The Truth About Cars » Denver http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 27 Aug 2015 20:25:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 » Denver http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 2000 Volvo S80 T6 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-2000-volvo-s80-t6/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-2000-volvo-s80-t6/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152257 I promised more 21st-century Junkyard Finds recently, so here’s a high-end Volvo with turbo boost rivaled only by its turbocharged depreciation levels. Yes, it’s the Volvo S80, complete with twin-turbo 286hp tranverse-mount straight-six. Looks like an insurance-auction car, and it was a runner. Except for the banged-up hood (which may have been the result of […]

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18 - 2000 Volvo S80 T6 Junkyard Car - photo by Murilee Martin

I promised more 21st-century Junkyard Finds recently, so here’s a high-end Volvo with turbo boost rivaled only by its turbocharged depreciation levels. Yes, it’s the Volvo S80, complete with twin-turbo 286hp tranverse-mount straight-six.
17 - 2000 Volvo S80 T6 Junkyard Car - photo by Murilee Martin

Looks like an insurance-auction car, and it was a runner.

03 - 2000 Volvo S80 T6 Junkyard Car - photo by Murilee Martin

Except for the banged-up hood (which may have been the result of junkyard employees prying it open after the inside release failed), the body and interior look to be in nice shape.

13 - 2000 Volvo S80 T6 Junkyard Car - photo by Murilee Martin

I’ve heard possible urban legends stating that this engine — yes, it’s possible to get six cylinders sideways in an engine compartment — will bolt up to the bellhousing in a manual-transmission Volvo 760, which opens the door to all sorts of fun with 240 swaps. The crazy Swedes building a 500-horse Volvo 142 drift car have a couple of these engines stashed in the shop for future projects.

15 - 2000 Volvo S80 T6 Junkyard Car - photo by Murilee Martin

I’m not sure what’s going on with the steel mesh over the grille.

My goodness!

It was a futuristic-looking car, 15 or so years ago.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Porsche 924 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-1978-porsche-924-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-1978-porsche-924-2/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1137850 Many Internet Car Experts believe that any Porsche, no matter how battered, is worth big money. Spend some time around the 24 Hours of LeMons and you’ll learn otherwise, and of course you can always find 924s, 944s, 914s, and even the occasional 928 in the cheap self-serve wrecking yards. The 944 is the most […]

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00 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Many Internet Car Experts believe that any Porsche, no matter how battered, is worth big money. Spend some time around the 24 Hours of LeMons and you’ll learn otherwise, and of course you can always find 924s, 944s, 914s, and even the occasional 928 in the cheap self-serve wrecking yards. The 944 is the most common, but for some reason I have never shot one for this series. I’ll remedy that soon, but for now here’s a much-abused 924 I spotted in Denver not long ago.
08 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

My favorite Fun Porsche 924 Fact is that you could buy a DJ-5 mail Jeep with just about the same Audi engine as the Porsche 924 (you could get the engine in other AMCs as well, including the Gremlin).

09 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Still, the 924 was fairly sporty for its time, and I’ve seen plenty of well-driven ones knock out decent lap times on road courses.

01 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

This one doesn’t seem rusty, but we can assume that its last half-dozen owners were not meticulous types who treated it gently.

05 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

There’s a 944 at the same yard now, and I’m still bummed that some guy beat me to its nice VDO gauges by about 30 seconds at the All-You-Can-Carry-For-$59.99 junkyard sale. I’ll go back and photograph it soon.

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Junkyard Find: 2004 Dodge Stratus R/T Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-2004-dodge-stratus-rt-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-2004-dodge-stratus-rt-coupe/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1136706 The Dodge Stratus Coupe was another one of those badge-engineering/branding oddities that will be driving parts-counter employees crazy for many years to come; it had very little in common with the Stratus sedan and in fact was a close relative of the Mitsubishi Eclipse. I see never-ending lines of Stratus sedans at wrecking yards these […]

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11 - 2004 Dodge Stratus RT Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The Dodge Stratus Coupe was another one of those badge-engineering/branding oddities that will be driving parts-counter employees crazy for many years to come; it had very little in common with the Stratus sedan and in fact was a close relative of the Mitsubishi Eclipse. I see never-ending lines of Stratus sedans at wrecking yards these days (only the near-valueless Sebring outnumbers the Cloud Cars in the Chrysler sections of U-Wrench-It today), but R/T Coupes are fairly uncommon. Here’s a clean one I spotted in a Denver yard last week.
06 - 2004 Dodge Stratus RT Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The versatile Mitsubishi 6G72 had a very long production run, starting in 1986, and its 6G75 cousins are still made today. The one in the Stratus R/T Coupe made a pretty decent 200 horsepower. Perhaps The Worst Car In History would stop killing 6G72s if it got one of the 21st-century examples.

03 - 2004 Dodge Stratus RT Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The R/T tachometer was mean-looking.

“You know you need a player in there to help with them 200 horses!” Chrysler did many very embarrassing ads during the 2000s.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Cadillac Allanté http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-1988-cadillac-allante/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-1988-cadillac-allante/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 11:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1136562 For many years, I wandered junkyards in search of one of the rare Detroito-Italian cars of the late 1980s — the Cadillac Allanté and the Chrysler’s TC by Maserati. Finally, just this year, it happened: I found this 1989 Allanté in Southern California, then this TC by Maserati in Northern California, and now we’ve got […]

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07 - 1988 Cadillac Allante Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

For many years, I wandered junkyards in search of one of the rare Detroito-Italian cars of the late 1980s — the Cadillac Allanté and the Chrysler’s TC by Maserati. Finally, just this year, it happened: I found this 1989 Allanté in Southern California, then this TC by Maserati in Northern California, and now we’ve got this 1988 Allanté here in Denver.
04 - 1988 Cadillac Allante Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

This is the most desirable of all the HTV100 engines, with its tuned intake manifold. 170 horses in 1988.

