The Truth About Cars » custom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 02 Aug 2014 03:20:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » custom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1997 Saturn SC2, With Rare Badass Flame Job Option http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1997-saturn-sc2-with-rare-badass-flame-job-option/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1997-saturn-sc2-with-rare-badass-flame-job-option/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=831881 Even though the Saturn S-Series has been one of the most common vehicle types in American self-service wrecking yards for at least the past decade, I’ve always walked right past the SCs and SLs when I’m looking for vehicles to photograph for this series. The rise and fall of the Saturn marque is a fascinating […]

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10 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven though the Saturn S-Series has been one of the most common vehicle types in American self-service wrecking yards for at least the past decade, I’ve always walked right past the SCs and SLs when I’m looking for vehicles to photograph for this series. The rise and fall of the Saturn marque is a fascinating story, and the S-Series spent much of the 1990s being driven by fanatically devoted owners who appreciated the distinctly un-GM-like experience of buying their cars. The SC2 has been one of the quicker and more reliable cars in 24 Hours of LeMons racing as well, but even that wasn’t enough to make me raise my camera when I passed a whole row of the things at U-Wrench-It. It took this red ’97, with its metalflake flame job peeking through the snow at a Denver yard this winter, to give us a Saturn Junkyard Find.
15 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
Someone loved this car, but then it got wrecked hard enough to render it not worth fixing.
16 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPerhaps King Credit has an in-house staff of flame painters, who apply flames to any vaguely sporty car that shows up in their inventory.
03 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe flames are executed very nicely, with clean edges, gold pinstriping, and generous application of metalflake.
07 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI didn’t feel like freezing my fingers to lift the hood and verify that the twin-cam engine was there, but I’m assuming that nobody would bother to paint such beautiful flames on a lowly SC1.
13 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThough I’d also say the same thing about an automatic car, and so perhaps I’m wrong and this car is a single-cam SC1. It has been crushed by now, so we’ll never know.
14 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAbout 10,000 miles per year during the course of its life, so this car’s owners got their money’s worth before the big crash.

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Cadillac Coupe de Ville Custom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1975-cadillac-coupe-de-ville-custom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1975-cadillac-coupe-de-ville-custom/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=726730 My recent trip to Southern California resulted in a bonanza of Junkyard Finds, including the first-ever Junkyard Find Jensen Interceptor, this Maserati Biturbo Spyder, this hyper-rare Sterling 827 SLi fastback, this super-scary AM General ice cream truck, and this Corinthian Leather-equipped Chrysler Cordoba. Is that all? No, that is not all! Today we’re going to […]

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09 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMy recent trip to Southern California resulted in a bonanza of Junkyard Finds, including the first-ever Junkyard Find Jensen Interceptor, this Maserati Biturbo Spyder, this hyper-rare Sterling 827 SLi fastback, this super-scary AM General ice cream truck, and this Corinthian Leather-equipped Chrysler Cordoba. Is that all? No, that is not all! Today we’re going to admire an amazingly luxurious customized Malaise Coupe de Ville.
04 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe problem with the factory version of this car was the lack of privacy in the back seat. Say you’re above all the lights in those high-rolling hills— do you want your romantic Cadillac activities to be visible to everyone?
14 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin500 cubic inches, 210 horsepower. That’s just barely 25 horses per liter.
07 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot that you really need a lot of horsepower with a sled like this. Sadly, the custom vinyl isn’t looking so good when you get up close.
15 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinScrap metal is just worth too much to keep a car like this away from The Crusher.
Here’s an ad that shows Cadillac’s push to be the least exclusive luxury marque. As we all know, that didn’t work out so well for The General.

