The Truth About Cars » junkyard http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:38:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » junkyard http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-mercury-grand-marquis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-mercury-grand-marquis/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875617 Here’s another Junkyard Find that deserves the Sajeev’s Bitter Tears label. It qualifies for the Brown Car Appreciation Society, it’s an early Panther, and it’s a top-trim-level Grand Marquis (owners of which looked down their noses at lowly Marquis Brougham owners). Let’s explore this exquisite example of Late Malaise Era crypto-luxury, shall we? These cars […]

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09 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s another Junkyard Find that deserves the Sajeev’s Bitter Tears label. It qualifies for the Brown Car Appreciation Society, it’s an early Panther, and it’s a top-trim-level Grand Marquis (owners of which looked down their noses at lowly Marquis Brougham owners). Let’s explore this exquisite example of Late Malaise Era crypto-luxury, shall we?
13 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars were the same under the skin as the LTD and Continental, and they weren’t bad drivers (by the standards of the time).
07 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOpera lights! Trivia question: what was the last year for factory-installed opera lights on an American car? I’m guessing this feature made it well into the 21st century.
06 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one’s a little rough, though it’s a completely rust-free California car.
17 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo much trim. So much vinyl.
14 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou see a lot of police-organization and AAA-related stickers on these cars, which is not surprising given the elderly demographic that preferred them.
03 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSteering-wheel cruise-control buttons showed a lot of faith in Ford’s ability to make a clockspring and/or sliding electrical contacts work.
10 - 1981 Mercury Grand Marquis Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFord (and Chrysler) loved these fake vents in the early 1980s. Why?

Created by science!

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Junkyard Find: 1959 DeSoto http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1959-desoto/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1959-desoto/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875545 I haven’t been to the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard (where I bought my 1941 Plymouth sedan) for a while, but I’ve still got quite a few photographs of the thousands of old American cars that live there. We’ve seen this ’62 Cadillac, this ’52 Kaiser, this ’49 Kaiser, this ’51 Nash, this ’51 Frazer, this mystery […]

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02 - 1959 DeSoto Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI haven’t been to the Brain-Melting Colorado Junkyard (where I bought my 1941 Plymouth sedan) for a while, but I’ve still got quite a few photographs of the thousands of old American cars that live there. We’ve seen this ’62 Cadillac, this ’52 Kaiser, this ’49 Kaiser, this ’51 Nash, this ’51 Frazer, this mystery custom, this ’48 Pontiac hearse, and a few more, and today we’ll admire an example of DeSoto‘s final years.
03 - 1959 DeSoto Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Swedes who come to the Brain-Melting Junkyard every year and fill shipping containers with old American cars and parts may have grabbed this car by now, since they love big finned American sedans in Scandinavia.
06 - 1959 DeSoto Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s pretty rusty, but most of the trim and glass look good.
05 - 1959 DeSoto Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMost of the cars were saved from The Crusher by the yard’s owner, who spent decades hanging around the gates of Denver’s scrappers, offering a few bucks more than the going rate for anything interesting. Better that this one get shipped to Europe than head back to the steel jaws.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Ford Escort GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1988-ford-escort-gt-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1988-ford-escort-gt-2/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872602 Most of the Escort GTs you see these days are the Mazda-based cars that came out starting in the 1991 model year. The first-gen North American Escort, loosely based on its European counterpart, was built from 1981 through 1990, and examples are becoming very rare in wrecking yards. We saw this first-half-of-1988 Escort GT last […]

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04 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMost of the Escort GTs you see these days are the Mazda-based cars that came out starting in the 1991 model year. The first-gen North American Escort, loosely based on its European counterpart, was built from 1981 through 1990, and examples are becoming very rare in wrecking yards. We saw this first-half-of-1988 Escort GT last month, and now I’ve found this “1988.5″ model in a Southern California yard.
02 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou could get a 5.0 “HO” V8 in the Mustang and Continental Mark VII, and so Ford just had to label the 1.9 CVH engine as an HO as well. 110 horsepower out of this engine, which was two more than the ’88 Honda Civic Si had.
09 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI am experiencing an 80s flashback, looking at these tape graphics. Makes me want to loot an S&L.
10 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot much left of the interior. This might have been an interior-parts donor for a nicer GT.
14 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe rear wing, which did a fine job of trapping a couple of decades’ worth of dirt, won’t be going to The Crusher with the rest of the car.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1982-volkswagen-scirocco/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1982-volkswagen-scirocco/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871498 These days, most of the older water-cooled VWs you see in American pull-yer-part wrecking yards are Golf Cabrios and the occasional ancient Malaisewagen. I see a second-gen Scirocco every now and then (the first-gens have long since disappeared from the junkyard ecosystem), and today’s Junkyard Find caught my attention with its distinctively early-80s paint color. […]

