The Truth About Cars » Down On The Junkyard http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:48:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 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 » Down On The Junkyard http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1992 Infiniti M30 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1992-infiniti-m30/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1992-infiniti-m30/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797130 09 - 1992 Infiniti M30 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen Nissan, not wanting to be left behind by Toyota, introduced the Infiniti marque in 1989, they needed a sporty coupe to sell alongside the mighty Q45 luxury sedan. No problem, just add some bling to the JDM Nissan Leopard, move the steering wheel to the left side, and you’ve got an instant Lexus SC300 competitor for the American market! Sadly for Nissan, few bought the M30 (though its J30 successor sold pretty well), and M30 junkyard finds are quite rare today. Here’s one that survived the Cash For Clunkers Japanese Luxpocalypse but then succumbed to depreciation five years later.
11 - 1992 Infiniti M30 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA good-looking car, but 1992 wasn’t a great year for California car dealers.
08 - 1992 Infiniti M30 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s the same VG30 V6 that M30′s 300ZX and Maxima contemporaries got.

Naturally, the Japanese-market ads for the F31 Leopard coupe are far superior to anything shown on the other side of the Pacific.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1980-volvo-262c-bertone-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1980-volvo-262c-bertone-coupe/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=796986 08 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOnly 6,622 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupes were built during the Italo-Swedish machine’s 1978-1981 production run, and I’ve found two of them in California self-serve wrecking yards during the last year. We saw this silver ’79 (actually, all ’78 and ’79 262Cs were painted in Mystic Silver) last summer, and now there’s today’s find: a gold ’80. These cars were weird-looking and something of a puzzling marketing move by Volvo, but you’d think that their rarity would give them sufficient value to keep the survivors out of The Crusher‘s jaws. Nope!
02 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAssembled in Italy!
06 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 262C-specific glass and trim pieces have been pulled, and there’s plenty of typical Northern California upper-body rust in places where weatherstripping failure can let water in. The lower body panels are good and solid.
05 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe can assume that some project 262C will benefit from these parts.
07 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf I owned one of these cars, I’d ditch the unreliable Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 and replace it with a good old B230 (or something more interesting). In the case of this car, though, someone has grabbed the PRV.
13 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill a few pieces worth taking left on this car. Let’s hope they get pulled before the car gets crushed.

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Junkyard Find: 1963 Dodge Dart http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1963-dodge-dart/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1963-dodge-dart/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=796762 04 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFor the entire time I’ve been on this planet, Chrysler A-bodies have been a constant presence in American wrecking yards, and they’re still quite easy to find today, 33 years after the last Valiant Charger rolled off the assembly line in Australia. I don’t photograph every Dart and Valiant that I see in junkyards, but this series has included this ’61 Valiant, this ’64 Valiant wagon, this ’67 Valiant, this ’66 Dart, this ’68 Valiant Signet, this ’73 Valiant, this ’75 Duster, and this ’75 Dart, and today we’ll admire a non-rusty California Dart two-door that I saw back in December.
07 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe last official year of CONELRAD was 1963, and here we can see the official CONELRAD frequencies of 640 and 1240 kHz marked on this Dart’s fancy factory radio. How much was the optional AM radio in your new ’63 Dart? $169, which comes to $1,296 in inflation-adjusted dollars. Not only that, but you’d be hearing pretty much nothing but terrible hit singles and ugly news stories on that shockingly expensive staticblaster, back in ’63. Think about that the next time you’re enjoying your $300 Bluetooth-enabled aftermarket car stereo.
02 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car has the look of one that sat exposed to the elements for a decade or two. The biohazardous trunk contents include some icky-looking time-capsule stuff.
19 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe car was running as recently as 1987, when a student commuted in it to the stoniest junior college in California.
14 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf the car had a hood (or at least an air cleaner) during its long-term abandonment, the engine innards might have stayed dry enough to remain unseized. Not that anyone is going to bother with rescuing a tired 170.
05 - 1963 Dodge Dart Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBeing a two-door gave this car a slight chance of being saved by an auction buyer and restored, but the late-60s Darts tend to be more highly prized. Some of its parts should live on in other A-bodies, though.

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Junkyard Find: 1962 International Harvester C-120 Travelette http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1962-international-harvester-c-120-travelette/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1962-international-harvester-c-120-travelette/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=791945 21 - 1963 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere was once a time when you could buy street vehicles made by a farm equipment manufacturer, and IHC products still show up in self-service wrecking yards today. In this series so far, we’ve seen this ’70 Scout, this ’71 Travelall, this ’71 Scout, this ’72 1010 pickup, this ’73 Scout, and this ’74 Scout. The crew-cab Travelette is a machine you won’t see every day, so I shot this ’62 that I spotted in a Northern California wrecking yard.
01 - 1963 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBeing a California truck, there’s minimal rust here, but 52 years of hard work have worn everything out.
04 - 1963 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s a good old Black Diamond 240-cubic-inch straight-six, rated at 141 horses in 1962. Yes, that’s not much more power than a 2014 Corolla gets; pickup drivers were tougher back when instant annihilation threatened.
14 - 1963 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinTwo huge bench seats, and a custom shag-carpet headliner.
26 - 1963 International Harvester Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m a little puzzled by this bumper extension. Is this to protect the open tailgate when hauling extra-long loads?

