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. Sun, 02 Aug 2015 16:00:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » Down On The Junkyard http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com 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: 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT with Ram Air and No Fear http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-2002-pontiac-grand-gt-ram-air-no-fear/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-2002-pontiac-grand-gt-ram-air-no-fear/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124009 When I’m walking the rows of a big self-service wrecking yard with lots of fresh inventory, it’s the weird and/or old stuff that tends to catch my eye. The endless supply of Chrysler Sebrings, Ford Tauruses, and Hyundai Accents camouflages the interesting newer stuff that’s worthy of inclusion in this series, so I’ll try to […]

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10 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

When I’m walking the rows of a big self-service wrecking yard with lots of fresh inventory, it’s the weird and/or old stuff that tends to catch my eye. The endless supply of Chrysler Sebrings, Ford Tauruses, and Hyundai Accents camouflages the interesting newer stuff that’s worthy of inclusion in this series, so I’ll try to pay more attention to discarded 21st-century vehicles with stories to tell. Cars like this California Pontiac, from the final generation of the Grand Am.
04 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

The last owner to glory in the 3.4-liter, 175-horse 60° V6 in this car was Rashawn W, who worked security in San Jose.

02 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

Rashawn had No Fear. There was a time when you never saw No Fear stuff in junkyard cars without corresponding Bad Boy Club products, but these days you’re more likely to see both replaced by stickers from vape-juice manufacturers.

09 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

When I bought a hooptie 1967 Pontiac GTO for $113 in 1983 (this would be like getting a hooptie E36 M3 for $600 today), I felt a lot of envy for the GTO owners who didn’t have mushrooms growing on the carpeting and did have Ram Air engines. The Ram Air V6 wasn’t quite as impressive as its V8 predecessors.

Not only could you get an ’02 Grand Am with no money down, you could try to murder your ex with it!

The macho voiceover artists on South Korean Daewoo ads would scoff at the whiny narrator on this faux-tough Grand Am ad.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 AMC Concord http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1981-amc-concord/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1981-amc-concord/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 12:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1122097 We see a lot of AMC Eagles in this series, as well as the occasional Spirit or Encore or even an Oleg Cassini Edition Matador, but today’s Junkyard Find is our first-ever AMC Concord. Here’s an amazingly brown ’81 sedan for some Malaise goodness. Under the hood, we’ve got an Iron Duke four-cylinder, which made […]

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21 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

We see a lot of AMC Eagles in this series, as well as the occasional Spirit or Encore or even an Oleg Cassini Edition Matador, but today’s Junkyard Find is our first-ever AMC Concord. Here’s an amazingly brown ’81 sedan for some Malaise goodness.
17 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

Under the hood, we’ve got an Iron Duke four-cylinder, which made 86 mighty horsepower. That’s just 12 more than the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage (which weighs 864 pounds less than this Concord), a car much maligned by automotive journalists for its allegedly intolerable slowness. This Concord’s poor abused Duke had to drag 32.78 pounds with each of its gasping horsepower, while the new Mirage — which I say isn’t bad at all, for the price — has a much sprightlier 27.41 pounds-per-horse ratio. Think about that next time you hear some angry geezer complaining about cars being better in the old days.

07 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

This car came with AM and FM on the radio dial, all the better for listening to some of the year’s better music on KALX (if you had AM only, you were stuck with far schmaltzier stuff, though you might have lucked out into one of the better 1981 AM hits now and then).

18 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

Think about this: the AM/FM radio option in this car was $192 ($556 in 2015 dollars), while opting for the 258-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine was just $136 over the cost of the standard Iron Duke. Priorities!

10 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

American cars of this era tended to have headliner-hanging-down issues. I see this staple trick frequently in junkyards.

14 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

Luxury.

I didn’t spend a penny extra for all this luxury!

The Tough Americans, now with 10% rollback.