01 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Geo Metro-amino Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1990-geo-metro-amino-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1990-geo-metro-amino-pickup/#comments Fri, 14 Jun 2013 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491854 It takes a really special Geo Metro to achieve Junkyard Find status; the last one that managed the feat was this bright green electric-powered ’95, which turned out to be a Ree-V conversion made in Colorado during the EV optimism of the late 2000s. During a trip to my old San Francisco Bay stomping grounds […]

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14 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt takes a really special Geo Metro to achieve Junkyard Find status; the last one that managed the feat was this bright green electric-powered ’95, which turned out to be a Ree-V conversion made in Colorado during the EV optimism of the late 2000s. During a trip to my old San Francisco Bay stomping grounds a few weeks ago, I spotted today’s Junkyard Find parked just a few yards away from this will-make-you-haz-a-sad 1960 Nash Metropolitan.
07 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese conversions (if based on a GM car, the correct term is “El-Caminoization”; Fords are “Rancheroized” and Chryslers get “Rampagized”) usually result when a hooptie car owner who owns a Sawzall but no cash really wants a pickup truck, right now. This one looks like it was built pretty well, by the standards of the genre.
12 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo big-block Suzuki four-banger here; this is the genuine 50-plus-MPG three-cylinder engine.
06 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCargo capacity is quite small, which is a good thing considering the front-drivedness and tiny size of this machine.
04 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Metro wasn’t quite as miserably slow as you’d expect, but that’s more due to low expectations than actual performance.
09 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Apple sticker is a weird touch; the kind of person who would build such a hacked-up piece of backyard engineering most likely doesn’t feel comfortable with the don’t-resist-the-Cupertino-way philosophy behind Apple products. I’d guess that the builder of this car runs non-Cupertino/non-Redmond operating systems on surplus hardware. Of course, it’s possible that the builder sold his or her Metroamino to someone who bought it for a single Burning Man trip and then scrapped it.
02 - 1990 Geo Metro Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhat’s next, a Geo Stormamino? A Cateramino? Achievamino?

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Tailgate Mural Fails To Spare This Expedition From Crusher’s Jaws http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/tailgate-mural-fails-to-spare-this-expedition-from-crushers-jaws/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/tailgate-mural-fails-to-spare-this-expedition-from-crushers-jaws/#comments Thu, 16 May 2013 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=488640 You see a fair amount of customization among the inmates of a high-turnover, self-service wrecking yard; sometimes it’s a full-on time-capsule RX-7 and sometimes it’s the kind of thing Manny, Moe, and Jack would build after a week-long ether-and-DMT binge. Here’s a fairly well-executed, if puzzling, airbrush mural I spotted at a Denver yard a […]

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03 - Nightmare Ford Expedition Tailgate Mural - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou see a fair amount of customization among the inmates of a high-turnover, self-service wrecking yard; sometimes it’s a full-on time-capsule RX-7 and sometimes it’s the kind of thing Manny, Moe, and Jack would build after a week-long ether-and-DMT binge. Here’s a fairly well-executed, if puzzling, airbrush mural I spotted at a Denver yard a few months back.
02 - Nightmare Ford Expedition Tailgate Mural - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven with the swastika vandalization— which may have hastened the depreciation of this truck’s value and helped lead to its junkyardization— you can make out some weird details on the subject’s face. There’s a certain air of Juggaloism in the semi-clownlike makeup, but what does the “Under Oath” caption mean?
04 - Nightmare Ford Expedition Tailgate Mural - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf only junkyard vehicles could talk!

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Want To Impress The Swells At the Country Club? Hemi-fied Custom Dodge A100 Pickup! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/want-to-impress-the-swells-at-the-country-club-hemi-fied-custom-dodge-a100-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/want-to-impress-the-swells-at-the-country-club-hemi-fied-custom-dodge-a100-pickup/#comments Fri, 10 May 2013 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=487909 Of all the racing venues I visit during my travels as Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court, the ritzy clubs tend to be the weirdest. We went to the Monticello Motor Club in New York a few weeks back, and twice a year the LeMons Traveling Circus rolls into the Autobahn […]