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Ford Thunderbird http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1979-ford-thunderbird/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1979-ford-thunderbird/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=791097 10 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSajeev no doubt wept bitter tears when he saw the near-showroom-condition ’76 Continental Junkyard Find last week, and I’m going to keep those Malaise Era Ford tears flowing with another 1970s luxury FoMoCo product from the same California self-serve yard. This one isn’t quite as nice as the Lincoln, but just check out the metallic-green-and-white two-tone paint job!
07 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI could look up the horsepower numbers on the ’79 Thunderbird‘s 351M engine, but the figures would just make us all depressed. Let’s just say that this car had enough torque to get moving fairly well for its era (i.e., it would get smoked by a 3-cylinder Mirage today).
16 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis can’t possibly be a factory paint job, can it?
13 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOf course it has a landau vinyl roof!
04 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin85 MPH speedometer, according to 1979 regulations.
05 - 1979 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe velour buckets are no longer as luxurious as they once were.


This ad for the similar ’77 Thunderbird shows the 85mph speedo in full effect, plus a very cocaineophile-looking driver. Radio comes as standard equipment!

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Electric Sport http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-sprint-electric-sport/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1988-chevrolet-sprint-electric-sport/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=788522 12 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNow that it’s possible to buy electric cars that actually do what cars are supposed to do, we mustn’t forget the very lengthy era— say 1970 to just a few years ago— during which all manner of optimistic-yet-doomed companies converted various econoboxes into lead-acid-battery-based EVs. Every once in a while, I’ll spot the remains of such an EV at a junkyard; we saw a junked EVolve Electrics 1995 Geo Metro EV conversion last year, and now a different Denver yard has given us this ’88 Sprint “Electric Sport.”
06 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Sprint aka Cultus wasn’t a bad choice for an electric vehicle, being lightweight and cheap.
01 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinElectric motors are worth money, either as working motors or as sources of valuable scrap copper, so the one in this car is long gone.
18 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe remnants of the battery tray may be seen in the rear cargo area.
17 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomeone grabbed the no-doubt-modified instrument cluster, too.
07 - Electric 1988 Chevrolet Sprint Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBonus points to anyone who can track down the company that built the Electric Sport Sprint!

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Lincoln Continental Town Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1976-lincoln-continental-town-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1976-lincoln-continental-town-car/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=784281 23 - 1976 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe last Continental we saw in this series was of the iconic 1961-69 generation designed by Elwood Engel. Its successor was built for the 1970-79 model years, and these cars lost the suicide doors and Lincoln-specific engines but gained even more angular styling. The Town Car option package was aimed at the real high rollers of the Malaise Era, and I’ve found a very solid, refrigerator-white example (photographed at a Northern California self-serve yard last week) that’s sure to make Sajeev Mehta weep bitter, brand-loyal tears.
21 - 1976 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAccording to the temporary registration sticker on this car, it was still street-legal less than a year before took its final tow-truck ride.
15 - 1976 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn California, 1976 is the oldest model year that requires the state’s very stringent emission test, and so it’s possible that there was no easy way to make this big, dirty 460 comply with the not-so-strict requirements for ’76 cars. Actually, it takes something on the order of a dead cylinder to fail the 1976 test, so it’s more likely that the car’s last owner tired of the single-digit fuel economy. The sad truth is that there’s not much collector value for mid-to-late-70s Lincolns.
14 - 1976 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior is in excellent condition, there’s not a speck of rust on the car, and all the body damage could have been fixed for peanuts.
13 - 1976 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCartier clock! I thought about buying this one for my collection, but the failure rate for Malaise Era Ford mechanical clocks is exactly 100% (in my experience).
08 - 1976 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn case you’re wondering, this car has quadrophonic 8-track capability. I’d be listening to Ace Frehly’s greatest hit non-stop, were I to find myself transported back to the late 1970s with the keys to a ’76 Town Car in hand.
24 - 1976 Lincoln Town Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m sure our European readers are clawing at their monitors in outrage, seeing this amazing car consigned to the world’s scrap-metal market like it’s just another ’91 Camry. All I can say is: come over here and ship one home!


You’ve got your standards!