02 - 1988 Cadillac Allante Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The production process for these cars involved specially-equipped Boeing 747s flying complete bodies from the Pininfarina shop in Cambiano, Italy to Hamtramck, Michigan. As you might imagine, this was somewhat costly for The General and the ’88 Allanté listed at $56,533. That’s an amazing $114k in 2015 dollars.

01 - 1988 Cadillac Allante Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Since that kind of money would have bought you a brand-new 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL (or, for a few more grand, the 420SEL), the Allanté didn’t steal away many German-luxury-car shoppers with its front-wheel-drive pushrod V8.

11 - 1988 Cadillac Allante Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Urban legend has it that TC by Maserati and Allanté hardtops, in any condition, are worth an easy $1,000. Here is definitive proof that such is not the case in the real world; this hardtop has been sitting on the ground at this yard for weeks now. Perhaps someone will grab it at this weekend’s All You Can Carry For $59.99 sale.

Comes with car phone!

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Citation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-2/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 12:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1134033 The well-publicized reliability troubles of the GM X-body family caused General Motors plenty of image damage during the 1980s, but the Chevy version sold well (at first). Now, of course, most are gone, but examples turn up in wrecking yards every once in a while these days. So far in this series, we’ve seen this […]

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12 - 1981 Chevrolet Citation Junkyard Find - photo by Murilee Martin

The well-publicized reliability troubles of the GM X-body family caused General Motors plenty of image damage during the 1980s, but the Chevy version sold well (at first). Now, of course, most are gone, but examples turn up in wrecking yards every once in a while these days. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’80 Skylark, this ’81 Citation, this frighteningly rusty ’81 Citation, this ’82 Citation, this ’82 Citation, this ’83 Citation, and this ’84 Omega. Now I’ve found another ’81, with a very nice interior and no apparent rust, in a Denver yard.
19 - 1981 Chevrolet Citation Junkyard Find - photo by Murilee Martin

Originally sold by Mike Perry Chevrolet & Oldsmobile in Wayne, Nebraska, this car still has the original owner’s manual and inspection certificate.

17 - 1981 Chevrolet Citation Junkyard Find - photo by Murilee Martin

An ignition key in a junkyard car usually means that the yard bought it from an insurance-company auction. The car took a bad hit in the left rear corner, which reduced its value to whatever the per-ton price for shreddable cars was at the moment. Perhaps I’m a little harsh on the X-body, but my criticisms come from personal experience.

05 - 1981 Chevrolet Citation Junkyard Find - photo by Murilee Martin

It has air-conditioning, but the original buyer didn’t want to splurge on the AM-FM radio.

09 - 1981 Chevrolet Citation Junkyard Find - photo by Murilee Martin

The optional 2.8-liter V6 was a better choice than the base Iron Duke four.

01 - 1981 Chevrolet Citation Junkyard Find - photo by Murilee Martin

Chrysler wheel covers!

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Junkyard Find: 1998 Audi A8 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-1998-audi-a8/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/junkyard-find-1998-audi-a8/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 11:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1130265 I see so many stunningly depreciated German luxury cars in pretty nice condition at the cheap self-service wrecking yards that they don’t register in my consciousness much more than your typical Sebring or Sephia. These days, though, I’m making an effort to notice such cars, since it seems that many of you thought this big […]

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16 - Junkyard 1998 Audi A8 - Photo by Murilee Martin

I see so many stunningly depreciated German luxury cars in pretty nice condition at the cheap self-service wrecking yards that they don’t register in my consciousness much more than your typical Sebring or Sephia. These days, though, I’m making an effort to notice such cars, since it seems that many of you thought this big V12-powered BMW was interesting.

I was headed over to the Denver U-Pull-&-Pay last week, in search of some bits for my ’41 Plymouth project, and I resolved to find and photograph a high-end Audi. Sure enough, here’s this clean A8, not as new as I’d like, but still an excellent example of what happens to such cars soon after they get into the hands of their third or fourth owners.
12 - Junkyard 1998 Audi A8 - Photo by Murilee Martin

The list price on the 4.2-equipped 1998 A8 was $65,000, or about 95 grand today. 300 horses out of this smooth runner. Don’t postpone the timing-belt replacements!

20 - Junkyard 1998 Audi A8 - Photo by Murilee Martin

The body looked to be in good shape prior to the junkyard employees (or maybe the tow-yard guys) ravaging the trunk to get the lock opened.

01 - Junkyard 1998 Audi A8 - Photo by Murilee Martin

The interior is nice, of course.

10 - Junkyard 1998 Audi A8 - Photo by Murilee Martin

If you know how to work on these admittedly complex machines, you always have a rich source of replacement parts at your local yards. The A8 may be your biggest-luxury-per-buck investment in a cheap used car.

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Custom, with Bonus 1993 Newspapers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1973-oldsmobile-delta-88-custom-bonus-1993-newspapers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1973-oldsmobile-delta-88-custom-bonus-1993-newspapers/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126729 The full-sized Olds 88 was around for decade after decade, and we’ve seen a few of them in this series so far. There was this ’67 Delta, this ’70 Delta, and this ’84 Delta Royale Brougham, and of course many of us remain fans of music devoted to the now-defunct marque. Here’s a ’73 Delta […]

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30 - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Down On the Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

The full-sized Olds 88 was around for decade after decade, and we’ve seen a few of them in this series so far. There was this ’67 Delta, this ’70 Delta, and this ’84 Delta Royale Brougham, and of course many of us remain fans of music devoted to the now-defunct marque. Here’s a ’73 Delta 88 Custom (whoops, it appears to be a ’70) that I photographed in a Denver self-service yard last winter.
44 - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Down On the Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

When you find old newspapers in a junkyard car, you can assume that they date from the period just before the car was parked and forgotten. In this case, I found a March 16, 1993 edition of Denver’s Rocky Mountain News (a paper just as defunct as Oldsmobile now, though the Rocky outlived Oldsmobile by five years). Look, trouble in North Korea!

