait to share this car that I spotted during our visit: one of the finest examples of Malaise Era special-edition marketing madness in the history of the universe!
After Chrysler scored big with the vaguely Spanish-themed Cordoba personal luxury coupe in 1975, the marketing wizards in Kenosha knew they had to fight back with their own crypto-Iberian-themed machine. Unfortunately, AMC had a budget of about 19 bucks to work with, so they couldn’t afford to hire their own Ricardo Montalban counterpart… but they could spray the Matador coupe in two-tone brown and put some special badges on it.
I already had a pretty severe case of Junkyard Stendhal Syndrome by the time I spotted the Matador Barcelona, having been wandering around endless fields of Willys Aeros, IHC Travelalls, and the like in 100-degree air full of smoke from all the nearby wildfires. Sort of a mid-apocalyptic environment, and then this brown-on-brown apparition appeared out of the haze, parked between a Cordoba and the only Integra for miles.
I may be the only person in this time zone who thinks that the Matador coupe is a good-looking car, and someday I will own one. Sadly, this car is already spoken for. By the way, the official names for the paint colors are “Golden Ginger Metallic” and “Sand Tan.”
Life at 6,000 feet on the High Plains is not kind to car interiors, but you can get a sense of the former majesty of this soft velour upholstery.
Imagine this car with a built 401 and a 4-speed… and a Montalban-esque Spanish accent, of course.

11 - 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The post Junkyard Find: 1976 AMC Matador Barcelona appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/junkyard-find-1976-amc-matador-barcelona/feed/ 51
Look What I Found: No, That’s Not A Jeep Cherokee. Wrong Tribe. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/look-what-i-found-no-thats-not-a-jeep-cherokee-wrong-tribe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/look-what-i-found-no-thats-not-a-jeep-cherokee-wrong-tribe/#comments Wed, 04 Jul 2012 14:49:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=450242 One of the cool things about car shows in the Detroit area is that you will most likely start seeing interesting cars before you actually enter the show. I like to call them “parking lot prizes”, but then I’m fond of alliteration. At the recent Eyes On Design show, which benefits the Detroit Institute of […]

The post Look What I Found: No, That’s Not A Jeep Cherokee. Wrong Tribe. appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Jeep Comanche - CarsInDepth.com photo

One of the cool things about car shows in the Detroit area is that you will most likely start seeing interesting cars before you actually enter the show. I like to call them “parking lot prizes”, but then I’m fond of alliteration. At the recent Eyes On Design show, which benefits the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, I spotted a couple of prewar V16 Cadillacs, a ’61 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and a first generation Corvette with a custom wooden boat tail before I even got to the press credential tent. Those are not common cars but the subject of this post is particularly rare. What could be rare about a Jeep Cherokee? They were in production in the US, South America and China for over two decades. However, this isn’t a Jeep Cherokee. If you look closely at the badge on the fender, it honors another tribe, the Comanches, and the Comanche was only in production for six model years. I deliberately cropped the photo so you can’t see that this noble automotive savage is a pickup truck, not AMC’s genre creating SUV.

Jeep Comanche - CarsInDepth.com photo

In the early to mid 1980s American Motors, then under Renault ownership, was developing the XJ Cherokee. AMC correctly anticipated that pickup trucks would increasingly be used as passenger vehicles. The decision was made to spin a pickup truck off of the the Cherokee platform. Jeep sold full sized pickups, the J10 and J20, based on the Wagonmaster, but its dealers had nothing smaller to compete with the Ford Ranger, Chevy S-10 or Dodge Dakota. Unlike with those trucks, which are body on frame designs, the Cherokee did not have a separate frame. The XJ platform was Jeep’s first attempt to build a unibody vehicle. Concerned that traditional unibody architecture would not be up to the rigors of being a trail rated Jeep, AMC’s engineers and Dick Teague’s designers came up with what they called a Uniframe assembly. Essentially that involved integrating and welding a traditional ladder frame into the unibody structure. Some have described the Cherokee as being overengineered, which may help explain the Jeep SUV’s legendary durability.