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07 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese days, most of the older water-cooled VWs you see in American pull-yer-part wrecking yards are Golf Cabrios and the occasional ancient Malaisewagen. I see a second-gen Scirocco every now and then (the first-gens have long since disappeared from the junkyard ecosystem), and today’s Junkyard Find caught my attention with its distinctively early-80s paint color.
12 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Robert ArmstrongWhen I see a Scirocco of this era, I always think of it as the car that genius cartoonist Robert Armstrong gave his lovable-dirtbag Mickey Rat character when The Man brainwashed him into becoming a solid citizen; a very yuppie machine in its time.
10 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMechanically speaking, the Scirocco didn’t differ much from the Golf. 74 horsepower in 1982 for US-market Sciroccos (which were more fun to drive than that figure suggests).
01 - 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars aren’t worth much in rough condition, so once one falls into the hands of a city tow-yard or an insurance auction, the junkyard is the likeliest next stop.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Porsche 924 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1978-porsche-924/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1978-porsche-924/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=865002 I’ve learned a couple of things about Porsches while working for the 24 Hours of LeMons race series. One is that Internet Car Experts cannot accept the idea that any Porsche might be had for a three-figure price tag, and the other is that 924s and 944s are absolute nightmares to keep running. You can […]

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09 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ve learned a couple of things about Porsches while working for the 24 Hours of LeMons race series. One is that Internet Car Experts cannot accept the idea that any Porsche might be had for a three-figure price tag, and the other is that 924s and 944s are absolute nightmares to keep running. You can find cheap 924s and 944s all day long, anywhere in the country, and the sellers will be eager to take your offer. I see these cars in cheap self-serve wrecking yards all the time, but seldom do I stop to photograph the things. This time, though, the radiant copper color of this Porsche 924 was just so compelling that I reached for my camera.
03 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack in 1984 or so, I knew a guy who made the leap from small-time cannabis dealer to small-time cocaine dealer. Naturally, he needed a car that would let the world know that he’d arrived, so he ditched his Vega and bought a silver 924. Then he got burned in some sort of deal gone wrong about a month later and had to sell the Porsche in a hurry. I’m sure most 924s have several such owners in their history.
01 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou know what other vehicle came with this 2.0 liter SOHC engine? The 1979 AM General DJ-5 Mail Jeep.
13 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has a fairly solid body, though the interior is bad.
04 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThing is, when your Porsche is worth $900 and the mechanic wants $1,500 to make it run again… well, that’s the story with many once-valuable Junkyard Finds.

Just the car for adventurous Germans!

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Buick Somerset http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1986-buick-somerset/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1986-buick-somerset/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=864818 Ahhh, the Buick Somerset! One of my favorite obscure General Motors cars of the 1980s, right up there with the Oldsmobile Toronado Troféo and Buick Reatta. The Somerset started out in 1985 as the Somerset Regal, but then GM’s marketers must have become as confused as an octogenarian Buick shopper confronted in the showroom by […]

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18 - 1986 Buick Somerset Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAhhh, the Buick Somerset! One of my favorite obscure General Motors cars of the 1980s, right up there with the Oldsmobile Toronado Troféo and Buick Reatta. The Somerset started out in 1985 as the Somerset Regal, but then GM’s marketers must have become as confused as an octogenarian Buick shopper confronted in the showroom by this little coupe with thrashy four-banger and science-fiction radio pod, changing the name to just plain Somerset for 1986. Not easy to find, the Somerset, so I was happy to spot this one last winter in a Denver self-service yard.
06 - 1986 Buick Somerset Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomerset buyers got this cool digital dash, which might have appealed to Japanese octogenarians but didn’t resonate so well with American ones who grew up with a more traditional sort of Buick coupe. No, I didn’t buy this cluster to add to my collection— I already have a Somerset digital cluster, pulled from another car that I found the week before photographing this one.
03 - 1986 Buick Somerset Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWant to upgrade to an aftermarket radio in your Somerset? Not with this setup in place, you won’t!
04 - 1986 Buick Somerset Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNobody has ever been able to explain what GM was thinking when they came up with this idea.
13 - 1986 Buick Somerset Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinUnder the hood, the good old Iron Duke, the least luxurious engine available to General Motors at the time. The 3.0 liter Buick V6 was optional for the ’86 Somerset.
17 - 1986 Buick Somerset Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one ran when crashed.

Give me the look. Give me the feel. Give me the magic. Give me the wheel.