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280ce/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280ce/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=784153 12 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne thing just about all the Mercedes-Benz W114s I find in self-service wrecking yards have in common is that they arrived at the yard in restorable condition. Little or no rust, interiors somewhat intact, mechanical parts mostly there. In this series, we’ve seen this ’73 280CE, this ’73 220, and this ’74 280C, and I’ve passed over dozens of ordinary W114 and W115 sedans in the last half-dozen years of junkyard prowling. What we’re seeing here is a combination of extreme longevity coupled with a rapid plummeting of value (in the eyes of those who covet these cars) once the cosmetic wear and tear build up. A 41-year-old Plymouth Satellite or Chevrolet Chevelle coupe in rust-free, reasonably complete shape would be worth a couple of grand and thus safe from that final tow-truck ride to the junkyard. The W114 coupe? Here’s another one, now resting in a California yard.
09 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe good news is that there are sufficient examples of these cars still on the street that many parts will be rescued before The Crusher’s cold steel jaws eat this car. Looks like someone has snared the bumpers, grille, headlight assemblies, and trim already.
02 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne difference between restoring this car and restoring that ’73 Satellite is the cost of rejuvenating the upholstery; with the Plymouth, you can buy brand-new seat skins and just about everything else with a few mouse clicks. With the Benz, fixing that leather won’t be anywhere near as affordable.
07 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis big, fuel-injected M130 six was pretty futuristic by 1973 standards.
06 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAir conditioning, of course.
03 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280CE Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car listed at $9,994 new, which comes to just under 53 grand in 2014 bucks. How much was the much bigger and plusher ’73 Cadillac Coupe de Ville? $6,268. Of course, it probably didn’t take the Cad long to drink the price difference, given the effects of certain global political events at the time.

The W114 was quite a car, and it’s sad to see another rare coupe get eaten by the world’s demand for scrap metal.

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Audi Fox http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1975-audi-fox/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1975-audi-fox/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=783865 10 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo, this car isn’t this kind of Fox, though it is a sibling of the first Volkswagen Passat aka Dasher. The Fox was the name given to the Audi 80 for the United States market, and we can all be forgiven for not knowing this (as very few were sold). This completely used-up, not-so-quick brown Fox jumped over the lazy junkyard dog after a life spent almost entirely in the East Bay, and now it rests in a self-service wrecking yard about two miles from its owner’s longtime place of employment.
02 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI know this because of the thick stack of Oakland Airport North Ramp employee-parking permit stickers on the bumper.
03 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLooks like at least 30 stickers here, so we may be looking at a one-owner car.
17 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI thought I might pull this Motometer clock for my car clock collection, but it turned out to be a case full of broken gears. Sadness.
07 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior was completely cooked, which suggests that the car spent its entire life unprotected from the California sun.
09 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAccording to Audi tradition, the timing belt should be located where it’s the first thing to get crushed in a minor crash.
05 - 1975 Audi Fox Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOther than the usual California surface rust around the back window, this car is fairly solid in spite of all the bent metal.

I couldn’t find any US-market TV ads for the Fox, so we’ll go back to Germany.

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Junkyard Find: 1963 Fiat 1100D http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1963-fiat-1100d/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1963-fiat-1100d/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=782601 04 - 1963 Fiat 1100D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOld Fiats aren’t uncommon in American self-serve wrecking yards these days, but the ones you find are almost always Sport Spiders— we’ve seen this ’71, this ’71 850, this ’73, this ’75, this terrifyingly rusty ’76, this ’78, and this ’80 so far in this series— but a Fiat 1100? This is a first for me.
01 - 1963 Fiat 1100D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the car upon which the beloved-by-India Premier Padmini was based, and it was built until 2001.
03 - 1963 Fiat 1100D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis 1100D is very rough and the engine is gone, although it does appear to be relatively rust-free.
07 - 1963 Fiat 1100D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car probably wasn’t at all out of place as a daily driver in Berkeley or San Francisco. Even today, there’s a ’58 Multipla getting daily street use in the East Bay.
09 - 1963 Fiat 1100D Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWorth restoring? Probably not. Some of the parts might live on, though.

Sadly, the Padmini taxis of Indias are being phased out.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1984-oldsmobile-firenza-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1984-oldsmobile-firenza-wagon/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=781729 05 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOf all the GM J-bodies sold in America, the Olds Firenza may be the rarest. In 1984, most Oldsmobile wagon shoppers wanted a stately rear-wheel-drive behemoth with a V8 engine, not some newfangled small wagon with a little communist-inspired four-cylinder engine driving the wrong wheels. Thus, Firenza wagons are rarer today than early AC Cobras. Here’s one that I found in a San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard last weekend, while I was in town for the fifth annual Sears Pointless 24 Hours of LeMons.
02 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the 2.0 liter version of the GM 122 pushrod engine. The 122 was a little less thrashy and rattly than the Iron Duke, but it also made less power. This LQ5 put out 86 horsepower, which was pretty miserable even by 1984 standards.
23 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHowever, at least this car had genuine electronic fuel injection. And not-so-genuine “wood paneling.”
19 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBrown-and-tan velour bucket seats.
03 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe last owner of this car must have had glaucoma or some other illness that requires the completely legitimate application of medical cannabis. If Mr. ex-Firenza Driver lived in my state, of course, he could just throw away the medical card, ride his Lambretta to the local dispensary, and buy some shatter hash.
20 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI must assume that this pin was applied when the car still had That New GM Velour Smell.
25 - 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSay what you will about the early J-bodies, but at least this one outlived most of its Japanese peers.