Jeep Image

Unlike other small trucks created from unibody vehicles, like the Dodge Rampage and VW Pickup (aka Caddy), though, the Commache’s engineers gave it a conventional separate bolt-on pickup bed. To do so meant upgrading the rear part of the Uniframe into a proper subframe that could bear suspension and payload loadings. For a company that hacked off the Hornet’s trunk and turned it into the Gremlin, cutting the Cherokee in half and making it into the Comanche was perfectly in character. From the back of the cab forward, a Comanche is very similar to a Cherokee.

Chrysler bought AMC specifically for the Jeep brand. Some say that it was the success of the Cherokee itself that convinced Chrysler to buy AMC. While most of the Jeep lineup did compliment Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth dealers’ lineups, the Comanche competed, more or less, with the Dodge Dakota. The small Jeep pickup languished with little development (other than upgrades to the inline six) and after the 1992 model year Jeep’s unique unibody-with-bed-on-frame pickup truck died. The fact that the well-selling Cherokee was more profitable than the Comanche also didn’t favor the Comanche’s continued production.

Jeep Comanche - CarsInDepth.com photo

From the number of grille slots (10) and the XLS trim package, this is almost certainly a 1986 model, and because of the higher level XLS trim, I’m guessing that it has the 2.8 liter V6 made AMC purchased from General Motors. That engine has a curious history that involves both GM and Jeep. It started out as Buick’s all aluminum 215 cubic inch V8. Around the same time that engine was being developed, the early 1960s, compact cars started becoming popular and GM needed six cylinder engines. To make a six from the eight, they just lopped off two cylinders, allowing the use of much of the same tooling. The problem is that 90 degree sixes are not inherently balanced. It wasn’t a popular option so GM sold the tooling in 1967 to Kaiser-Jeep, who had only four cylinder engines. Jeep owners would never complain about less than smooth engines. Moving forward a few years, after the 1973 oil embargo, GM was again looking for alternatives to V8 engines and decided to purchase the tooling back from AMC, who by then had acquired Jeep. The engine went back into production as a GM product and since the Jeep team was used to working with the engine, it was a natural choice. Well, maybe not so natural.

Why the odd-duck 90 deg V6 and not the torquey and durable AMC inline six that later became so closely identified with the Cherokee? AMC engineer Evan Boberg wrote in his book, Common Sense Not Required, “The story I was told was [that] the executive in charge of the design of the Cherokee hated the AMC inline 6 cylinder engine and specifically designed the Cherokee so it would not fit. The Nash 2.5 liter engine was fitted with fuel injection and the General Motors 2.8 liter V6 with oil leaks were the original engine options.”

The base engine for the Comanche was AMC’s 150 CI four. Actually, in 1986, the differences between the I4 and the V6 engines were not great. The four was rated at 117 HP and 135 lb-ft of torque, while the V6 had only 115 horsepower, and just a bit more torque, 145 lb-ft.  Jeep did offer two different diesel engines, one made by Renault and the other by VM Motori (Allpar says that it was a Peugeot). They were advanced engines for their day but they flopped in the market. Jeep’s current reluctance to bring diesel powered products to the US market has been attributed to the failure of the diesel powered Cherokees and Comanches. In 1987, that executive’s decision was reversed and the 173 HP 220 lb-ft 4.0 liter inline six made a big difference in those Jeeps’ performance, particularly in the Comanche, which weighed about 600 lbs less than the Cherokee.

AMC and Chrysler sold about 190,000 Comanches in all, the peak years being 1987 and 1988, with about 43,000 units sold in each of those years. While Cherokees are still fairly common, you don’t see many Comanches. Most of those Cherokees that you see, though, are later models.  A quick check at eBay Motors shows very few pre-1995 Cherokees for sale. The early Cherokees had some rust problems. Comanches share those traits, and pickup truck beds, like convertibles, have their own rust issues. So you don’t see many left on the road, at least not in this kind of near pristine shape. I’m assuming that it’s an original condition truck and not restored because the chance of someone finding the parts to restore one of these has just got to be even lower than the likelihood that someone would keep one in showroom shape.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

