By on December 1, 2016

1982 Phillips Berlina brown front quarter

It seems that I’m not good at handicapping auctions. I’m sure it’s a skill that can be acquired through practice and repetition. But between the drudgery of a day job and wrangling a pair of kids, in-depth sales analysis will always get pushed to the back burner.

Still, exploring a single interesting car is never a problem. Maybe call it a Digestible Auctionable?

As I digitally strolled through the over six hundred lots offered this weekend at Mecum’s Kansas City sale, today’s 1982 Phillips Berlina stopped me cold, returning me to my teenage years and, of all things, my cheap toy-store mountain bike.

(Read More…)

By on June 29, 2016

1971 American Motors Gremlin in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Once American Motors was absorbed by Chrysler in 1987, after lingering on the ropes for a few years during a series of early-1980s bailouts by Renault (i.e., the French government), random strands of its Kenosha/Boulogne-Billancourt DNA appeared here and there in various Chrysler products over the following decades. You’ll still find plenty of examples of full-on AMC products in North American junkyards today, in the form of the XJ Cherokee and AMC Eagle (the case could be made that the Chrysler LH is an AMC design, via the Renault 21/25-based Eagle Premier), but full-strength AMC models from the company’s heyday of the George Romney era and into the early 1970s are very rare sights today.

Here’s a pre-Malaise Gremlin, in glorious brown, that I spotted in a Denver yard last week. (Read More…)

By on June 14, 2016

 

pantone. shutterstock user Bule Sky Studio

In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is — as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art. —Josef Albers, Interaction of Color

This is my favorite quote from the most intriguing textbook during my year at the College for Creative Studies. As an administrator of the Brown Car Appreciation Society, I’ve embraced this quote at every poorly chosen “brown” car that’s too close to yellow, red, gray, and green for most eyeballs.

So, when an Australian market research firm’s anti-smoking initiative found Pantone 448 C — a “drab dark brown” called Opaque Couché — the most off-putting color to cigarette smokers, it was no surprise the news eventually trickled down to my corner of the Interweb. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2016

1984 Chrysler Laser XE Turbo in California Junkyard, RH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The K-platform-based Dodge Daytona was built for the 1984 through 1993 model years and sold pretty well; we’ve seen a few of them in this series. The Daytona’s Chrysler-badged sibling, the Laser (not to be confused — though many do — with the Mitsubishi Eclipse-based Plymouth Laser), was sold only for the 1984-1986 model years and is a bit harder to find. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2016

08 - 1980 Toyota Corolla wagon in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The fourth-generation Corolla was a gigantic sales success in California, but you won’t see many of these TE72 wagons even in rust-free regions these days; nearly all of them were driven into the ground and replaced by RAV4s or Priuses a decade or two back.

Since we had wagon Junkyard Finds on Monday and Wednesday, let’s make this a Junkyard Wagon Week with this third one! (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2016

00 - 1982 AMC Eagle wagon in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

I live in Colorado, where the AMC Eagle sold as well in the 1980s as the Subaru Outback does now, and so I see the all-wheel-drive versions of the American Motors Concord and Spirit everywhere here. This means they show up in Denver-area self-service wrecking yards like clockwork, and I photograph them when they do (and I walk right by most air-cooled Beetles, which I know is wrong).

So far, I have documented the demise of this ’79 wagon, this ’80 coupe, this white-with-plaid-interior ’80 wagon, this GM Iron Duke-powered ’81 SX/4, this ’82 hatchback, this ’83 SX/4 Sport, this ’84 wagon, this ’84 wagon, this ’84 “woodie” wagon, and this ’85 wagon. Now we’ve got this gloriously brown-and-tan-and-beige-and-brown example of Malaise Era proto-crossover Kenosha goodness. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2016

1985 Ferrari 308 GTSi QV

As a proud member of the Brown Car Appreciation Society, I had to share this magnificent example of Italian history. Sure, Ferrari may call the color “Prugna Metallica” — or metallic purple for us Anglos — but it’s brown to my eyes (and that of the dealers’ camera).

This is perhaps the only way to fly under the radar in a Ferrari.