Where better really matters.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Datsun 210 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-datsun-210-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-datsun-210-2/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=864545 Names for various flavors of the Nissan Sunny got very confusing during the 1970s and 1980s. Starting in the 1978 model year, the front-wheel-drive replacement for the B210— known as the B310 within Nissan— kept the “210″ name in the United States (meanwhile, you could also buy “510s” that were actually A10 Violets), later evolving […]

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10 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNames for various flavors of the Nissan Sunny got very confusing during the 1970s and 1980s. Starting in the 1978 model year, the front-wheel-drive replacement for the B210— known as the B310 within Nissan— kept the “210″ name in the United States (meanwhile, you could also buy “510s” that were actually A10 Violets), later evolving into the car that became the Sentra. These were cheap but reliable (for the time) misery boxes, competing with the likes of the Chrysler Omnirizon, and so very few of them escaped The Crusher when they started wearing out in the early 1990s. Here’s a rare example that I found in Southern California in January.
13 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Datsun name had just a few years to go at this point.
07 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI can’t tell the A12 engine from the A14 at a glance; either way, this thing delivers well under 75 horsepower.
06 - 1978 Datsun 210 - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPretty typical late-70s econobox interior. At least this car has a manual transmission.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-triumph-spitfire-1500/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-triumph-spitfire-1500/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862769 The low-value British or Italian sports car that sits in rough condition in a yard or driveway for decades, then takes that sad final journey to the local U-Wrench-It— it’s been a staple of the American self-service wrecking yard landscape for what seems like forever. The MGB and Fiat 124 Sport Spider are by far […]

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09 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe low-value British or Italian sports car that sits in rough condition in a yard or driveway for decades, then takes that sad final journey to the local U-Wrench-It— it’s been a staple of the American self-service wrecking yard landscape for what seems like forever. The MGB and Fiat 124 Sport Spider are by far the most common examples of this breed, followed by the TR7, Alfa Romeo Spider, and the Triumph Spitfire. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’65, this ’67, and this ’75, and now we’re getting right to the end of the Spitfire’s 19-year production run with today’s ’79.
06 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLike just about all junkyard convertibles, the interior of this one is pretty well roasted to oblivion by many years of outdoor storage.
07 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s possible that someone plucked this tube header before the car got crushed (I shot these photos last October in Northern Californai, which means this car is probably shredded metal bits in a shipping container in Shenzhen at this point), but there’s not much demand for smogged-up 1500s these days.
05 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThose horrible 5 mph crash bumpers! Even in this apparently rust-free condition, nobody was willing to rescue this forlorn British Leyland machine.

The emergency run to the hospital in a Spitfire seems like a risky proposition, but it worked out fine in the commercial.

From the land of British Racing Green.

For the man who has lived long and well, it offers a respite from boredom.

This ad offers a more accurate portrayal of real-world Spitfire driving on American highways.

Chicks dug it, though, especially after pulling .87 Gs on the skidpad.

British Leyland had something for everyone!

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Junkyard Find: 1972 International Harvester Scout II http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1972-international-harvester-scout-ii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1972-international-harvester-scout-ii/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862233 Here in Colorado, Scouts are all over the place, which means that Denver-area wrecking yards get a steady stream of worn-out or abandoned examples. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’73, and this ’74, and I’ve skipped over a bunch of totally-stripped Scouts that weren’t worth photographing. Today’s find […]

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01 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere in Colorado, Scouts are all over the place, which means that Denver-area wrecking yards get a steady stream of worn-out or abandoned examples. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’73, and this ’74, and I’ve skipped over a bunch of totally-stripped Scouts that weren’t worth photographing. Today’s find has donated a lot of parts to the local Scout ecosystem, but still intact enough to be of interest.
07 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe IHC V8 was a heavy, farm-equipment-grade brute. There’s probably some easy way to tell a 304 from a 345 at a glance, but I don’t know what it is.
08 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe smog sticker says it’s a 345, but owners of these trucks have always been notorious engine-swappers. Hey, why is there a California catalyst sticker on a ’72? This junkyard goes by VIN records when determining model year, so I suspect that some VIN-swapping magic was performed by a previous owner and we’re really looking at a late-70s Scout.
06 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIHC made a Rallye version of the Scout II, but this looks like a homegrown decal job.
09 - 1972 International Harvester Scout II Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s not incredibly rusty, but there’s no reason to restore a truck like this when you can buy nicer runners for reasonable prices in Colorado.

Does everything a compact, big sedan, or station wagon can do!

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Ford LTD Brougham http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1976-ford-ltd-brougham/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1976-ford-ltd-brougham/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=861817 Just after I wrote that non-Country Squire Ford LTDs were rare Junkyard Finds (we’ve had three so far: this ’69, this ’71, and this ’72), I found this majestic yellow four-door hardtop in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard. As an added bonus, it’s a Brougham! We laugh at Malaise Era big Detroit cars […]

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07 - 1976 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
Just after I wrote that non-Country Squire Ford LTDs were rare Junkyard Finds (we’ve had three so far: this ’69, this ’71, and this ’72), I found this majestic yellow four-door hardtop in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard. As an added bonus, it’s a Brougham!


21 - 1976 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe laugh at Malaise Era big Detroit cars now, with their overwrought heraldic crests and laughably fake wood and leather, but I spent much of my childhood in cars like this and they actually seemed pretty nice at the time.
19 - 1976 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 351M V8 was big on torque, not so great for horsepower or fuel economy.
17 - 1976 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one got a lot of use over its 38-year lifespan.


