By on August 17, 2015

08 - 2000 Lincoln LS Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

When I walk the rows of a big self-service yard with rapid inventory turnover, my eye is tuned to catch old and/or weird stuff, which means that newer interesting stuff tends to get overlooked. I’ve been trying to shoot more 21st-century Junkyard Finds lately, since our current century started quite a long time ago, but it was hearing that our own Crab Spirits had scored a cheap Lincoln LS with perfect interior and bad motor (he’s going to swap in a Toyota 1UZ engine, which strikes me as a fine idea) that got me looking for junked LSs. It turns out that finding such a car is extremely easy, so here’s one I saw in California recently. (Read More…)

By on August 3, 2015

16 - Junkyard 1998 Audi A8 - Photo by Murilee Martin

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

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

By on July 20, 2015

TTAC best-selling expensive vehicles June 2015 YTD chart

So many upper-crust products sit at the top of their respective automaker’s lineup and do little more than look pretty. They are flagships, technological showcases, standard bearers.

On the other hand, there’s the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, with its base price of more than $95,000 in the United States. Flagship? Yes. Technological showcase? That, too. Standard-bearer? Of course. But the S-Class is also popular. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2015

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. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2015

Mercedes-Benz CLA250As Mercedes-Benz USA levels off with slightly less than 2000 GLA SUV/crossover/hatchback/whatever-it-is sales per month, U.S. sales of the GLA’s sedan donor vehicle, the CLA, haven’t slowed at all.

In other words, the GLA’s presence in Mercedes-Benz showrooms is not a deterrent to the CLA.

Yes, America, buyers continue to flock to the sedan even though there’s a crossover version of that sedan available. Believe it.

Granted, the CLA isn’t selling like it did during its launch period. Anticipated and hyped, the CLA generated 8518 U.S. sales in its first full two months, October and November 2013. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2015

Audi A3/A4 sales chart USAMarch was the highest-volume U.S. sales month in the Audi A3’s decade-long history. Never before had the A3 topped the 3000-unit mark, but March volume climbed to 3081 sales, equal to 18% of Audi USA’s volume last month.

Year-over-year comparisons for the A3 are all but completely invalid, as a hiatus between the departure of the A3 hatchback and the current A3 sedan resulted in a three-month-long sales-free period between November 2013 and January 2014. That period was followed by only 863 sales during the new A3’s first two months of February and March 2014.

2015’s first-quarter was, however, the best quarter yet for the new A3 despite the fact that January-March is the slowest period of the year for auto sales in the United States. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2015


A few days shy of April 1st, Mercedes-Benz has announced that they will build a luxury pickup truck for world markets.

(Read More…)

By on March 20, 2015

550x365x2015-Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-550x365.jpg.pagespeed.ic.snBz3nrGwwTrivia time: which cars combined to sell less than half as often in the United States in the first two months of 2015 as the BMW 3-Series and its 4-Series two-door (and four-door) offshoot?

The Audi A4 and Cadillac ATS. Or a number of other pairings listed in the chart below. Take your pick. (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2015

15 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s a lot of talk going around about how every restorable example of the Mercedes-Benz W114 coupe is worth plenty these days. Five grand? Ten grand? The junkyard tells me that the real-world prices for these cars in non-perfect condition is still quite low, because I see them regularly. Here’s a solid, fairly complete ’73 without a speck of rust that I saw in a Northern California junkyard a few weeks ago, and this car comes on the heels of this ’71 250C, this ’73 280CE, this ’74 280C, and a bunch of W114 sedans that I haven’t even bothered to photograph. I’m sure that the cost to restore one of these things is just breathtaking, which is why those in the know rarely take on such projects. (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2015

Infiniti-Q50-drivingInfiniti USA reported a 20% year-over-year February 2015 sales improvement, a gain of nearly 2000 sales during a period which saw Cadillac, Buick, Jaguar, and Lincoln sales decrease. Among premium brands, only Land Rover (up 23%), and Lexus (up 22%) posted greater February gains than Infiniti.

In fact, Infiniti’s February improvement was the second consecutive for Nissan’s upmarket brand – Infiniti sales rose 7% in the first month of 2015 – a meaningful statistic given the way 2014 ended. Second-half sales last year slid 10%.

Moreover, it marked the best February ever for the brand: 27% better than February 2013, 26% better than February 2012, 28% better than February 2011, 66% better than February 2010. (Read More…)

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