The Truth About Cars » Malaise Era http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 23:59:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Malaise Era http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1980-volvo-262c-bertone-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/junkyard-find-1980-volvo-262c-bertone-coupe/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=796986 08 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOnly 6,622 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupes were built during the Italo-Swedish machine’s 1978-1981 production run, and I’ve found two of them in California self-serve wrecking yards during the last year. We saw this silver ’79 (actually, all ’78 and ’79 262Cs were painted in Mystic Silver) last summer, and now there’s today’s find: a gold ’80. These cars were weird-looking and something of a puzzling marketing move by Volvo, but you’d think that their rarity would give them sufficient value to keep the survivors out of The Crusher‘s jaws. Nope!
02 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAssembled in Italy!
06 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 262C-specific glass and trim pieces have been pulled, and there’s plenty of typical Northern California upper-body rust in places where weatherstripping failure can let water in. The lower body panels are good and solid.
05 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe can assume that some project 262C will benefit from these parts.
07 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf I owned one of these cars, I’d ditch the unreliable Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 and replace it with a good old B230 (or something more interesting). In the case of this car, though, someone has grabbed the PRV.
13 - 1980 Volvo 262C Bertone Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill a few pieces worth taking left on this car. Let’s hope they get pulled before the car gets crushed.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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If The Big Lebowski Were Filmed Today, What Car Would The Dude Drive? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/if-the-big-lebowski-were-filmed-today-what-car-would-the-dude-drive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/if-the-big-lebowski-were-filmed-today-what-car-would-the-dude-drive/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=773897 Big_Lebowski_Torino_Crash-550pxBefore the Clint Eastwood film (but after the cheezoid TV show), the most well-known Ford Gran Torino in cinema history was the beater ’73 sedan driven by Jeff Bridges’ character in The Big Lebowski. This film, which took quite a while to go from box-office dud to sacred document of the Lebowski Jihad, was released in 1998 and was set in late 1990 or early 1991 (a period during which I was also in Southern California and living a fairly Dude-ish lifestyle myself). The choice of a ’73 Gran Torino by the Coen Brothers makes some interesting statements for those who obsess about movie cars, and Monday is always the best day to discuss such things.
Big_Lebowski_Torino_Impound-550pxLooking at 1990/1991 from the perspective of 1998, you’ve got a nasty recession being observed via dot-com boom-tinted glasses, the first one-sided ass-kicking dished out by the US military since Vietnam from the point of view of an ascendant hyperpower, and so forth. At the same time, the latter years of the 1990s saw cars that could knock of 200,000 miles becoming commonplace, with carburetors and mechanical ignition systems dead as global Marxism-Leninism. With all that in mind, The Dude’s car had to be something from the Malaise Era, for symbolic location along the Malaise-Gulf War-Hyperpower continuum as well as for the fact that unemployable Los Angeles loadies could be expected to drive 18-year-old midsize sedans.
Big_Lebowski_Torino_Brochure-550pxSo the question here is: What would be this car’s equivalent today? If you’re just going by straight model years, a 2014 movie set in 2006 with the protagonist driving an 18-year-old midsize Ford sedan would give us a 1988 Taurus… and it’s easy to picture the 2006 Dude clanking along in a hooptified first-gen Taurus.
10 - 1986 Hyundai Excel Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Phil 'Murilee Martin' GredenHowever, the runup in global commodities prices in the second half of the first decade of the century meant that larger cars were worth a fair amount at the scrapper, which means that even the ugliest Taurus floated a bit above the very bottom of the car-value barrel. That’s why I think that The Dude of 2006 would drive an early Hyundai Excel. What do you think?

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

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

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

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

A car that gives you your money’s worth.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1981-dodge-aries-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1981-dodge-aries-station-wagon/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=735681 22 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Chrysler K platform spun off many K-based descendents, but genuine, pure Ks have been fairly rare in this series. We’ve seen this ’83 Dodge Aries sedan, this ’85 Dodge 600 Turbo, and this ’88 Dodge Aries wagon so far, though I’ve passed over many dozens more. Still, when I see a first-year Aries wagon in this weird chalky gray-green color and it has a “Hemi 2.6″ engine, I break out the camera!
13 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars depreciated just as fast as all the other Detroit front-drivers of the 1980s, which means that only relatively trouble-free ones managed to survive 33 years on the street. One expensive problem after about 1989, good-bye!
12 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Hemi 2.6 was really the good old Mitsubishi Astron 4G54 engine, which made 114 not-so-bad-for-1981 horses. Sadly, Chrysler never used any Simca-derived engines in the K family.
07 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis wagon has plenty of options, including air conditioning and futuristic digital chronometer.
05 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs the street price of a battered Aries-K approached scrap-value levels, the socioeconomic status of the average K-car owner also dropped.
03 - 1981 Dodge Aries Station Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, you can see hints of former luxury in the much-used faded-mint-green vinyl interior.