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02 - Custom Dodge A100 pickup - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOf all the racing venues I visit during my travels as Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court, the ritzy clubs tend to be the weirdest. We went to the Monticello Motor Club in New York a few weeks back, and twice a year the LeMons Traveling Circus rolls into the Autobahn Country Club in Illinois. The reaction of the members, who must navigate the madness of the LeMons pit scene as they drive their GT3s and Facel-Vegas to the clubhouse, runs the gamut from loathing to delight. Most of the time I ignore these guys— I always feel like we’re caddies in the pool in that setting— but as the owner of an A100 I just had to talk to the owner of this truck that showed up at the 2012 Showroom-Schlock Shootout.
07 - Custom Dodge A100 pickup - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI didn’t get the guy’s name, but I recall that his passenger was a veteran of the 1949 Indianapolis 500.
03 - Custom Dodge A100 pickup - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHe was on his way into the clubhouse, but told me to go ahead and open up whatever I wanted and shoot whatever photographs I felt like shooting. The bodywork was flawless, all the chrome was perfect, and the truck was full of custom touches like this aluminum instrument cluster.
04 - Custom Dodge A100 pickup - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, that’s a modern 5.7 Hemi under the doghouse. There’s barely room for the LA-block 318 in my van, so I know some serious fabrication went into making this swap fit.
09 - Custom Dodge A100 pickup - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis setup isn’t quite as extreme as the one in the Little Red Wagon, but it would take a very brave man to stand on this pickup’s throttle.

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Question: Which Is More Gloriously Extreme, Houston SLABs or Bosozoku Style? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/question-which-is-more-gloriously-extreme-houston-slabs-or-bosozoku-style/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/question-which-is-more-gloriously-extreme-houston-slabs-or-bosozoku-style/#comments Thu, 13 Dec 2012 15:30:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469872 In recent years, there was no way any car customizer in the world was going to come close to the absurd lengths that practitioners of Bōsōzoku Style in Japan went to when modifying their vehicles. Six exhaust pipes sticking ten feet straight up out of a slammed Corona with an octo-wing? Not enough! That’s a […]

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In recent years, there was no way any car customizer in the world was going to come close to the absurd lengths that practitioners of Bōsōzoku Style in Japan went to when modifying their vehicles. Six exhaust pipes sticking ten feet straight up out of a slammed Corona with an octo-wing? Not enough! That’s a shame for patriotic Americans, because we once ruled the world when it came to brain-scrambling, utterly senseless customized vehicles. But wait! The love of 84s and old-timey lowrider-style kandy paint in Houston has led to a renaissance, and the SLAB (Slow, Loud, And Bangin’) may be knocking the Bōsōzoku Style machines off their pedestal.

A SLAB is typically (though not always) a GM luxury sedan, and it boasts wheels with way more “poke” than anything Cragar ever imagined for the ’84 Eldorado (the aftermarket has stepped in with 30-spoke “elbows” that stick out 18″ or more), kandy paint, neon, 10-billion-watt sound systems, and so on. The green Cadillac at 0:13 in the video above may well be The Greatest Car of All Time. Take that, Japan! As Mike Jones says in his SLAB anthem, “tippin’ on four ‘bows, wrapped in four Vogues.”

But then… check out what’s going on over there!

Yeah, put on some Melt-Banana, add another 20 exhaust pipes, and maybe the SLABs have another couple of years before they can match Bōsōzoku Style. What do you say?
Bosozoku car image at top courtesy of Bozozokustyle.com

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Mazda RX-7, with Incredibly 80s Custom Paint http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/junkyard-find-1980-mazda-rx-7-with-incredibly-80s-custom-paint/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/junkyard-find-1980-mazda-rx-7-with-incredibly-80s-custom-paint/#comments Tue, 20 Nov 2012 14:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=467493 First-generation RX-7s aren’t uncommon Junkyard Finds, even though the youngest ones are 27 years old now. However, not many full-on early-to-mid-80s custom paint jobs show up at junkyards these days. Here’s one I found in Denver last week. Purple, pink, and gold with pinstripes! With a 5-digit odometer, there’s no way of knowing how many […]

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First-generation RX-7s aren’t uncommon Junkyard Finds, even though the youngest ones are 27 years old now. However, not many full-on early-to-mid-80s custom paint jobs show up at junkyards these days. Here’s one I found in Denver last week.
Purple, pink, and gold with pinstripes!
With a 5-digit odometer, there’s no way of knowing how many miles this car traveled during its 32 years on the planet. 88,000? 188,000? 288,000? It seems pretty clean, given its current parking space, so the first figure could be the right one.
It’s possible that this wild paint job got sprayed on while Jimmy Carter was still in the White House, or perhaps it was applied five years ago. So many mysteries with a car like this!

