Junkyard Find: 1985 Toyota Master Ace Art Car

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1985 toyota master ace art car

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you need something to drive to Burning Man, you’ll find that the glue-a-bunch-of-stuff-all-over-a-random-vehicle art-car approach will let your ride fit in just as effortlessly on the playa as the soccer mom’s Voyager blends in at the mall parking lot. I’m not against art cars (I consider my 1965 Impala Hell Project to be an art car at heart), but I prefer the approach of the artists who built such fine machines as the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir or the street-driven Denver Pirate Ship to the type who feels contempt for the canvas disappearing beneath their hot-glue gun. Anyway, the upshot of the large number of Bay Area art-car types who glue 10,000 plastic army men or Lucky Lager caps all over their cars is that many of them wind up in self-service wrecking yards. Here’s a Toyota Master Ace aka Toyota Space Cruiser aka Toyota Van that I spotted last weekend at an East Bay self-serve yard.

The thing about these cars is that the owners often pick up many parking tickets and/or don’t do any maintenance on the mechanical components. That’s probably how the skull-covered ’69 Mustang and Groovalicious Purple Princess of Peace Taurus wagon ended up getting picked over for parts by befuddled junkyard shoppers.

The dash of this Master Ace is covered with wedding toppers, graduation-cake decorations, and plastic bowlers.

It’s too bad that spell-checkers don’t work on backwards writing.

A Master Ace should be good for many more miles than 209,691. Very slow miles, sure, but more of them.

It looks like a thrift-store toy bin exploded in here.

Here’s a cool find: an ANC pin from the apartheid era.

The Department of Mutant Vehicles probably wasn’t impressed by the Thrift Store Explosion Master Ace (how could you be impressed when you’ve got stuff like the Telephone Car driving around?), but I’ll be it went over big at the Forbidden Island.

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2 of 16 comments
  • Obbop Obbop on Sep 09, 2012

    Friend in Concord, CA had that model Toyota van. He labeled it the "Chariot" in reference to the Lost in Space TV show decades ago. "Danger Will Robinson.. DANGER!!!!"

  • Baconator Baconator on Sep 09, 2012

    The actual Department Of Mutant Vehicles at Burning Man wouldn't accept this thing. Nowadays, your art car can't look like a car at all. The state of that particular art is more along these lines: http://www.becausewecan.org/serpent_twins_BM. If you're enough of a car nut to be a fabrication nut, this should work for you. I was just underneath a Ferrari Testarossa that was up on a lift, and one of my first thoughts was "Wow. I've seen better weld seams on art cars at Burning Man."

  • Lou_BC ERay? A southern model will be the BillyRay.
  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!
  • Inside Looking Out I would avoid American cities if I can. European cities are created for humans and Americans for cars.
  • Inside Looking Out I used True car once in 2014 and got a great deal. The difference is that you do nothing but dealers call you. No haggling but you can get the same deal browsing inventories on dealers websites. It just matter of convenience, Rich people delegate job to someone else because time costs more.