There is no way in hell this generation of LTD managed to get 22 mpg on the highway, even with the not-so-strict tests of the time. It was comfortable, though.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Volvo 242 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1977-volvo-242/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1977-volvo-242/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857601 In California, Volvo 240s are going to the crusher in huge numbers as the traditional Volvo-buying demographic transitions to the Prius. This has been going on for at least a decade, and every wrecking yard in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas has at least ten 240s in stock these days. Here in Colorado, […]

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13 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn California, Volvo 240s are going to the crusher in huge numbers as the traditional Volvo-buying demographic transitions to the Prius. This has been going on for at least a decade, and every wrecking yard in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas has at least ten 240s in stock these days. Here in Colorado, the pace is slower but I still see a fair number of 240s (and 140s) in Denver-area yards. Today’s find is an early example of the breed, very straight and completely rust-free. Despite what fanatical 240 worshipers say, the 240 two-doors just aren’t valuable enough to be worth saving once they get a little tired.
10 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI once believed that these “Lambda Sond” emblems indicated the presence of a more powerful engine, ideally suited for bombing through logging roads above the Arctic Circle. Unfortunately, all this means is that there’s an oxygen-sensor-based feedback fuel-injection system in the car. Admittedly, this was unusual in 1977, but still not very exciting.
15 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBecause of American headlight regulations of the era, these hideous single-round-lamp abominations were installed in the first few model years of US-market 240s. By the late 1970s, these cars had better-looking quad-rectangle headlight rigs.
08 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhile the wiring in these cars sometimes crapped out, the good old B engines held together for decades.
03 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one even came with air conditioning, which was serious luxury for 1977 Volvo buyers.
20 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis must be one of the very first “My Kid Is An Honor Student” bumper stickers, judging from its condition.
02 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 240 Jihad is going to hate this: 56,518 miles on the clock! This car probably spent decades in storage before getting junked.
17 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe presence of keys means that it was most likely sold to the wrecking yard by an auction house that got the car as a trade-in or from an insurance company.
05 - 1977 Volvo 242 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI’ll bet factory AM/FM radios for these things are very rare, but not at all sought-after.

Here’s a nice collection of Volvo 240 ads from around the world.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-alfa-romeo-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1981-alfa-romeo-spider/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=856321 Prices for (non-164) Alfa Romeos have been getting somewhat crazy in recent years, but it’s still possible to get a restorable 1970s or 1980s Spider for non-insane bucks. The proof of this is that rougher examples still show up now and then at the self-service wrecking yards I frequent. In this series so far, we’ve […]

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13 - 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPrices for (non-164) Alfa Romeos have been getting somewhat crazy in recent years, but it’s still possible to get a restorable 1970s or 1980s Spider for non-insane bucks. The proof of this is that rougher examples still show up now and then at the self-service wrecking yards I frequent. In this series so far, we’ve seen this ’74, this ’78, and now today’s ’81.
01 - 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior is ugly, but it doesn’t show the atomic-testing-grade obliteration that Colorado convertibles get when left outside for years with no top.
07 - 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAlfa Spiders love to rust, even in single-digit-humidity Colorado.
06 - 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot worth restoring, but a good parts car.
11 - 1981 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIts final parking place is next to a Mazda RX-7.

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Camry LE Liftback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-camry-limited-edition-liftback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1984-toyota-camry-limited-edition-liftback/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=856145 We don’t normally put the words “Camry” and “rare” together in the same sentence, but this series is all about finding rare-but-not-valuable oddities (e.g., one of the very last GM J-body. When it comes to rare Camrys, there’s the seldom-seen-in-the-wild Camry All-Trac and the nearly-as-rare Camry Liftback, and I’d found exactly one example of each […]

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09 - 1984 Toyota Camry Liftback Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe don’t normally put the words “Camry” and “rare” together in the same sentence, but this series is all about finding rare-but-not-valuable oddities (e.g., one of the very last GM J-body. When it comes to rare Camrys, there’s the seldom-seen-in-the-wild Camry All-Trac and the nearly-as-rare Camry Liftback, and I’d found exactly one example of each in wrecking yards prior to today’s find. Yes, here’s another first-gen Camry liftback, this time dressed in whatever Toyota called this strange metallic purplish-brown hue.
01 - 1984 Toyota Camry Liftback Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBefore car companies got into the whole brevity thing and started slapping plain old LE badges on slightly-upscale trim levels, Toyota added these attractive Limited Edition gold badges on Camry trunklids.
05 - 1984 Toyota Camry Liftback Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin228,126 miles was very good for a car built 30 years ago.
07 - 1984 Toyota Camry Liftback Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior isn’t bad and— this being a California car— there’s no rust. Why is this Camry in the junkyard? Perhaps the engine or transmission crapped out, or maybe the car got towed away for too many parking tickets.
10 - 1984 Toyota Camry Liftback Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 91-horsepower 1S-L engine was enough for 1984, and for 1984 buyers of Toyota sedans.
06 - 1984 Toyota Camry Liftback Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAir conditioning!