28 MPG in an early RX-7? Ah, for the days when highway fuel economy was calculated at 42 MPH… down a steep grade… drafting behind a line of tractor-trailers.

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Question: Which Stodgy Luxury Car Gets Most Transformed At Extremely Low Altitude? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/question-which-stodgy-luxury-car-gets-most-transformed-at-extremely-low-altitude/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/question-which-stodgy-luxury-car-gets-most-transformed-at-extremely-low-altitude/#comments Wed, 24 Oct 2012 18:32:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=464847 After my tirade about big fat luxury cars in the 24 Hours of LeMons, I got to thinking about all the once-boring luxury machines I’ve seen with brutal slam jobs. In so many cases— yes, even with a vintage Audi 100— dropping the Chairman of the Board’s luxury ride about a foot works wonders for […]

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After my tirade about big fat luxury cars in the 24 Hours of LeMons, I got to thinking about all the once-boring luxury machines I’ve seen with brutal slam jobs. In so many cases— yes, even with a vintage Audi 100— dropping the Chairman of the Board’s luxury ride about a foot works wonders for its appearance.
For my money, Japanese luxury cars such as the Mitsubishi Debonair, Toyota Century, and Nissan President respond best to this treatment, as demonstrated by many wild-eyed Japanese customizers (though Detroit limos look great, too). How about you?

Toyota Century image from Minkara, via Speedhunters.

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UFO Spotted In Oakland. Can You Identify It? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/ufo-spotted-in-oakland-can-you-identify-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/ufo-spotted-in-oakland-can-you-identify-it/#comments Wed, 05 Sep 2012 14:30:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=458985 I was in my old East Bay stomping grounds last weekend, to drive the Scion FR-S (review coming soon) and watch the Oakland A’s beat up the hapless Red Sox. I also spotted one of the greatest motor vehicles in history while driving down High Street on the way to The Island That Rust Forgot. […]

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I was in my old East Bay stomping grounds last weekend, to drive the Scion FR-S (review coming soon) and watch the Oakland A’s beat up the hapless Red Sox. I also spotted one of the greatest motor vehicles in history while driving down High Street on the way to The Island That Rust Forgot. It featured the letters “UFO” across a vaguely tailgate-ish rear body panel. I’ve puzzled out the type of vehicle it’s based on. Can you?
Actually, I cheated a little by looking up the license plate in the California smog check database. It’s a 1973 Chevy Luv pickup with a whole bunch of innovative modifications.
I tried to talk to the driver about it, but she seemed reluctant to chat with anyone in a Hot Lava Orange Scion.
The world needs more customized trucks like this!

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Junkyard Find: Mystery Old-School Custom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-mystery-old-school-custom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-mystery-old-school-custom/#comments Sat, 11 Aug 2012 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=456331 I plan to visit the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard later today (to discuss the purchase of a certain early-50s machine I covet), and that means I’ll have a chance to ask the proprietor a question that’s been bugging me for over a month: What is this mysterious vehicle in your yard? In the meantime, however, I’d […]

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I plan to visit the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard later today (to discuss the purchase of a certain early-50s machine I covet), and that means I’ll have a chance to ask the proprietor a question that’s been bugging me for over a month: What is this mysterious vehicle in your yard?
In the meantime, however, I’d like to hear some theories from the TTAC readers about what sort of car this apparent 1950s custom convertible might be based on.
I wasn’t able to get the hood open, so I don’t know what sort of engine (if any) once powered this machine. Quick, what is it?

