The Truth About Cars » Malaise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 14:00:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Malaise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1976 Dodge Colt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-colt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/junkyard-find-1976-dodge-colt/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096361 We’ve seen plenty of front–wheel–drive Colts in this series, but (prior to today) the only example of the rear-wheel drive Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Colt Galant we’d seen was this lichen-covered ’72 wagon. On a recent trip to California, I spotted this coastal-rusty example of tape-striped Malaise Mitsubishi glory. Obviously, this car sat outdoors and neglected for […]

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

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

Obviously, this car sat outdoors and neglected for decades.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, Malaise.


Hemi engine!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

472 cubic inches, 205 horsepower.

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

The hood rained salty rust flakes for decades.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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QOTD: It’s 1977 and You’re The Bandit. Do You Buy a Trans Am… or Something Else? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/qotd-1977-youre-bandit-buy-trans-something-else/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/qotd-1977-youre-bandit-buy-trans-something-else/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 11:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087041 We had a 1970s movie-car QOTD last week, and that was so much fun we’re doing it again! So, here we go: in the beginning of Smokey and the Bandit, when Big Enos challenges The Bandit to fetch 400 cases of that Colorado Kool-Aid, a wad of cash of unspecified thickness gets handed over for […]

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QOTD - Instead of Trans Am Bandit Choice - 610px

We had a 1970s movie-car QOTD last week, and that was so much fun we’re doing it again! So, here we go: in the beginning of Smokey and the Bandit, when Big Enos challenges The Bandit to fetch 400 cases of that Colorado Kool-Aid, a wad of cash of unspecified thickness gets handed over for expenses, including a “speedy car.” As we all know, The Bandit headed straight to the nearest Pontiac showroom and bought himself a brand-new 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. In the film, that car seemed to be the fastest imaginable motor vehicle (thanks to the magic of engine swaps, stunt drivers, and special effects). In reality, however, the ’77 Trans Am was kind of a bloated Malaise Era slug, and The Bandit probably had a lot of better escape-the-smokeys car choices available.

So, in his shoes and with a ’77 Trans Am-sized stack of C-notes, what car would you have bought for that run to Texarkana and back?

Now, the list price of a 1977 Firebird Trans Am was $5,456, but the Bandit’s car had the $556 Hurst Hatch option, the $1,143 Y82 Special Edition option package, the $195 factory CB radio (which itself required one of a number of costly factory sound-system options), and no doubt lots of other price-inflating extras (you think The Bandit and his perfectly groomed mustache would have gone without air conditioning – 442 bucks – in that climate?) we must assume would come in any fully loaded 1977 Detroit car. It’s safe to say you’d be looking at something around $8,000 by the time the dust settled. That gives us a baseline to work with. For the purposes of this exercise we’ll toss in an extra thousand dollars and say you can pick any brand-new, 1977 model-year, street-legal-in-the-United-States car or truck that costs under $9000 (about 35 grand in 2015 bucks). If you don’t have the Standard Catalog or equivalent, you’ll need to at least make an effort to look up ’77 MSRPs online, or just make quasi-plausible guesses. Obviously, the best choice would be to buy something like a cheap used 240Z or Corvette and then spend all the leftover money on aftermarket hop-up goodies, but this option is not allowed here. Likewise, there will be no dealer-installed NASCAR race motors, “brand-new” rally-prepped cars, or other loophole-exploiting workarounds. Available-to-the-general-public, right-off-the-showroom floor, bone-stock 1977 four-wheeled vehicles only!

QOTD - Instead of Trans Am Bandit Choice - Warlock 610px

If the film had been made in 1978, I’d probably go for the Dodge Lil’ Red Express pickup, which was the fastest Detroit production vehicle that year and fully loaded with genuine Burt Reynolds-grade redneck badassness. However, we’re stuck in 1977, which means you could still get the nearly-a-Lil’-Red-Express ’77 Warlock pickup. I’m not sure what the list price for the Warlock package was, but the ’77 D100 Sweptline half-ton started at a mere $4,737, which means you’d have plenty of money left over to get the 170-horsepower four-barrel 360 (sorry, no factory big-block in the D100 that year), floor-shift four-speed transmission, heavy-duty everything, and a CB radio.

