Tag: Oakland

By on May 19, 2014

11 - 1978 Alfa Romeo Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhile Fiat 124 Sport Spiders are commonplace in junkyards, the Alfa Romeo Spider has remained sufficiently valuable that few examples make it to the kind of self-service, high-inventory-turnover wrecking yards I frequent for this series. We’ve seen this ’74 and that’s it prior to today (though I have passed by a few junked Alfa Spiders that were picked clean before I got there). The Alfa Spider was more expensive than the Fiat Spider when new— in 1978, the Alfa listed at $9,195 (about the same as a new ’78 BMW 320i), while the Fiat cost a mere $6,495 (just a bit more than a Volkswagen Scirocco)— and American Alfa Romeo fanatics have always been more maniacally obsessed than Fiat fanatics. Here’s an unrusted, not-yet-completely-stripped ’78 that I found in a San Francisco Bay Area yard a couple months back. (Read More…)

By on September 18, 2013

06 - 1979 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinFirst-gen Mazda RX-7s aren’t difficult to find in self-service wrecking yards (we just saw this ’80 with Flashdance-grade custom paint and this fairly solid ’85), and so most of them don’t make it into this series. During my recent trip to California for the biggest 24 Hours of LeMons race in history, I stopped at one of my favorite East Bay wrecking yards and found this utterly rust-free example of one of the few bright spots of the Malaise Era. (Read More…)

By on September 5, 2012

I was in my old East Bay stomping grounds last weekend, to drive the Scion FR-S (review coming soon) and watch the Oakland A’s beat up the hapless Red Sox. I also spotted one of the greatest motor vehicles in history while driving down High Street on the way to The Island That Rust Forgot. It featured the letters “UFO” across a vaguely tailgate-ish rear body panel. I’ve puzzled out the type of vehicle it’s based on. Can you? (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2012

It’s hard to get more stereotypically 80s than this car. Weird Japanese styling, headache-inducing upholstery patterns, and— most important— TURBO! I was 20 years old when this car was new, and the sight of this Crusher-bound example gave me terrible A-Ha flashbacks. (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2012

By 1985, it was clear to everyone that the Renault Alliance, product of the strange AMC/Renault mashup that failed to save the “not too big to fail” Wisconsin automaker, wasn’t quite as good as the ’83 Motor Trend Car of the Year award suggested. Still, enough Alliances sold that you still see them in the junkyard every now and then. Here’s one I spotted in a California self-serve yard last month. (Read More…)

By on March 3, 2012

Some of our sharper-eyed readers noticed that the car parked next to yesterday’s Junkyard Find (this 1965 Mercury Park Lane Breezeway) was also a mid-60s-vintage Mercury. It’s the upscale version of the Ford Falcon, the car that the Edsel Jihad still hates as a symbol of Robert MacNamara‘s misplaced— and probably Communist-inspired— priorities. Yes, Ford CEO MacNamara killed the Edsel in favor of the Falcon, right before he masterminded the not-real-successful war effort in Vietnam; the Edsel Jihad can forgive the latter but never the former. (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2012

Of all the crazy ideas to come out of Dearborn in the 1960s, the Breezeway option on big Mercury cars is one of my favorites. You had a rear-canted back window that rolled up and down, providing a hurricane of wind through the car at speed, and no doubt enhancing the passengers’ intake of Vitamin CO. It made no sense, but so what? Not surprisingly, mid-60s Montereys and Park Lanes (the Mercury-ized Ford Galaxie), aren’t worth much in beat condition these days (nice ones are another story), but I still wasn’t expecting to find this one in a Northern California wrecking yard last month. (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2012

After a couple of 1970s Italian sports cars for our last two Junkyard Finds, it’s time to look at the Japanese competition. Malaise Era Z Cars are not uncommon in California junkyards, and I spotted this fairly rough example in an Oakland yard last month. (Read More…)

By on February 22, 2012

When the GM Fremont Assembly plant took on Toyota managers and became NUMMI in 1984, the same supposedly inept lineworkers who hammered together sub-par Buick Apollos suddenly started building Corollas that were at least as well-made as the ones made by their Japanese counterparts (you are free to draw your own conclusions about GM management in the 1980s). The initial round of GM-badged Corollas were given the Chevrolet Nova name, prior to becoming the Geo Prizm; you still see Prizms around, but the 80s Nova has become a rare sight on the streets and in the junkyards. Here’s a Nova I spotted in an Oakland, California, self-serve yard earlier in the month. (Read More…)

By on February 3, 2012

The first thing we need to make clear when talking about the Sterling 827 is that it is not a Honda. It’s a Rover. Rover! (Read More…)

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