By on March 23, 2016

1983 Oldsmobile Toronado in Arizona junkyard, LH front view- ©2016 Murilee Martin / The Truth About Cars

The Oldsmobile Toronado started out as a big sporty car, morphed into an Eldorado-styled full-on luxury boat, then spent its twilight years getting progressively smaller and less opulent. Every Toronado ever made had front-wheel-drive and two doors, and every one had at least some Eldorado DNA in its bloodstream.

Here’s a downsized-but-still-substantial third-generation Toronado I found at a self-service yard in Phoenix, while I was in Arizona to work at the Arizona D-Bags 24 Hours of LeMons. (Read More…)

By on February 18, 2016

1979 Ford LTDII

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of editing Daniel Ho’s theories on crossovers as reflections of the zeitgeist. In his thoughtfully-written piece, Daniel argues that crossovers are chimeras, reflecting a social trend towards generalized products that combine social signaling attributes from multiple socio-economic categories. The crossover, therefore, is the “blazer and jeans” look, offering broader but shallower capabilities than the specialized vehicles that preceded it.

It is my hope that Daniel, and the rest of the B&B, will take it as a signal mark of my esteem and admiration for the both the substance of Daniel’s original argument and his stylish manner of expressing it when I say that he is absolutely, completely, thoroughly wrong.

(Read More…)

By on January 4, 2016

13 - 1979 Chrysler Cordoba in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Examples of the Chrysler Cordoba continue to show up in the self-service wrecking yards I frequent, though I tend to skip the ones that are particularly wretched and break out my camera only when I’m in the presence of a Cordoba that still has a certain personal luxury aura.

So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’76, this ’78 (which provided me with a classy Corinthian Leather couch), this ’79, and this ’80, and now we have this fairly straight ’79 that I saw in an icy Denver yard last week. (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2014

05 - 1965 Ford Thunderbird Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA perfectly restored example of a 1964-66 Ford Thunderbird is worth plenty. A beat-up example, even a non-rusty California car, on the other hand… well, it’s one of those cases where you can start with a thousand-dollar car, apply 15 grand to get it into pretty nice shape, and end up with a car worth $9,500. This cruel math is the reason that today’s Junkyard Find was spotted at a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard a few weeks back. (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2014

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. (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2013

Personal luxury” became one of the few showroom bright spots for Detroit during the darkest days of the Malaise Era. The definition is a bit fuzzy around the edges, but the basic formula always involved a midsize-or-bigger two-door with a generous helping of disco-grade bling, maybe with some heraldic crests and pleather upholstery. Chrysler had the Cordoba, Ford had the Cougar, and GM had the Grand Prix, to name just a few of many examples of the genre. Why, even dowdy AMC got into the act with their Matador Barcelona. So many of these cars were built that you’ll still find examples now and then at self-serve wrecking yards. By 1976, personal luxury was being applied across whole lines, with broad strokes. Today’s find is one of the last of the big A-body LeMans family, built before the LeMans became a cruel Daewoo joke. (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2012

When shopping for personal luxury coupes in the late 1970s, you might have bought the 1977 Mercury Cougar (seen in yesterday’s Junkyard Find), or maybe a Chrysler Cordoba, or perhaps even an AMC Matador Barcelona. If you wanted to go with a General Motors product for your long-hooded, big-on-the-outside/small-on-the-inside coupe, Pontiac had just the car: the Grand Prix! (Read More…)

By on October 17, 2012

We make fun of the personal luxury coupe now, just as we make fun of leisure suits, WIN buttons, and Freakies cereal. Still, the rest of the world (except perhaps Australia) never experienced the glory of the huge, inefficient, vaguely sporty coupe with floaty ride and deep-tufted velour interior, and this is their loss. (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2012

We’re going to take a break from the Turbo Era Junkyard Finds and take a look at the kind of car that our resident lover of Ford personal luxury coupes really appreciates: a down-but-not-out (yet) 1970 Mark III in Denver self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2012

After yesterday’s Junkyard Find, which was AMC’s answer to the very successful Chrysler Cordoba personal luxury coupe, it seems only right that we look at the car that inspired AMC’s marketers to start searching maps of Spain for car names: the Chrysler Cordoba. Here’s a ’79 that I spotted at a Denver self-serve yard last week. (Read More…)

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