39 - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Down On the Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

Just as we saw with the 1982 papers I found in the trunk of a ’65 Chevy and the 1970 papers I found in a ’60 Plymouth, the classified ads from 22 years ago show some pretty good deals on now-insanely-priced cars. How about a ’65 Porsche 356 in good condition for $9,500? That’s about $15,600 in inflation-adjusted 2015 dollars, plus the costs for 22 years of storage and maintenance add up quickly, but it would have been a good bet. The ’83 Renault Fuego Turbo for $1,000? Still worth about $1,000 now!

09 - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Down On the Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

All those hot summers and snowy winters haven’t been kind to the paint and metal on this car.

10 - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Down On the Junkyard - Photo by Murilee Martin

Some good interior and trim bits were available here and there, though. This car has been eaten by the crusher by now, so it’s too late to mourn.

Delta 88, Delta 88 nightmare!

If you’re ripping apart a ’73 Delta 88 in search for microfilm (like Popeye Doyle looking for Marseilles heroin in a Lincoln), you’ll find that it’s a well-built car.

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Junkyard Find: 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-2003-oldsmobile-aurora/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-2003-oldsmobile-aurora/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107745 Here at Down On the Junkyard HQ, we’re all about American automotive history. We’ve seen one of the last of the GM J-bodies, evidence of how Ronald Reagan saved Ford from recall-induced bankruptcy, and Shelby-ized French Chryslers. Today we’ll be looking at one of the many cars that didn’t save Oldsmobile, a final-year-of-production Olds Aurora […]

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00 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Here at Down On the Junkyard HQ, we’re all about American automotive history. We’ve seen one of the last of the GM J-bodies, evidence of how Ronald Reagan saved Ford from recall-induced bankruptcy, and Shelby-ized French Chryslers. Today we’ll be looking at one of the many cars that didn’t save Oldsmobile, a final-year-of-production Olds Aurora that I spotted last week in a Denver-area yard.
05 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This was one of three Auroras in the same yard, and I chose it because it was sold at a time when Olds shoppers knew that the marque was doomed. You could get a V6 Aurora in 2001 and 2002, but the ’03s all had the Northstar-based 4.0-liter V8 engine.

03 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The guys from Car and Driver entered an Aurora in the first-ever 24 Hours of LeMons race, and “won” the People’s Curse award for their trouble.

08 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one looked pretty clean but had been rear-ended and wasn’t worth fixing. Now it will donate parts to nicer second-gen Auroras. The case can be made that Oldsmobile is the most important marque in American music, but that didn’t stop GM from swinging the axe after 106 years.


It doesn’t just move — it moves you.

00 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Police: Drive-by Shooters May Have Used Car-sharing Service http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/police-drive-shooters-may-used-car-sharing-service/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/police-drive-shooters-may-used-car-sharing-service/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 19:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1108449 Police in Denver say suspects in a drive-by shooting in January may have rented several Smart Fortwos under fake names to use in connection with their crimes. The Denver Post is reporting that in affidavits filed by detectives investigating the Jan. 4 shooting, Denver police asked the car-sharing company for GPS data from the cars when […]

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Car2Go in Seattle

Police in Denver say suspects in a drive-by shooting in January may have rented several Smart Fortwos under fake names to use in connection with their crimes.

The Denver Post is reporting that in affidavits filed by detectives investigating the Jan. 4 shooting, Denver police asked the car-sharing company for GPS data from the cars when investigators learned multiple cars were rented with bogus names.

Surveillance camera footage from a nearby business showed the vehicles near the shooting at the time the crime was committed.

A company spokeswoman told the Denver Post that applicants are screened before they’re allowed to rent from Car2Go. The $35 application fee for Car2Go requires a credit card to complete, although presumably that card can be in anyone’s name.

The affidavit also claims the cars were rented through a call center, although the car sharing company maintains that the cars can only be rented online or through its app.

Drive-by shootings that reportedly use car-sharing services appear to be extremely rare so far, but may be a signal of how gangs can quickly adopt new technology. That and the story’s terrible lede.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Classic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-caprice-classic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-caprice-classic/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107577 The third-gen Chevy Caprice, made for the 1977 through 1990 model years, was the last of the traditional box Caprices. Those of us who came of driving age during the Late Malaise Era came to fear the rear-view-mirror sight of the grille of this car, the early Panther Ford LTD, and the Dodge Diplomat, due […]

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00 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The third-gen Chevy Caprice, made for the 1977 through 1990 model years, was the last of the traditional box Caprices. Those of us who came of driving age during the Late Malaise Era came to fear the rear-view-mirror sight of the grille of this car, the early Panther Ford LTD, and the Dodge Diplomat, due to their popularity among police departments in the 1980s. You don’t see many box Caprices these days, but enough were made that they appear in self-service wrecking yards now and then. Here’s a very governmental-looking example I saw in Denver a couple months ago.
01 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Made in Texas by Texans! Sajeev would approve, but his loyalty to the Blue Oval is stronger than his love of Texan-made automobiles.

13 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Carburetors were almost gone by this time, but the Caprice still had a good ol’ Quadrajet on its 305-cubic-inch V8. In 1989, the Caprice got electronic fuel injection (instead of the Holley double-pumper that should have been installed to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall).

14 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

GM had toned down all the heraldic crests and related gingerbread on the Caprice by the late 1980s, probably because police departments and rental-car companies don’t care about such things, but you still got a few fleur-de-lis scattered about the car.