As you can see here, the ’81 K-cars were sold on price, period.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Subaru BRAT http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1982-subaru-brat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1982-subaru-brat/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 14:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=733825 15 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith so many old Subarus in Denver wrecking yards, I do run across the occasional BRAT. We’ve seen this ’79 and this very rare Sawzall Edition ’86 so far in this series, and today we’ll be looking at a well-used ’82 that still has the very rare lawsuit-inducing jumpseats in the back.
14 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, those Chicken Tax-skirting jumpseats that made the BRAT, legally speaking, a car instead of a truck were loose in the bed of this Subaru when I found it a couple weeks back.
13 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI thought about buying the seats for my Dodge A100 van, but they’re missing the headrests and one of the grab handles, plus the floor-mounting brackets were beat to hell.
12 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars rusted very quickly, though Colorado’s arid climate spared this one from full-on Michigan-grade cancer.
10 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNice BRATs are worth quite a bit these days. Thrashed ones are worth scrap value.
05 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStrangely, I saw three vehicles with variations on this sticker during this trip to the junkyard. There’s meaning there somewhere.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 Ford Mustang Mach 1 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1974-ford-mustang-mach-1/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1974-ford-mustang-mach-1/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=727090 02 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAll right, Mustang II experts, I’m going to start right off by saying that this Pinto Mustang might not be a numbers-matching real Mach 1. Maybe it’s a FrankenMustang with what appears to be the correct collection of Mach 1 options. Either way, this fine Malaise Era machine— which I found at a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard a few weeks back— is a fascinating museum of the diminished automotive expectations faced by car shoppers in a grim period in American history.
20 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mach 1 for ’74 came with a mighty 105 horsepower. No, really.
11 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThanks to Ford’s European operations, a very compact 2.8 liter pushrod V6 was available for the Mustang II. If a Ford dealership also sold Mercury cars, Cologne-powered Capris could be found in the same showroom.
16 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car received a thick coat of what appears to be gray latex house paint, probably just before it took that final tow-truck ride to the Parking Lot of Automotive Doom.
06 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAutomatic transmission with factory tachometer! Yes, that’s a 5,000 RPM redline on an allegedly sporty V6.
09 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRemote passenger-side mirror!
07 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinTruly amazing vinyl-on-vinyl-on-pleather PetroPolstery™ seats!
05 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEither the original buyer of this car cheaped out and got the $61 AM radio instead of the $346 8-track player (that’s $1,634 in today’s dollars, for those of you who scream that your Bluetooth-enabled head unit cost too much), or this is an aftermarket Philco that replaced a stereo ripped off by Seconal-crazed junkie thieves in 1976.
14 - 1974 Ford Mustang Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou’d never see a pre-1974 Mach 1 in one of these low-buck self-serve wrecking yards, because such a car would be snapped up at the auction for much more than the junkyard chain’s buyer would ever pay. Poor unloved Mustang II!

