By on March 18, 2015

14 - 1972 Plymouth Duster Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCompared to the stodgy-and-sensible Valiant on which it was based, the Plymouth Duster was pretty sporty and sold well to coupe shoppers who wanted a cheap car that could handle indifferent maintenance and bad road conditions (the Zaporozhets not being available in the United States). These things were amazingly reliable for the era, when not so many cars made it to 100,000 miles, but most were discarded like empty pull-tab Burgie cans during the 1980s. The Duster survivors today tend to be lovingly restored trailer queens. That makes the 1970-76 Duster a rare Junkyard Find, so I broke out the camera immediately when I saw this ’72 in a Northern California wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2015

12 - 1972 Plymouth Valiant Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was a time when the late-60s/early-70s Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant sedan was the generic automobile in the United States, possibly the most invisible car on American roads. Swimming-pool blue and this queasy shade of green were the most common colors, and the cars were so cheap to maintain that they survived in everyday use much longer than most of their peers. You don’t see the old A-bodies so much these days, but enough remain that they continue to show up in big self-service wrecking yards. Here’s one that I saw in Northern California last week. (Read More…)

By on August 11, 2014

07 - 1975 Dodge Dart- Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo many Chrysler A-bodies in junkyards these days, even though the last ones rolled off the assembly line in 1981 (in South America and Australia; the final Detroit-built A-body was a 1976 model). These cars were cheap and simple, and they’re still useful transportation in the 21st century, so many of them manage to stay on the street well into their 30s and 40s. Sadly, even the most fanatical Dart/Valiant restorer has all the affordable two-doors and/or factory V8 cars he or she can handle, and so when a made-by-the-zillions Slant-6 Malaise Era sedan craps out, it’s going to The Crusher. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’60 Valiant wagon, this ’61 Valiant, this ’63 Dart, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’67 Valiant, this ’66 Dart, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’73 Valiant, this ’75 Duster, and this ’75 Dart, and now we’re adding yet another ’75 to the list. (Read More…)

By on April 24, 2014

12 - 1960 Plymouth Valiant Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy my calculations, we will stop seeing Chrysler A bodies in wrecking yards by about the year 2109; so far in this series we’ve seen this ’61 Valiant, this ’63 Dart, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’67 Valiant, this ’66 Dart, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’73 Valiant, this ’75 Duster, and this ’75 Dart, and today I’m adding a first-year Valiant wagon that sat abandoned for about 40 years before being sent to a California self-serve yard. (Read More…)

By on April 14, 2014

04 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFor the entire time I’ve been on this planet, Chrysler A-bodies have been a constant presence in American wrecking yards, and they’re still quite easy to find today, 33 years after the last Valiant Charger rolled off the assembly line in Australia. I don’t photograph every Dart and Valiant that I see in junkyards, but this series has included this ’61 Valiant, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’67 Valiant, this ’66 Dart, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’73 Valiant, this ’75 Duster, and this ’75 Dart, and today we’ll admire a non-rusty California Dart two-door that I saw back in December. (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2013

05 - 1967 Plymouth Valiant Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe march of the Chrysler A-bodies into The Crusher’s jaws continues in Colorado; in this series prior to today, we’ve seen this ’75 Duster, this ’75 Dart, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’66 Dart, this ’73 Valiant, and this ’61 Valiant. Most of these cars’ contemporary competitors— Chevy Novas, Ford Falcons and Mavericks, AMC Gremlins— were crushed decades ago, but plenty of the old 318- and Slant 6-powered Chrysler commuters managed to hang on in everyday service for nearly half a century. This ’67 sedan still looks pretty solid, but these days only the Dart coupes are worth fixing up. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2013

10 - 1975 Dodge Dart Sedan Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWill there ever be a time in which no Chrysler A-bodies show up in North America’s cheap self-serve wrecking yards? Sure, Darts and Valiants were as common 20 years ago as are dead Tauruses now, so the former torrent of old Chrysler compacts has become a trickle, but I still find at least a couple of them every time I visit The Crusher’s waiting room. In the last couple of years, this series has included this ’75 Duster, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’66 Dart, this ’73 Valiant, and this ’61 Valiant, and today we’ll be admiring the car that was to 1983 what the ’94 Corolla is to 2013: a cheap, dependable sedan that nobody noticed. (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2013

A few months ago, we saw this Lebowski-grade ’75 Gran Torino in a Denver wrecking yard, and an early Chrysler A body could be seen in the background. Here’s that car! (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2013

Chrysler A-bodies are much like VW Type 1 Beetles when it comes to junkyard populations— they’ve been showing up in self-serve junkyards in a steady stream for more than 30 years, and you can usually find one or two in the larger yards. Like old Beetles, I don’t photograph most of the ones I see (though we have seen this ’68 Valiant Signet sedan, this ’64 Valiant wagon, and this ’66 Dart sedan in this series so far). The make-your-neighbors-hate-you band stickers on the decklid of this one caught my eye during a recent trip to my favorite Denver-area yard, and so I broke out the camera. (Read More…)

By on July 3, 2012

After seeing this 1968 Plymouth Valiant a couple of months back, I kept my eyes open for an example of the Valiant’s Dodge sibling languishing in one of Denver’s self-serve wrecking yards. Last week: pay dirt! (Read More…)

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