04 - 1988 Chevrolet Caprice Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

85 mph speedometers were no longer mandated by US law in 1988, but we can assume that GM had a few hundred thousand of these things in their warehouses and wanted to use them up.

PCH-SVO_vs_XR4Ti-Merkur-4

The Merkur XR4Ti also had an 85 mph speedometer, but it was presented with a certain amount of winking and nudging.

As you can see in this “Hearbeat of America” add from 1988, the Caprice wasn’t getting much emphasis in Chevrolet’s marketing in 1988.

Not the most expensive luxury car, but the most preferred.

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Junkyard Find: 1992 BMW 750iL http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1992-bmw-750il/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1992-bmw-750il/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1106737 When you spend as much time in fast-turnover self-service wrecking yards as I do, you get this lesson over and over: Nothing depreciates like high-end German luxury cars. Once the interior gets a little rough, or the cutting-edge elaborate electrical system gets a bit confused, or the next generation of engine makes an additional 50 […]

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10 - 1992 BMW 750iL Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

When you spend as much time in fast-turnover self-service wrecking yards as I do, you get this lesson over and over: Nothing depreciates like high-end German luxury cars. Once the interior gets a little rough, or the cutting-edge elaborate electrical system gets a bit confused, or the next generation of engine makes an additional 50 horses… well, your big A8 or 7-series or S-class passes through a sequence of increasingly budget-challenged owners, and then there’s another $700 repair needed, and here comes the tow-truck to take it to U-Wrench-It. Mostly I don’t pay much attention to these cars, because the yards are paved with German luxury, but the numbers of discarded V12 E32s peaked about 5 years ago and they’re getting harder to find now. Here’s one that I saw yesterday in a Denver-area yard.
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Because you can get running V12 BMWs for scrap value or less, 24 Hours of LeMons racers have run a few of them. Here’s Speedycop’s 1963 Ford Thunderbird with a 750iL engine (equipped with an extremely janky ammo-can-plenum carburetor conversion).

15 - 1992 BMW 750iL Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

How much did this car cost in 1992? Well, the answer is just about as depressing as looking up horsepower figures for Malaise Era Detroit cars: $76,500 MSRP, and a lot more with all the options a proper 7-series owner must have. That’s about $130,000 in inflation-adjusted 2015 bucks.

06 - 1992 BMW 750iL Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

V12s are inherently cool. All of us need to start rescuing these engines and swapping them into Edsels and New Yorkers. This one made 296 horsepower, which is 28 more than the 3.5-liter V6 in the ’15 Camry.

14 - 1992 BMW 750iL Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Yessir, that’s a built-in analog car-phone transceiver in the trunk.

27 men in Munich began a project that became a quest that became a car.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1993-chevrolet-lumina-euro/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1993-chevrolet-lumina-euro/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1098393 By the 1980s, Japanese carmakers had established themselves as making the most reliable vehicles in the minds of plenty of American car shoppers. Meanwhile, the Europeans had conquered much of the sporty/sophisticated market by that time. General Motors responded by stamping out millions of plastic badges with the magical letters “E-U-R-O” molded in (as well […]

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02- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

By the 1980s, Japanese carmakers had established themselves as making the most reliable vehicles in the minds of plenty of American car shoppers. Meanwhile, the Europeans had conquered much of the sporty/sophisticated market by that time. General Motors responded by stamping out millions of plastic badges with the magical letters “E-U-R-O” molded in (as well as by doing stuff like putting pushrod front-drive V8s in bodies flown over from Italy). You could get a Chevy Celebrity Eurosport, and— a few years later— a Chevy Lumina Euro. I’ve been overlooking these cars in junkyards for many years, but now I realize that they have a certain historical significance. Here’s one I spotted in Denver.
10- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

You’d think that the Lumina Euro would have come standard with big brakes, stiff suspension, manual transmission, maybe some cool-looking fog lights. Nope. This one has a 140-horse pushrod V6, column-shift automatic, and a not-quite-Audi-grade faux-velour-covered front split-bench seat.

08- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

If it’s a 20-year-old W-body, it’s rolling on at least one space-saver spare tire. That’s the law.

07- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

These weren’t particularly bad cars and several cubic miles of them were sold, but the EURO badging thing is just embarrassing. Instead, they should have offered the Lumina North America, with stereo optimized for Lynyrd Skynyrd and factory-installed Cherry Bomb mufflers.


There are two kinds of cars: the cars you love to drive… and the cars you need to drive.

07- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20- 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Euro Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Nissan NX1600 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1993-nissan-nx1600/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1993-nissan-nx1600/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1093465 The Nissan NX was never much of a big seller in the United States, and only the first-cousin-of-the-Sentra-SE-R NX2000 gets any attention from potential diamond-in-the-rough rescuers today. That means that you won’t see many of these cars in the wrecking yards, so I decided to photograph this purple-duct-tape-customized example in a Denver yard a couple […]

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10- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The Nissan NX was never much of a big seller in the United States, and only the first-cousin-of-the-Sentra-SE-R NX2000 gets any attention from potential diamond-in-the-rough rescuers today. That means that you won’t see many of these cars in the wrecking yards, so I decided to photograph this purple-duct-tape-customized example in a Denver yard a couple months back.
08- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The GA16DE DOHC engine in this car made 110 horses with variable valve timing, which wasn’t exactly big power. It did manage to get 33 mpg on the highway.

19- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Digital dash!

04- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The Black Ice Little Tree is the second-most-popular flavor of Car-Freshner product found in American junkyards; New Car Scent is #1. Note the purple-tape-wrapped steering wheel.

18- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Purple tape may be found in many places in this automobile, in fact.

13- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Rollin’ on Arizonians!


It was sold in Europe as the 100NX.


In Thailand, women were indifferent to NX-driving men.


Australians became werewolves behind the wheel of an NX.