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Daihatsu Rocky http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1990-daihatsu-rocky/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1990-daihatsu-rocky/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=775281 13 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinRemember the Daihatsu Rocky? No? That’s OK, several vehicles of this type sank without a trace during the late 1980s and early 1990s (e.g., the Dodge Raider), and Daihatsu itself fled the United States in 1992. I see Daihatsu Charades in self-serve wrecking yards about every six months these days— including this ’89 and this ’90— and I don’t bother photographing most of them. A Rocky, on the other hand… well, let’s just say that this is the first Rocky I’ve seen anywhere in at least five years. How many are left on the street in North America? Hundreds? Dozens?
01 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThere must be at least one in the Denver area, because this junked example has been picked clean.
07 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThese little trucks came with a 1.6 liter engine and front- or four-wheel-drive.
04 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAre project Rockies worth anything? Apparently not.
20140315_120504Right after I photographed this Rocky, I felt compelled to go on eBay and buy a vintage Daihatsu Racing sticker for my travel laptop. I also got a Daihatsu patch for my race suit.
DaihatsuTerios2-900x540I was so inspired by the sight of this Rocky that I dove down the rabbit hole of 21st century Daihatsu mini-SUV ads, and there I found some seriously frenzied Daihatsu Terios-thrashin’ stuff. Perhaps Daihatsu will return to the US soon, with a Rocky-badged Terios. All right, let’s watch some Rocky ads!

The actors in this JDM Rocky ad need to lay off the helium, is all I have to say.

In Germany, a romantic approach was used to pitch the Rocky (badged as a Feroza in Europe).

For Australia, the Rocky (Feroza) was compared to the body of Surf Iron Man Champion Guy Leech.

Another Australian (or maybe New Zealand) ad shows the Turbodiesel Rocky, which was apparently half Ferrari and half tank.

Also an excellent choice for surfers who liked to crash through sand dunes. Wouldn’t some of those impacts have set off the airbags? Oh, right— pre-airbag era, carry on!

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Junkyard Find: 1966 Toyota Corona Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1966-toyota-corona-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1966-toyota-corona-sedan/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=774737 03 - 1969 Toyota Corona Sedan Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAs I always mention when writing about the the Toyota Corona, my first car was a beige ’69 four-door. Examples of the first generation of the Corona sold in the United States remain defiantly uncollectible for the most part (though a few do get restored and/or customized here and there), which means that beat-up ones wash ashore at self-service wrecking yards when they no longer serve as cheap transportation. In this series so far, we’ve seen this ’68 sedan, this ’70 sedan, this ’70 coupe, and this bonus Corona ad from the February 1969 issue of Playboy. Today’s find is the result of an archeological expedition into an old backup hard drive dating from early 2007, so this California Corona was shredded and put on a container ship in the Port of Oakland about seven years back.
01 - 1969 Toyota Corona Sedan Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen I saw this car at the now-defunct Hayward Pick-Your-Part, I had a crazy idea that I was looking at my very first car (which I hadn’t seen since 1984). The color was right and the body damage looked familiar… but my car had a four-on-the-floor manual transmission, and this one had a three- or four-on-the-tree column shifter. Plus, closer examination showed that this car has no rear side marker lights (required on US-market cars starting in 1968) and a different grille.
02 - 1969 Toyota Corona Sedan Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, column-shift manual-transmission Toyotas as late as 1966. The Corona, with its leaf-spring rear and coil-on-top-of-upper-control-arm front suspension, was mechanically pretty similar to the 1961 Ford Fairlane (though the Powerglide-based Toyoglide automatic transmission gave some Coronas more of a GM feel). The whole package seemed like sort of a 3/4-scale early-60s American sedan.
06 - 1969 Toyota Corona Sedan Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe first Coronas were imported into the US for the 1965 model year, so this ’66 is one of the first to reach these shores. I’m sure The Crusher ate some parts on this car that are now much-sought-after by the world’s handful of T40 Corona fanatics.
04 - 1969 Toyota Corona Sedan Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s not much demand for the pushrod 3R engine, though. This ancestor of the SOHC 20R and 22R engines was just as reliable as the later Hilux and Celica motors, but was even noisier and less happy being spun past 3,000 RPM.