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Junkyard Find: 1997 Lexus LS400 Coach Edition (with Bonus Failed Anti-Tow-Away Note) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1997-lexus-ls400-coach-edition-bonus-failed-anti-tow-away-note/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1997-lexus-ls400-coach-edition-bonus-failed-anti-tow-away-note/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1119017 Three years ago, after becoming obsessed with 1990s Japanese luxury cars and, failing to find a non-thrashed Infiniti Q45 (or even a nice J30), I bought a very clean 1997 Lexus LS400 Coach Edition. It’s still my daily driver and still in great shape, but you always have a need for a few bits and […]

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33 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Three years ago, after becoming obsessed with 1990s Japanese luxury cars and, failing to find a non-thrashed Infiniti Q45 (or even a nice J30), I bought a very clean 1997 Lexus LS400 Coach Edition. It’s still my daily driver and still in great shape, but you always have a need for a few bits and pieces when you drive an older car. The early LS400s are extraordinarily common in low price, self-service wrecking yards these days, but the UCF20 1995-1997 LS is still worth enough that it’s a rare sight at U-Wrench-It.

Last winter, I finally found one in a Denver yard, and it has stories to tell.
21 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Even five years after moving to Colorado from the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m still not fully on board with this snow-covered-junkyard business.

13 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This car had all the signs of a rapid fall from luxury-car glory; there was plenty of body damage outside and trash inside, but it still had all the original dealer paperwork and factory inspection certificate.

60 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I’m pretty sure that the TO BE TOWED note I found was written by an enraged apartment manager or neighbor, after the car became immobile due to some expensive-to-fix mechanical problem, and that the angry response was written by the car’s owner. As we all know, heartfelt notes to tow-truck drivers don’t work.

42 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

But according to the auction sticker, the car starts.

There is nothing sadder than a broken wind-up crab toy crawling through the junkyard slush.

64 - 1997 Lexus LS400 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The only part I really wanted for my LS was the factory radio, because the LCD display on mine has some bad pixels. However, I learned from parting out an SC400 on eBay that certain 1990s Lexus parts are worth good money, so I grabbed a few more bits.

 

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Nissan Maxima http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1984-nissan-maxima/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1984-nissan-maxima/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116233 Maximas of the ’80s, like their Toyota Cressida counterparts, were pretty reliable and held their heads above the scrap-value waterline for decades after all the early Sentras got crushed. We’ve seen this ’85 sedan with 5-speed, this gig-rig ’86 wagon with pleading note to the tow-truck driver and this super-weird ’86 sedan with brake fluid […]

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14 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Maximas of the ’80s, like their Toyota Cressida counterparts, were pretty reliable and held their heads above the scrap-value waterline for decades after all the early Sentras got crushed. We’ve seen this ’85 sedan with 5-speed, this gig-rig ’86 wagon with pleading note to the tow-truck driver and this super-weird ’86 sedan with brake fluid used as coolant and washer fluid in this series so far, and today we’re heading to the San Francisco Bay Area to see this last-year-of-rear-wheel-drive example.
06 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one has surprisingly low miles on the clock.

16 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

By 1984, the name-change from Datsun to Nissan was in its final transition year. These cars came with little Datsun badges and big Nissan badges (the Datsun ones have been pried off this car); for the 1985 model year, all U.S.-market Nissans would be Datsun-badge-free.

I recall the whole marque-renaming thing being puzzling at the time.

10 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Just like the 810 that preceded it, this car has a 2.4-liter L24 straight-six engine and Z-car-derived suspension. A year later, the Maxima would be motivated by the front wheels and powered by a V6.

19 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Many upscale Nissans would keep the weird phonograph-based “talking car” system for a few more years, but some models started getting solid-state voice units instead of the far cooler record-player types. Yes, I bought this one.

01 - 1984 Nissan Maxima Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Do these stickers really prevent speeding tickets?


Japanese car ads during this period were far superior to the North American ones.


At Nissan, we make every drive Major Motion.

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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.

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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: 1979 Ford Ranchero http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1979-ford-ranchero/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/junkyard-find-1979-ford-ranchero/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1103057 Ah, the Malaise Era! Engines making one horsepower per three cubic inches. Broughams, Landaus, and molded-in fake stitching on petroleum-distillate Simu-Vinyl™ upholstery. And, of course, a pseudo-pickup based on the Ford Thunderbird platform. 1977-79 Rancheros still show up in California wrecking yards now and then, and that’s where I saw this green-on-green-on-green-on-some-more-green ’79 last fall. […]

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08 - 1979 Ford Ranchero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Ah, the Malaise Era! Engines making one horsepower per three cubic inches. Broughams, Landaus, and molded-in fake stitching on petroleum-distillate Simu-Vinyl™ upholstery. And, of course, a pseudo-pickup based on the Ford Thunderbird platform. 1977-79 Rancheros still show up in California wrecking yards now and then, and that’s where I saw this green-on-green-on-green-on-some-more-green ’79 last fall.
02 - 1979 Ford Ranchero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

It’s hard to imagine a greener interior. We’ve seen this phenomenon before.

