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.
Station wagons were falling out of favor in a hurry with American car shoppers as the 1990s progressed, especially after the 1991 Ford Explorer and 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee hit showrooms and put the hammer down on the truckification of our roads. Mitsubishi didn't seem to worry about such trends, though, and a longroof version of the Diamante luxury sedan appeared here for the 1993 model year. Here's one of those extremely rare wagons, found in a Northern California car graveyard a couple of months back.
Until the 1984 model year, every new Corolla sold in the United States used a rear-wheel-drive configuration. Today's Junkyard Find is an AE72 Corolla station wagon, from the final model year of its generation sold here, found in a car graveyard in John Steinbeck's hometown.
Toyota sold new Camry station wagons in North America from the 1987 through 1996 model years. I've found a couple of examples of the first-year longroof Camry during my junkyard travels, but the final-year cars remained elusive… until I spotted this one in a Silicon Valley car graveyard in April.
Ford built cars on the Fox platform from 1977 through 1993 (or 2004, if you consider the Fox-derived SN95 Mustang to be a true Fox), and I've done my best to document junkyard examples of every Fox Ford model ever built. One Fox that avoided boneyard discovery for many years was the wagon version of the 1983-1986 LTD, but my searching paid off when I found this very rough '85 in a San Francisco Bay Area knacker's yard.
Volvo began selling its now-legendary brick-shaped sedans and wagons here in the 1968 model year, with the 140, and continued with the rear-driven sensible square Swedes all the way through the 1998 S90/ V90. Of all those cars, though, the most iconic is the 240. The first of the 240s showed up in North America for the 1975 model year, and here's one of them: a 245 DL wagon in a Denver self-service boneyard last summer.
Ever since I began my effort to document some of the interesting machinery that shows up in car graveyards, the quantity of discarded Volvo 240s has remained steady. Back in the late 2000s, I’d had an idea that just about every 240 owner would make the transition from safe and sensible Swedish bricks to green and sensible Japanese hybrids, and that the transition would be wrapped up by the dawn of the 2020s. Such has not been the case, although the 1970s 240s are getting harder to find. Here’s a high-mile 245 in a mile-high junkyard.
Chevrolet built Cavaliers for close to a quarter-century, selling something like five million units. If you count the all the other J-body siblings sold around the world (including some really weird stuff), the extended Cavalier family is one of the largest in automotive history. Somehow, though, the once-ubiquitous 1982-1987 first-generation Cavaliers have all but disappeared from North American car graveyards; I’ve documented plenty of later Cavaliers during my junkyard travels, sure, but the early ones seem to have been crushed decades ago. Finally, here’s a reasonably straight ’85 wagon in a northeastern Colorado yard.
While it’s not scheduled to make any public appearances until the United Kingdom’s Goodwood Festival of Speed kicks off in July, Genesis is dropping photos of the G70 Shooting Brake like it’s just days away from hitting the market.
Not our market, of course. The manufacturer shrewdly decided to leave the wagon in Europe, angering thousands of North American drivers who beg for vehicles like this with no intention of ever buying one. But it sure looks nice, with Genesis managing to stretch the bold design of the G70 sedan while adding a substantial amount of cargo capacity.
By the second half of the 1980s, Subaru had moved beyond being known only for tiny, hilarious econoboxes. While American Subaru shoppers could still get front-wheel-drive cheapmobiles at that time, the same showrooms also offered futuristic-looking s ports cars and four-wheel-drive family wagons loaded with luxury features. Today’s Junkyard Find is the swankiest Subaru wagon money could buy in 1987 North America: a GL-10 4WD Turbo, found in a Denver car graveyard last summer.
Genesis teased the rather handsome G70 Shooting Brake (wagon) this morning, highlighting the brand’s ability to design sophisticated automobiles that don’t need to compete directly with the cost of your home. Unfortunately, just about every automaker on the planet has decided that wagons have no business in America. This includes Genesis. The manufacturer made it clear that the liftback G70 was designed specifically for Europeans.
While the body style used to be the king of the road, it was supplanted by the minivan in the late 1980s. By 1996, the last American full-size wagons (Buick Roadmaster and Chevrolet Caprice Classic) were discontinued. The region had lost its taste for them and the industry has been operating under the assumption that the feeling has gone unchanged for thirty years. Aren’t we due for a resurgence?
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