Jeep Comanche - CarsInDepth.com photo Jeep Comanche - CarsInDepth.com photo Jeep Comanche - CarsInDepth.com photo Jeep Comanche - CarsInDepth.com photo Jeep Comanche - CarsInDepth.com photo Jeep Comanche - CarsInDepth.com photo Jeep Comanche - CarsInDepth.com photo Jeep Comanche - CarsInDepth.com photo Jeep Image mj MJ_frame

The post Look What I Found: No, That’s Not A Jeep Cherokee. Wrong Tribe. appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/look-what-i-found-no-thats-not-a-jeep-cherokee-wrong-tribe/feed/ 30
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 […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1980 AMC Eagle Coupe appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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

The post Junkyard Find: 1980 AMC Eagle Coupe appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1980-amc-eagle-coupe/feed/ 42
Junkyard Find: 1972 AM General DJ-5B “Mail Jeep” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1972-am-general-dj-5b-mail-jeep/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1972-am-general-dj-5b-mail-jeep/#comments Sun, 06 May 2012 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=442701 US Postal Service-surplus right-hand-drive DJ-5s were once cheap and plentiful. Actually, they’re still cheap and plentiful. Some got converted to four-wheel-drive, some got used as farm vehicles, some ended up as urban hoopties… and many of them were bought cheap at auction and then sat for decades, awaiting a project that never got started. Here’s […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1972 AM General DJ-5B “Mail Jeep” appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
US Postal Service-surplus right-hand-drive DJ-5s were once cheap and plentiful. Actually, they’re still cheap and plentiful. Some got converted to four-wheel-drive, some got used as farm vehicles, some ended up as urban hoopties… and many of them were bought cheap at auction and then sat for decades, awaiting a project that never got started. Here’s a 40-year-old mail carrier that looks like it went right from the post office to the junkyard. Quite a few rural routes in Wyoming and northern Colorado are handled by non-USPS-employee subcontractors who drive their own vehicles, so it’s possible that this Jeep stayed on the job well into the 21st century.
You get a steel box on wheels with a handy mail-sorting shelf next to the driver’s seat, which is located at just the right height for rural mailboxes.
AM General went through quite a few engines for the DJ series. This one has an AMC six, but DJs were also built with GM Iron Dukes, Willys Hurricanes, and even Audi-via-AMC 2-liter fours.
The instrumentation is elegant, but we must report that the DJ-5 suffers from understeer at the limit. In fact, it suffers from upside-down steer at the limit.

17 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 10 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 11 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 16 - 1972 AMG DJ-5 Mail Jeep - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden

The post Junkyard Find: 1972 AM General DJ-5B “Mail Jeep” appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/junkyard-find-1972-am-general-dj-5b-mail-jeep/feed/ 27
Junkyard Find: 1985 Renault Alliance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1985-renault-alliance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1985-renault-alliance/#comments Wed, 14 Mar 2012 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=434914 By 1985, it was clear to everyone that the Renault Alliance, product of the strange AMC/Renault mashup that failed to save the “not too big to fail” Wisconsin automaker, wasn’t quite as good as the ’83 Motor Trend Car of the Year award suggested. Still, enough Alliances sold that you still see them in the […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1985 Renault Alliance appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
By 1985, it was clear to everyone that the Renault Alliance, product of the strange AMC/Renault mashup that failed to save the “not too big to fail” Wisconsin automaker, wasn’t quite as good as the ’83 Motor Trend Car of the Year award suggested. Still, enough Alliances sold that you still see them in the junkyard every now and then. Here’s one I spotted in a California self-serve yard last month.
The base Alliance L sedan listed $6,650 in 1985, and that wasn’t much more than a Chevy Cavalier sedan. If you wanted a Civic sedan that year, you’d have paid $7,092— if you could find a Honda dealer selling at list price in the mid-1980s, which was unlikely. So, the Alliance, with its European design and made-in-America patriotism, looked good on paper.
Unfortunately, even the wretched Cavalier seemed reliable in comparison to the Franco-Kenosha product. The Alliance got great fuel economy and had a comfy ride, but: Renault in America. When Chrysler bought the shattered remnants of AMC in 1987, it euthanized the Alliance.