In the NX’s homeland, it was pitched as a cute car made of rubber and sold to “kids at heart.”


And, of course, the American-market NX ads were boring and focused on cheapness. Only $6 a day to drive this car!

11- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19- 1993 Nissan NX1600 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1970 Ford Econoline Custom 200 Van http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1970-ford-econoline-custom-200-van/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1970-ford-econoline-custom-200-van/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082609 The second-generation Ford Econoline van abandoned the forward-control layout of its mid-engined predecessor and was a big sales success. I still see these vans in junkyards (in fact, I found one in Sweden last year), but I tend to photograph only the most hantavirus-laden campers, attractively weathered window vans, or Chlamydia-enhanced customs. I saw this […]

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12 - 1970 Ford Econoline Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The second-generation Ford Econoline van abandoned the forward-control layout of its mid-engined predecessor and was a big sales success. I still see these vans in junkyards (in fact, I found one in Sweden last year), but I tend to photograph only the most hantavirus-laden campers, attractively weathered window vans, or Chlamydia-enhanced customs. I saw this workhorse cargo Econoline (the technical term, coined by angry neighbors, for a featureless Detroit van with no windows is “Molester Van” or “Free Candy Van”) in a Denver yard recently, and it seemed like a good time to shoot this worn-out piece of van history.
19 - 1970 Ford Econoline Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

It appears that someone might have been living down by the river in this Econoline, based on the shag carpeting and insulation.

03 - 1970 Ford Econoline Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The driver’s door top hinge broke, was rewelded, and then broke again. This may have been the camel-back-breaking straw that sent this van to The Crusher.

24 - 1970 Ford Econoline Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I had no idea that Econolines came with the slide-out-step option, like my Dodge A100. These things are cool, but also a shin-bashing hassle.

25 - 1970 Ford Econoline Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Stickers with grenade logos are very popular these days. Anybody have an idea of what FS! stands for?


So much better than a forward-control van!

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Citation, Rock Salt Sandblasting Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-rock-salt-sandblasting-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-rock-salt-sandblasting-edition/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1074762 This is the third week in Themed Junkyard Find Week Madness. We started with 21st Century Junkyard Find Week, then had Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week, and now we’ve staggered right into Rusty Junkyard Find Week. Next week, I might return to ordinary jumbled-up Junkyard Finds, or I might subject you to an entire month of […]

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Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This is the third week in Themed Junkyard Find Week Madness. We started with 21st Century Junkyard Find Week, then had Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week, and now we’ve staggered right into Rusty Junkyard Find Week. Next week, I might return to ordinary jumbled-up Junkyard Finds, or I might subject you to an entire month of Chrysler LH Junkyard Finds.

For now, though, let’s finish up our third Themed Junkyard Find Week with a case of genuinely puzzling rust.
Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation Detail 1 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Unlike most of the interesting cars I shoot in junkyards, this ’81 Chevy Citation is represented here by just a single photograph. I was visiting the yard just before closing time, to grab a Dodge D100 pickup fuel gauge for my get-it-done-today A100 instrument-cluster rebuild project, walked past this Citation, and shot a single cellphone photo.

Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation Detail 2 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

So, we’ll look at details from that single photo, like conspiracy theorists studying a single frame of the Zapruder Film. This car had some rust all over, but the vertical surfaces of the right side of the body had terrifying and weirdly localized rust. How? Why? There’s no evidence of a fire burning off a patch of paint, so perhaps the car spent several years lying on its right side in the manure pond of a western Kansas pig farm?

Let’s time-travel back to 1979, when “the first Chevy of the 80s” hadn’t yet hit the streets in large numbers and existed mostly in the minds of Americans who were hoping that the gloom of the previous decade would be washed away by a car that showed that the days of bad Chevrolets were over.


Well, long-term-wise, that didn’t work out so well, with the Citation merely ushering in a decade of brand-damaging disasters and puzzling attempts to compete with German luxury marques. Today, we laugh at the Citation, though there was a time when they were as commonplace as are Malibus today.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, Spray-Foam Rust-Repair Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-corolla-hatchback-spray-foam-rust-repair-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-corolla-hatchback-spray-foam-rust-repair-edition/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1074322 Let’s follow up 21st Century Junkyard Find Week and Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week with Rusty Junkyard Find week, shall we? On Tuesday, we saw this ’83 Toyota pickup with not-so-effective fiberglass-and-Bondo cover-up-the-rust-and-hope-it-goes-away repairs, and today we’ll be looking at a thoroughly used-up Corolla with similar squeeze-another-few-months-out-of-this-heap repairs done by someone who knew he or she […]

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14 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLet’s follow up 21st Century Junkyard Find Week and Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week with Rusty Junkyard Find week, shall we? On Tuesday, we saw this ’83 Toyota pickup with not-so-effective fiberglass-and-Bondo cover-up-the-rust-and-hope-it-goes-away repairs, and today we’ll be looking at a thoroughly used-up Corolla with similar squeeze-another-few-months-out-of-this-heap repairs done by someone who knew he or she would be the vehicle’s last owner.
43 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAmericans didn’t much like the look of the AE82 Corolla hatchback, although we bought a fair number of its NUMMI-built Chevy Nova siblings.
51 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDoes this rust mean that important structural components are likely to fail soon? You bet!
32 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo close to that magical 300,000-mile mark, but another 38,868 miles in this hooptie would have been pretty miserable.
36 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven if the structure held together, there is no quantity or type of air freshener that could cover the stench of the fast-food-detritus-and-bodily-fluids-caked interior of this car.
13 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlus it’s a real hassle to have a hatchback with a nonfunctional hatch.
09 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCrab Spirits is sure to find inspiration about this Corolla’s previous owner via the large number of stickers on the back glass. For example, he or she was a fan of Propaganda E-Liquid.
10 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis retailer of smoking accessories also gets a shout-out on the Corolla’s rear glass.
47 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou could get a diesel version of this car, but few did. Wikipedia editors believe that the 4A-LC engine was sold only in Australia, Switzerland, and Sweden, but you’ll see plenty of these two-digit-horsepower cockroaches in US-market Corollas.