05 - Mystery 1950s Custom Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - Mystery 1950s Custom Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - Mystery 1950s Custom Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - Mystery 1950s Custom Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - Mystery 1950s Custom Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: Customized Nightmare 1958 Ford http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/junkyard-find-customized-nightmare-1958-ford/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/junkyard-find-customized-nightmare-1958-ford/#comments Thu, 22 Dec 2011 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423246 Everyone likes a nicely customized, lowrider-style 50s Detroit bomb, but sometimes the execution isn’t so great. Such is the case with this late-50s Ford— I’m going to say it’s a ’58— that I spotted in a Denver junkyard. It’s been hacked up pretty well by someone that wanted the roof, but that just serves to […]

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Everyone likes a nicely customized, lowrider-style 50s Detroit bomb, but sometimes the execution isn’t so great. Such is the case with this late-50s Ford— I’m going to say it’s a ’58— that I spotted in a Denver junkyard.
It’s been hacked up pretty well by someone that wanted the roof, but that just serves to expose the inner workings of this nightmare.
Like, say, the waterlogged, crudely-cut plywood interior.
Or the Pinto floor shifter and switch panels lifted from who-knows-what kind of car.
It’s hard to tell whether or not it ever drove under its own power with this configuration, but The Crusher doesn’t care about that. The Crusher just hungers for steel!

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Piston Slap: What is The Poor Man’s TARDIS? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/piston-slap-what-is-the-poor-mans-tardis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/piston-slap-what-is-the-poor-mans-tardis/#comments Tue, 01 Nov 2011 18:45:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=416230   TTAC commentator horseflesh writes: Sajeev, Last year I wrote to you seeking the B&B’s help in selling a car. Well, Grandma’s Park Avenue is gone now, in short, I found that the best way to sell a Buick is to befriend a used car dealer and supply him with BBQ meats until he calls […]

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TTAC commentator horseflesh writes:

Sajeev,

Last year I wrote to you seeking the B&B’s help in selling a car. Well, Grandma’s Park Avenue is gone now, in short, I found that the best way to sell a Buick is to befriend a used car dealer and supply him with BBQ meats until he calls some other guys he knows who move a lot of Grandma cars. Done correctly, this takes your friend 5 minutes on the phone, and costs you only 15 minutes at a dealer. It’s a beautiful thing!

But now that the Buick is gone I find myself needing another vehicle… also large, and perhaps also white. I’m looking for something cheap and boxy to haul my toys around in. Mountain bikes, scuba gear, model airplanes… These things can be moved around with a sedan, but it’s a chore and there is never enough room for everything. Oh, there is a Triumph Bonneville 750 in the garage too, so naturally it needs to be taken to the mechanic from time to time. And did I mention the pinball machines that I need to move sometimes? Currently I need to ask friends with trucks for help with those things, and I’d like to become self-sufficient.

So, the ideal vehicle will have a fully enclosed cargo area of TARDIS-like capacity, be indifferent to muddy toys, and be able to haul 500 lbs of broken British motorcycle plus two people. It will be a changing room and occasionally a workshop when a toy breaks. It won’t have to go off-road, but it will have to handle a dirt road. Some kind of sink and potable water tank would be a big plus too–that isn’t mandatory, but being cheap and reliable is.

The ubiquitous Ford E-150 van looks like the right sort of thing, but I don’t know anything about its reliability when well-used, or what other good options might be.

Sajeev Answers:

Yup, you need a full size van. Maybe a Chevy Astro-like Minivan, as they are also cheap and reliable. But the Astro isn’t exactly made for drivers with left feet, so maybe the bigger vans are a smarter idea. Plus, you can get that sink you so greatly desire.

The E-150 is indeed the obvious choice, as it is the 800lb Gorilla in this market. Sprinter Vans are pricey and quite the PITA to service unless you are a certified Sprinter Technician. The older Dodge vans might be okay, but all the ones I’ve experienced suffered from off putting transmission woes. The newer Chevy Express isn’t much to write home about, but the older ones were pretty frickin’ tough and easy on the eyes. You know, for a van.