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1986-toyota-cressida-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1986-toyota-cressida-wagon/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=770506 20 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Toyota Cressida is now at its moment of peak junkyard availability, with most examples finally getting to the point at which repairs just aren’t justified by the car’s value. The Cressida was an extremely well-built car by 1980s standards, and a pretty good car even through our jaded 21st-century eyes (which view vehicles that get scrapped before 200,000 miles as suspiciously crappy and/or abused). We’ve seen this ’80, this ’82 this ’84, this ’87, this ’89, and this ’92 in the Junkyard Find Series so far, but today’s Cressida is the first wagon.
07 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one had 234,392 miles on the clock when it finally took that last tow-truck ride.
17 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI shot this in Northern California in January, and this temporary registration expired in August. That means the car was probably still legal when it got towed away for parking tickets and its fines not paid (most likely) or sold for scrap.
08 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo rust. None at all. Fans of old Japanese cars in rusty areas, you’d better come west and rescue some stuff like this.
12 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe same DOHC 5M-GE engine that Supras got. In fact, the whole car is full of Supra drivetrain and suspension hardware.
01 - 1986 Toyota Cressida Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWorth restoring or converting into a drift car? Not in California!

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Junkyard Find: 1994 Dodge Shadow ES http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1994-dodge-shadow-es/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1994-dodge-shadow-es/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=769394 09 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo many Chrysler P bodies in American wrecking yards today, so many that Shadows and Sundances generally make up a good quarter of your typical self-serve wrecking yard’s Chrysler section. You still see some of these cars on the street these days, though hit-bottom-years-ago resale values mean that a running Chrysler P is becoming semi-rare sight. I think the low-buck Shadow America and Sundance America are interesting enough to photograph, as is the Sundance Duster, but most of the time I just tune out the Ps when I see them during junkyard expeditions. The Shadow ES, with its goofy 80s-hangover tape graphics, manages to attract my attention, so let’s admire the exquisitely of-its-timeness of this ’94 that I spotted in Denver a couple months ago.
10 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars were pretty cheap, and they weren’t slow (by mid-90s standards).
08 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat is, they weren’t slow when equipped with the Mitsubishi 6G72 V6, as this car is. Though, as we’ve seen, this engine doesn’t guarantee reliability.
05 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe early 90s are notable for having introduced the world to fake wood trim that was much more realistic than the Tormented Souls In Hell Simu-Wood™ of the 1970s and 1980s. Look, 20 years old and not faded or cracked!
04 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere oughta be a law.
14 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe snow is obscuring the mean-looking hood bulge with V6 emblems, but it’s there.
07 - 1994 Dodge Shadow ES Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith manual transmission, this sort of car wouldn’t be a bad first car for a teenager interested in making a cheap machine to take to test-n-tune night. Grab the turbo hardware off a wrecked Stealth, experience the joys of Xtreem Torque Steer®.

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Junkyard Find: 1962 Ford Galaxie Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1962-ford-galaxie-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1962-ford-galaxie-coupe/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=768322 21 - 1962 Ford Galaxie Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinToday’s Junkyard Find isn’t the first ’62 Galaxie we’ve seen in the series. Yes, we had this ’62 Galaxie with the very rare Harlequin paint option more than three years ago. The second-gen Galaxie sometimes gets overlooked these days, because the Chevy Impala of the same era has become so iconic, but it’s a very good-looking car. Unfortunately, even a fairly straight two-door hardtop Galaxie with big-block isn’t worth restoring these days, so this example ended up in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard late last year.
16 - 1962 Ford Galaxie Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSome dealership, or maybe the junkyard, tried and failed to sell this car for $1,999. Look, “engine runs good.”
11 - 1962 Ford Galaxie Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinTypical of California cars of this age, there’s no cancer in the wheelwells or fenders, but the areas where rainwater builds up under trim pieces have rotted.
07 - 1962 Ford Galaxie Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe last year that car radios were required to have the CONELRAD atomic-attack-alert radio stations (640 kHz and 1240 kHz) was 1963, though I owned a ’69 Toyota that still had the CONELRAD marks.

So, the driver of this brand-new Galaxie would know when he or she had to duck and cover.
03 - 1962 Ford Galaxie Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOf course, some later owner installed this Field Expedient Engineering cassette deck under the dash.
02 - 1962 Ford Galaxie Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior is pretty much toast, which is the main reason this car wasn’t worth fixing up.
23 - 1962 Ford Galaxie Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe engine is some member of the Ford FE family, which in most cases isn’t worth rescuing from the wrecking yard.
25 - 1962 Ford Galaxie Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Thunderbird valve cover should indicate that it’s a somewhat desirable 340-horse 390 instead of the scrap-metal-value 352. Heck, maybe it’s even the 385-horsepower 406!
26 - 1962 Ford Galaxie Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut then the regular FORD valve cover on the other side argues for the 352 or low-performance 390. These cars had so many engine swaps over the years that the only way to tell what you’ve got here is to scrape off the mung and look at block and head casting numbers.
13 - 1962 Ford Galaxie Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy the time you read this, today’s Junkyard Find has already been crushed, shredded, and put in a container at the nearby Port of Oakland.