QOTD - Instead of Trans Am Bandit Choice - RX4 610px

Of course, The Bandit would have been pretty quick (by 1977 standards) in a cop-grade Dodge Aspen with 4-speed and every available performance option, and the ’77 Chevy Nova with a similar setup would have been decent in a car chase. But Burt Reynolds was known to drive fast in imports in his films, so we shouldn’t overlook such options. Sadly, the Citroën SM he drove in The Longest Yard was a $13,500 car and not even available in 1977… but what about something like the Mazda RX-4? Imagine The Bandit with Wankel power! The ’77 Datsun 280Z had great handling, proper disco styling, and a not-too-shabby-in-1977 149 horses. Or the Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider Veloce, with 110 Italian ponies in a 2,455-pound package and an $8,795 price tag? Il Bandito in an Alfa would have driven circles around those ponderous Pontiac cop cars! The Porsche 911 was, of course, way out of Der Bandit’s price range, but the nimble BMW 320i could be had for a hair under 8 grand.

QOTD - Instead of Trans Am Bandit Choice - TR7 - 610px

So many sub-$9,000 cars to choose from in 1977! So, what’s your choice?

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Chevrolet Citation, Rock Salt Sandblasting Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-rock-salt-sandblasting-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1981-chevrolet-citation-rock-salt-sandblasting-edition/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1074762 This is the third week in Themed Junkyard Find Week Madness. We started with 21st Century Junkyard Find Week, then had Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week, and now we’ve staggered right into Rusty Junkyard Find Week. Next week, I might return to ordinary jumbled-up Junkyard Finds, or I might subject you to an entire month of […]

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Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

This is the third week in Themed Junkyard Find Week Madness. We started with 21st Century Junkyard Find Week, then had Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week, and now we’ve staggered right into Rusty Junkyard Find Week. Next week, I might return to ordinary jumbled-up Junkyard Finds, or I might subject you to an entire month of Chrysler LH Junkyard Finds.

For now, though, let’s finish up our third Themed Junkyard Find Week with a case of genuinely puzzling rust.
Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation Detail 1 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Unlike most of the interesting cars I shoot in junkyards, this ’81 Chevy Citation is represented here by just a single photograph. I was visiting the yard just before closing time, to grab a Dodge D100 pickup fuel gauge for my get-it-done-today A100 instrument-cluster rebuild project, walked past this Citation, and shot a single cellphone photo.

Incredibly Rusty Chevrolet Citation Detail 2 - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

So, we’ll look at details from that single photo, like conspiracy theorists studying a single frame of the Zapruder Film. This car had some rust all over, but the vertical surfaces of the right side of the body had terrifying and weirdly localized rust. How? Why? There’s no evidence of a fire burning off a patch of paint, so perhaps the car spent several years lying on its right side in the manure pond of a western Kansas pig farm?

Let’s time-travel back to 1979, when “the first Chevy of the 80s” hadn’t yet hit the streets in large numbers and existed mostly in the minds of Americans who were hoping that the gloom of the previous decade would be washed away by a car that showed that the days of bad Chevrolets were over.


Well, long-term-wise, that didn’t work out so well, with the Citation merely ushering in a decade of brand-damaging disasters and puzzling attempts to compete with German luxury marques. Today, we laugh at the Citation, though there was a time when they were as commonplace as are Malibus today.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Toyota Pickup, Adobe Rust Repair Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-pickup-adobe-rust-repair-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/junkyard-find-1983-toyota-pickup-adobe-rust-repair-edition/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 11:15:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073818 Toyotas of the 1970s and 1980s were quite reliable for the era, if you’re just talking about running gear. If you lived in a rust-prone area, though (say, a block from the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco), Toyotas were eaten by the Iron Oxide Monster in a hurry. Here in Denver, where the snow usually […]

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08 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Toyotas of the 1970s and 1980s were quite reliable for the era, if you’re just talking about running gear. If you lived in a rust-prone area, though (say, a block from the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco), Toyotas were eaten by the Iron Oxide Monster in a hurry. Here in Denver, where the snow usually doesn’t stick around long enough to warrant the application of road salt and the single-digit humidity dries out pockets of moisture trapped behind body panels before they can cause much harm, you don’t see too many rust horror-shows in junkyards. However, being conveniently located to both the western edge of the Rust Belt and the salty-road mountains means that I do see some interesting approaches to the Rotting Toyota Problem. Here’s a camper-shell-equipped Missouri Hilux (sold as, simply, the “Toyota Truck” in the United States) with some fiberglass-and-body-filler bodywork that may have bought it another year or two on the road.
19 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Actually, the shell came from Missouri; there’s no telling where the truck came from (though the shell appears to have been on the truck since it was new-ish).

