Junkyard Find: 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix Turbo Coupe

The Pontiac Grand Prix started life as a sporty hardtop coupe version of the full-size 1962 Catalina, then spent the 1969 through 1987 model years as a midsize rear-wheel-drive sibling to the Chevy Monte Carlo. For 1988, the Grand Prix moved to the brand-new front-wheel-drive W platform, immediately winning Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award and carrying on John DeLorean’s tradition of affordable personal luxury cars with a rakish bad-boy-in-a-suit image. Here’s an ultra-rare example of the most expensive Grand Prix available for 1990, found in a Denver-area self-service yard last month.

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The Right Spec: 2022 BMW 2-Series Coupe

We’re wading into dangerous waters with this one, since the BMW jihad fan base generally has strong opinions about the particular spec of a vehicle, spewing chassis numbers through their adenoids like water from a fire hose.

Still, we know a thing or two about cars around here, leading us to give it a go. The 2-Series (officially hyphen-free but it looks weird that way) has recently been refurbished and while it does have a set of too-small taillamps, it at least avoids the Bugs Bunny grille slapped on its older cousins.

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Dial R for Racing: Honda Teases Next Hot Civic

With some copies of the existing Civic Type R trading for exorbitant sums, it should come as no surprise that the Big H has been working on a new iteration based on the latest-gen Civic introduced earlier this year. While there are still plenty of details up in the air – powertrain and price to name just two – these official images give us a great indication of what the thing will look like.

Spoiler alert: It won’t be as startling as the last one.

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2022 Nissan Rogue Adds Variable Compression Engine, Retains CVT

Fresh off a substantial redesign for 2021, the Nissan Rogue enters its sophomore year with a new engine option. On tap is a version of the brand’s variable compression technology, applied to a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-banger good for 201 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque. And, as is Nissan’s apparent M.O., the CVT ‘box remains.

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Subaru GL-10 Turbo 4WD Wagon

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.

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Volvo 780 Turbo Bertone Coupe

I’ve documented quite a few discarded Volvos in this series, from the PV544 through the S60, and I never fail to stop and photograph a genuine Italo-Swedish Volvo Bertone Coupe. Here’s the latest, a 1989 780 in a Denver car graveyard over the summer.

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Woosh, the Money's Gone: Garrett Files for Bankruptcy

U.S. auto-parts manufacturer Garrett Motion filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy over the weekend. The announcement comes as ex-parent Honeywell International decided it could do without turbochargers and spun the company off in 2018. Garrett claims it lost a bunch of money during coronavirus lockdowns, like so many others, and was dumped by Honeywell only to be saddled with financial liabilities related to asbestos-exposure claims.

But Garrett has also said it’s entering into a purchase agreement with the private equity firm KPS Capital Partners LP for roughly $2.1 billion, providing more than a shred of hope things will turn out okay. While other firms can take a whack at buying the turbo supplier, they must be willing to cover its corporate debt by exceeding the existing bid and will likewise be subject to court approval. Garrett thinks it can still come out on top and wrap the sale by the start of 2021 without interrupting production any more than the pandemic already has.

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It's Turbo Time: Mazda Boosts the CX-30

If you ever thought, “Gee, I like this Mazda CX-30, but it could stand to offer a skoosh more power”, well, Mazda has news for you.

Yes, that’s right – “dude, you’re getting a turbo!”

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Junkyard Find: 2002 Saab 9-3 SE

During my years of documenting discarded Saabs in junkyards around the country ( and in Saab’s homeland), I’ve managed to cover the pre-GM American-market models well enough, with a special focus on the 900. In recent years, I’ve been working to cover some of the Saabs from the period of General Motors influence (1989-2000) and control (2000-2010).

I may never find an example of the ultra-rare 9-4x, but it’s easy to find used-up Opel Vectra-based 9-3 these days — and I vowed to photograph the first one I saw on a recent Denver junkyard expedition. That car turned out to be this Silver Metallic 2002 9-3 SE hatchback.

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Junkyard Find: 1995 Volvo 850 Turbo Wagon

When I’m strolling through my favorite junkyards and looking for significant bits of discarded automotive history, I’m always on the lookout for interesting Volvos. Thing is, my definition of interesting has long spanned the PV544/Amazon Era through the Late Rear-Wheel-Drive Brick Era, meaning that the universe of front- and all-wheel-drive Volvos beginning with the 1993 850 has been neglected in this series.

Lately, I’ve been making an effort to fill in some of those blank spots in the junkyard record, and so I went out and found a ’97 850R sedan and today’s find: this 1995 850 Turbo Wagon.

