By on November 14, 2013

01 - Mystery Icelandic Car Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLast week, Subaru shipped me directly from the Chubba Cheddar Enduro 24 Hours of LeMons at Road America to Iceland, so that I could follow hallowed LeMons tradition and destroy a press car in dramatic fashion. I failed to kill any XV Crosstrek Hybrids, but I did get the opportunity to break away from the Subaru minders and get to do what I really love about traveling: visit exotic foreign wrecking yards! Iceland has a bizarre and unpredictable mix of vehicles on its roads, with the types of car and truck imports varying from month to month based on some inscrutable combination of momentary cheapness and currency-rate numbers, and you’ll see a wide selection of Asian, European, and Detroit machinery in the chilly junkyards of Reykjavik. Ladas next to Ssangyongs next to Dodges! Jason Kavanaugh of Edmunds (more importantly, of the legendary LeMons team, Eyesore Racing) spotted this much-sliced car and suggested that it would make a good Mystery Car for a future Junkyard Find, and he’s right!
04 - Mystery Icelandic Car Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo, what is it? It could be from anywhere in the car-making world and most of the body is hacked away, but there are some identifying features if you look closely. You can’t go by the adjacent cars, because this yard lines up its cars in the order in which they were received. I’ll put the answers in the comments tonight.

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32 Comments on “Reykjavik Junkyard Mystery Car: Quick, What Is It?...”

  • avatar

    Quick, a Renault Mgane! the hatchback with the wildest shape!

    • 0 avatar

      Second gen Megane five door.
      These had the most MOT failures for cars getting their first roadworthiness test (three years after new) in 2007. Go Renault!

      • 0 avatar

        That’s hard to believe in a country that produced such fine automobiles such as the “rust in the dealer” allegro

        • 0 avatar

          I know! How do they do it?
          In Renault’s defence (not something I’ve ever said before) this was the start of Ranault’s assault on EuroNCAP crash test results and they used a variety of methods to get five stars (the max) on lots of their models. Some of the methods were about good design and some involved relatively new tech that turned out to be not very durable. Lots of the MOT failures were for these new additions.

          • 0 avatar

            New cars are becoming increasingly disposable :7

          • 0 avatar

            ” New cars are becoming increasingly disposable :7″

            As new technology debuts, this is always a fear that seems to emerge, however reality has shown us that newer cars are less disposable than ever with the average age of vehicles on the road being over a decade old now. French cars might be the exception to this.

            New tech is always scary at first, but as it becomes mainstream, the aftermarket moves to embrace it.

    • 0 avatar

      Reminds me of a joke. Two police officers are talking at the end of the shift:

      “Man, the Sargent’s on me for running into a pedestrian, a tourist from Iceland.”


      “No, just dented the bumper.”

  • avatar

    Something from PSA, yes. Probably not a Mgane, though.

  • avatar

    Definitely a 2002-2008 Renault Megane

  • avatar

    Renault Megane Berline (5-door hatch) made between 2002-2005 in Authentiqe trim (basic).

    In its better days, it looked like this:

  • avatar

    I dunno but from the front it looks like the driver didn’t see the piano wire stretched across the road.

  • avatar

    I’m quite sure it’s a Renault. The tell-tale sign are the numbers scribbled on the front part of the plastic strip door protectors. In that space Renault puts the engine size and sometimes the version’s name (more common in the past when the version names were letters).

    Due to size, and I can’t really tell how tall the greenhouse is, I do believe its either a Mgane or a Scenic.

    Seems like the guys who go to that junkyard really like their Renaults. Next to the car pictured you can see two Clios. It’s also possible to see a blue Mercedes Class A.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    Hey Murilee, why did all those Subarus in Iceland have Illinois license plates?

    • 0 avatar

      They’re Subaru’s US press fleet cars, registered in Illinois, to be shipped back to the US. Apparently the Iceland cops don’t care about stuff like registration and local driver licenses. The weird thing is that they’re not sporting New Jersey plates, since Subaru USA has its HQ there.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Two things tell me Megane:

    Pic #1 – the front fender overlaps the A pillar in an unusual way.

    Pic #2 – the rear bumper cover has a tell-tale unpainted textured strip that is quite wide.

    Finally, the color:

  • avatar

    To quote Data,

    “It is…sniff…
    it is….sniff…
    it is green.”

    • 0 avatar

      Which was an “homage” to the original quote, from Scotty in the TOS episode “By Any Other Name”.

      Check here:

      As to the car, looked like a Ford Focus to me :-)

  • avatar

    It’s a four-cylinder four-door hatchback with a curved rear window. Don’t push me beyond that.

  • avatar

    Well, that was too easy– had some idea the Megane hatch would be hard to recognize when upside down and backwards.

  • avatar

    My mind trailed to focus for some reason, then to a late model neon. But yeah, the hatch window was quite obvious once I read some comments and looked at the pictures again. The color shouted ‘Malaysia’ for some reason….

  • avatar

    I was going with Renault based on color, then interior. But I would never have remembered which one. Reading the comments above, heck yes, Megane. Saw enough of them over the years– moving pretty damned fast, too.

  • avatar

    Apparently, somebody REALLY wanted the sunroof this car had!

  • avatar

    All of those cars look so new. What are they doing at the junkyard already?

    • 0 avatar

      Lots of reasons…
      Renault are good at built in obsolecence, lots of them get a few thousand miles beyond the warranty and then fail massively.
      Lots of people, especially in the affluent parts of ‘Old’ Europe just don’t fix things anymore.
      Renault have been ‘safer’ than Volvo in some European tests but they achieve that with airbags that mean after a moderate accident, the car needs loads of new airbags and interior parts.

      My Dad still rolls in an ’04 Renault Clio which everyone he knows considers to be prehistoric because thy’re on a two year upgrade cycle.
      The Clio is worked hard and well looked after which, as we all know, is what keeps cars in good health.

      • 0 avatar

        In the UK, new MOT test standards are making it even less cost effective to keep an older car on the road. Simple items like damaged rubber gaiters and airbag warning lights are instant fails. Considering the repair cost at your average garage for such items will sometimes be almost as much as the car is worth, 10+ year old cars are getting junked quite regularly for faults which are only incidental, but are too expensive to fix.
        As for Renaults, I remember an article saying that a few years ago the car most likely to fail it’s first MOT test (i.e. when the car is 3 years old) was the Megane, with 40% of cars failing.

  • avatar

    Renault Megane, very common in Europe and specially in Spain and France, where it’s made.

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