13 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 01 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 02 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 03 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 04 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 05 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 06 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 07 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 08 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 09 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 10 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 11 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden 12 - 1985 Renault Alliance Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Franco-Kenosha' Greden alliance Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

The post Junkyard Find: 1985 Renault Alliance appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1985-renault-alliance/feed/ 56
Junkyard Find: 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1979-jeep-cherokee-golden-eagle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1979-jeep-cherokee-golden-eagle/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2012 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=431169 Ah, the Malaise Era. By the late 1970s, AMC was on the ropes. The Jeep Cherokee still sold well, however, and the brains in Kenosha decided they’d go for the Acapulco Gold-smoking generation and throw a few square yards of decals on the truck. Golden Eagle! I had forgotten all about the Golden Eagle, which […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Ah, the Malaise Era. By the late 1970s, AMC was on the ropes. The Jeep Cherokee still sold well, however, and the brains in Kenosha decided they’d go for the Acapulco Gold-smoking generation and throw a few square yards of decals on the truck. Golden Eagle!
I had forgotten all about the Golden Eagle, which was a classy trim level for the Cherokee, but the sight of this example in a Denver self-service wrecking yard made me remember how I thought these things were semi-cool as a kid. Going to junkyards in Colorado really gives you a sense of the history of four-wheel-drive vehicles in America; this junkyard has at least four more Malaise Cherokees in stock.
It’s got tape stripes.
It’s got extremely 1970s decals on the doors.
It’s got an AMC 360 under the hood.
It’s got denim seats, complete with jeans-style buttons. Not quite as cool as the Levis Edition Pacer, but still cool.
Most of all, it has a giant angry eagle decal across the hood. It must have been fun to see this thing out the windshield at all times.

25 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 01 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 02 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 03 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 04 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 05 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 06 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 07 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 08 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 09 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 10 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 11 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 12 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 13 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 14 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 15 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 16 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 17 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 18 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 19 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 20 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 21 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 22 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 23 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 24 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

The post Junkyard Find: 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1979-jeep-cherokee-golden-eagle/feed/ 22
Junkyard Find: 1991 Eagle Premier LX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1991-eagle-premier-lx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1991-eagle-premier-lx/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2012 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=426069 While it’s cool and all to find genuine, everyone-agrees-it’s-a-classic cars in the junkyard, what I really like to find is the cars that serve as evolutionary dead-ends or corporate-merger footnotes. The Eagle Premier is a fine example of the latter type. This ’91 ended up in a Denver self-service yard because it bashed into something, […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1991 Eagle Premier LX appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
While it’s cool and all to find genuine, everyone-agrees-it’s-a-classic cars in the junkyard, what I really like to find is the cars that serve as evolutionary dead-ends or corporate-merger footnotes. The Eagle Premier is a fine example of the latter type.
This ’91 ended up in a Denver self-service yard because it bashed into something, hard. That means we can assume it was running properly up until the moment of impact.
Always wear your seat belt! This Premier’s driver didn’t, hence the bent steering wheel.
The AMC 2.5 four-cylinder was standard in the Premier LX, but this car has the optional PRV V6. Not exactly a reliable engine, but sophisticated.
I’ve never ridden in a Premier, but I’ve heard that it was the nicest-riding product Chrysler offered in the early 1990s. Its Renault 21/25/Medallion AMC/Renault genes have lived on in Chrysler’s products until the present day, with some of the Premier’s suspension design showing up in the current Challenger and Charger. It’s always fun to trace the AMC family tree!

DOTJ-91EaglePremier-12 DOTJ-91EaglePremier-01 DOTJ-91EaglePremier-02 DOTJ-91EaglePremier-03 DOTJ-91EaglePremier-04 DOTJ-91EaglePremier-05 DOTJ-91EaglePremier-06 DOTJ-91EaglePremier-07 DOTJ-91EaglePremier-08 DOTJ-91EaglePremier-09 DOTJ-91EaglePremier-10 DOTJ-91EaglePremier-11

