Tag: California

By on February 5, 2016

17 - 1986 Hyundai Excel in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

I can’t think of any vehicle manufacturer whose products improved as much and as quickly as Hyundai’s did between the ghastly first-gen Excel and the very nice Hyundais of, say, the current century.

The only new US-market car that was cheaper than the first Excel was the Yugo GV (which was, arguably, the better car), and in all my years of junkyard crawling I have never seen any vehicle that got discarded in larger quantities before reaching ten years of age (in fact, lots of Excels appeared at U-Wrench-It before their fifth birthdays).

This means that 1985-89 Excels are exceedingly rare in junkyards today, so I always photograph them when I find them. So far in this series, we have seen this ’86, this ’87, this ’88, and now today’s depressingly un-loaded ’87, which is as far advanced from today’s nice Hyundais as is a cargo-cult wicker plane from a Boeing 787. (Read More…)

By on February 3, 2016

00 - 1970 Ford Econoline van in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The Ford Econoline went from having a forward-control/mid-engine layout to sporting a stubby hood with the engine moved a bit forward for the 1968 through 1974 model years. Every time I see one of these vans in a wrecking yard, it has been so thoroughly used up that I feel compelled to break out my camera; so far in this series we have seen this ’70 cargo van, this ’70 passenger van, this STD-laden ’71 custom, and this extraordinarily biohazardous-looking ’72 camper (plus there’s this grainy black-and-white Econoline photo I shot in 1991, this full-on Southern California custom found in northern Sweden, and this time-capsule Denver customized ’74).

Today, we have this beat-to-hell-and-beyond California passenger-van-turned-work-truck. (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2016

00 - 1991 Dodge Shadow in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The Dodge Shadow was one of many, many versions of the Chrysler-saving K Platform, and it sold in fairly large quantities before being replaced by the Neon. As recently as five years ago, Shadows and their Plymouth Sundance siblings were among the most numerous Chryslers in American wrecking yards, but massive numbers of Sebrings have replaced them nowadays. I ignore most of these cars when I see them, but I can’t resist photographing examples with excessively 1990s tape stripes and decals or super-stripper no-option packages.

Today we’ll be looking at a car that puts turbocharging, overwrought 1990s tape graphics, a convertible top, and fire damage all in one K-car package. (Read More…)

By on December 30, 2015

Best Junkyard Finds of 2015 - Photo by Murilee Martin

We saw 104 Junkyard Find vehicles here in 2015 (I did a few dozen Junkyard Treasures posts for Autoweek as well) and among them were some great examples of automotive history and culture.

The oldest Junkyard Find we saw here during 2015 was this ’51 Ford, and the newest was this ’09 Kia Rondo. As for the most interesting ones, I’ve selected my 15 favorite Junkyard Finds from the past year. Here we go, in model-year order.

Click on a vehicle’s photo to jump to that Junkyard Find’s post. (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2015

2014 GMC Sierra SLT Crew Cab Front Three Quarter in Iridium Meta. Photo courtesy GM/Pickuptrucks.com

A California man sued General Motors this month for revising its tow ratings for his 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 5.3-liter V-8, which meant he couldn’t tow his toy-hauler and golf cart, according to court records.

The complaint, which was filed Dec. 11 in Central California’s district court, said General Motors intentionally misrepresented its claims for Richard Quintero’s truck, which he purchased in July 2013 for nearly $47,000.

According to Quintero’s attorneys, the man opted to buy the 2014 truck because its advertised tow rating of 8,800 pounds was significantly higher than the 2013 model’s 6,900 pounds. GM lowered the 2014 trucks’ ratings to 6,800 pounds in a letter to owners, which was less than Quintero’s 1,000-pound golf cart and 6,700-pound trailer. (Read More…)

By on December 21, 2015

elon-musk-model-s

Tesla chief Elon Musk and more than 40 other executives called on the California Air Resources Board to release Volkswagen from its mandate to fix thousands of polluting cars in that state and instead invest that money in electric vehicles.

Musk, and other executives including Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said regulators would more effectively reduce emissions to “cure the air, not the cars,” according to the letter:

A satisfactory way to fix all the diesel cars does not likely exist, so this solution side steps the great injury and uncertainty that imposing an ineffective fix would place on individual diesel car owners. A drawn out and partial failure of the process will only exacerbate the public’s lack of trust in the industry and its regulators. By explicit design, this proposal would achieve, in contrast, a minimum of a 10 (times) reduction in pollutant emissions as compared to a complete fix.

(Read More…)

By on December 21, 2015

15 - 1981 Datsun Maxima in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The 1980s were confusing times for figuring out badges on U.S.-market Japanese cars.

You had the Toyota Corolla Tercel (which wasn’t related to the Corolla). You had the ever-shifting miasma of various Mitsubishi-based Chryslers. You had the Nissan Stanza Wagon (which was a non-Stanza Prairie at home). And you had all the brand bewilderment of the Datsun-to-Nissan changeover of the early part of the decade (to be fair, Detroit was doing the same sort of badging sleight-of-hand, e.g., front- and rear-wheel-drive Cutlasses in the same showroom).

The Datsun 810 became the Nissan Maxima during the 1981-1984 period, but it didn’t happen like flipping a switch; here’s a Datsun 810 with “by Nissan” and Maxima badging that I spotted in a Northern California wrecking yard a few months ago. (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2015

Porsche cayenne diesel

On Wednesday, Dehli, India banned the registration of diesel SUVs and luxury cars with larger (over 2,000 cc) engines.

That, and a judge in Australia is really confused about Volkswagen’s “defeat device,” the Federal Reserve interest rate hike and California not doing exactly what Google wants, after the jump.

(Read More…)

By on December 2, 2015

12 - 1987 Cadillac Sedan Deville in California junkyard - photo by Murilee MartinOne slimy thing that unscrupulous junkyard shoppers do is to lock all the doors of a car with interior parts they want to save for themselves on a later visit (presumably after they’ve done a few smash-and-grabs to get the money they need for the parts). They’re banking on the reluctance of more ethical junkyard shoppers to destroy a junkyard car’s window or punch out a door lock, and that’s the case with today’s Junkyard Find. Still, I was able to get some decent through-the-glass shots of the gloriously yellow and nicely preserved interior of this 1987 Cadillac Sedan de Ville. (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2015

00 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird in California Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, someone must be hoarding a big stash of Thunderbirds from the mid-1960s through early 1970s, because I’ve been seeing disconcerting quantities of these cars in East Bay self-service wrecking yards going back at least five years (not to mention the 35 Thunderbirds from the 1970 and 1971 model years that I saw at auction before that).

Mostly they’re so rough that I don’t photograph them (though I did shoot this ’65 Landau about a year ago), which suggests that the T-Bird Hoarder is purging hopeless parts cars, one at a time. Here’s another ’65 Thunderbird Landau, seen in Oakland back in September. (Read More…)

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