Oh, and thanks for not giving us a budget to work with. That said, I am assuming you are looking for a beater in the $10,000 or less range…or not much higher.

In that realm? Most definitely the van with the most service records. I’d stick with Fords and Chevys in your price range, with the standard V8, and a smooth (yet not sloppy) shifting transmission. You might find a custom van is your best value, even if you’ll need to hack it up a bit to be more cargo friendly.

Enjoy your rolling TARDIS.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Tastefully Modified Texas Ranchero Packs Cadillac Power, Towing Package http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/tastefully-modified-texas-ranchero-packs-cadillac-power-towing-package/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/tastefully-modified-texas-ranchero-packs-cadillac-power-towing-package/#comments Thu, 13 Oct 2011 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=414463 When you’re looking at a basket-case Ford Ranchero, a Cadillac 500-cubic-inch V8 plus TH400 transmission, an ancient Mercedes-Benz hood, and a yard full of random scrap metal, do you feel optimistic? The builder of this fine machine certainly did! Built on a budget of just under a grand, this daily-driving, super-customized, tire-melting monster gets plenty […]

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When you’re looking at a basket-case Ford Ranchero, a Cadillac 500-cubic-inch V8 plus TH400 transmission, an ancient Mercedes-Benz hood, and a yard full of random scrap metal, do you feel optimistic? The builder of this fine machine certainly did!
Built on a budget of just under a grand, this daily-driving, super-customized, tire-melting monster gets plenty of respect in the Houston area.
The engine came from an abandoned 24 Hours of LeMons Eldorado project, and the Shorty Ranchero’s builder decided to come check out the Yeehaw It’s Texas race and see what this weird race was all about. Little did he know that his machine would be worshiped by LeMons racers the way that cargo cults worship C-47s. I’m pretty sure he’s been drafted onto a team by this time.
Little touches like this “fuel gauge” abound; there’s a mirror positioned so that the driver can see the fuel level from behind the wheel. The beer keg fuel tank was found at the side of a Texas highway.
The Excalibur-style spare-tire mount didn’t have a tire attached, but that didn’t take away from the Shorty Ranchero’s class.
Supposedly it drives just fine, quite comfortable on the highway and with ridiculous power. We can’t see a single flaw!

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Down On the Alameda Street: 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible Donk http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/down-on-the-alameda-street-1968-oldsmobile-cutlass-convertible-donk/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/down-on-the-alameda-street-1968-oldsmobile-cutlass-convertible-donk/#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2011 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=412044 While in California to check out Billetproof Nor-Cal last weekend, I had the chance to visit The Island That Rust Forgot. It didn’t take long to find this ’67 Barracuda convertible and today’s find. Oakland, which is the mainland to Alameda’s island (separated by about 100 yards of estuary), has been Donk Headquarters for many […]

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While in California to check out Billetproof Nor-Cal last weekend, I had the chance to visit The Island That Rust Forgot. It didn’t take long to find this ’67 Barracuda convertible and today’s find.
Oakland, which is the mainland to Alameda’s island (separated by about 100 yards of estuary), has been Donk Headquarters for many years now. If you want to split hairs, a true donk must be a box Impala, but I guarantee that nobody on Foothill Boulevard would deny donk status to this machine.

At this point, let’s set the proper mood for contemplating this car by putting on some Too $hort.
Now, some Oldsmobile purists might try to say that a classic Cutlass convertible doesn’t look right with this treatment, but the definition of “purist” (as stated by my friend who enraged his purist Econoline Club peers by dropping a 460 in his low-mile, Canadian-market Mercury Econoline) is “someone who won’t piss in the shower.”
As a former Cutlass owner (purple ’69), I think this car looks good as it sits. First, it’s an ancient A-body convertible that still lives on the street. Second, it livens up a neighborhood full of minivans and Lexuses. Third, if a donk belongs on a race track, it certainly belongs on the street.

