Junkyard Find: 1988 Cadillac Fleetwood D'Elegance
1988 was an interesting year for The General’s Cadillac Division. The Cavalier-based Cimarron was in its final year of sales, the Hamtramck/Turin-built Allanté was in its second year (and priced about the same as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class), and the “traditional” rear-wheel-drive Brougham sedan shared showroom space with the front-wheel-drive De Villes, Eldorados, and Sevilles. The old Sixty Special name was still being used, along with such slightly newer titles as Elegante and d’Elegance. While the Allanté lived at the top of the GM prestige pyramid for ’88, the Fleetwood was the car of choice for those very wealthy Cadillac shoppers who insisted on four doors and zero Pininfarina nonsense. Here’s one of those cars, found in excellent condition in a Denver yard last spring.
Junkyard Find: 1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic LS Brougham
For better than three decades, Chevrolet sold Americans full-sized sedans with angular lines and — in most cases— V8 engines. Beginning in 1959 (or even earlier, depending on how strict you are about the definition of “angular”), a big rear-drive Chevy box sedan was the most mainstream American motor vehicle… and that came to an end in 1990, after which the Caprice got a new cetacean body on the old 1977-vintage chassis.
These late Box Caprices have become very tough to find in junkyards, so I decided to document this picked-over example in Colorado before they’re all gone forever.
Junkyard Find: 1974 Lincoln Continental Mark IV
Big, Detroit-made Malaise Era personal luxury coupes still keep showing up in the big self-service wrecking yards, more than 35 years after the last one rolled off the assembly line. Yes, the diminished-expectations Mark VI, the “What Oil Crisis?” Mark V, and the rococo Mark IV— examples of each of these will appear in your local U-Wrench yard from time to time.
Here’s a worn-out Mark IV from the year of Nixon’s resignation and Haile Selassie’s banishment from his throne in a lowly Beetle, now awaiting The Crusher in a Denver yard.
Junkyard Find: 1977 Buick Electra Limited
Back in 2011 we admired a discarded example of the last of the true Buick Electra land yachts: a 1976 Electra Park Avenue Limited four-door hardtop found in a Northern California wrecking yard. What happened in 1977? General Motors, suffering from plummeting sales of thirsty big Buicks in the wake of events beyond its control, shrank the Electra, ditching the pillarless hardtop in the process.
Here’s one of those downsized Electras — a Limited, spotted in a Denver self-service yard.
Junkyard Find: 1983 Cadillac 'Bustleback' Seville
The first-generation Cadillac Seville was a sibling — or maybe first cousin — to the proletariat rear-wheel-drive Chevrolet Nova, selling well while also cheapening the Cadillac brand. The second-generation Seville, introduced for the 1980 model year, moved to the Eldorado’s front-wheel-drive platform and gained a bold “bustleback” rear body design.
Here’s an example of a Bustleback Seville I spotted last week in a Phoenix self-service wrecking yard.
Junkyard Find: 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham
1974 was a rough year to be an American, but the Cadillac Division wasn’t about to give up on selling opulent two-and-a-half-ton highway dreadnaughts to the plutocracy ( that came later).
Here’s a well-banged-up Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham, spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard last month.
Junkyard Find: 1976 Buick Electra Limited Coupe
The General shrank the Buick Electra for the 1977 model year and then ditched the model entirely in 1990, so the ’76 was the last of the proper single-digit-fuel-economy Electras. These comfy gerontocrusiers used to be everywhere on American roads, even in the dark days after gas prices went crazy, and you still see them in wrecking yards today, but for some reason I’ve photographed just one prior to today’s Junkyard Find.
Junkyard Find: 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
The Eldorado got downsized for the 1986 model year, as part of GM’s doomed 1980s efforts to beat Mercedes-Benz and BMW (which included such interesting-but-deeply-flawed money-losers-with-vaguely-European-sounding-names as the Cadillac Allanté, Buick Reatta, and Olds Troféo), and of course you could get this car with the tufted-button upholstery and padded roof that made it a Biarritz. Not many of these cars were sold in 1989, so today’s Junkyard Find is another one of those rare-but-not-so-valuable ones.
Junkyard Find: 1991 Chrysler Imperial
By 1991, Chrysler was using the K platform as the basis for everything from penny-pinching econoboxes to minivans to the once-majestic Imperial. One thing about the Whorehouse Red Interior Era (approximately 1983 through 1994), though, was that enough red velour and gold-plastic emblems could make even an Iacoccan front-wheel-drive first cousin to the Plymouth Reliant-K into a quasi-credible luxury sedan. Here’s a ’91 Chrysler Imperial that I found in California a couple of weeks ago.
Junkyard Find: 1976 Cadillac Sixty Special Fleetwood Brougham
Once the price of crude oil quadrupled in 1973, even your Cadillac-buying demographic felt some pain when contemplating the thirst of a Fleetwood. Still, the biggest Cadillac (not intended for chauffeur operation) projected the sort of majesty that rich (if elderly) car shoppers sought during the Middle Malaise Era. I spotted this battered example of the breed yesterday in Northern California.