The lack of the macho-ness we expect in 1980s JDM car ads is disappointing here, but this is a Camry.

I’m sure the automobile industry longs for the days of fuel-economy testing that gave the early Camry a 44 mpg highway rating. At 47 mph with a tailwind, maybe.

Room for a rock group… or a group of rocks!

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Dodge Colt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1981-dodge-colt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1981-dodge-colt/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=854209 By the final years of the Malaise Era, Chrysler had their econobox needs covered on the one hand by much-modified rebadged Simcas, and on the other by not-at-all-modified rebadged Mitsubishis. These cars were no worse than their Ford and GM competitors (which isn’t saying much), but the inherent cheapness of the 4th-gen Mitsubishi-built Colt meant […]

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08 - 1981 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy the final years of the Malaise Era, Chrysler had their econobox needs covered on the one hand by much-modified rebadged Simcas, and on the other by not-at-all-modified rebadged Mitsubishis. These cars were no worse than their Ford and GM competitors (which isn’t saying much), but the inherent cheapness of the 4th-gen Mitsubishi-built Colt meant that most of them weren’t worth fixing after about 1992, and these cars are rare indeed nowadays. In this series, we’d seen just one example of this generation of Colt/Mirage/Champ prior to today’s find.
05 - 1981 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one was parked illegally in Hayward, California, and the owner couldn’t or wouldn’t rescue it before the tow-truck man came to take it on its last ride.
09 - 1981 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy any sort of 21st-century standards, these cars sucked. They were noisy, rattly, slow, and broke down a lot. However, we are now living in the Golden Age of Miserable Little Econoboxes, where even the diminished-expectations Versa and Spark are perfectly pleasant transportation applicances, and so it just isn’t fair to apply 21st-century standards to the ’81 Colt.
01 - 1981 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust imagine you’re listening to Debbie Harry “rap” about Fab Five Freddy on the AM radio and getting 40 mpg in the grim years after the Ayatollah jacked up gas prices and this car makes more sense.
11 - 1981 Dodge Colt Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot much attempt was made to obscure the Japanese origins of this car, though the same could not be said of the French origins of the Omni/Horizon.

Perhaps Chrysler should have gone with the Japan-market ads for this car.

Imported for Dodge!

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Geo Storm GSi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1991-geo-storm-gsi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1991-geo-storm-gsi/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852577 The Storm, a rebadged second-gen Isuzu Impulse sold by GM’s short-lived Geo division, was with us for just the 1990 through 1993 model years and didn’t leave much of an impression. I see the occasional Storm in wrecking yards these days, but it takes a factory-hot-rod GSi version to get me to reach for my […]

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03 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Storm, a rebadged second-gen Isuzu Impulse sold by GM’s short-lived Geo division, was with us for just the 1990 through 1993 model years and didn’t leave much of an impression. I see the occasional Storm in wrecking yards these days, but it takes a factory-hot-rod GSi version to get me to reach for my camera. We saw this ’90 Storm GSi in a Colorado yard a couple years back, and now I’ve found another in Northern California.

Let’s watch some Storm ads!

The 16-valve performance force from Geo.

The GSi was quite a bit quicker than the ’87 CRX, but depreciation of cars bearing the doomed Geo marque probably meant that this ambitious young paralegal would have been better off sticking with the Honda.

In Canada, you could buy this car as an Asüna Sunfire.
15 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith 130 horsepower, the Storm GSi offered one of the best bang-for-buck deals of its time. I think I’d still have bought the Sentra SE-R, though I was driving something a little more hooptie at the time.
01 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPresented without comment.
17 - 1991 Geo Storm GSi Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinToday’s Junkyard Find looks just like my super-rare diecast (actually all-plastic) Geo Storm GSi, which was given to me by a LeMons racer who claimed it was a dealer-promo item.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Ford Escort GT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1988-ford-escort-gt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1988-ford-escort-gt/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=844554 Ford’s first American-built front-wheel-drive compact car was so much better than the miserable Pinto it replaced that it sold in huge quantities. The first-generation GT wasn’t especially quick, but it looked cool (by 1980s standards) and probably swiped a few sales away from the Civic Si and Volkswagen GTI. Nearly all of the pre-Mazda Escort […]

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13 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFord’s first American-built front-wheel-drive compact car was so much better than the miserable Pinto it replaced that it sold in huge quantities. The first-generation GT wasn’t especially quick, but it looked cool (by 1980s standards) and probably swiped a few sales away from the Civic Si and Volkswagen GTI. Nearly all of the pre-Mazda Escort GTs wore out, depreciated to oblivion, and got crushed during the 1990s, but I still see the occasional example in wrecking yards these days. Here’s one that I spotted in Northern California in December.
19 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt looks much like a contemporary Fox Mustang, which was a pretty quick car by the last 1980s.
10 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 1.9 liter engine made 108 horsepower, which wasn’t bad in 1988.


It fits right in with the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe and Taurus.