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Mystery Car: Quick, What the Hell Is It? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/mystery-car-quick-what-the-hell-is-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/mystery-car-quick-what-the-hell-is-it/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2011 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=411049 I usually limit my cars-in-the-wild photography to street-parked machinery, but I had to make an exception for this fine motor vehicle that I spotted in a Denver parking lot. I’m pretty sure I’m seeing Chrysler K-platform ancestry here, but… words fail me. Quite a bit of labor-intensive customization has gone into this machine, and I […]

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I usually limit my cars-in-the-wild photography to street-parked machinery, but I had to make an exception for this fine motor vehicle that I spotted in a Denver parking lot. I’m pretty sure I’m seeing Chrysler K-platform ancestry here, but… words fail me.
Quite a bit of labor-intensive customization has gone into this machine, and I can’t tell whether it’s a K-based kit car with further modifications or a 200-proof, one-of-a-kind dream project.
If I had to guess, I’d say there’s a late-80s/early-90s LeBaron in there somewhere, with custom grill, custom hatch, custom taillights, and custom everything. Your thoughts?

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Junkyard Find: Jacqui’s Chevelle May Clog Crusher With Excess Bondo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/junkyard-find-jacquis-chevelle-may-clog-crusher-with-excess-bondo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/junkyard-find-jacquis-chevelle-may-clog-crusher-with-excess-bondo/#comments Sat, 03 Sep 2011 21:15:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=410166 Poor Jacqui. Her ’64 Chevelle sedan looked great with her name on the trunklid, surrounded by airbrushed vines and flowers. Then the mean tow-truck man showed up and hauled it away. Well, maybe this Chevy (which I found in a Denver self-serve yard last week) had a few cosmetic flaws, including an unfortunate bowling-ball-dropped-from-5th-floor dent […]

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Poor Jacqui. Her ’64 Chevelle sedan looked great with her name on the trunklid, surrounded by airbrushed vines and flowers. Then the mean tow-truck man showed up and hauled it away.
Well, maybe this Chevy (which I found in a Denver self-serve yard last week) had a few cosmetic flaws, including an unfortunate bowling-ball-dropped-from-5th-floor dent in the roof.
I like to use chicken-wire as an armature when I use this much Bondo on a car, but that’s just me.
I’m slightly tempted to buy this trunklid for garage display, but not before I hang the Goddess of the Rockies milk-truck door in there first.

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Who Says You Shouldn’t Slam an Audi 100? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/who-says-you-shouldnt-slam-an-audi-100/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/who-says-you-shouldnt-slam-an-audi-100/#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2011 15:51:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=393150 When I was 16 and just beginning to contemplate expanding my personal automotive fleet beyond a ’69 Corona sedan, I had the opportunity to buy three Audi 100s for 350 bucks. Actually, the deal was more like 3.75 Audi 100s, what with all the random engine parts stuffed in the trunks and oozing oil onto […]

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When I was 16 and just beginning to contemplate expanding my personal automotive fleet beyond a ’69 Corona sedan, I had the opportunity to buy three Audi 100s for 350 bucks. Actually, the deal was more like 3.75 Audi 100s, what with all the random engine parts stuffed in the trunks and oozing oil onto the upholstery. None of the three ran, but I figured I could play mix-and-match with the parts and make one runner, which I would then customize in the finest 1982 style (shudder). I ended up passing on the tripartate-O-100s, due to what I thought was the inherently uncool image of the marque (back then, only orthodontists drove Audis), but the question remains: what can be done to fix the stodgy-yet-vaguely-sporty image of the C1 Audi 100?

Tomas Sport Tuning seems to have figured it out. This 8-track-equipped 100LS rides on airbags now, and the look actually works. The key is the factory hubcaps; 21st-century wheels would just look silly.

The only improvement I’d suggest would be an early-70s-grade brown paint job.

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Cargo Capacity Slightly Diminished, But Totally Worth It! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/cargo-capacity-slightly-diminished-but-totally-worth-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/cargo-capacity-slightly-diminished-but-totally-worth-it/#comments Tue, 11 Jan 2011 17:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=380123 Here’s a totally practical daily driver I spotted on the south side of Denver a while back. My sources tell me that this Svenmeister Hardcore Kustoms creation, which appears to be a ’49 Ford pickup, was driven to the salt flats and back immediately after completion. Must have been a rough ride, but who cares? […]

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Here’s a totally practical daily driver I spotted on the south side of Denver a while back.

