Junkyard Find: 1991 Dodge Shadow ES Turbo Convertible

The Dodge Shadow was one of many, many versions of the Chrysler-saving K Platform, and it sold in fairly large quantities before being replaced by the Neon. As recently as five years ago, Shadows and their Plymouth Sundance siblings were among the most numerous Chryslers in American wrecking yards, but massive numbers of Sebrings have replaced them nowadays. I ignore most of these cars when I see them, but I can’t resist photographing examples with excessively 1990s tape stripes and decals or super-stripper no-option packages.

Today we’ll be looking at a car that puts turbocharging, overwrought 1990s tape graphics, a convertible top, and fire damage all in one K-car package.

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Justice of the 'Please': I'm at LeMons This Weekend With Murilee, So Should You!

In honor of Miller Motorsports Park’s glorious sale back to the people, fellow auto scribe and LeMons chief judge Murilee Martin, Cheat Sheet Managing Editor Andrew Ganz and I made the people’s journey Thursday across the [s]wasteland[/s] wonderful state of Wyoming to judge the proletariat’s race. (I’ll have a story on that later.)

The annual Return of the LeMonites will have a decidedly “red” feel this year, thanks to Murilee’s savvy Alibaba skills and dirt-cheap shipping costs from China.

This isn’t my first rodeo as LeMons judge — but it is my first tour for the best race series on the planet back in the Beehive State. I went to school at the University of Utah (AP No. 10, Coaches No. 12, ESPN No. 9) and Utah is my second home for many reasons. Basically, I’m saying I’m comfortable enough here to make terrible drivers go get me Beto’s if they drive like assholes.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Dodge Lancer ES Turbo

Chrysler hadn’t been making the K Platform for long before they branched it out into the bewildering K Family Tree that confuses everybody to this day. Iacocca’s Chrysler-saving (or demise-postponing, depending on your point of view) platform gave us both the worst car in human history and a Dodged-down version of the swanky LeBaron GTS. Here’s an example of the latter that I saw in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard.

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Chevrolet Nova Sedan, Wisconsin Rust Edition
Every summer, I go to Wisconsin to stay in a cabin on Lake Michigan owned by my wife’s family. Mostly I’m rendered too immobile by excessive cheese curd and cured-meat consumption to do much junkyard exploring, but this trip I managed to hit Green Bay to check out a self-service yard full of very rusty and/or late-model Detroit inventory. Among all the 9-year-old Malibus and endless stretches of Buicks in the GM section, I spotted this NUMMI-built Nova.
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Junkyard Find: 1982 Ford Fairmont Futura Two-Door Sedan

I see so many Fox Mustangs in wrecking yards that I don’t pay attention to them unless they’re especially egregious Malaise Era abominations, but what about the other Foxes? Well, I’ll shoot a Fox Capri or Fox Thunderbird if I see one, and of course the Fairmont and its Mercury Zephyr sibling are sort of interesting. We’ve seen this snazzy-looking beige-over-gold ’82 Zephyr coupe and equallly snazzy-looking ’80 Fairmont Futura coupe in this series, and I spotted this red ’82 Fairmont Futura two-door at a Northern California yard a few months ago.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Chevrolet LUV Mikado

Once Toyota Stouts and Datsun 520s began selling in sufficient numbers (in spite of the Chicken Tax) to attract Detroit’s attention, the idea of selling small pickups— without actually tooling up to build them— seemed appealing to the Big Three. Chrysler had the Mitsubishi-built Plymouth Arrow pickup, Ford had the Mazda-built Courier, and GM had the Isuzu Faster-based Chevy LUV. Each type rusted with great eagerness and were near-disposable cheap, so they’re all very rare today. I see maybe one LUV per three years of junkyard visits, so this ’79 LUV Mikado grabbed my attention right away.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car

Malaise Era Lincolns are common sightings in high-turnover pull-yer-part wrecking yards these days, since there’s not much interest in preserving these cars. We saw an extremely clean 1976 Town Car in California a few months back (it’s still on the yard, and very few parts have been pulled since I photographed it), and now I’ve found this rougher (but not at all rusty) ’79 at another San Francisco Bay Area self-serve yard.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 International Harvester Scout II

Here in Denver, the Jeep DJ-5 often shows up in Junkyard Finds. Another truck that forms a regular part of The Crusher’s diet in Colorado is the International Harvester Scout. Yes, there was once a time when a farm-equipment manufacturer made highway-legal light trucks, and the Scout was (and is) a Colorado favorite. Here’s a battered ’74 I spotted a few weeks back.