05 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Not even 200,000 miles on the clock.

06 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Bondo over rust solves the problem in about the same way that painting over termite damage fixes your house.

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

I keep hearing that 20R heads are worth plenty to the guys who want to swap them onto their 22R off-road trucks and get higher compression, but I never see them removed at junkyards. Urban legend?

11 - 1983 Toyota Pickup Junkyard Find - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Mechanically speaking, this truck probably had a lot of life left in it, but watching shards of your vehicle tumbling behind you in the rear-view mirror while listening to the howl of wind through all the rust holes… well, it gets old.


There are parts of the world, however, where Hilux owners don’t worry about how rusty their trucks might be.


The Australians have always had better Hilux ads than North Americans.


See what I mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The car of choice for Kentucky Colonels.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Mazda RX-7 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1983-mazda-rx-7/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1983-mazda-rx-7/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052833 First-generation RX-7s aren’t as common in self-service wrecking yards as they were five years ago, but it’s not hard to find a couple in a typical large yard in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Most of the time I don’t photograph these cars, but we’ve seen this ’79, this ’79, this ’80, and […]

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12 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

First-generation RX-7s aren’t as common in self-service wrecking yards as they were five years ago, but it’s not hard to find a couple in a typical large yard in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Most of the time I don’t photograph these cars, but we’ve seen this ’79, this ’79, this ’80, and this ’85 so far in this series, and now we’ve got today’s beat-looking but low-mile ’83 from Northern California.
03 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Do you suppose this is the actual mileage, or did the speedometer cable break in 1991? It seems unlikely that the car has 1,068,798.3 miles on it.

01 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

While California’s tailpipe-emission limits in 1983 seemed incredibly strict by the standards of the other 49 states in 1983, these grams-per-mile numbers are filthy compared to current standards. For example: in 1983, your new California car could spew 0.7 grams of nitrogen oxides per mile; in 2015, the limit is 0.05 grams/mile.

14 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

I hope these “GS” emblems weren’t applied by Mazda. At least it has the beautiful rotareeeee.

The more you look, the more you like!

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-monte-carlo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/junkyard-find-1976-chevrolet-monte-carlo/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041017 Examples of the rear-wheel-drive Chevy Monte Carlo have held their value pretty well, especially the A-body-based 1970-1977 ones. Even a fairly rough one can be worth restoring, particularly in Southern California, and so I don’t see many of these cars during my travels to the wrecking yards of the Golden State. Here’s a very rough […]

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08 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinExamples of the rear-wheel-drive Chevy Monte Carlo have held their value pretty well, especially the A-body-based 1970-1977 ones. Even a fairly rough one can be worth restoring, particularly in Southern California, and so I don’t see many of these cars during my travels to the wrecking yards of the Golden State. Here’s a very rough ’76 that I spotted in Los Angeles while visiting Cheech & Chong movie locations in a ’15 Ford Transit van.
12 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinGood things never happen when you scrape off a vinyl top and then drive the car that way.
09 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars make excellent lowriders, but to get this car into proper condition for nice paint and interior would have cost about three times the value of the finished result.
04 - 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m not sure what the junkyard symbolism of the ace of clubs could be.

Endorsed by this Canadian yacht designer.

Yes, Canadians were crazy about the Malaise Monte.

Makes you look rich!

