By on July 8, 2013

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What you’re looking at here is

  1. A big “F U” to CAFE regulations
  2. Very likely the next vehicle my parents buy

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By on June 9, 2013

10 - 1975 Volvo 245 Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIn a Northern California self-service wrecking yard not far from the one in which I found the Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe, I found an example of a first-year Volvo 240 wagon. The 240 didn’t change much during its near-two-decade run, but the very early ones stand out in this setting. (Read More…)

By on June 1, 2013

01 - 1987 Ford Country Squire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWill the faux-woodgrain Country Squire Junkyard Finds never stop? Not if I can keep finding them! We started this sequence with this ’76, then followed up with this ’77 and this ’86. Today’s Squire is another Panther platform “woodie” wagon, Detroit’s traditional rear-drive family hauler for the late 1980s. (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2013

01 - 1986 Ford Country Squire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince we’re on a Country Squire Junkyard Find roll, with a ’76 Squire on Wednesday and a ’77 Squire yesterday, let’s take a look at a Panther Squire today. Yes, Panther Love even extends to Reagan-era woodie wagons! (Read More…)

By on May 30, 2013

02 - 1977 Ford Country Squire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe saw a 1976 Country Squire Junkyard Find yesterday, after going seven months since seeing this ’75 Country Squire, but this Denver yard has given us back-to-back (actually, tailgate-to-tailgate) Malaise Era Country Squires. Today’s find is in far better shape than yesterday’s (which is both cool and saddening), so let’s check it out! (Read More…)

By on May 29, 2013

04 - 1976 Ford Country Squire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe perceived usefulness of full-sized station wagons of the Malaise Era dropped down to about zero when minivans and SUVs became mainstream family-hauler options in the late 1980s. You see a few wagon freaks restoring these things nowadays, but for every Country Squire that gets restored (or even preserved), a hundred others get sent to the knackers. Here’s a well-worn ’76 that I spotted in Denver a couple weeks back. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2013

16 - 1983 Honda Civic Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 1973-79 Civic was a very good car for its time (mostly because just about all the other subcompacts of the era were so bad and/or boring), but the second-generation Civic was the one that gave Honda its reputation for bang-for-buck performance and miraculous-for-the-price build quality that seemed unbeatable for nearly 15 years. The value of the 1980-83 Civics became so low by the late 1990s that it wasn’t worth fixing any problem that cost more than a couple hundred bucks to fix, and so nearly all of them were gone by the time the 21st century rolled around. Here’s a Civic wagon, painted in very Malaise-y beige, that managed to hang on for thirty years. More than a year has passed since the last second-gen Civic in this series. (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2013

Last spring, I sold my Porsche to buy a station wagon. Car guys understand this, because it’s outlined in our unspoken creed: eventually we all trade in our beloved sports cars for a practical family vehicle that can haul our kids and whatever expensive musical instruments they’ve decided to learn this week. But for me, the swap came early: at 23 years old, single and without children, I swapped my 911 Turbo for a mommy-mobile.

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By on February 18, 2013

I now believe that at least half the Toyota All-Tracs ever sold ended up in Colorado, based on the quantities I see in junkyards around Denver. We saw the only Camry All-Trac I’ve ever found anywhere last month, and the Corolla All-Trac wagons are well-represented by this ’89, this ’89, and now today’s ’89. (Read More…)

By on November 1, 2012

Given that just about everything Chrysler built for much of the 1980s and 1990s had some connection to the original K Platform, I don’t pay much attention to Ks when I see them in the junkyard. In fact, this ’83 Aries was the last “pure” K Car we’ve seen in this series. When I see an Aries K wagon with perfect Whorehouse Red interior, however, that’s when I reach for my revolver camera. (Read More…)

By on October 16, 2012

Honda stood in a seemingly unassailable position in the American marketplace, with customers willing to pay whatever it took to get a Civic or Accord… until the 1990s dawned. The asset-price bubble burst in 1991, founder Soichiro Honda died the same year, the competition had caught up to the Civic and Accord, the Legend and Integra weren’t smash hits, nobody could figure out the point of the Vigor, and Honda USA was getting sweated over decades of kickbacks and general dealership hanky-panky. Oh, and American Peugeot dealers were having an easier time moving the 404 (even as Peugeot was packing up to leave the continent) than Honda was in selling the fourth-gen Accord wagon. You never saw many of them on the street and just about all of them are gone by now, but I’ve managed to find this 344,000-mile example in a Denver self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on October 12, 2012

If you haven’t been paying attention to my life story (discretely woven into my reviews), I’ll spell it out clearly: I live in what is considered to be a temperate rainforest on the California coast, the nearest asphalt or concrete surface is over a mile away, and I have a deep (some say questionable) love for station wagons. If you combine this with liberal political leanings, my DINK (Dual Income, No Kids) status and a passion for Costco runs, I am the target market for an off-road wagon. Enter the 2013 Audi allroad. (No, for some reason “allroad” doesn’t get a capital letter.) Audi invited Michael Karesh to a launch event, event a few months ago, but what’s the XC70′s only competition like to live with for a week? Let’s find out.

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By on October 7, 2012

The Datsun 810 became the Nissan Maxima a couple of years into the 1980s, and you rarely see the 810 nameplate these days. Every once in a while, however, an 810 shows up in The Crusher’s waiting room. Here’s a ’78 wagon I found in California last month. (Read More…)

By on October 1, 2012

The big Fords of the Malaise Era don’t show up in the wrecking yards much these days, after several decades of being commonplace. The Taurus has replaced the LTD as the most common Ford product in high-turnover wrecking yards, and will likely hold that honor for another decade or two. Still, you see members of the full-size Ford family in The Crusher’s waiting room every now and then; here’s a Country Squire in Northern California. (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2012

Because I have some friends who race a Quantum Syncro, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for junkyard parts sources. After several years (including two of them in a state that has more weird four-wheel-drive vehicles than any other), I’ve finally found one! (Read More…)

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