(Read More…)

By on August 4, 2015

Wraith_Music_Front_3Q_STU_EXT_01_v8_R4_CROPPED

The latest creation as part of Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke Collections might as well have come from the Fox-body-loving garage of our own Sanjeev Sajeev Mehta. Showered in a svelte shade of heavy-metal brown, this Wraith ‘Inspired by Music’ model is just as inspired by the Brown Car Appreciation Society as it is Rock & Roll.

(Read More…)

By on August 3, 2015

16 - Junkyard 1998 Audi A8 - Photo by Murilee Martin

I see so many stunningly depreciated German luxury cars in pretty nice condition at the cheap self-service wrecking yards that they don’t register in my consciousness much more than your typical Sebring or Sephia. These days, though, I’m making an effort to notice such cars, since it seems that many of you thought this big V12-powered BMW was interesting.

I was headed over to the Denver U-Pull-&-Pay last week, in search of some bits for my ’41 Plymouth project, and I resolved to find and photograph a high-end Audi. Sure enough, here’s this clean A8, not as new as I’d like, but still an excellent example of what happens to such cars soon after they get into the hands of their third or fourth owners. (Read More…)

By on July 22, 2015

21 - 1981 AMC Concord Down On the Junkyard - Picture by Murilee Martin

We see a lot of AMC Eagles in this series, as well as the occasional Spirit or Encore or even an Oleg Cassini Edition Matador, but today’s Junkyard Find is our first-ever AMC Concord. Here’s an amazingly brown ’81 sedan for some Malaise goodness. (Read More…)

By on January 8, 2015

06 - 1977 Ford Maverick Sedan Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinYou just don’t see Ford Mavericks and their Mercury Comet brethren on the street these days; they haven’t picked up a huge amount of collector interest and their place at the bottom of the just-above-scrap-value beater-car food chain has been replaced by the early Ford Taurus. For some reason, though, a steady trickle of Mavericks and Comets shows up in California wrecking yards. My guess, based on the 1980s and 1990s detritus I find in some of them, is that they spent a decade or three forgotten in a back yard or driveway before being sold to U-Wrench-It. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’75 Maverick two-door, this ’75 Comet sedan, this ’77 Comet sedan, and now today’s ’77 Maverick sedan. Let’s examine this Malaise Mainstay more closely. (Read More…)

By on December 30, 2014

13 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCommonplace as the Dodge Aspen was during the Middle and Late Malaise Era— you saw them on American roads in 1980 or so about as often as you’d see, say, Hyundai Accents today. The Aspen (and its Plymouth sibling, the Volaré) didn’t hold their value so well, and nearly all of them were crushed by the early 1990s. I photograph them whenever I see them, of course, but that isn’t often. In this series before today, we’ve seen this ’76 Aspen sedan, this ’76 Volaré sedan, this brown-on-beige ’77 Volaré coupe and this ’77 Volaré Premier wagon, and now we’ve got a mossy, lichen-covered Northern California Aspen wagon. (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2014

15 - 1984 Toyota Cressida Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince nearly all of my Junkyard Finds are in Colorado and California, both places where the Toyota Cressida sold well, we get quite a few of these Lexus-precursor luxury Toyotas in this series. We’ve seen this ’80, this ’82 this ’84, this ’86 wagon, this ’87, this ’89, this ’90, and this ’92 in this series so far (plus some bonus Michael Bay Edition Tokyo Taxis, courtesy of Crabspirits), and my recent trip to Los Angeles (during which I shot this optioned-up, rust-free ’82 Subaru BRAT) gives us this once-gorgeous two-tone ’84. (Read More…)

By on August 18, 2014

13 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAre you a member of the Brown Car Appreciation Society? A fan of the Malaise Era and maybe bad music of the late 1970s? If so, then today’s Junkyard Find is for you! I spotted this brown-on-brown-on-brown van conversion at my local self-serve wrecking yard a full year ago, and I’ve been waiting for just the right time to share it with you! (Read More…)

By on June 11, 2014

photo (26)

 

Spotted in the wild, somewhere north of Toronto: a brown Olds Alero with a vinyl roof. I’m not sure if this qualifies as a “Brougham” type car (does the roof alone qualify it?), but it’s a combination that I’ll likely never encounter again.

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