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Finally, See Spielberg’s “Duel” on the Big Screen (If You Can Get to Denver Monday) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/finally-see-spielbergs-duel-big-screen-can-get-denver-monday/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/finally-see-spielbergs-duel-big-screen-can-get-denver-monday/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:30:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033313 Because the power of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™ is so extreme, the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in Denver has fallen under my spell and allowed me to select and introduce four car films, to be shown each Monday during their “Alamo Takes the Wheel” month of April (actually, it was the endorsement of Repo Man […]

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DuelBecause the power of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™ is so extreme, the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in Denver has fallen under my spell and allowed me to select and introduce four car films, to be shown each Monday during their “Alamo Takes the Wheel” month of April (actually, it was the endorsement of Repo Man director Alex Cox, who teaches at the University of Colorado, that convinced the Alamo management that this idea wasn’t completely stupid). The first of those films is the amazing Duel, an all-time-great Malaise Era car movie that shouldn’t need any introduction for TTAC readers.
duel4In fact, my original plan for these Monday car movies involved having four triple features, including such must-see car films as The Junkman and Blue Collar, but the Alamo management just gave me the same funny look that people give me when I talk about putting an LZ9 engine into a Cadillac Cimarron. Anyway, so they picked four films from my twelve-film list, and they’ll be showing one on each Monday in April. Duel shows on April 6 at 7:30 PM, and moviegoers are strongly encouraged to bring their coolest, weirdest, and/or hooptiest vehicles to show off in the theater parking lot beforehand.

ep51-duel2Once Duel (which even I have never seen on the big screen) is done, we’ll have three more Monday movies selected and introduced by yours truly. These are:
Monday, April 13 at 7:30 PM: The Car
Monday, April 20 at 7:30 PM: Up In Smoke (Yes, this is actually one of the greatest car movies of all time, and you wastoids even get to see it on 4/20).
Monday, April 27 at 7:30 PM: Two-Lane Blacktop

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Buick Electra Limited Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1976-buick-electra-limited-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1976-buick-electra-limited-coupe/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1031729 The General shrank the Buick Electra for the 1977 model year and then ditched the model entirely in 1990, so the ’76 was the last of the proper single-digit-fuel-economy Electras. These comfy gerontocrusiers used to be everywhere on American roads, even in the dark days after gas prices went crazy, and you still see them […]

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09 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe General shrank the Buick Electra for the 1977 model year and then ditched the model entirely in 1990, so the ’76 was the last of the proper single-digit-fuel-economy Electras. These comfy gerontocrusiers used to be everywhere on American roads, even in the dark days after gas prices went crazy, and you still see them in wrecking yards today, but for some reason I’ve photographed just one prior to today’s Junkyard Find.
15 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSir Mix-a-Lot immortalized the beat-up Electra as the iconic hooptie 26 years ago (not long before I photographed this ’73 on a Stockton highway).
07 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 455-cubic-inch V8 was down to a mere 205 horsepower in 1976 (27 more than the base four-cylinder engine in the 2015 Camry), but it still had (and needed) a fairly healthy 345 lb-ft of torque.
17 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have never seen one of these “digital” GM dash clocks with the scrolling seconds reel that worked, not even when they were new.
05 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAM, FM, 8-track— just the thing for your Gary Wright tapes (although your typical Buick buyer in 1976 most likely listened to something more like this tape).
03 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBuick stuck with the black-on-silver gauge schtick for quite a few years after this.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1983-mitsubishi-cordia-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1983-mitsubishi-cordia-2/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028673 The Mitsubishi Cordia was one of the first Mitsubishi-badged cars to be sold in the United States (prior to that, US-market Mitsubishis were Chrysler captive imports). They didn’t sell in huge quantities, and we don’t remember the Cordia as well as the Starion or even the Mighty Max, but I still see the occasional example […]

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08 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mitsubishi Cordia was one of the first Mitsubishi-badged cars to be sold in the United States (prior to that, US-market Mitsubishis were Chrysler captive imports). They didn’t sell in huge quantities, and we don’t remember the Cordia as well as the Starion or even the Mighty Max, but I still see the occasional example in California wrecking yards. There was this ’83 Cordia Turbo (from which I obtained the amazing digital instrument cluster), this ’84 Cordia, and this ’87 Cordia Turbo, and here’s this well-worn ’83.
03 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThat’s a lot of miles for an early-80s Mitsubishi. Actually, even (non-diesel) Mercedes-Benzes were hard-pressed to get to 200k back then.
04 - 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car has been used up.

You can’t talk about the Cordia without showing this maddening Australian-market ad.

This Japanese-market one is a puzzler.

Then there’s this list of “Cars whooped by my Cordia.”