Who wouldn’t want a “carefully selected” interior?
07 - 1988 Ford Escort GT Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
There must be a story behind this afterthought-looking warning sticker on the HVAC controls.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford LTD Brougham Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1972-ford-ltd-brougham-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1972-ford-ltd-brougham-coupe/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=844394 We’ve had quite a few Ford LTD Country Squire Junkyard Finds, but just a couple of regular non-wagon LTDs. This ’71 LTD Brougham and this ’69 LTD were about it prior to today, and both of those cars were four-doors. Today we’ve got a big green LTD Brougham coupe, which I photographed in the San […]

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06 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe’ve had quite a few Ford LTD Country Squire Junkyard Finds, but just a couple of regular non-wagon LTDs. This ’71 LTD Brougham and this ’69 LTD were about it prior to today, and both of those cars were four-doors. Today we’ve got a big green LTD Brougham coupe, which I photographed in the San Francisco Bay Area back in March.
07 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSome junkyard customer had already grabbed the engine, but the air-cleaner lid indicates that this car had a 351 Cleveland or 351M engine. Power was down in 1972, partly due to new emission-control hardware and partly due to the switch from gross to net horsepower ratings.
03 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCar buyers in 1972 had a vast selection of Brougham models available. In the 21st century, we suffer from an acute brougham shortage.
12 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe seat upholstery is extremely Broughamic.
04 - 1972 Ford LTD Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI estimate that this clock ceased functioning in 1974.

Why buy the $9,000 car?

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Subaru XT GL http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1987-subaru-xt-gl/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1987-subaru-xt-gl/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 13:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=844169 The Subaru XT is a car you won’t see often in most parts of the country, but Denver junkyards have tremendous quantities of old Subarus and so I see them on a regular basis here. So far, this series has had this ’85 XT Turbo, this ’91 XT, this ’91 XT6, and now today’s ’87 […]

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10 - 1987 Subaru XT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
The Subaru XT is a car you won’t see often in most parts of the country, but Denver junkyards have tremendous quantities of old Subarus and so I see them on a regular basis here. So far, this series has had this ’85 XT Turbo, this ’91 XT, this ’91 XT6, and now today’s ’87 XT.

I shot a bit of video of the tilt wheel/instrument cluster in action. Since I have developed an unhealthy obsession with 1980s Japanese digital instrument clusters, I bought the one out of the ’85 XT Turbo. Today’s XT had the regular analog cluster, so I left it in the car.
01 - 1987 Subaru XT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf you like 1980s design, this car is full of good examples. I was in college in 1987, and I remember thinking very clearly at the time that nobody will ever be capable of feeling nostalgia for this era. Now that Tears For Fears plays in supermarkets and Members Only jackets are making a comeback, I have been proved wrong about that embarrassing decade once again.
20 - 1987 Subaru XT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMulti Point FI!
18 - 1987 Subaru XT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars were full of weird little touches like these door-latch cover panels. Sure, more stuff to go wrong (and with 1980s Subarus, much did go wrong), but it was still cool stuff.
09 - 1987 Subaru XT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis example is the ordinary front-wheel-drive version.
16 - 1987 Subaru XT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomeday I will be unable to resist the lure of the Alcyone, and I will buy a nice XT Turbo or XT6.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1985-cadillac-eldorado-biarritz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1985-cadillac-eldorado-biarritz/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=843121 The Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz was made for the 1976 through 1991 model years, but the real Biarritz existed only through 1985. Today’s Junkyard Find is a final-year example of the proper, stainless-steel-roof-equipped Biarritz. This car is best-known as the Ace Rothstein‘s exploding Cadillac in the opening sequence of the film Casino. The Eldorado Biarritz was […]

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11 - 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz was made for the 1976 through 1991 model years, but the real Biarritz existed only through 1985. Today’s Junkyard Find is a final-year example of the proper, stainless-steel-roof-equipped Biarritz.

This car is best-known as the Ace Rothstein‘s exploding Cadillac in the opening sequence of the film Casino.
02 - 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Eldorado Biarritz was a very expensive machine in its day. How much? $35,500 in 1985, which is close to 80 grand in inflation-adjusted 2014 dollars. For that kind of cash, Ace Rothstein could have had, say, a new BMW 735i ($36,680), a Mercedes-Benz 300CD ($33,750), or even a Porsche 911 Cabriolet ($36,450). But hey, check out that stainless-steel roof panel!
12 - 24 Hours of LeMons Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 2012 WinnersIn my role as Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court, I hectored teams about the need for an Eldorado Biarritz race car until one team finally put together the “Ace Rothstein Special” ’84, complete with the appropriate suits.
13 - 24 Hours of LeMons Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 2012 WinnersNow that’s a race car!
16 - 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is pretty well used up, but you can still see flashes of the casino-manager-grade luxury here and there.
07 - 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe chain-based front-wheel-drive system developed for the original Toronado back in 1966 was still being used in 1985.
03 - 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOpera lights, landau roof, and all.