I couldn’t find a ’62 Galaxie ad, but this one for the ’61 gives you the sense of class Ford was shooting for with these cars.

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Junkyard Find: 1967 Lincoln Continental http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1967-lincoln-continental/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1967-lincoln-continental/#comments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=766745 40 - 1967 Lincoln Continental Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 1961-1969 Lincoln Continental, with its suicide doors and slab sides, is recognized by most as the styling pinnacle of the Lincoln brand in the postwar era. Very nice early examples are worth pretty decent money, but a ’67 in beyond-basket-case condition is worth whatever scrap cars are fetching per ton. Here’s a thoroughly used-up ’67 that I found recently in a Denver wrecking yard.
44 - 1967 Lincoln Continental Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car appears to have spent many years bleaching in the High Plains sun; there’s not much Michigan-style rust, but the interior is completely baked. It’s hard to imagine that Richard Nixon’s plush limousine was also a ’67 Continental.
35 - 1967 Lincoln Continental Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, the upholstery is dry as Moon soil.
15 - 1967 Lincoln Continental Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLikewise, the vinyl top.
41 - 1967 Lincoln Continental Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt has a great big 462-cubic-inch MEL engine.
32 - 1967 Lincoln Continental Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHey, some sort of primitive cruise control!
29 - 1967 Lincoln Continental Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThermostat-controlled HVAC systems were super-high-tech in 1967.

Watching the wind rustle a torn plastic-bag “window” in a once-proud luxury car while The Crusher clanks ominously in the background… well, it tends to remind you of your own mortality.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 BMW 2002 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1974-bmw-2002/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1974-bmw-2002/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=765913 11 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI see a fair number of BMW 2002s during my trips to wrecking yards, but for some reason I’ve been hoarding the photos of the few that I photograph. We’ve seen this ’73, this ’73, and today’s ’74. I found this car in a Denver self-serve yard about four months back, which means it has been fed to The Crusher by now. Just as well— this car had some scary, Minnesota-grade rust.
02 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen you see this on the fenders, you know the important structural unibody components probably aren’t so safe.
06 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, this car was visiting Colorado state parks as recently as 2006.
05 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThanks to all the E21 320is in wrecking yards, there’s not much demand for used M10 engines. This one probably went to The Crusher along with the rest of the car.
01 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomeone had already grabbed the instrument cluster by the time I got to this car.
12 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of Bondo to be seen.

01 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1974 BMW 2002 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1986 Dodge Aries K http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1986-dodge-aries-k/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1986-dodge-aries-k/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=764217 15 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe quantities of true Chrysler K-Cars in high-turnover self-service wrecking yards have been declining a bit in recent years, though I still see enough of them that I choose only the most interesting to photograph for this series. So far we’ve seen this “Hemi 2.6″ ’81 Dodge Aries wagon, this ’83 Dodge Aries sedan, this ’85 Dodge 600 Turbo, and this ’88 Dodge Aries wagon, and today I’m adding a gold Aries sedan that has special significance for me.
18 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou see, this is the car that provided the hood for the “Lee Iacocca, Comintern Agent” mural that went on the Plymouth Reliant wagon judged to be the Worst Car In 24 Hours of LeMons History.
20131122_121205This hood now lives somewhere in California, having been removed from the Reliant by Iacocca zealots.
12 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car was in pretty good shape for a 28-year-old sedan that depreciated to scrap value by about age 10: no rust, interior not bad.
05 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinLots of options, including air conditioning and AM/FM radio.
04 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinQuality engineered.
Don’t forget to visit the Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™!

18 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1986 Dodge Aries Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Troféo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1992-oldsmobile-toronado-trofeo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1992-oldsmobile-toronado-trofeo/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=754577 13 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou like rare cars? How about a final-year-of-manufacture Olds Toronado Troféo? I’ll bet there aren’t more than a few hundred ’92 Troféos left in the world! Here’s one that I spotted last week at a snowy Denver self-service yard.
08 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have an unhealthy obsession with the products of GM’s mid-80s-to-early-90s efforts to compete toe-to-toe with German luxury marques (or at least drop the average age of Buick, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac purchase from 96 to maybe 70 years old), and so I’m always happy to write about cars such as the Buick Reatta, Cadillac Allanté, and Olds Troféo. This car is the third Troféo in this series, after this ’89 and this ’90.
09 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven a 70-year-old in 1992 must have been aware that the Buick 3.8 V6 wasn’t exactly cutting-edge technology in the luxury-car world.
07 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLook, a driver’s-side airbag!
22 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAnd, depressingly, molded-in fake stitching on the not-quite-leather door panels.
20 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf this thing had had the touch-screen Visual Information Center, I’d have pulled it and bought it on the spot. Just analog gauges, though.
21 -1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith all its flaws, the ’92 Troféo has a certain amount of cool going for it.