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Cadillac Coupe de Ville Custom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1975-cadillac-coupe-de-ville-custom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1975-cadillac-coupe-de-ville-custom/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=726730 09 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMy recent trip to Southern California resulted in a bonanza of Junkyard Finds, including the first-ever Junkyard Find Jensen Interceptor, this Maserati Biturbo Spyder, this hyper-rare Sterling 827 SLi fastback, this super-scary AM General ice cream truck, and this Corinthian Leather-equipped Chrysler Cordoba. Is that all? No, that is not all! Today we’re going to admire an amazingly luxurious customized Malaise Coupe de Ville.
04 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe problem with the factory version of this car was the lack of privacy in the back seat. Say you’re above all the lights in those high-rolling hills— do you want your romantic Cadillac activities to be visible to everyone?
14 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin500 cubic inches, 210 horsepower. That’s just barely 25 horses per liter.
07 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot that you really need a lot of horsepower with a sled like this. Sadly, the custom vinyl isn’t looking so good when you get up close.
15 - 1975 Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinScrap metal is just worth too much to keep a car like this away from The Crusher.
Here’s an ad that shows Cadillac’s push to be the least exclusive luxury marque. As we all know, that didn’t work out so well for The General.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Chrysler Cordoba http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1976-chrysler-cordoba/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1976-chrysler-cordoba/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 14:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=725114 08 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSo far in this series, I’ve had no luck finding Chrysler Cordobas from the first couple years of production. We’ve seen this ’78 (which provided me with a beautiful Corinthian Leather garage couch), this ’79, and this ’80 prior to today, and now we’ve got a genuine, Ricardo-approved 1976 Cordoba.
10 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinI spotted this car during my trip to Southern California two weeks ago. Rust-free California car, right?
11 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWell, sort of. The rainy winters in coastal California tend to keep the metal beneath vinyl tops moist, and cheap weatherstripping (i.e., just about all the weatherstripping used by Detroit during the Malaise Era) tends to let water into the trunk. So, on cars like this you’ll see pristine quarter-panels and nasty roofs.
16 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinCheck out the heraldry on the taillight lens. Such class!
17 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinHmmm… the other taillight doesn’t seem to match. Which one is correct for 1976?
05 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin318 or 360, you don’t want to know the horsepower numbers. Move along.
07 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWire wheels and Radial T/As!
02 - 1976 Chrysler Cordoba Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinFiat needs to bring back the opera light.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 AM General FJ-8A Ice Cream Truck http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1974-am-general-fj-8a-ice-cream-truck/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1974-am-general-fj-8a-ice-cream-truck/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=706234 21 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWe see quite a few AM General DJ-5 mail Jeeps in this series, but what about all the big FJ-series mail trucks built by AMC with help from its Overland-Willys-Kaiser ancestry? For that, I had to venture to Southern California. Most of those 1970s FJ-8s seem to have become more or less sketchy ice cream trucks, and it’s hard to find a creepier Junkyard Find than a dead ice cream truck.
BoogieManIceCream-1280px-4The ice cream trucks that aren’t in the junkyard yet can also be pretty scary. Here’s the “Boogie Man Ice Cream” truck, which I spotted on San Leandro Street in East Oakland a few years back. For the full effect, you’ll need to download some authentic ice cream truck music files.
18 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s hard to beat this seat for simplicity.
05 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinJust a big steel box with an engine, a seat… and ptomaine.
14 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m sure this truck distributed many a stale Choco Taco in its day.
11 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe newest Long Beach food-vendor license seems to be 2005.
02 - 1974 AM General FJ-81 Ice Cream Truck Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAm I looking at this wrong, or is this AMC six installed backwards?

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Cadillac Cimarron http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1982-cadillac-cimarron-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1982-cadillac-cimarron-2/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 14:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=694241 10 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSometimes I just have to choose a Junkyard Find car based on its potential for a good Crab Spirits Story™, and that’s what’s happening today. The Cadillac Cimarron— well, there’s not much we need to say here about the image-tarnishing disaster that finished the brand-devaluing job GM started a few years earlier with the Seville (other than the fact that it took many years to undo the damage and convince car buyers that Cadillacs weren’t just badge-engineered bait-and-switches. The Cimarron never sold very well, and the J-body cars weren’t known for longevity, so Cimarron sightings are extremely rare today; we’ve seen this ’82 and this ’83 Cimarron d’Oro, plus the very first Down On The Street car. Here’s an ’82 that I found during a recent trip to California.
12 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, it turned out that Cadillac badges on a Cavalier just wouldn’t translate into a thick stream of pure cash for The General.
04 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinLeather or Pleather? Does it matter?
08 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou couldn’t get the Iron Duke in a Cimarron (Cadillac Division execs probably expended all their remaining political capital to keep the raspy, shaky half-a-Pontiac-301 out of their J-Car); instead, the base engine in ’82 was the developed-for-the-J pushrod 1.8 four-banger.
01 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWould a Coupe Deville buyer have slapped this Chevron Travel Club sticker on a side window?
18 -1982 Cadillac Cimarron Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinCimarron By Cadillac!
Why not start the day with a Cimarron promotional film, while Crab Spirits works on the real story of this fine automobile?