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280c-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280c-2/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023561 There’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 […]

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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.
12 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn their time, these cars made just about every conceivable competitor look like a shoddily-built, frivolous rattletrap, built for idiots who didn’t understand the value of a Deutsche Mark.
04 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow’s this for dignified air-conditioning controls?
10 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car listed at $11,530 new, which was about 61 grand in 2015 bucks. Meanwhile, the much bigger, cushier, more powerful 1973 Lincoln Mark IV cost just $8,694 (just for fun, how about a brand-new Citroën SM— about the least sensible car you could buy in 1973, yet also the most beautiful— for $13,350?), while the Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado— with five hundred cubic inches under the hood, no less— could be purchased for $7,360.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Datsun 200SX Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1981-datsun-200sx-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1981-datsun-200sx-coupe/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1010170 The S110 Nissan Silvia, sold in the United States as the Datsun 200SX for the 1979 through 1983 model years, has all but disappeared from American roads by now. We’ve seen a couple of the S110’s successor, the S12, in this series: this ’86 200SX and this ’86 200SX Turbo, and that’s it. Late last […]

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22 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe S110 Nissan Silvia, sold in the United States as the Datsun 200SX for the 1979 through 1983 model years, has all but disappeared from American roads by now. We’ve seen a couple of the S110’s successor, the S12, in this series: this ’86 200SX and this ’86 200SX Turbo, and that’s it. Late last week, I spotted this faded but unrusty two-tone ’81 at a Northern California wrecking yard.
09 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA mere 158,000 miles on the clock.
14 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis switch is the tipoff that there’s a phonograph-based Voice Annunciator System box somewhere in the car, but I couldn’t reach it with the screwdrivers-and-a-needlenose toolkit I had on me at the time. Anyway, I’ve got at least four of the things in my hoard at this point.
03 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNo CONELRAD stations indicated on this AM/FM radio, but it does have an analog signal-strength meter and an exquisitely early-1980s equalizer.
25 - 1981 Datsun 200SX Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou could get these cars in beige-and-brown two-tone, though this one is a more subdued blue-on-blue.

The US-market ads for this car were a little boring, but such was not the case in Japan.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider-3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider-3/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002290 Will the steady procession of Fiat 124 Spiders into America’s self-service wrecking yards never cease? So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, this ’80, and now yet another sporty little Fiat from the Malaisiest year of them all. Here’s a beat-up but not […]

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04 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWill the steady procession of Fiat 124 Spiders into America’s self-service wrecking yards never cease? So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, this ’80, and now yet another sporty little Fiat from the Malaisiest year of them all. Here’s a beat-up but not hopeless example I spotted in Northern California.
01 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinUnlike its MGB competitor (then on its last year of production), you could get the 1980 124 Sport Spider with factory fuel injection. 80 horsepower, which today’s American car buyers would consider unacceptable in a lawn tractor.
05 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior yielded some good stuff to a lucky Fiat owner, looks like.
08 - 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider - Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars rusted even in California, but this one looks solid.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford LTD II Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1977-ford-ltd-ii-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-1977-ford-ltd-ii-station-wagon/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992610 In one of those confusing branding moves that’s up there with the baffling Toyota Corolla Tercel, Ford decided to name a Torino-based midsize car the LTD II while keeping the regular full-sized LTD. This went on for the 1977 and 1978 model years, and then for 1979 the “big” LTD went to the Panther platform […]

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08 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn one of those confusing branding moves that’s up there with the baffling Toyota Corolla Tercel, Ford decided to name a Torino-based midsize car the LTD II while keeping the regular full-sized LTD. This went on for the 1977 and 1978 model years, and then for 1979 the “big” LTD went to the Panther platform and sold alongside LTD IIs for that year. Why? Well, that’s like asking why Henry Ford II refused Soichiro Honda’s offer of cheap CVCC engines for the Fiesta a few years before! Anyway, here’s an extremely green first-year LTD II wagon (not a Country Squire, which was based on the larger “regular” LTD) that I spotted in Northern California a couple weeks back.
03 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDo you like green interiors, and by that I mean large expanses of petrochemical-residue-exhaling I Can Totally Believe It’s Not Leather™ vinyl that still looks good and vivid after nearly 40 years of California sun?
02 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car has you covered! This car’s seats would make nice garage couches.
13 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFord sent out 23 million of these recall-evading stickers, thanks to the generosity of Ronald Reagan, and thus didn’t go bankrupt in the early 1980s. Most owners didn’t apply them, but this car’s circa-1982 owner did.
04 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe engine compartment had a bit of a fire problem.
19 - 1977 Ford LTD wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe can assume this car was earning its keep until the day of the fire.