US-market ads for Corollas and their kin seldom employed the word “sexy.”

San Franciscans— hundreds of them, lining the streets— doubted that the ’84 Corolla sedan could do anything.

John Davidson pitched a special New Zealand version of this car.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Pickup, Adobe Rust Repair Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-pickup-adobe-rust-repair-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-pickup-adobe-rust-repair-edition/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 11:15:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073818 Toyotas of the 1970s and 1980s were quite reliable for the era, if you’re just talking about running gear. If you lived in a rust-prone area, though (say, a block from the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco), Toyotas were eaten by the Iron Oxide Monster in a hurry. Here in Denver, where the snow usually […]

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08 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Toyotas of the 1970s and 1980s were quite reliable for the era, if you’re just talking about running gear. If you lived in a rust-prone area, though (say, a block from the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco), Toyotas were eaten by the Iron Oxide Monster in a hurry. Here in Denver, where the snow usually doesn’t stick around long enough to warrant the application of road salt and the single-digit humidity dries out pockets of moisture trapped behind body panels before they can cause much harm, you don’t see too many rust horror-shows in junkyards. However, being conveniently located to both the western edge of the Rust Belt and the salty-road mountains means that I do see some interesting approaches to the Rotting Toyota Problem. Here’s a camper-shell-equipped Missouri Hilux (sold as, simply, the “Toyota Truck” in the United States) with some fiberglass-and-body-filler bodywork that may have bought it another year or two on the road.
19 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Actually, the shell came from Missouri; there’s no telling where the truck came from (though the shell appears to have been on the truck since it was new-ish).

05 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Not even 200,000 miles on the clock.

06 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Bondo over rust solves the problem in about the same way that painting over termite damage fixes your house.

21 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I keep hearing that 20R heads are worth plenty to the guys who want to swap them onto their 22R off-road trucks and get higher compression, but I never see them removed at junkyards. Urban legend?

11 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Mechanically speaking, this truck probably had a lot of life left in it, but watching shards of your vehicle tumbling behind you in the rear-view mirror while listening to the howl of wind through all the rust holes… well, it gets old.


There are parts of the world, however, where Hilux owners don’t worry about how rusty their trucks might be.


The Australians have always had better Hilux ads than North Americans.


See what I mean?

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Junkyard Find: 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-2006-mitsubishi-eclipse/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-2006-mitsubishi-eclipse/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071202 We’re following up a week of Volkswagen Junkyard Finds with 21st Century Junkyard Finds (don’t worry, we’ll go back to Junkyard Finds arranged in whatever random order strikes my fancy soon enough). On the heels of yesterday’s ’02 JuggaLambo, here’s a not-even-a-decade-old fourth-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse that showed up at a Denver yard last week. You […]

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10 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We’re following up a week of Volkswagen Junkyard Finds with 21st Century Junkyard Finds (don’t worry, we’ll go back to Junkyard Finds arranged in whatever random order strikes my fancy soon enough). On the heels of yesterday’s ’02 JuggaLambo, here’s a not-even-a-decade-old fourth-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse that showed up at a Denver yard last week.
17 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

You don’t see many cars this new in self-service wrecking yards (unless you’re living in the five-year period following the debut of an excruciatingly bad car), and the ones you do see tend to have been involved in fires, strip-and-dump thefts, or high-speed wrecks. This Mitsu falls in the latter group.

06 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The final owner of this car appears to have been a fan of Drunk Pedobear.

15 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Many stickers adorned this Eclipse. That’s what made it so fast.

08 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Did the speedometer stick at 60 mph at the moment that Mitsubishi steel hit the concrete?

18 - 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one has the 162-horse 2.4 with variable valve timing.


This ad is for the previous generation of Eclipse, but it tells us a lot about the car’s target demographic. Are you in?


The ’06 was driven to thrill.

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Junkyard Find: 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP “JuggaLambo” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-2002-pontiac-grand-prix-gtp-juggalambo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-2002-pontiac-grand-prix-gtp-juggalambo/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070418 We had Volkswagen Junkyard Finds all last week, and this week we’re going to have 21st Century Junkyard Finds. To start things off, how about a genuine, numbers-matching, 240-supercharged-horses-havin’ sixth-gen Pontiac Grand Prix? Eric Rood, who lives in Illinois and understands the local culture, dubbed this car the JuggaLambo, because Juggalos— who tend to be […]

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03 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We had Volkswagen Junkyard Finds all last week, and this week we’re going to have 21st Century Junkyard Finds. To start things off, how about a genuine, numbers-matching, 240-supercharged-horses-havin’ sixth-gen Pontiac Grand Prix?
02 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Eric Rood, who lives in Illinois and understands the local culture, dubbed this car the JuggaLambo, because Juggalos— who tend to be a Midwestern phenomenon— seem to love GM cars of the 1990s and 2000s (even those who are cast out of the Juggalo community drive 1990s Pontiacs), and thus the Grand Prix GTP is the pinnacle of this category of cars.
12 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The Eaton blowers found on GM 3800s of this era are always easy to find at cheap self-serve junkyards, and the current street price for them is about 50 bucks. You can even put two of them on a Chevy 454 in a Murilee Martin-themed Rambler Marlin (yes, the blowers exploded).

15 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

These cars are not particularly uncommon in wrecking yards these days, so I assume you can find runners for low, low, low prices.