The post Junkyard Find: 1991 Eagle Premier LX appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1991-eagle-premier-lx/feed/ 30
Junkyard Find: 1982 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1982-am-general-dj-5-mail-jeep/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1982-am-general-dj-5-mail-jeep/#comments Tue, 10 Jan 2012 23:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=425211 AMC got a (brief) new lease on life in the early 1980s when the French government, via Renault, invested in the staggering Wisconsin car company. Meanwhile, huge purchases of DJ-5s by the US Postal Service also helped prop up the once-proud automaker. The Postal Jeep was a common sight on American roads (and junkyards) for […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1982 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
AMC got a (brief) new lease on life in the early 1980s when the French government, via Renault, invested in the staggering Wisconsin car company. Meanwhile, huge purchases of DJ-5s by the US Postal Service also helped prop up the once-proud automaker. The Postal Jeep was a common sight on American roads (and junkyards) for a decade or so after the USPS phased it out, but its bouncy-box-on-wheels ride and two-wheel-drive configuration doomed most examples to The Crusher. Here’s one that I spotted in a Denver self-serve yard last week.
You couldn’t get much more spartan than this: a simple body to keep the rain off the mail, a sorting tray instead of a passenger seat, and sliding doors on both sides.
The pushrod Iron Duke engine ruined just about every vehicle it touched, but it’s perfect for the DJ-5. Who cares that it’s noisy and weak? Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night could stay the Iron Duke from the swift completion of its appointed rounds!
This former Fedmobile appears to have spent years, or maybe decades, sitting in a field somewhere, and it still has almost all its USPS gear installed. Perhaps it was bought at auction during the late 1980s and then sat, awaiting the Hell Project upgrades that never came.

DOTJ-82MailJeep-20 DOTJ-82MailJeep-01 DOTJ-82MailJeep-02 DOTJ-82MailJeep-03 DOTJ-82MailJeep-04 DOTJ-82MailJeep-05 DOTJ-82MailJeep-06 DOTJ-82MailJeep-07 DOTJ-82MailJeep-08 DOTJ-82MailJeep-09 DOTJ-82MailJeep-10 DOTJ-82MailJeep-11 DOTJ-82MailJeep-12 DOTJ-82MailJeep-13 DOTJ-82MailJeep-14 DOTJ-82MailJeep-15 DOTJ-82MailJeep-16 DOTJ-82MailJeep-17 DOTJ-82MailJeep-18 DOTJ-82MailJeep-19 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

The post Junkyard Find: 1982 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/junkyard-find-1982-am-general-dj-5-mail-jeep/feed/ 40
Junkyard Find: 1965 Rambler Classic 770 Convertible http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/junkyard-find-1965-rambler-classic-770-convertible/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/junkyard-find-1965-rambler-classic-770-convertible/#comments Tue, 04 Oct 2011 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413410 Many of the older cars you find in the junkyard clearly spent a decade or three moldering in a side yard or driveway before taking that final ride behind the tow truck. The project that never gets started, or the once-reliable car that needs a new transmission, or sometimes just Grandpa’s forgotten daily driver. We […]

The post Junkyard Find: 1965 Rambler Classic 770 Convertible appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Many of the older cars you find in the junkyard clearly spent a decade or three moldering in a side yard or driveway before taking that final ride behind the tow truck. The project that never gets started, or the once-reliable car that needs a new transmission, or sometimes just Grandpa’s forgotten daily driver. We don’t know that this Rambler ran when parked, but we can tell when it was parked: 1986.
That’s because the trunk is still full of Denver newspapers and phone books from 25 years ago.
This convertible is pretty well thrashed, far beyond the point of being a worthwhile restoration. You can get a fairly straight restoration candidate for cheap, so why pour ten grand into a basket case to make it worth five grand?
Still, it is sad to see this car headed to The Crusher. Perhaps some rat-rod Rat Fink type will save this 287-cube V8 for a fenderless ’26 Nash Ajax project (though a Jeep Tornado OHC six in a Graham-Page 612 would be even cooler).
Weather Eye!

DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-14 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-01 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-02 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-03 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-04 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-05 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-06 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-07 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-08 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-09 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-10 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-11 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-12 DOTJ-65RamblerConvert-13 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

The post Junkyard Find: 1965 Rambler Classic 770 Convertible appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/junkyard-find-1965-rambler-classic-770-convertible/feed/ 18