The car that dreams are made of.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Honda Prelude http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1982-honda-prelude-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1982-honda-prelude-2/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=842658 The first-gen Honda Prelude didn’t sell particularly well in the United States, being very small and not particularly quick for a sporty car, but it had Accord reliability and some examples managed to survive on the street for decades. In this series, we’ve seen this ’81 and this ’82— both silver cars with red interiors— […]

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11 - 1982 Honda Prelude Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe first-gen Honda Prelude didn’t sell particularly well in the United States, being very small and not particularly quick for a sporty car, but it had Accord reliability and some examples managed to survive on the street for decades. In this series, we’ve seen this ’81 and this ’82— both silver cars with red interiors— and today we’ve got another ’82… in silver, with red interior.
07 - 1982 Honda Prelude Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBelieve it or not, this vacuum-hose tangle got even more complex as the early 1980s became the middle 1980s. This is the relatively simple non-CVCC, 49-state version.
05 - 1982 Honda Prelude Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, these engines worked pretty well. Once rigorous emissions checks became standard in many states, though, it became a nightmare to get these cars to pass.
01 - 1982 Honda Prelude Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWas any other color interior even available on the early Prelude?

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Junkyard Find: 1963 Ford Taunus 17M http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1963-ford-taunus-17m/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1963-ford-taunus-17m/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=842130 Last week, I left the Return of the LeMonites 24 Hours of LeMons and went straight to Sweden for a car-freak field trip with Dr. G.D. Yo-Man. Surströmming, runestones, black metal, and, of course, junkyards full of weird (to Americans) European cars. Bloms Bilskrot, located in Söråker, boasts what must be thousands of cars from […]

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02 - 1966 Ford Taunus Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLast week, I left the Return of the LeMonites 24 Hours of LeMons and went straight to Sweden for a car-freak field trip with Dr. G.D. Yo-Man. Surströmming, runestones, black metal, and, of course, junkyards full of weird (to Americans) European cars. Bloms Bilskrot, located in Söråker, boasts what must be thousands of cars from the 1940s through the 1990s, and the inventory extends well into dense forest where decades-old trees grow through engine compartments and plants grow on mulch on car roofs. Today’s Junkyard Find was located in the less wooded part of Blom’s, so I didn’t have to climb over any fallen trees in order to photograph it.

The P3 Taunus was built for the 1960 through 1964 model years, and it was designed by Uwe Bahnsen, the man who penned such cars as the Ford Capri and the Merkur Scorpio. It was a bit weird-looking, but you couldn’t mistake it for anything else.
19 - 1966 Ford Taunus Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has the kind of rust you see in the American Upper Midwest and probably wouldn’t be worth restoring, but the trim, glass, and interior are in pretty good shape.
01 - 1966 Ford Taunus Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s a bit of a family resemblance to the early Ford Falcon here.
03 - 1966 Ford Taunus Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo Falcon ever got a face like this, though.
13 - 1966 Ford Taunus Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEngines in these cars were pushrod four-cylinder units with displacements ranging from 1498cc to 1757cc. I have no idea which one this is, but I’ll bet some of you Europeans can ID it.
18 - 1966 Ford Taunus Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI thought about pulling this clock for my collection, but the odds of finding a 50-year-old mechanical car clock— even a German one— in functioning condition are about the same as finding a rust-free Datsun B210 parked outdoors in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
11 - 1966 Ford Taunus Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe’ll continue my Scandinavian junkyard adventures (which started last fall with some Reykjavik yards) in future installments of this series.

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Junkyard Find: 2003 Pontiac Aztek http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-2003-pontiac-aztek/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-2003-pontiac-aztek/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=832177 Now that we’re all about 21st-century Junkyard Finds this week, let’s admire another JF first: the Pontiac Aztek. A popular TV show really ended up muddying the cultural waters around the Aztek, in a process similar to what happened with the DeLorean DMC-12 in the late 1980s, so let’s try to remember back to a […]

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09 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNow that we’re all about 21st-century Junkyard Finds this week, let’s admire another JF first: the Pontiac Aztek. A popular TV show really ended up muddying the cultural waters around the Aztek, in a process similar to what happened with the DeLorean DMC-12 in the late 1980s, so let’s try to remember back to a time when each of saw our first Aztek and thought what could The General have been thinking?
07 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI live in urban Denver, which means I’m surrounded by vast armies of backpackers, skiers, campers, rock climbers, snowboarders, and the like, and many of these folks thought that the Aztek was a vehicle perfectly suited to the stuff they wanted to do on weekends. There are at least four Azteks that live within a few blocks of my house (and a half-dozen VW Vanagon Syncros, which indicates a masochistic and/or delusional streak to go with the tolerance of ugly vehicles that your typical Denver Aztek owner demonstrates), and I see them on the street all the time. It was only a matter of time before they started showing up at self-service wrecking yards, and now that day has come.

“An aggressively styled, technologically advanced sport utility vehicle.”

“I’m all about working hard, standing out, and playing large.”