Ford didn’t hesitate to pitch the big LTD as more car for the money. Look, bigger than a Cadillac, yet cheaper!

As for the LTD II: if you’re a sporty guy with a sporty mustache, the “trimmer” LTD II is for you!

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Junkyard Find: 1974 International Harvester Scout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1974-international-harvester-scout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1974-international-harvester-scout/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989282 With so many IHC Scouts here in Colorado, many of them wear out, rust out, get crashed, or get replaced by trucks with modern conveniences such as sub-100dB interior noise levels and air conditioning. In this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’72, this ’73, and this ’74, and now today’s well-used ’74. […]

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18 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith so many IHC Scouts here in Colorado, many of them wear out, rust out, get crashed, or get replaced by trucks with modern conveniences such as sub-100dB interior noise levels and air conditioning. In this series, we’ve seen this ’70, this ’71, this ’72, this ’73, and this ’74, and now today’s well-used ’74. I saw this truck when I went to a Denver yard to celebrate Half Off Everything Day on the first day of the new year.
11 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf this is the original engine, it’s an AMC 258-cubic-inch straight-six. Given how Scout owners tend to mix-and-match engines, though, this could be just about any AMC six.
20 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s rust. Oh yes, plenty of rust.
04 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne good thing about trucks of this era is that there wasn’t much soft material in the interior to smell bad. Still, this Scout’s final owner decided that the truck needed That New Car Smell.
06 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinComplicated heater controls aren’t needed— just good old cable-operated levers.
08 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinScout production made it into the 1980s, just barely.
22 - 1974 International Harvester Scout Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne of my accomplices at the Half Off Sale party grabbed the grille for hanging on his living-room wall. Only $12!

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Ford Fairmont Futura Two-Door Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1982-ford-fairmont-futura-two-door-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1982-ford-fairmont-futura-two-door-sedan/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988082 I see so many Fox Mustangs in wrecking yards that I don’t pay attention to them unless they’re especially egregious Malaise Era abominations, but what about the other Foxes? Well, I’ll shoot a Fox Capri or Fox Thunderbird if I see one, and of course the Fairmont and its Mercury Zephyr sibling are sort of […]

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12 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI see so many Fox Mustangs in wrecking yards that I don’t pay attention to them unless they’re especially egregious Malaise Era abominations, but what about the other Foxes? Well, I’ll shoot a Fox Capri or Fox Thunderbird if I see one, and of course the Fairmont and its Mercury Zephyr sibling are sort of interesting. We’ve seen this snazzy-looking beige-over-gold ’82 Zephyr coupe and equallly snazzy-looking ’80 Fairmont Futura coupe in this series, and I spotted this red ’82 Fairmont Futura two-door at a Northern California yard a few months ago.
13 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe two-door sedan version of the Fairmont Futura didn’t sell so well, because if you were willing to put up with the inconvenience of two doors, why not get the groovy coupe with the cool-looking rear glass?
01 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI probably shouldn’t have attempted any online research on Foxtaur Racing, because it led right to some super-creepy Furry-related stuff. However, I ran into this page showing what may be the same car; the junkyard one doesn’t have a vinyl top, but the Foxtaur Racing stickers are in the same locations. I’m sure that Crab Spirits will explore this theme further.
07 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhen you can’t find the correct-colored interior parts for your car, you make do with what you can find.
09 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, that’s a Pinto 2300 under the hood.
05 - 1982 Ford Fairmont Coupe Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis was made when Detroit didn’t worry too much about extremely phony-looking “wood” interior trim.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Fiat X1/9 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19-3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-x19-3/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982969 The Fiat X1/9, like the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, is one of those old European cars that hasn’t held its value so well, which means you’ll see plenty of them in the sort of self-service wrecking yards that I frequent. We’ve seen this ’78, this ’78, this ’80 and this ’86 so far in this […]

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07 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe Fiat X1/9, like the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, is one of those old European cars that hasn’t held its value so well, which means you’ll see plenty of them in the sort of self-service wrecking yards that I frequent. We’ve seen this ’78, this ’78, this ’80 and this ’86 so far in this series, and now I’ve got another ’78 to show you.
05 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinBertone did the design on these things, and Malcolm Bricklin kept bringing Bertone-badged X1/9s in after Fiat retreated from the United States market.
01 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe running gear was Fiat 128 stuff, swapped from the front of the 128 to just behind the driver in the X1/9. Power wasn’t much, but the car was quite agile.
02 - 1978 Fiat X1_9 Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThis one will go to The Crusher with the steering wheel lock still in place.