Presented without comment.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1976-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1976-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=753777 06 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo many Fiat 124 Sport Spiders get junked, and the process has been going on for my entire junkyard-prowling career. In the three years of this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’78, and this ’80, and we might as well add the 124′s little brother, this ’71 850 Sport Spider. I don’t even photograph every 124 Sport Spider I see, because they’re almost as common in wrecking yards as ’85 Camrys. Today’s ’76, however, holds the Junkyard Find record for Scariest California Beach Neighborhood Rust.
13 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCars that live within a block or two of the Pacific Ocean in Northern California (I found this car in one of my favorite East Bay yards during a recent drive around California in a new Mirage) often rust in a weird top-down pattern. For example, the truly frightening ’84 Toyota Van we saw last October. California cars with bad weatherstripping often rust inside the trunk, as water leaks in and sits for months during the long, rainy winters. This Fiat managed to rot from both types of California rust.
01 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow does this even happen?
17 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car comes from the era of separate emissions requirements for new cars sold in California.
10 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have quite a collection of these SLOW DOWN lights, which were used to warn of an overheating catalytic converter (presumably the CATALYST indicator light warned of some other cat problem). Ferrari 328s had them, too.
14 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDefinitely not worth restoring, but maybe someone will grab the Twin Cam engine for a nicer Fiat.
IMG_2237Given how cheap these cars are, we see surprisingly few 124 Sport Spiders in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I can think of a couple of Twin Cam-powered examples, and then there’s the Volkswagen TDI-powered Smokey Unit Fiat. This car is pretty quick, but its real advantage in endurance racing is its tremendous range on a tank of diesel.
19 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe last owner of this Fiat was against Proposition 86.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Chrysler Laser XE http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1985-chrysler-laser-xe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1985-chrysler-laser-xe/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=752617 19 - 1985 Chrysler Laser Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Chrysler Laser was the futuristic K-car-based answer to all those science-fiction Japanese cars of the middle 1980s. We’ve seen some of the Dodge counterparts to this car in this series, including this ’92 IROC R/T, this ’90, this ’88, and this ’87 Shelby Turbo Z. Since I’ve been collecting Japanese 1980s digital dashes, I just couldn’t resist adding a Detroit 1980s digital dash to my collection, in the slipperiest of slippery slopes.
05 - 1985 Chrysler Laser Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, I’ve grabbed this Laser’s digital dash and hooked it up to power, and in the meantime I’ve grabbed a few more Detroit digital instrument clusters from junkyards.
04 - 1985 Chrysler Laser Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinCheck out the cool fader/balance joystick control. Less cool is the fact that Chrysler used this exact rig well into the 1990s.
03 - 1985 Chrysler Laser Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Laser XE came with all manner of computerized gadgetry, plus it talked! Unlike the earlier Nissan Maxima, this setup was all-digital.

