Abandoned History: Cadillac's Northstar V8, Head Bolts and Gaskets Aplenty (Part I)

Back in 2022 Abandoned History covered the development and usage of Cadillac’s all-star engine for the Eighties, the High Technology V8. As the 4.1-liter pile showed promptly that it was terrible, General Motors massaged, improved, and enlarged it into the HT4500 and finally the (not HT) 4.9-liter. But by the time the 4.9 arrived, the engine was already at the end of its service life. The General had an all-new, much better V8 that would trounce the 4.9 and bring Cadillac back into the luxury fray: Northstar.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Dodge Tradesman 200 Mystery Machine

The Chrysler Corporation sold vans based on the B-Series platform from the 1971 through 2003 model years, giving them Dodge, Plymouth and Fargo badging along the way. Today's Junkyard Find is a first-generation B-van, found in a Colorado boneyard.

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In Memoriam: Marcello Gandini, an Automotive Design Master

The world lost one of its preeminent car designers today, as Marcello Gandini has passed away at the age of 85. Though perhaps best known for the flashy and outrageous Lamborghini Countach, Gandini’s pen was applied to many other Italian, German, French, British, Japanese, and Swedish concepts and production designs. Gandini’s prolific portfolio of work made a permanent mark on automotive design.

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Junkyard Find: 1971 MG MGB-GT

The last model year for MG in the United States was 1980, but that doesn't mean that Morris Garage vehicles have become impossible to find in our car graveyards right now. Far from it! Examples of the Midget and the MGB continue to show up at Ewe Pullets throughout the land, but the Pininfarina-styled MGB-GT hatchback has been a lot harder to find than its convertible sibling. Here's one of those cars, found at a family-owned yard just south of Denver.

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Junkyard Find: 1970 Volvo 145

Because Volvo sold the 200 Series cars here from the 1975 through 1993 model years and so many owners loved those sensible bricks so deeply, plenty are only now showing up in the self-service car graveyards I frequent. What about the 200's predecessor, the 140?

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce

Alfa Romeo Spiders weren't especially difficult to find in American car graveyards as recently as 15 years ago; I saw perhaps one for every three MGBs or Fiat 124 Sport Spiders during my junkyard travels back then. Today, the MGBs and 124s keep showing up in Ewe Pullets just as they always have, while I might find one discarded Alfa Spider every few years. Here's the latest one: a '79 in a yard (on the aptly named Dismantle Court) just to the east of Sacramento, California.

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Abandoned History: Oldsmobile's Guidestar Navigation System and Other Cartography (Part II)

In last week’s installment of Abandoned History, we learned about General Motors’ 1966 magnet-based primitive navigation system, DAIR. The inclusive system featured emergency messages, traffic bulletins played inside the car, and route guidance. DAIR never progressed beyond the concept stage and two total test vehicles, largely because it would have meant buried magnets and accompanying signal relay stations at every major intersection in the country. Some 25 years later The General tried it again, but technology progressed considerably by that point.

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Volkswagen Rabbit 4-Door

From the time of the first KdF-Wagens until distressingly deep into the 1970s, Volkswagens had air-cooled engines in back and rode on goofy 1930s chassis designs. Finally, the Audi 80-based Dasher showed up here as a 1974 model, but it wasn't until the following model year that the first true water-cooled VW went on sale in North America.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Chevrolet Vega Kammback

General Motors built more than two million Chevy Vegas, and they were everywhere on the roads of North America through about the second half of the 1980s. The Vega has been a junkyard rarity for decades now, but I just found six early Vegas all within a couple of rows of one another in a Denver self-service yard. Today, we'll look at the only wagon of that group.

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Junkyard Find: 1972 Ford Econoline "BIG CHEESE"

What kind of discarded vehicles look like they'd have the most interesting stories to tell? Customized Detroit vans from the 1960s and 1970s, of course! Today's Junkyard Find is just such a van, a Colorado second-generation Econoline called BIG CHEESE.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Chrysler LeBaron Coupe

The LeBaron name goes well back in Chrysler history, starting when the coachbuilder known as LeBaron Carrossiers was purchased by Detroit car-body-builder Briggs Manufacturing in 1926 and Chrysler bought Briggs in 1953. After various high-end Imperials got LeBaron branding over the decades, Chrysler decided to turn the Dodge Diplomat into a swanky luxury machine and revive the storied LeBaron name in the process. Here's one of those cars, found in a Denver boneyard recently.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ

From the time John DeLorean and his Pontiac co-conspirators created the 1962 Grand Prix until the very last W-Body Grand Prix appeared a couple of years before Pontiac's demise, millions of North American car shoppers eagerly purchased the affordable sportiness of the Grand Prix. Today's Junkyard Find is an example from the very pinnacle of Grand Prix sales, found in pretty decent condition in a Colorado self-service wrecking yard.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car

1979 was the final model year for genuinely enormous Lincoln sedans, with the mighty Continental moving to the Panther platform for 1980. Today's Junkyard Find, found in a Colorado car graveyard recently, is one of those era-ending Continentals.

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Rare Rides Icons: The Lincoln Mark Series Cars, Feeling Continental (Part XXX)

It’s our 30th installment in the Lincoln Mark series, and we’re at a low point. As mentioned last time a confluence of different factors forced downsizing across the American car landscape. Money-saving tactics from the accountants at Ford meant the new, “improved,” and much smaller Mark VI wore almost identical styling to its lesser Continental sibling (a first). Both cars even shared a platform, with Mark VI offered in required two- and unexpected four-door guises.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 240 D

The engine of the current Mitsubishi Mirage, much derided for its alleged slowness, must pull a bit more than 27 pounds of car for each of its 78 horsepower. That's underpowered, yes? Not compared to the Mercedes-Benz W123 equipped with a naturally-aspirated four-cylinder diesel engine! That's the car we're going to admire for this week's Junkyard Find.

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  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.