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Datsun 510 Liftback http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1981-datsun-510-liftback/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1981-datsun-510-liftback/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=693889 09 -1981 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSo there’s the “real” Datsun 510, which was sold from the 1968 through 1973 model years and is the one everyone means when they talk about the now-incredibly-valuable BMW 2002 competitor… and then there’s the A10 Nissan Violet, which was sold in the United States with 510 badging from 1977 through 1981. These cars are extremely rare, but I found one in Oakland in 2012 and now I’ve found another in Denver.
07 -1981 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the 1952cc Z20 engine, which was sort of a halfway evolutionary step between the good old L engines and the modern-ish KA engines. 88 horsepower, and it says a lot about 1981 that this wasn’t too bad for the era.
03 -1981 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, this car is a cruel parody of the Gr-r-r-rooovy 510 of a decade earlier.
15 -1981 Datsun 510 Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, a very rare Junkyard Find.
Nobody loves a good race more than Datsun!
The slightly earlier version, sold as a Nissan Stanza in Japan, was full of romance.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Ford Fiesta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1978-ford-fiesta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1978-ford-fiesta/#comments Fri, 03 Jan 2014 14:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=691874 10 -1978 Ford Fiesta Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Ford Fiesta story is an interesting one, with this car being a huge gamble for Ford’s global operations back in the 1970s. This car was intended for the European market from day one, but a fair number of Mk1 Fiestas were sold the United States for the 1978 through 1981 model years (eventually, the Mazda-designed/Kia-built Ford Festiva filled the US-market Ford lineup spot vacated by the Fiesta. These cars have been rare to the point of near-extinction for decades now, being disposable cheapo commuters and all, but they do show up from time to time in self-serve wrecking yards. I found this ’78 Fiesta Sport in Denver a couple years back, and last month I spotted today’s find in Northern California.
IMG_9516We have a handful of semi-modified Mk1 Fiestas in the 24 Hours of LeMons, and they do pretty well on a road course.
01 -1978 Ford Fiesta Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars had interiors that were no-frills even by Malaise Era subcompact standards.
09 -1978 Ford Fiesta Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAmerican Fiestas got the 1.6 liter version of the Kent pushrod four, which made 66 horsepower.
05 -1978 Ford Fiesta Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has a Realistic AM/FM radio installed in whatever you call a glovebox with no lid.
15 -1978 Ford Fiesta Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinDo real aviators also drive Fiestas?


0 to 50 in just 8.8 seconds. The fact that they used a 0-50 standard speaks volumes about 1978.

No baby ever held the road better!

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Ford Fairmont Futura http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1980-ford-fairmont-futura/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1980-ford-fairmont-futura/#comments Mon, 30 Dec 2013 14:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=689442 13 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Fairmont was the Fox platform-based cheap midsize Ford that replaced the Maverick, and nobody ever paid much attention to the Fairmont sedans. However, the sporty coupe version of the Fairmont— the Futura— had a certain style, much like Mercury Zephyr Coupe, and so I decided this ’80 was worth photographing when I spotted it in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard a few months ago.

There’s a little bit of ‘bird in every Futura!

The result of computer modeling!