For the kind of people who eat baby carrots on road trips. I assume that GM had Avalanche ads running at the same time that showed dudes driving Avalanches over the skulls of endangered tortoises while knocking back Hog Blood Gushers™ and tossing M-1000s out the windows.

Sam and Kate like to swing to the beat.
05 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat’s because the Aztek had rear sound-system controls, which worked pretty well at tailgate parties. Of course, once Bluetooth-enabled smartphones allowed you to control your car’s sound system from a device in your pocket, the Aztek’s setup became less useful.
01 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has been stripped of the tent and many of the options that made the Aztek so useful to outdoorsy types. All that remains is the ugly.
04 - 2003 Pontiac Aztek Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, this was a better version of “hide the minivan” than most faux-offroader machines styled to look like military trucks. Who knows, maybe I’ll spot the notorious “bite the banana” Aztek in a junkyard one of these days.

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Junkyard Find: 2001 Honda Insight http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-2001-honda-insight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-2001-honda-insight/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=832057 Since we started out this week with a relatively late-model Junkyard Find, I’m going to jump into the 21st century and share the first Honda Insight I’ve ever found in a high-inventory-turnover, self-service wrecking yard. I’ve seen a few thoroughly stripped early Priuses and didn’t think they were worth photographing, but the tiny two-seater first-gen […]

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09 - 2001 Honda Insight Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince we started out this week with a relatively late-model Junkyard Find, I’m going to jump into the 21st century and share the first Honda Insight I’ve ever found in a high-inventory-turnover, self-service wrecking yard. I’ve seen a few thoroughly stripped early Priuses and didn’t think they were worth photographing, but the tiny two-seater first-gen Insight made the Prius look like a fuel-swilling pig and that makes it a much more interesting car to me. 61 highway miles per gallon, all sorts of advanced aluminum components, and a coefficient of drag of just 0.25… and yet this one couldn’t stay clear of The Crusher.

The Insight has started to catch on with the top-speed guys at Speed Week at Bonneville, but the fastest one of all wrecked in spectacular fashion at El Mirage last November (the driver survived, thanks to a serious roll cage). We’ll be sure to see more such LSR Insights in the future, which might push up the value of the handful of Insights that get scrapped.
03 - 2001 Honda Insight Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has been picked over pretty well. The battery packs in these cars have become old enough to need replacing in many cases, and that’s not a cheap repair.
01 - 2001 Honda Insight Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis Denver yard gets a lot of its merchandise from local police auctions, and it’s possible that this car was a DUI or unpaid-parking-tickets impound.
05 - 2001 Honda Insight Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou can pick up a running first-gen Insight in decent condition for $4000-$7000 these days, and we can expect that price to drop as fewer Americans become willing to drive a cramped, goofy-looking two-seater in the name of extreme fuel economy.

Here’s a JDM promotional film for the ’99 Insight.

Teach those polluting hippies with their ill-adjusted valves and 25-mpg VW Transporters a thing or two about saving the planet! Walk the walk, longhair!

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Junkyard Find: 1997 Saturn SC2, With Rare Badass Flame Job Option http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1997-saturn-sc2-with-rare-badass-flame-job-option/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1997-saturn-sc2-with-rare-badass-flame-job-option/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=831881 Even though the Saturn S-Series has been one of the most common vehicle types in American self-service wrecking yards for at least the past decade, I’ve always walked right past the SCs and SLs when I’m looking for vehicles to photograph for this series. The rise and fall of the Saturn marque is a fascinating […]

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

01 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1982-toyota-corolla-liftback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/junkyard-find-1982-toyota-corolla-liftback/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=830849 It has become a Corolla Junkyard Find week, with this ’78 Corolla wagon on Monday and this skateboarder-enhanced ’98 Corolla LE sedan yesterday, so I’m going to keep the streak going with today’s find: a Late Malaise Era (yes, I invented the term) E-72 Corolla liftback, which I found late last year in Northern California. […]

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11 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIt has become a Corolla Junkyard Find week, with this ’78 Corolla wagon on Monday and this skateboarder-enhanced ’98 Corolla LE sedan yesterday, so I’m going to keep the streak going with today’s find: a Late Malaise Era (yes, I invented the term) E-72 Corolla liftback, which I found late last year in Northern California.
12 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou can tell when a junkyard car wasn’t towed away for unpaid tickets, because it will still have the keys. This was probably a trade-in at a sketchy used-car lot.
08 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinMost cars don’t rust in California, but Malaise Era Toyotas find a way. This car might have lived by the beach in San Francisco for a while, though not long enough to look like this terrifyingly salty ’84 Space Van.
01 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior doesn’t look too bad here.
02 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 69,000 miles? That suggests a blown head gasket followed by 20 years of storage in a driveway.
03 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 3T-C engine made just 70 horses, but they were reliable horses.

Come on!

The early 1980s were the pinnacle of the “Oh, what a feeling!” era for Toyota ads.

01 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin

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