The incomparable, dynamic Fiat X1/9!

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider-2/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=979929 Once again, we are reminded that examples of the Fiat 124 Sport Spider have been a junkyard constant for my entire 33-year junkyard-haunting career. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, and now I’ve found another 1980 Sport Spider in a snowy Denver […]

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07 - 1980 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOnce again, we are reminded that examples of the Fiat 124 Sport Spider have been a junkyard constant for my entire 33-year junkyard-haunting career. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, and now I’ve found another 1980 Sport Spider in a snowy Denver self-service yard.
13 - 1980 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 2000cc version (actually 1995cc) of the Fiat Twin Cam engine was introduced for the 1979 model year, and it made 80 horsepower for the US-market 1980 models. The car only weighs 2,290 pounds, so 80 hp wasn’t as miserable as you might think. However, since Internet Car Experts seem to complain endlessly about how intolerably slow the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ is with its 13.79 horsepower-per-pound ratio (it is a lot of fun, in fact), contemplate this car’s 28.625 horsepower-per-pound ratio. Was it slow? Sure was! Was it fun? Yes! Was it reliable? Next question! Say, putting the trunk lock in one of the zeros of the 2000 emblem looks pretty slick.
04 - 1980 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI saw this car when I went to the New Year’s Day Half Off Everything sale at a Denver wrecking yard, and it was parked right next to another 124 Sport Spider. That Fiat, however, had a lucky Fiat owner pulling just about every single interior and trim piece off it (a very solid ’78), so I concentrated on shooting photos of the not-quite-as-nice ’80.
02 - 1980 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe instrument cluster from this one was gone…
IMG_2497…because one of my friends thought the gauges would look cool in one of his goofy race-car projects. Hey, half price!
10 - 1980 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, the same Pininfarina that did this design did the Cadillac Allanté and Volvo C70.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1977-ford-maverick-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1977-ford-maverick-sedan/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973001 You just don’t see Ford Mavericks and their Mercury Comet brethren on the street these days; they haven’t picked up a huge amount of collector interest and their place at the bottom of the just-above-scrap-value beater-car food chain has been replaced by the early Ford Taurus. For some reason, though, a steady trickle of Mavericks […]

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06 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinYou just don’t see Ford Mavericks and their Mercury Comet brethren on the street these days; they haven’t picked up a huge amount of collector interest and their place at the bottom of the just-above-scrap-value beater-car food chain has been replaced by the early Ford Taurus. For some reason, though, a steady trickle of Mavericks and Comets shows up in California wrecking yards. My guess, based on the 1980s and 1990s detritus I find in some of them, is that they spent a decade or three forgotten in a back yard or driveway before being sold to U-Wrench-It. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’75 Maverick two-door, this ’75 Comet sedan, this ’77 Comet sedan, and now today’s ’77 Maverick sedan. Let’s examine this Malaise Mainstay more closely.
03 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinBack in the early 1980s, the owner of this car was willing to put the sticker that saved Ford from the biggest recall in automotive-industry history on his dash. Most of the 23 million owners of the affected vehicles opted not to uglify their dashes with these “Park-To-Reverse” stickers.
14 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI’m not sure what an Oregon Free Ride sticker was for, but I’m guessing that neither ass, nor grass, nor ass is involved.
07 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinI couldn’t get the hood to open, but there’s about a 99.999% chance that what’s underneath is not interesting. Probably a 7-horsepower 200 L6 or a 9-horsepower 302 V8, yawn (cue enraged emails from the Maverick Jihad™, letting me know that the 200 made 96 hp and the 302 made 130 hp).
05 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinStill one hubcap left!