Buy smart— it makes you look good.
10 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Fox platform was fairly advanced for Malaise Era Detroit, and these cars weren’t bad to drive.
07 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 200-cubic-inch (aka 3.3 liter) straight-six wasn’t the engine of choice for dragstrip domination, but it was reliable.
16 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAir conditioning!
18 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe horn button was pretty classy.
01 - 1980 Ford Fairmont Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe psychedelic City of Hope sticker is a nice touch.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Dodge Tradesman Van http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-tradesman-van/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-tradesman-van/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 14:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=684786 11 -1976 Dodge Tradesman Van Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Dodge Tradesman cargo van of the 1970s was quite popular among customizers back in the days of 20% annual inflation and talk-box guitar solos, as we saw with this ’72 Tradesman Junkyard Find last year. In the very same San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard, here’s a Slant-6 Tradesman that doesn’t quite qualify as a custom van— not with just tinted glass and aftermarket wheels— but is still a nice time capsule.
05 -1976 Dodge Tradesman Van Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinChrysler kept the same basic design for its truck HVAC controls for nearly 20 years; my 1966 Dodge A100 has nearly identical cable-operated controls.
03 -1976 Dodge Tradesman Van Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSlant-6 engine, 3-on-the-tree. Not very quick, but about as reliable as you could get in the 1970s.
17 -1976 Dodge Tradesman Van Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou don’t see many of these vans with the single rear door option.
08 -1976 Dodge Tradesman Van Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinJust a plain steel box with the base engine, but it kept going for nearly 40 years.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Datsun 810 Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1977-datsun-810-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1977-datsun-810-station-wagon/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=682914 18 - 1977 Datsun 810 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Datsun 810 wagon was a fairly common sight on the streets of Northern California during the Middle and Late Malaise Eras, sort of the semi-sporty wagon choice for families who wanted a family hauler with a bit of 280Z in its genes. The Datsun 810 became the Datsun Maxima by the early 1980s and the Nissan Maxima by 1984, and all of the rear-drive members of this family have become rare finds these days. We’ve seen this ’82 Maxima and this ’78 810 wagon so far in this series; those two cars and today’s 810 were all shot during trips to California wrecking yards. I don’t know if they even existed outside of a 50-mile radius from San Francisco.
06 - 1977 Datsun 810 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhile the 810 sedans got the independent rear suspension of the Datsun Z, the wagons had a good old suitable-for-heavy-loads solid axle out back.
12 - 1977 Datsun 810 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 280Z in 1977 had a 2.8 liter L6 engine, while the 810 kept the 2.4 liter displacement of the earlier 240Z.
09 - 1977 Datsun 810 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one probably did some surfboard-hauling duty in its later years.
02 - 1977 Datsun 810 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior is worn out, but you can see that it must have been a nice place in 1977.
05 - 1977 Datsun 810 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI thought about pulling this mechanical-digital clock for car-clock collection, but 95% of these things are broken and I didn’t have 12V source to test this one.
08 - 1977 Datsun 810 Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFaux woodgrain on the tailgate, just like a Country Squire!

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Dodge Ramcharger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1978-dodge-ramcharger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/junkyard-find-1978-dodge-ramcharger/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=670298 15 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinEven though Denver wrecking yards are always full of old trucks, the Dodge Ramcharger isn’t quite as common as its GM, Ford, and Jeep rivals. In fact, this Royal SE ’83 Ramcharger is the only example we’ve seen in this series, prior to today’s find. This tan Dodge is every bit as Malaise-y as the yellow ’76 Wagoneer we saw last month, so let’s look at these photos and imagine what it was like driving a 9 MPG truck during a period of high inflation and steep gas prices.
03 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinTan with brown and orange stripes. I think the library— wait, I mean “media center”— in my junior high school was done up in very similar colors, back in 1979.
12 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou don’t want to know what kind of horsepower the 318 (or 360) made in 1978. The torque was enough, let’s leave it at that.
05 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAt least it has a real transmission.
13 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou don’t see many of these engine-coolant heaters these days.
10 - 1978 Dodge Ramcharger Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s a bit rusty, but probably still had some life left.

An all-around family car!

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Subaru Leone 4WD Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1978-subaru-leone-4wd-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1978-subaru-leone-4wd-wagon/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2013 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=661010 01 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne thing that makes Colorado wrecking yards different from those in the rest of the country is the large numbers of Subarus in every yard. We’re talking the history of Subaru North America in every yard here. In fact, you’ll see more 1980s and 1990s Leones aka GLs, DLs, and Loyales in a typical Denver-area self-serve yard than you’ll see Corollas or Civics. You’ll also find lots of more recent Legacies and Imprezas, not to mention XTs, BRATs, SVXs, and even the occasional Justy 4WD. 1970s Subarus, however, are getting pretty rare here; in this series, we’ve seen just this ’79 Leone wagon and this ’79 GL sedan so far. Today, we add this very-much-of-its-time ’78 wagon.
22 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack in 1978, your choices in four-wheel-drive vehicles were very limited; you could get a truck, you could get an AMC Eagle that drove like a truck… or you could get a Subaru.
12 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese things were ludicrously underpowered, rusted quickly, and didn’t come close to the reliability standards set by Honda and Toyota, but they got decent fuel economy and were competent in mud and snow.

Subarus were quite rare in the United States back in the Malaise Era, but the marque made it into popular culture with songs like this one.