06 - 1979 Ford Ranchero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin351-cubic-inch V8 making 19 horsepower, or something like that. I don’t feel like looking up the exact number, because it will make me sad.
00 - 1979 Ford Ranchero Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Still, this face has a certain appeal. I know it’s wrong, but I could see driving one of these every day (I blame Mr. Mehta for this sickness).

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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.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Dodge Colt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-colt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-colt/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096361 We’ve seen plenty of front–wheel–drive Colts in this series, but (prior to today) the only example of the rear-wheel drive Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Colt Galant we’d seen was this lichen-covered ’72 wagon. On a recent trip to California, I spotted this coastal-rusty example of tape-striped Malaise Mitsubishi glory. Obviously, this car sat outdoors and neglected for […]

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23- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We’ve seen plenty of frontwheeldrive Colts in this series, but (prior to today) the only example of the rear-wheel drive Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Colt Galant we’d seen was this lichen-covered ’72 wagon. On a recent trip to California, I spotted this coastal-rusty example of tape-striped Malaise Mitsubishi glory.
17- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Obviously, this car sat outdoors and neglected for decades.

08- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The severity of the top-down rust indicates that it lived near the ocean, or maybe under a leaky tarp in a shaded Bay Area yard.

11- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Someone took the cylinder head off and said “To hell with it.”

01- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Still, you can always find something useful on a car like this. The instrument cluster would be useful for a Colt restorer.

18- 1976 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Ah, Malaise.


Hemi engine!


This appears to be the same car, down to the blue tape stripes. Look, adjustable steering column!

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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!

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Chevrolet Nova http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-nova/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-nova/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1085809 I see many Corolla-based, NUMMI-built Novas in my junkyard travels, but the earlier rear-wheel-drive X-body Nova has become a fairly rare sight in self-service wrecking yards during the last decade or so. Other than a handful of factory-performance versions, 1970s Novas were disposable, cheap transportation appliances, and so the ones that haven’t been crushed by […]

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06 - 1976 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I see many Corolla-based, NUMMI-built Novas in my junkyard travels, but the earlier rear-wheel-drive X-body Nova has become a fairly rare sight in self-service wrecking yards during the last decade or so. Other than a handful of factory-performance versions, 1970s Novas were disposable, cheap transportation appliances, and so the ones that haven’t been crushed by now tend to be nicely restored and/or drag racers. Still, I find a few; we’ve seen this ’77 two-door, this rare ’73 hatchback, this ’79 Oldsmobile Omega (one of GM’s many adventures in X-body badge engineering), and this ’78 Cadillac Seville Elegante (one of GM’s many adventures in Cadillac brand dilution) so far, and now we’ve got this ’76 in California.
05 - 1976 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I’ve owned one of these cars (a 250-powered two-door purchased for $100, or maybe it was $50), and it was a total hooptie that wasn’t much fun to drive but always ran. You can make them dangerously quick with a small-block Chevy equipped with cheapo bolt-on performance parts, of course.

01 - 1976 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one was called “CHEVY RYDER,” or maybe it was owned by someone who called himself by that name. I’m guessing that Mr. CHEVY RYDER now drives the BONE-MERO.

07 - 1976 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The engine is gone from this car, but we can assume that it had a badass hood scoop of some sort.

02 - 1976 Chevrolet Nova Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

It’s possible that CHEVY RYDER had a whole fleet of X-bodies and stripped the interior and powertrain out of this one before transplanting its parts into a nice one.


Apparently there is at least one of these cars in Israel.