This ad is for the following generation of Grand Prix GTP, but the ’02 was just as good for blind drivers.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1972-volkswagen-karmann-ghia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1972-volkswagen-karmann-ghia/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065402 After seeing this 1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 on Tuesday and this 1980 Volkswagen Dasher four-door hatchback on Thursday, it’s only fitting that we should wrap up this week’s Junkyard Finds with yet another old VW: a seldom-seen-in-self-serve-yards 1972 Karmann Ghia. Air-cooled VW Beetles show up in these high-inventory-turnover yards all the time, because 979 trillion […]

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After seeing this 1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 on Tuesday and this 1980 Volkswagen Dasher four-door hatchback on Thursday, it’s only fitting that we should wrap up this week’s Junkyard Finds with yet another old VW: a seldom-seen-in-self-serve-yards 1972 Karmann Ghia.
DOTJ-KGhiaGreen-4

Air-cooled VW Beetles show up in these high-inventory-turnover yards all the time, because 979 trillion of them were built and they tend to linger under tarps in yards for decades before finally getting junked, and I don’t bother photographing them (except for this ’73 Super Beetle). It’s not that I hate Beetles (I’ve owned a few), but I don’t think they’re of sufficient interest to shoot in the junkyard. A Squareback or Transporter, maybe, and a screaming green Karmann Ghia will make me take out the camera most of the time.
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This one is just about completely picked clean, which seems a shame because the body is so non-rusty by Volkswagen standards (i.e., there are some areas with no rust). I shot this car in Denver, which isn’t a very rusty place, but air-cooled VWs manage to rust in places like Albuquerque and the Atacama Desert.

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In stock form, the Karmann Ghia was slow even by the standards of its time; such underpowered sports cars as the MGB and Fiat 124 Sport Spider took on a distinct reddish color from the point of view of a Karmann Ghia driver, due to Doppler redshift effects, as they pulled away in a drag race.

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Look, a Beetle in the very next row!


Volkswagen’s marketers didn’t try to hide their sports car’s somewhat limited power (60 horses in 1972) in their TV commercials.


The lack of a back seat was also presented as a plus.


Elsewhere in the world, however, the car’s alleged performance got more prominence in TV ads.

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1990-chevrolet-cavalier-z24/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1990-chevrolet-cavalier-z24/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043970 The Chevy Cavalier sold in enormous quantities during its 23-year production run, and so most of them stay in the background for me at wrecking yards, much like Chrysler Sebrings and Ford Tempos. But the Cavalier Z24, on the other hand— that’s an interesting Junkyard Find! The Z24 got the DOHC Quad 4 engine later […]

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04 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Chevy Cavalier sold in enormous quantities during its 23-year production run, and so most of them stay in the background for me at wrecking yards, much like Chrysler Sebrings and Ford Tempos. But the Cavalier Z24, on the other hand— that’s an interesting Junkyard Find!
07 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Z24 got the DOHC Quad 4 engine later on (as we see in this ’98 Cavalier Z24 Junkyard Find), but in 1990 the most potent Z24 engine was the 135-horsepower 3.1 liter V6.
01 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinEven though cannabis is now legal in Colorado (where I found this car), decor like this tends to raise the suspicions of members of the law enforcement community.
13 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThere are certain signs that let you know a car is on its final owner. Like, for example, these dashboard stickers.
10 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ’90 Cavalier Z24 listed at $11,505 (the out-the-door price tended to be lower, of course). The Acura Integra RS hatchback was a mere $445 more, however, and GM cannibalized a few Z24 sales with the $11,650 Geo Storm GSi.


Check out the headlight covers in the Mexican version of the ’94 Z24!

01 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Cheech & Chong’s Great Car Movie Showing On the Big Screen In Denver, This 4/20 (Naturally) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/cheech-chongs-great-car-movie-showing-big-screen-denver-420-naturally/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/cheech-chongs-great-car-movie-showing-big-screen-denver-420-naturally/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045522 Some might tell you that Cheech & Chong’s 1978 movie, Up In Smoke, was about Malaise Era drug culture, or Los Angeles, or California punk rock, but in fact it is one of the greatest car movies in cinematic history. For this reason, I have used my Svengali-like powers to convince the management of the […]

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UIS-CroppedSome might tell you that Cheech & Chong’s 1978 movie, Up In Smoke, was about Malaise Era drug culture, or Los Angeles, or California punk rock, but in fact it is one of the greatest car movies in cinematic history. For this reason, I have used my Svengali-like powers to convince the management of the Denver Alamo Drafthouse theater to include this fine automotive film as part of the Murilee Martin Presents series. Yes, on Monday, which just happens to be April 20, we’ll roll Up In Smoke starting at 7:30 PM.
UIS-VW211-550pxIn addition to Cheech’s ’64 Impala SS coupe, Sergeant Stedenko’s ’73 AMC Matador, and the Fiberweed™ GMC Value Van, you’ll see more incredible cars than you can count, including the Busted Nuns’ Buick Sportwagon, the Mob Guys’ 1967 Lincoln Continental, and cameos by everything from a Volkswagen 411 to a Fiat 128 Sport Coupe.
Preshow_Party-550pxThe Alamo has food and drink service right at your theater seat (sorry, Sen Dog, there’ll be no smoking your four-footer— or anything else— inside the theater). The show starts at 7:30, but show up a bit early with your interesting hoopties and we’ll have a little impromptu car show in the parking lot beforehand (as we did before we watched Duel a couple weeks back).