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Junkyard Find: 1990 Volvo 740 Turbo With Nearly 500,000 Miles

One of the frustrating things about my job looking for interesting discarded vehicles is the fact that most cars and light trucks didn’t start getting six-digit odometers until the 1980s or even the 1990s. I find vehicles that I know must have racked up incredible total mileage figures, but their odometers all turned over (once? ten times?) when they got past 99,999 miles.

Fortunately, Volvo felt sufficiently optimistic to adopt the six-digit odometer way back in the 1960s, so I was able to read a very impressive figure on the one in this 740 wagon: 493,549 miles.

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TTAC Project Car: The Deeper You Go... (Part II)

Do enough tasks independently from each other and there’s enough content for a two-fer update on TTAC’s Ford Sierra.

So let’s get to it.

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TTAC Project Car: The Deeper You Go…

Most of this dialogue happened:

Brian: “My wife and kids are going on vacation somewhere I’d never go (Disney World) so that’s a good time to drive up to Dallas and work on the Sierra.”

Me: “Your family just had to pick the hottest week of the year to dump you on me, didn’t they?”

Brian: “Shut up, Sanjeev! Get over here and work on your stupid brown car!”

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BMW Vision M Next Concept Revealed, E-Mobility Schedule Advanced

As part of BMW’s big #NEXTGen event, the Vision M Next concept shows what the future of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” will look like. This comes in conjunction with an announcement that the targeted 25 electrified models are being pulled ahead by 2 years, to 2023.

BMW Group’s latest innovations in areas of design, autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification, and services are being showcased at the #NEXTGen event. According to Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design, “the BMW Vision M NEXT demonstrates how state-of-the-art technology can also make the experience of driving yourself purer and more emotionally engaging.”

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Junkyard Find: 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle Sport

The early-21st century fad for retro-styled cars, including the PT Cruiser, Chevrolet HHR, Mini Cooper, and Fiat 500, got its start with the late-1990s introduction of the Volkswagen New Beetle (we’re still waiting for a Nissan model made to look like the Datsun F-10). Like most people (and especially like most who had ever owned a real air-cooled Beetle), I grew weary of the sight of these allegedly cute cars after a few years, and as a result I’ve been ignoring the many examples I find during my junkyard travels.

These cars make up an important piece of our collective automotive history, though, and I resolved that I’d shoot the first one I found on a recent wrecking-yard trip. Here it is, straight from the Denver U-Pull-&-Pay!

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  • Bob65688581 "Give me liberty or give me death." Lots of societal choices can be phrased this way. I remember the same debate when seat belts were introduced. We went too far with seat belts - the horrible mice! We used interlocks to ensure compliance. ... ... and then we came back to a reasonable balance. So we have several options: - We can do nothing. Innocent people will continue to die. We will be passive accomplices of those deaths. Our freedom! - We can go overboard, creating more problems than we solve. We're good at this. - We can find solutions that are effective and livable. I vote for doing nothing because FREEDOM...
  • Bob65688581 "Three-row off-road" is an absurdity.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird The hideaway headlamps on these and other Ford vehicles of the era could have issues mostly vacuum related. Usually the vacuum hoses that ran to the actuators would deteriorate. The “coffee can” reservoir which was mounted in the front header was rarely an issue because it was protected from the elements. The other coffee can reservoir used for the HVAC controls and actuators and mounted under the passenger side wheel well had a tendency to rot away. I once replaced one on my 70 Mustang when I noticed that the vents were acting janky. Later model Fords like Fox bodies used a durable plastic globe shaped one. The radio on these 69-70 full-size Fords mounted on the left side of the aircraft style instrument cluster within the drivers touch probably disappointed many young people. “Mom will you change the station?” “Andy Williams is so square”.
  • MichaelBug For me, two issues in particular:1. It can be difficult for me to maintain my lane on a rainy night. Here in southeastern PA, PennDOT's lane markings aren't very reflective. They can be almost impossible to make out when wet.2. Backing out of a parking space in a lot with heavy pedestrian traffic. Oftentimes people will walk right into my blind spot even if I am creeping back with my 4-way flashers blinking. (No backup camera in my '11 Toyota Camry.)Michael B 🙂
  • Tagbert When you publish series like this, could you include links to the previous articles in the series so that we can follow through? Thank you. Edit: now I see a link embedded in the first paragraph that goes to the previous story. It wasn’t clear at first where that link went but now I understand.