Or this one.
07 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJudging by the quantity of pine cones and animal nests in this car, it hasn’t run for many, many years.
13 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot many places in Colorado damp enough for moss to grow on cars.
29 - 1978 Subaru Wagon Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSold in Colorado, will be crushed in Colorado.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 BMW 633 CSi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1983-bmw-633-csi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1983-bmw-633-csi/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=656586 09 - 1983 BMW E24 Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe BMW E24 6-series is one of those cars with a vast, uncrossable gulf between the values assigned to it by Internet Car Experts and those assigned by Hardbitten Burned-By-Real-World-Purchases Car Experts. The Internet Car Expert has seen an ’87 635CSi in nice shape with an asking price of $25,000 on Craigslist, and therefore he knows that even a rough one is worth ten grand, minimum. The Hardbitten Burned-By-Real-World-Purchases Car Expert once paid $2,500 for a fairly solid E24, put $1,500 of parts into it, and sold it for $2,750. The junkyard doesn’t lie, and I see E24s in cheap self-service yards all the time, so often that I don’t photograph most of them. Today’s Junkyard Find, however, has just enough of that Late Malaise Era appeal, with its overtones of imminent Able-Archer 83-triggered nuclear annihilation (plus a manual transmission), that I decided to shoot it.
11 - 1983 BMW E24 Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s hard to imagine BMW adding these cheezy tape stripes, even back in 1983, but they appear to be factory-applied.
04 - 1983 BMW E24 Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe E24′s guts were pretty much the same as those of the E28 5-series, and so the 6 tended to last for a respectable (for the early 1980s) number of miles.
02 - 1983 BMW E24 Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou don’t see many of these cars with manual transmissions, since low-level S&L scammers and white-powder salesmen back then mostly wanted automatic-transmission luxury to go with their German-coupe style.
12 - 1983 BMW E24 Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is pretty rusty by Denver standards, so it probably spent some of its life in the Midwest.
05 - 1983 BMW E24 Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin181 horses out of this 3.2 liter Big Six engine. That sounds weak these days, but was impressive enough in 1983.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Jeep Wagoneer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1976-jeep-wagoneer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1976-jeep-wagoneer/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=648490 01 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince Willys/Kaiser/Jeep/AMC/Chrysler built the Wagoneer from Biblical times until ten minutes ago (actually 1963 through 1991), and I live in Jeep-centric Colorado, I see these things just about every time I visit a wrecking yard. Mostly, I don’t photograph them (unless I see an unusually late example, such as this ’89, or one resplendent in purple paint and tape stripes, like this ’81), but today’s Junkyard Find— spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard a few weeks ago— was just so incredibly Malaise-y that I felt compelled to document it in its final parking space.
13 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinImagine having the guts to buy something this thirsty just a few years after the 1973 energy crisis, and the sinking feeling that the owner must have experienced when the 1979 energy crisis hit!
07 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill, if you need a work truck you have to be willing to pay the fuel bills.
04 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFake woodgrain, refreshingly uncomplicated HVAC controls. Some things about the middle 1970s were pretty good.
15 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe AMC 360-cubic-inch V8 stayed in production all the way through 1991, thanks to Chrysler’s absorption of AMC in 1987.
06 - 1976 Jeep Wagoneer Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill some good parts left on this one.

Toughest four-letter word on wheels!

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Junkyard Find: 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1974-volkswagen-karmann-ghia-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1974-volkswagen-karmann-ghia-coupe/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=637993 09 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe air-cooled Volkswagen was so rust-prone that it managed to get serious cancer in the normally rust-free San Francisco Bay Area, but quite a few have managed to hang on to life in that region. This last-year-of-production Karmann Ghia coupe showed up at the same Oakland wrecking yard that gave us the beachfront rust victim ’84 Toyota MasterAce and the gory Integra Halloween display last week. Its rust isn’t quite in the same league as the van’s, but then it probably lived further from the ocean.
10 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt rains a lot during Northern California winters (in fact, it only rains during the winter there), so bad weatherstripping leads to this sort of thing around Volkswagen windows.
16 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s a San Francisco residential parking ticket from 1983, when the car was just 9 years old.
13 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe engine is still intact, and will probably add some crunchiness for The Crusher‘s enjoyment.
14 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou see, nobody wants an EGR-equipped VW Type 1 smog motor, for good reason.
11 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s something you often see on these cars: rust where the paint burned off during a minor engine fire. Looks like concentric rust circles, probably from multiple engine fires. That’s life with an air-cooled VW!
03 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinStill plenty of interior bits left.
04 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe clock/gas gauge/idiot-light panel looked pretty good, so I bought it. Normally, I wouldn’t buy a car clock for my collection without testing it first, but Bosch quartz clocks usually function just fine. When I got it home and hooked it up to 12 volts, it worked perfectly. Score!

02 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
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