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1982-toyota-land-cruiser/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1982-toyota-land-cruiser/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=971826 The FJ60 Land Cruiser is still a common sight on the streets of Denver, where I live. These things are not anywhere near as comfortable or fuel-efficient as modern SUVs, but they are just about impossible to kill… and that counts for a lot with your FJ-driving demographic around these parts. Being so prized, however, […]

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06 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe FJ60 Land Cruiser is still a common sight on the streets of Denver, where I live. These things are not anywhere near as comfortable or fuel-efficient as modern SUVs, but they are just about impossible to kill… and that counts for a lot with your FJ-driving demographic around these parts. Being so prized, however, means that you don’t see many of these trucks in high-turnover self-service wrecking yards, and when you do see one it tends to get picked clean in a hurry. I went to a local yard on a typically freezing-ass Half Price Day sale last week and spotted this remarkably un-stripped ’82.
19 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNot even 300,000 miles on the clock. What went wrong?
17 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s the likely explanation for the junkyardization of this truck. Rust isn’t a big problem around here, thanks to the single-digit humidity, but vehicles that live in the mountains (or relocate from the Midwest) can get like this.
01 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe pushrod F six-cylinder engine evolved from the licensed-by-Toyota-way-the-hell-back-when Chevy Stovebolt, which means it’s related to the engines used to power Toyota military trucks during the ill-fated attempt to set up the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
24 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinShoppers for 21st-century trucks would find this interior absolutely intolerable. By the standards of 1982, though, it’s pretty nice.
25 - 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe previous owner had some association with a school full of sullen kids forced to sit through PowerPoint presentations about stuff like the difference between “Teacher Voice” and “Outdoor Voice.”

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Dodge Aspen Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-dodge-aspen-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-dodge-aspen-station-wagon/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=968594 Commonplace as the Dodge Aspen was during the Middle and Late Malaise Era— you saw them on American roads in 1980 or so about as often as you’d see, say, Hyundai Accents today. The Aspen (and its Plymouth sibling, the Volaré) didn’t hold their value so well, and nearly all of them were crushed by […]

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13 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCommonplace as the Dodge Aspen was during the Middle and Late Malaise Era— you saw them on American roads in 1980 or so about as often as you’d see, say, Hyundai Accents today. The Aspen (and its Plymouth sibling, the Volaré) didn’t hold their value so well, and nearly all of them were crushed by the early 1990s. I photograph them whenever I see them, of course, but that isn’t often. In this series before today, we’ve seen this ’76 Aspen sedan, this ’76 Volaré sedan, this brown-on-beige ’77 Volaré coupe and this ’77 Volaré Premier wagon, and now we’ve got a mossy, lichen-covered Northern California Aspen wagon.
07 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe winters in the San Francisco Bay Area are cold and wet, and a car that spends a few years (or maybe a couple of decades) parked in shade will gather moss.
20 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAnd, much like cars that spend years in the birch forests of northern Sweden, this car has provided a home for lichens.
10 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThink the 318 under the hood is still good? Probably so, but these engines get few takers these days.
06 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSuch an expanse of brown vinyl!

Better than a Nova? That’s a tough call.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Pontiac Sunbird http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-pontiac-sunbird/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-pontiac-sunbird/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=964802 The story of the Chevrolet Monza and its badge-engineered Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac siblings goes much like the tale of its ancestor and platform-mate, the Vega: many sold, almost none made it to age 15. I hadn’t seen an H-body Monza, Starfire, Skyhawk or Sunbird in a self-service wrecking yard for at least five years […]

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08 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe story of the Chevrolet Monza and its badge-engineered Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac siblings goes much like the tale of its ancestor and platform-mate, the Vega: many sold, almost none made it to age 15. I hadn’t seen an H-body Monza, Starfire, Skyhawk or Sunbird in a self-service wrecking yard for at least five years when I spotted this one near me in Denver.
04 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPontiac later applied the Sunbird name to the J-body-based front-drivers it built in the 1980s and 1990s.
11 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou still see members of the Monza family at race tracks, because V8s bolt in and they’re pretty aerodynamic for their time.
06 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one has been picked over in a big way.
02 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA friend in high school had a ’76 Skyhawk that suffered a door striker rust failure and had to be welded, just as this one did. That was in California, in a 7-year-old car. I shudder to think of the rust that afflicted these cars in places like Michigan and New Hampshire.
03 - 1977 Pontiac Sunbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAnybody need a genuine Delco AM radio?

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