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Junkyard Find: 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1965-chevrolet-bel-air/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1965-chevrolet-bel-air/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=744065 10 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs most of you know, I have some history with the 1965 full-sized Chevrolet. Back in 1990, when I bought mine, these cars were still very common in high-turnover wrecking yards; this was the result of high production (in fact, more 1965 full-sized Chevrolets were built than any other single year/model of American car in history) and low scrap value. Today, however, shredders that turn scrap cars into quick cash (I recommend this book to anyone curious about the recent technological advances in the scrap-metal field) mean that beat-up old Detroit heaps that aren’t worth restoring get funneled right into The Crusher‘s voracious maw. I find the occasional 60s full-size Chevy in wrecking yards these days, but 25 years ago they were as common as are Chrysler LHs today. That makes today’s find, a rust-and-Bondo-nightmare ’65 Bel Air coupe, even more special.
31 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI found evidence of several distinct applications of body filler on this car. It’s like counting tree rings.
33 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBecause these cars all leaked around the rear window and trunk weatherstripping and the water ends up pooling here, even the ones from dry Western states rust like this. My ’65 sedan spent lived most of its life in Southern California and had similar rot.
09 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust for fun, I decoded the cowl tag. This car was built in the Janesville, Wisconsin plant in the second week of March 1965 (which happens to be the same week the first large contingent of American combat troops arrived in Vietnam). The paint color was Madeira Maroon Metallic, the interior was Fawn cloth and vinyl, and the car came with tinted glass, Powerglide transmission, and padded dash.
18 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe sticker on the inside of the glovebox door indicates that the car was sold by George Irvin Chevrolet in Denver. A little research shows that this dealership— which still used alphanumeric phone numbers after all-numeric dialing became standard— was located at East Colfax and Gaylord, which is just a few miles from the wrecking yard in which I photographed this ’65. The great circle of automotive life, nearly complete.
11 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe fenders came from some other ’65 or ’66 full-size Chevrolet, but chances are this car was built with a 283-cubic-inch small-block anyway.
08 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA really resourceful Junkyard Finder would have scraped the yuck from this engine and obtained some block and head casting numbers. It’s a 283 or a 327 if it’s original… which it probably isn’t
24 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRather than research the 197 trillionth small-block Chevy engine built, however, I became much more interested in what was in the trunk.
27 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDenver newspapers from 1982! Poor Marty Feldman— he died so young.
28 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMeanwhile, the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union was brewing in Poland.
25 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHowever, the Cold War was getting scarier and scarier during its final decade. Those MX missiles loomed large when Able Archer 83 freaked out Brezhnev’s equally doddering successor.
30 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMitsubishi started selling trucks under its own name (instead of with Dodge badging) in the United States in 1982.
29 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo, our car-trunk history lesson tells us that this car got parked for the last time in the early 1980s, then sat outdoors in Colorado for the next few decades before getting sold for scrap.
19 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat optional padded dash doesn’t look so great after 32 years at 5,280 feet.
32 - 1965 Chevrolet Bel Air Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinTwo-door big Chevrolets are cool, but you’d end up paying ten grand to make this one worth maybe four grand. A factory 409 or 396 ’65 Impala two-door with some weird options, sure, that’s worth restoring from basket-case condition. This car… well, let’s hope its few remaining usable parts get grabbed before it gets crushed.


This swift, silent, jet-smooth Chevrolet spreads whole mountains, meadows, vales, and streams before enchanted eyes. There’s no way some spacy-ass commercial like this would get by GM’s marketers today, because they know that Americans hit ‘em hard!

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Toyota Celica GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1978-toyota-celica-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1978-toyota-celica-gt/#comments Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=742825 05 - 1978 Toyota Celica Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe first- and second-generation Toyota Celica was to my generation of freshly-minted California drivers (I got my license in 1982) what the early Ford Mustang was to those born a decade earlier: fairly inexpensive and sensible, but still sporty enough to make you feel cool. I drove a ’69 Corona four-door, possibly the uncoolest car a teenager could own at the time, which was to the Celica in 1982 as the six-cylinder Fairlane sedan was to the Mustang in 1972. These days, of course, all the rear-wheel-drive Celicas are considered worth having… unless they’re in rough condition, in which case they are worth little more than scrap value. Here’s an unrusty-but-still-battered ’78, done up in painfully-late-70s Crisis of Confidence Mustard Yellow, sitting in a Denver self-serve yard.
15 - 1978 Toyota Celica Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe very sturdy 2.2-liter 20R engine made good torque, as befitted an engine well-suited for hauling Hilux-driving, Soviet-fighting mujahideen over mountain passes. You couldn’t spin the R much, as many LeMons racers have discovered, but it would outlast the rest of a Celica.
11 - 1978 Toyota Celica Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen did the 5-speed become commonplace enough that it wasn’t worth bragging about via badging?
02 - 1978 Toyota Celica Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSpeaking of badging, can someone explain what these “CARPET” decals on the rear quarter windows mean?
01 - 1978 Toyota Celica Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior is pretty beat, but you can still make out the nothing-like-a-Corolla sportiness here.

Guys with huge Malaise mustaches and earthtone suits knew: ditch the Volaré, get a Celica!

A car that gives you your money’s worth.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Chevrolet Corvette http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1984-chevrolet-corvette/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1984-chevrolet-corvette/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=740409 01 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou know how there was no 1983 Corvette, and then the C4 finally came out in 1984, and it had this terrible twin-throttle-body fuel-injection system? Of course you do. Anyway, C4 Corvettes are worth enough these days that they’re not common sights in self-service wrecking yards, and those that I do find have been picked pretty clean.. Shops that specialize in Corvettes intercept most basket-case examples before they get to these yards, but I found four C4s all together at a Southern California yard last month. Let’s check out a well-stripped example of the first of the good-handling Corvettes.
08 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is rough, the interior smells like the blue water in a Porta-Potty, and you’ll get a case of fiberglass-itch if you get too close.
12 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut the Cross-Fire Injection is pretty cool-looking.
06 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI didn’t bother to shoot the other three C4s, because they were all in similar condition.
09 - 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m sure these carcasses will stay out on the yard until there’s nothing left of them.

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