Junkyard Find: 1988 Pontiac LeMans

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Back when I saw this red ’88 LeMans at a California wrecking yard last year, I figured that would be the last Pontiac-badged Daewoo LeMans I’d ever see in a self-service wrecking yard. After all, these things sold poorly, were built like crap, and mostly lasted about five years before being stuffed into the nearest car shredder. But no, here’s another example that I saw in Denver a couple of weeks ago.

This won-pinching Korean managed over 150,000 miles before expiring, which is pretty impressive.

It’s no ’64 Catalina, that’s for sure.


There can’t be many of these hubcaps left in the universe.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

More by Murilee Martin

Join the conversation
2 of 162 comments
  • Jeff S Jeff S on Nov 23, 2014

    I think you need to take this car as other cars like this in the context of the time that they were inexpensive options to a used car that many could afford. These types of cars were designed as disposable. I do agree that it this car should not have been named Lemans, a name that had a history of Pontiac performance ("wide track"). There were cars that were much worse than this car such as the Yugo. As for taking care of a vehicle and keeping it running a long time that is just smart unless you have lots of money and can afford to buy a new car every couple of years. There are limits to how long you can keep a car made today with manufacturers shortening the time of how long they will provide many parts for a certain model. It becomes harder to keep a vehicle as it gets older as donor cars disappear and parts become much harder to get, but with the internet you can still find rare parts it becomes a matter of how much are you willing to pay. A collector car you might be willing to pay more for a part than a used up econo box that has at best scrap value.

  • Jfinftw1982 Jfinftw1982 on Nov 25, 2014

    My grandmother bought one of these new in 1991. She put 16,000 miles and sold it in 2009. I don't think that car had a chance to get crappy.

  • Jkross22 if at first you don't succeed, don't change the styling, increase the price and pretend you have no competition.-Fiat Marketing Dept.
  • Exner fan Can a CT go through an automatic car wash?
  • SCE to AUX Here's the affordable EV you've been asking for. At $34k, it will crush the $39k Model 3.Sure, the Model 3 has twice the range, interior volume, acceleration, looks, and mfr support, but the Fiat is cheaper, made with Italian flair. And we like their CEO better.
  • Eliyahu The odds of finding a Pruis SE plugin appear to be close to 0. Possibly vaporware found only on the Toyota configurator.
  • Paul Alexander Hahaha!