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Subaru Justy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1993-subaru-justy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1993-subaru-justy/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1042570 I don’t use the Miserable Econoboxes tag as much as I should, but I’m using it here fore shore, because you’d be hard-pressed to find a more genuinely punitive commuter appliance than the wretched Subaru Justy (the two-wheel-drive version, that is; the four-wheel-drive Justy, particularly when dressed in a weird early-90s paint color, is a […]

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08 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI don’t use the Miserable Econoboxes tag as much as I should, but I’m using it here fore shore, because you’d be hard-pressed to find a more genuinely punitive commuter appliance than the wretched Subaru Justy (the two-wheel-drive version, that is; the four-wheel-drive Justy, particularly when dressed in a weird early-90s paint color, is a lot of fun for mud/snow hoonage). As incredibly cheap, disposable subcompacts, just about all the 2WD Justys (Justies?) got scrapped at least a decade ago, so I don’t see many in wrecking yards now. Here’s one!
11 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI know that there will be those who claim that they got 400,000 maintenance-free miles out of a Justy, and those who claim that some other miserable econobox (the Ford Festiva? Yugo GV? Pontiac (Daewoo) LeMans?) was worse, but it’s hard to argue with the Justy’s combination of washing-machine-box interior, three-cylinder engine, and not-quite-ready-for-real-world-use CVT transmission.
14 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinAt least this one has a proper 5-speed manual transmission.
05 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s hard to pin this down, but it is possible that the Justy was the last car sold new in the United States with a carburetor (another candidate is the early-90s LTD Police Interceptor with 351W engine). By 1993, though, even the lowly Justy (or at least this one) came with EFI.
13 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinNo way of telling how many miles are on the clock, since Subaru took a page from Detroit’s book and used a five-digit odometer in this car.
12 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinBad as the Justy was, you could get one for $7,463 in 1993. Yes, if you just had to drive a new car in 1993 and you were too skinflinty for the (still miserable but much better) $7,858 Toyota Tercel or the $7,995 Mazda 323, and for some reason the Suzuki Swift ($7,299), Geo Metro ($6,710), and Ford Festiva ($6,991) didn’t seem right, you could get a Justy. Even the ’93 Hyundai Excel— still pretty vile at that point but nowhere near as hateful as the earlier versions— could be purchased for just $6,899.
07 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, bad as the Justy 2WD was, it was a car. That meant that it beat the hell out of public transportation, and it meant that a working stiff could get afford a shiny new commuter (with warranty) on a modest salary. I mention this because I’m still getting shit for having written that the ’14 Mitsubishi Mirage was perfectly tolerable by Miserable Econobox standards, while John Pearley Huffman believes it is worse than taking the bus (Jason Torchinsky, one of the only writers to agree with me that the Mirage wasn’t so bad, tore Mr. Huffman a new one over that). Terrible little entry-level econoboxes today are so much better than their counterparts 20 years ago that everybody who reviews one today should be forced to spend a week in a ’93 Justy prior to driving the new car.


Such a smart boy!

01 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1993 Subaru Justy Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1968 Saab 95 Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1968-saab-95-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1968-saab-95-station-wagon/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033705 The Saab 96 (and its station-wagon sibling, the 95) is one of those iconic cars that just about everybody claims to love, but few are willing to rescue. Most of the 96s in the country passed through the junkyard gates and into the recycled-metal continuum a couple of decades back, with only the nicest examples […]

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20 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Saab 96 (and its station-wagon sibling, the 95) is one of those iconic cars that just about everybody claims to love, but few are willing to rescue. Most of the 96s in the country passed through the junkyard gates and into the recycled-metal continuum a couple of decades back, with only the nicest examples deemed worthy of saving, but a few have hung on in side yards and cornfields long enough to show up in wrecking yards now. We saw this ’68 sedan in California last year, and now there’s this ’68 wagon in Denver.
19 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has the Ford Taunus V4, rather than the three-cylinder Saab two-stroke so beloved by those who have never driven a car powered by one (to be fair, I know some two-stroke Saab owners who do love driving their cars).
12 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThe gauges have that cool Saab airplane logo.
14 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinFour-on-the-tree diagram and cold-starting instructions are found on this dash sticker.
05 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinNo obvious signs of rust-through, and the interior isn’t too horrifying. After several months in this yard, still not many pieces have been plucked from this old Swede.

01 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1968 Saab 96 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Finally, See Spielberg’s “Duel” on the Big Screen (If You Can Get to Denver Monday) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/finally-see-spielbergs-duel-big-screen-can-get-denver-monday/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/finally-see-spielbergs-duel-big-screen-can-get-denver-monday/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:30:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033313 Because the power of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™ is so extreme, the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in Denver has fallen under my spell and allowed me to select and introduce four car films, to be shown each Monday during their “Alamo Takes the Wheel” month of April (actually, it was the endorsement of Repo Man […]

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DuelBecause the power of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™ is so extreme, the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in Denver has fallen under my spell and allowed me to select and introduce four car films, to be shown each Monday during their “Alamo Takes the Wheel” month of April (actually, it was the endorsement of Repo Man director Alex Cox, who teaches at the University of Colorado, that convinced the Alamo management that this idea wasn’t completely stupid). The first of those films is the amazing Duel, an all-time-great Malaise Era car movie that shouldn’t need any introduction for TTAC readers.
duel4In fact, my original plan for these Monday car movies involved having four triple features, including such must-see car films as The Junkman and Blue Collar, but the Alamo management just gave me the same funny look that people give me when I talk about putting an LZ9 engine into a Cadillac Cimarron. Anyway, so they picked four films from my twelve-film list, and they’ll be showing one on each Monday in April. Duel shows on April 6 at 7:30 PM, and moviegoers are strongly encouraged to bring their coolest, weirdest, and/or hooptiest vehicles to show off in the theater parking lot beforehand.

ep51-duel2Once Duel (which even I have never seen on the big screen) is done, we’ll have three more Monday movies selected and introduced by yours truly. These are:
Monday, April 13 at 7:30 PM: The Car
Monday, April 20 at 7:30 PM: Up In Smoke (Yes, this is actually one of the greatest car movies of all time, and you wastoids even get to see it on 4/20).
Monday, April 27 at 7:30 PM: Two-Lane Blacktop

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