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Ten Years In the Life of My Greatest Car: The 1965 Chevy Impala Hell Project!

Since it took me so many months to scan the hundreds of 35mm, 126, 110, and Super 8 negatives and slides that went into the telling of the 1965 Impala Hell Project Story (tip for time-travelers: if you’re going to document a project like this, wait until digital photography becomes cheap and easy), I figure it makes sense to put together a single roundup page with links to all 20 parts in the series. For those of you unfamiliar with this series, it tells the story of a 1965 Chevrolet Impala sedan that I bought in 1990 and spent a decade daily-driving and modifying into, among other things, an art car and a 13-second drag racer. Here’s your portal to each chapter.

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Ford Gran Torino

A full-on Malaise Era midsize Ford sedan has just about zero collector value, so the only way one can stay out of The Crusher’s jaws is to keep on running. Here’s one in Denver that finally gave up after 37 years.

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12 Golden Country Greats: The Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand(TM)'s Greatest Hits of 2012

I wrote a lot of vaguely-car-related stuff in 2012, and here’s my chance to show off the stuff that made me proudest (or at least took the most work to create). Enjoy.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Cressida

I always notice the Cressida when I see an example in a wrecking yard, and the last two years have seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of Toyota’s pre-Lexus rear-drive luxury sedan going to The Crusher. I suppose that means that the balance between real-world value and cost to fix mechanical problems has finally tilted against the Cressida. We’ve seen this ’80, this ’84, this ’87, this ’89, and this ’92 in the Junkyard Find Series so far, and now we’re going to go all Malaise Era with today’s ’82.

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle

I see many air-cooled Beetles in self-service wrecking yards these days. In fact, I have always seen many VW Type 1 s in self-service wrecking yards, going back to my first junkyard adventures in early-80s Oakland. Like any car freak who came of age in that era, I’ve owned some old Beetles, and I can say from experience that there was nothing super about the Super Beetle. In fact, it’s possible that this ’73 is the Super Beetle that I sold in 1983.

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Subaru Legacy L Sedan

Junked AMC Eagles are plentiful in Denver-area self-service wrecking yards, but nowhere near as common as the cars that took AMC’s four-wheel-drive-car concept and ran with it: Subarus. I see incredible quantities of Subarus around here, but one thing I don’t see often is a non-wagon Subaru Legacy. Even rarer in these parts is the front-wheel-drive Legacy sedan. That makes this ’91 a noteworthy Junkyard Find, at least by Denver standards.

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Subaru XT6

As I’ve mentioned before, Colorado junkyards are full of Subarus of the late 1970s through the early 1990s. Mostly I’m sort of indifferent to Subarus of this era, with two important exceptions: the BRAT and the XT. Both are fairly rare (the last time I saw a junked XT was last year, when I found this Juggalo-abused ’91), so I came to a screeching halt when I found this XT6.

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  • Luke42 I see a lot of EVs on the road in my small city in Central Illinois.What most observers who don't live here don't realize is that "blue states" and "red states" still have a highly polarized urban/rural divide. I live in a small city, and we have a globally connected tech economy here.If I drive ten miles out of town, though, the necks are just as red as they are in Texas. Those folks do things the country way.American-city-culture loves EVs. The cars are an improvement in every way over, say, a Honda Civic used for commuting.Many American-country-culture icons assert that EVs must be the worst thing ever because city-people like them. It's self defeating for the country-people to think that way, of course, because the cars are good and electricity is cheaper (and, therefore, more plentiful) than gasoline. But there is a kernel of truth to their skepticism in that some use-cases aren't easily filled by EVs just yet -- but they would rather complain about the fact that EVs exist than to objectively pick the right tool for the right job.Long distance commuters (usually rural people who work in the city) have the most to gain from commuting via EV.EVs are pretty popular in small cities in flyover country, assuming the city is prosperous enough for its residents to afford new cars at all.
  • FreedMike The FJ Kult is even cultier than the Tacoma Kult…and that’s saying something.
  • FreedMike I want the RS6 BAD but I’m a touch short on dough. Anyone know what a kidney goes for on the black market these days?
  • Bullnuke Another item on the list of "benefits" for privately owned vehicles being wirelessly connected to the motherships...
  • SCE to AUX "I spent a good chunk of my 20s wanting one"I spent a good chunk of my 40s wanting one, especially in the blue color they used at launch. But the interior is too butch for me, and boy do they drink gas.