The earlier version of the Nova was a much better automobile than O.J. Simpson.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood, Terrifying Ocean Rust Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1974-cadillac-fleetwood-terrifying-ocean-rust-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1974-cadillac-fleetwood-terrifying-ocean-rust-edition/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 12:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1086657 So many rusty Junkyard Finds lately! We had the Krusty Kressida earlier this week, and then a whole week of corroded Coloradans before that. Now we’re returning to San Francisco, where cars parked close to the ocean dissolve in strange top-down fashion thanks to the constant salt spray and chilly fog. I found this once-luxurious […]

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24 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

So many rusty Junkyard Finds lately! We had the Krusty Kressida earlier this week, and then a whole week of corroded Coloradans before that. Now we’re returning to San Francisco, where cars parked close to the ocean dissolve in strange top-down fashion thanks to the constant salt spray and chilly fog. I found this once-luxurious Fleetwood sedan in a Bay Area yard a few weeks ago.
22 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

472 cubic inches, 205 horsepower.

16 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The hood rained salty rust flakes for decades.

09 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The interior is still Whorehouse Red and doesn’t look as bad as the outside, but the mildew/seaweed smell is off-putting.

04 - 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I think losing most of a quarter-panel is a car’s way of telling you that its driving days are just about over.


This car is from the era when Cadillac was trumpeting sales figures rather than exclusivity. This didn’t work out so well in the long run.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Cressida Wagon, Salty Pacific Ocean Spray Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-cressida-wagon-salty-pacific-ocean-spray-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-cressida-wagon-salty-pacific-ocean-spray-edition/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 11:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1079161 Since we had some rusty Junkyard Finds recently and I just spent a couple of days driving around San Francisco looking at ocean-salt horror-story cars, let’s continue with the Toyota Rust theme and check out this frighteningly oxidized San Francisco Cressida. Cars in the non-mountainous regions of California mostly don’t rust much, unless they’re air-cooled […]

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40 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Since we had some rusty Junkyard Finds recently and I just spent a couple of days driving around San Francisco looking at ocean-salt horror-story cars, let’s continue with the Toyota Rust theme and check out this frighteningly oxidized San Francisco Cressida.
27 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Cars in the non-mountainous regions of California mostly don’t rust much, unless they’re air-cooled Volkswagens. Sometimes you’ll see old Detroit cars in California with rusted-out trunk floors (from rainwater leaking in during the winter) or rust beneath vinyl tops, but that’s about as bad as it gets… unless you live within a few blocks of the ocean. In that situation, you get salt spray kicked up by big waves, plus the constant damp and fog that neighborhoods right on the ocean get. The damage tends to start on top and work its way down. Eventually, a good-running Toyota becomes more of a rusty cheese grater and must be scrapped.

15 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This Cressida has San Francisco N Zone residential parking permits stretching from 1994 through a couple months ago. The Richmond District gets plenty of salt and chilly fog, being one of those SF neighborhoods with summer high temperatures in the 40s.

01 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The owner of this car experimented with several types of rust-covering fillers. This appears to be Sculpey and Rustoleum.

29 - 1983 Toyota Cressida Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I got so obsessed with documenting the rust “repairs” that I neglected to shoot the interior of this car. The icky Children’s Interactive Expo T-shirt as a seat cover is the only interior shot I took.

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

The 5M engine might still be a runner. Only one way to find out!

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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: 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency, Old Glory Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1989-oldsmobile-98-regency-old-glory-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1989-oldsmobile-98-regency-old-glory-edition/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082281 I love the wrecking yards in my adopted state of Colorado, but you can’t beat the high-inventory-turnover big chain yards in urban California when it comes to weird Junkyard Finds with enjoyably incomprehensible backstories. Today’s San Jose find, an extremely patriotic 11th-gen Olds 98 sedan, must have a fascinating tale behind it… if only we […]

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14 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I love the wrecking yards in my adopted state of Colorado, but you can’t beat the high-inventory-turnover big chain yards in urban California when it comes to weird Junkyard Finds with enjoyably incomprehensible backstories. Today’s San Jose find, an extremely patriotic 11th-gen Olds 98 sedan, must have a fascinating tale behind it… if only we could puzzle it out.
13 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The paint stripes and star decals appear to have been done professionally, with no evidence of half-assed bugs-in-the-paint backyard work.