My sources tell me that this Svenmeister Hardcore Kustoms creation, which appears to be a ’49 Ford pickup, was driven to the salt flats and back immediately after completion. Must have been a rough ride, but who cares?

The only disappointment about this fine machine is the small-block Chevy, though the cop-enragin’ straight pipes compensate somewhat. If ever a truck needed a Lincoln 462, this is it!

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Shorty Shoebox-amino Astounds, Confounds http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/shorty-shoebox-amino-astounds-confounds/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/shorty-shoebox-amino-astounds-confounds/#comments Mon, 10 Jan 2011 19:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=380039 Not many of us wake up in the morning and say to ourselves, “I think I’m going to shorten and narrow a ’57 Chevy wagon, give it a truck bed, and install a 427 with a 5-speed!” Check out the powered bed-cover! The owner of this incredible machine, however, did say that to himself, and […]

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Not many of us wake up in the morning and say to ourselves, “I think I’m going to shorten and narrow a ’57 Chevy wagon, give it a truck bed, and install a 427 with a 5-speed!”

Check out the powered bed-cover! The owner of this incredible machine, however, did say that to himself, and I spotted the result parked in front of a Denver wrecking yard. He didn’t have a lot to say about his creation, no doubt because he’s burned out from all the constant questions lobbed at him from dudes with eyeballs bugged out of their heads in amazed Rat Fink fashion, but I was able to get the summary of what he’d done.

The best part? This beast gets driven on the street for everyday errands such as junkyard shopping expeditions. If only someone would do this for a Studebaker Scotsman wagon…

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Putin Loves His (Customized) Lada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/putin-loves-his-customized-lada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/putin-loves-his-customized-lada/#comments Mon, 25 Jan 2010 19:50:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=342950 Russian President Vladimir Putin first showed off his badass camo Lada Niva early last year, in an attempt to boost the fortunes of the floundering state-supported Russian automaker AvtoVAZ. What Putin didn’t reveal until just now is that his Niva isn’t exactly stock.”I won’t hide it [anymore?] , the car I bought has an Opel […]

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Russian President Vladimir Putin first showed off his badass camo Lada Niva early last year, in an attempt to boost the fortunes of the floundering state-supported Russian automaker AvtoVAZ. What Putin didn’t reveal until just now is that his Niva isn’t exactly stock.”I won’t hide it [anymore?] , the car I bought has an Opel engine,” he tells the WaPo. “It turns out that it’s more powerful.” Now wonder Russian parliamentarians are starting to advocate dumping AvtoVAZ on Renault, which in turn is drawing a familiar homerism from local pols in Russia’s Detroit, Tolyatti. In other car-salesman-in-chief developments today, Barack Obama revealed that he believes GM is a world-class automaker because his Cadillac is so badass.

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Whats Wrong With This Picture: Compact Co-Branding Rolls On Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-compact-co-branding-rolls-on-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-compact-co-branding-rolls-on-edition/#comments Thu, 19 Nov 2009 18:02:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=336122 Autocar confirms that BMW has green-lighted a “MINI by Rolls-Royce,” featuring a “totally individual, coachbuilt” interiors finished at Rolls’ Goodwood plant. The Aston Martin Cygnet and Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari have been put on notice… as have the marketing geniuses who thought they were good ideas. At least Rolls-trimmed MINIs have good precedent.

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(courtesy:Autocar.co.uk)

Autocar confirms that BMW has green-lighted a “MINI by Rolls-Royce,” featuring a “totally individual, coachbuilt” interiors finished at Rolls’ Goodwood plant. The Aston Martin Cygnet and Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari have been put on notice… as have the marketing geniuses who thought they were good ideas. At least Rolls-trimmed MINIs have good precedent.

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