Junkyard Find: 2007 Mini Cooper S

The "New Mini" first appeared in North American showrooms as a 2002 model, as part of the turn-of-the-century wave of retro-styled machinery that included the Volkswagen New Beetle, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Chevrolet HHR. It took about a decade for the 21st-century Mini to begin showing up in car graveyards in large numbers, and they remain easy to find today. Here's an '07 Cooper S model in a Colorado yard.

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Junkyard Find: 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line

Honda beat everybody to the production gasoline-electric hybrid game in the United States, putting the Insight in showrooms in 1999. Toyota followed with the Prius a year later, but it took GM until 2006 to introduce its first true gasoline-electric hybrid here. That car was the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line, and I managed to find one in a Denver-area car graveyard recently.

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Junkyard Find: Gray-Market 1981 Mercedes-Benz 380 SEL

Of all the European-market new cars that flooded into the United States during the wild gray-market years of the early and middle 1980s, the Mercedes-Benz W126 S-Class appears to have been the most popular. Today's Junkyard Find is one of those cars, found in a self-service boneyard near Denver, Colorado.

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Junkyard Find: 1996 Saturn SC2

The Saturn Division spent the first half of the 1990s printing money for The General with its no-haggle pricing policy and plastic-bodied cars that only rusted in areas you couldn't see easily, and all those cars were based on a single platform: the S Series. Today's Junkyard Find is an example of the sporty coupe version of the first-generation Saturn S, found in a Denver-area boneyard recently.

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Junkyard Find: 2004 Mitsubishi Diamante LS

Mitsubishi began selling cars with its own branding in the United States in late 1982, introducing three car models and a pickup as 1983 models. We had an extensive range of Mitsubishi models to choose from for quite a while, including a credible luxury sedan known as the Diamante, but those days are long gone. Today's Junkyard Find is one of the very last Diamantes sold here, now residing in a Denver car graveyard.

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Junkyard Find: 2009 Suzuki Equator RWD Crew Cab

There are certain categories of discarded vehicles that I search for before all others during my junkyard travels. French cars and extreme-high-mile machinery are on my list, of course, plus Sawzall roadsters/ pickups, art cars and oddball special editions. But my favorite Junkyard Finds are obscure examples of what-could-they-have-been-thinking badge engineering, and today's truck has lived atop my wish list for nearly 15 years.

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Junkyard Find: 1964 Mercury Montclair Four-Door Hardtop Marauder

Here's a car trivia question for you: what engine name went on to become the designation for a body style and then a car model name in its own right? The answer is, of course, Marauder.

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Colorado Switching to Screen-Printed License Plates for Better Visibility

Having a visible license plate is a big deal in most places, but the paint and coatings on the plate can wear and become hard to see over time. Here in Maine, it’s a common sight, as the road salt and sand can quickly shave off the more visible parts of a license plate. Colorado receives similar winter weather, and lawmakers in the state want to change the type of plates allowed to be more durable and visible over time.

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Chevrolet Camaro RS Coupe

When GM introduced the third-generation Chevrolet Camaro for the 1982 model year, it was 367 pounds lighter than its 1981 predecessor. The third-gen Camaro had gained most of that weight back by its final model year of 1992, but it still showed plenty of early-1980s-style swagger. Today's Junkyard Find is one of the very last third-gen Camaros ever built, found in a Denver car graveyard recently.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Pontiac Sunbird SE Coupe

Even by the standards of the far-flung General Motors Empire, the J-Body was found everywhere, from the Vauxhall Cavaliers of Great Britain to the Isuzu Askas of Japan to the Daewoo Esperas of South Korea. In the United States of the 1980s, the Chevy Cavalier was the J-Body King, but its Pontiac-badged sibling, the Sunbird, was a not-so-distant second place in the J sales race. Today's Junkyard Find is a sporty Sunbird coupe, found in a yard just south of Denver, Colorado.

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Ford Escort LX 4-Door Hatchback

The Ford Escort began life in 1955, in Britain (just a year after World War II-era food rationing finally ended), as a cheapified version of the Ford Squire wagon. After the pinnacle of rear-wheel-drive Escort action on that side of the Atlantic, a front-wheel-drive version appeared over there; a not-so-closely-related North American cousin showed up as a 1981 model.

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Junkyard Find: 1948 Dodge Custom Sedan

For a few years after the end of World War II, Detroit's automakers sold mildly facelifted prewar designs while they made the switch back to peacetime production. Chrysler managed the feat for the 1949 model year; we admired a Plymouth Special Deluxe sedan from that year in a Colorado car graveyard last summer, and today we're going to take a look at an example of one of the last of the stopgap postwar Chrysler products: this '48 Dodge in a yard just south of Denver.

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Junkyard Find: 1993 Buick Roadmaster Limited Sedan

In 1931, Buick introduced the world to its first big sedan with an eight-cylinder engine (which wasn't a V8 but did have overhead valves) driving the rear wheels. It seemed that such cars would always be available in Buick showrooms, but it turned out that the very last ones were the 1992-1996 Roadmasters. Here's one of those cars, found near Pikes Peak last winter.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Mazda 323 Base Hatchback

Six thousand 1988 dollars were worth about $15,822 in today's money, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, just below the MSRP of the cheapest new car available here now. In 1988, American car shoppers could choose among a dozen new cars priced below that figure. Today's Junkyard Find is a rare example of Mazda's entry in the sub-six-grand field for '88, found in a self-service yard in northeastern Colorado.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Buick Reatta Coupe

Just over 20,000 Buick Reattas were made during the model's production run for the 1988 through 1991 model years, and I had documented seven of them in car graveyards prior to today's Junkyard Find. All of those cars were in reasonably good condition, but today's '88 is an example of a Reatta that was loved to death by its final owner.

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  • SCE to AUX This year is indeed key for them, but it's worth mentioning that Rivian is actually meeting its sales and production forecasts.
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  • Lou_BC I've been considering a 2nd set of tires and wheels. I got stuck in some gooie mud that turned my Duratrac's to slicks. I personally would stick to known brands and avoid Chinesium knock-offs.
  • Carson D How do you maximize profits when you lost $60K on every vehicle you produce? I guess not producing any more vehicles would be a start.