15 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The stars and stripes are sufficiently weathered that it’s possible they were applied when the car was new. Maybe some Olds dealership used the car for Fourth of July parades?

03 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

You don’t see many Fred Thompson 2008 presidential campaign stickers these days (nor did you in 2007), but this car has several. Thompson dropped out of the race early, after coming in third in the South Carolina primary.

23 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

If you’ve got a red-white-and-blue Oldsmobile, you need at least one “NEVER FORGET” 9/11 sticker. This car has two, if you count the half-peeled one on the driver’s door.

19 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Joshua Robert Rodgers came from Carson City, Nevada, so it’s possible that this is a Nevada Olds that made it to the San Francisco Bay Area late in its career.

22 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This sticker refers to Ignacio Ramos and José Compean, two Border Patrol agents who were jailed over a shooting incident near El Paso in 2005. President Bush commuted their sentences in 2009, so this car is starting to look like a 2007 time capsule. Note the spelling correction on the sticker.

32 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Not quite 130,000 miles on the clock.

34 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The body is solid, but the interior is heavily sun-damaged.

36 - 1989 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Buick V6 power under the hood.


9% financing on the 98 Regency in Canada!

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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.
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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: 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Four-Door Hatchback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1980-volkswagen-dasher-four-door-hatchback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1980-volkswagen-dasher-four-door-hatchback/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065138 With the 1986 Quantum GL5 Junkyard Find we had a couple of days ago, we might as well make this a VW junkyard week. With that in mind, I present this icky-looking Volkswagen Dasher today. I shot this car in Northern California a few months ago, and it showed all the hallmarks of a car […]

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00 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

With the 1986 Quantum GL5 Junkyard Find we had a couple of days ago, we might as well make this a VW junkyard week. With that in mind, I present this icky-looking Volkswagen Dasher today.
04 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

I shot this car in Northern California a few months ago, and it showed all the hallmarks of a car stored outdoors for decades: low miles, paint burned off upper surfaces, moss and lichens growing on the shaded areas. Look, not even 100,000 miles on the clock!

11 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

This one was a luxurious model with sunroof and air conditioning a diesel injection pump.

01 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

The 1980 four-door hatch version of the Dasher listed at $8,190, which was $2,300 more than the Rabbit four-door hatch. Meanwhile, the far more luxurious and powerful (keep in mind that 1980’s standards for luxury and power differ from the ones we might apply today) Datsun 810 wagon (soon to be rebadged as the Maxima) listed at $8,129. Not that Dasher and 810 shoppers were the same people, but these comparisons are fun to make.

03 - 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin

Yes, I bought the MotoMeter clock… and it works!

The car of choice for Kentucky Colonels.

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1986-vollkswagen-quantum-gl5-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1986-vollkswagen-quantum-gl5-sedan/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064938 The original Volkswagen Passat (aka Audi 80) was sold in the United States as the Dasher, and we’ve seen a few of them in this series. Then, when the second-generation Passat came out, the US-market version was called the Quantum. These cars, which were available here for the 1982 through 1988 model years (after which […]

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03 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The original Volkswagen Passat (aka Audi 80) was sold in the United States as the Dasher, and we’ve seen a few of them in this series. Then, when the second-generation Passat came out, the US-market version was called the Quantum. These cars, which were available here for the 1982 through 1988 model years (after which VW decided, what the hell, they’d call its successor the same thing they called the European version), weren’t what you’d call hot sellers, and just about all of them are long gone. That makes today’s Junkyard Find a rarity for the 21st century.
08 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The GL5 had the Audi five-cylinder engine, which would be a lot cooler in this car if the original buyer had opted for the manual transmission.

10 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

It’s in very nice condition. No rust, body is straight, interior is nice. Why is it here in this Denver wrecking yard?

11 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I found the original owner’s manual and a big stack of maintenance records inside. The original owner took great car of this car for many years.

18 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

The records stop after about 120,000 miles and the odometer shows 143k, so I’m guessing that something broke a decade ago and the car sat in a garage until now.

19 - 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Check out these pop-out cassette tape holders!


In Brazil (and many other places, including China), this car was called the Santana.


They just stopped making this car in China a couple years back.


The 2000 Chinese model had a George Baker soundtrack.


Engineered to give you a great exit… and a grand entry.

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