Tag: Denver

By on October 15, 2018

1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Oldsmobile has been gone since 2004, which makes it hard to believe that the Olds Cutlass spent most of the period from the middle 1970s through the early 1980s as either the #1 or #2 best-selling car in the United States. For 1979, the Cutlass came in second place (behind the Chevy Caprice), and thus these downsized A/G-body fourth-generation Cutlasses once crowded North American streets.

Now, most are gone, but this primered ’79 Cutlass Supreme coupe nearly made it to age 40, ending its days in a Denver self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on October 1, 2018

2005 Scion xB in Colorado wrecking yard, mural - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsToyotas mostly don’t show up in the big self-service wrecking yards until about age 15, so discarded Scion xBs are just beginning to appear in U-Wrench-It inventories. Here’s a Scion Toaster covered with totally brutal airbrush murals, spotted in a Denver-area yard a few months back. (Read More…)

By on September 24, 2018

1982 Chrysler LeBaron in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

While Chrysler developed endless variations of the original K Platform, adding branches to the K-car Family Tree through 1995, only the Dodge Aries/400/600, Plymouth Reliant, and Chrysler LeBaron were true Ks. The K-cars saved Chrysler from near-certain bankruptcy, with the first Dodge and Plymouth versions rolling off showroom floors as 1981 models; the LeBaron came the following year, and the luxurious LeBaron convertible stood tall as the K-car King.

Here’s a well-preserved 1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible in a Denver-area self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on September 17, 2018

2000 Mercedes-Benz C230 in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

During my junkyard travels, I see plenty of highzoot European luxury sedans, as once the owner of one of these complex masterpieces of technology stops getting every problem fixed, they depreciate down to hooptie-Sentra price levels in a hurry.

Today’s Junkyard Find is a fairly clean 21st-century C-Class with some rough edges, discarded because it’s not worth spending $2,500 for some minor mechanical repair on a car that’s worth $1,800. (Read More…)

By on September 10, 2018

1986 Dodge Van in Colorado wrecking yard, LH rear view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

I see two types of distinctively Coloradan sticker-covered vehicles in Denver-area self-service wrecking yards. One type is the stony-ass wastoidmobile Subaru plastered with decals from cannabis dispensaries, vape-juice shops, and microbreweries. The other is the battered outdoorsy Detroit truck, plastered with decals from mountain-bike shops, ski resorts, rafting outfitters, and environmental causes. These types tend to overlap to some extent, so it often happens that I’ll find stickers advertising shatter-hash on an Outdoorsy Truck and stickers proclaiming allegiance to rock climbing on a Stoner Subaru, but there are cultural differences between them.

Here’s an ornately leopardified 1986 Dodge B250 Ram Wagon that appears to have hauled many a sinewy adventurer to a trailhead or ski slope. (Read More…)

By on August 20, 2018

1988 Subaru wagon in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Living in Colorado (as I do) and spending a lot of time in junkyards (as I do), I see discarded Subarus. Lots of discarded Subarus, in fact, so many that I only notice the more interesting ones — say, an XT Turbo or a really ancient wagon out of a novelty song.

Today’s Junkyard Find isn’t particularly noteworthy by those standards, but it seems to embody so many Denver Subaru stereotypes that I decided to photograph it. High mileage, high final owner, and high levels of oxidation, all here at a mile-high junkyard. (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2018

1968 Ford LTD in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Full-sized Detroit sedans from the 1960s, cool as they are, don’t get much interest from those willing and able to take on project cars. With so many millions of these big boxy four-doors made — they were the default mode of transportation for most Americans back then, remember — plenty still sit in barns and fields and driveways a half-century later, and they continue to show up in self-service wrecking yards.

Here’s my latest find: a fairly solid 1968 Ford LTD sedan, in a Denver yard. (Read More…)

By on July 16, 2018

1993 Volvo 240 Wagon in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsVolvo made the beloved 240 for 19 model years, 1975 through 1993, and the car didn’t change much during that period. By the early 1990s, Volvo had “replaced” the increasingly dated-looking 240 three times, with the 740, 940, and 850, but plenty of buyers were still choosing the ancient brick over the more modern iron. It had to end at some point, though, and 1993 was the last year for these cars.

Here’s a very clean, very high-mile ’93 wagon in a Denver-area self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2018

2004 Audi A4 Wagon in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
Here in Denver 15 or so years ago, the Subaru Legacy Outback wagon was king among car shoppers looking for a vehicle suited for their dog-owning, ski-slope-visiting, REI-shopping lifestyles (that is, most of the population). But what about those who wanted an all-wheel-drive wagon that was a bit less… stolid?

While you could get the Outback with a manual transmission or a six-cylinder engine (sorry, one or the other) back then, only the most rabid Subaru fanatics would describe the driving experience of the Outback as fun. That’s where the second-generation Audi A4 wagon came in, and they sold very well here. Here’s one that looked to be in pretty good condition when it got rear-ended, spotted in a yard just south of town. (Read More…)

By on June 18, 2018

1996 BMW 318ti in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe most affordable BMW in the United States, during the middle years of the E36 platform, was the 318ti. A four-cylinder hatchback, it sold for about two-thirds the price of a six-cylinder 328 sedan or coupe.

In 1996, buyers could get a version with a huge canvas-covered sunroof, known as the California Edition, and that’s what I have found in a Denver-area self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2018

1984 Buick Skyhawk in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe General got his money’s worth out of the J Platform, which began with the 1982 Chevrolet Cavalier and ended 23 years later with the Pontiac Sunfire. Buick’s only J-body was the 1982-1989 Skyhawk, which took the name of the much more successful rear-wheel-drive H-body Skyhawk of the 1970s.

Here’s a sporty five-speed ’84 Skyhawk in a Denver-area self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2018

1995 Jeep Cherokee RHD in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe XJ Jeep Cherokee has been in production for nearly 35 years (if you count the BAW Knight S12, which I do) and remains very popular as a daily driver in Colorado, so I see many discarded examples in Denver-area wrecking yards.

It takes a special XJ to inspire me to shoot photographs for this series — a pink camouflage paint job, for example, or a tape-stripey Sport Cherokee with manual transmission. A right-hand drive, Japanese-market Cherokee qualifies, so let’s take a look at this one in a Denver self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2018

1976 Chevrolet Chevette Scooter in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Chevrolet Chevette was a primitive, cramped, rear-wheel-drive econobox hammered together with obsolete technology… that sold like crazy because it was simple and cheap at a time when stagflation and gas prices were up and confidence in the future was down.

The Chevette Scooter was the most affordable Chevette; here’s one that managed to evade The Crusher‘s jaws until age 42, finally ending its days in a snow-covered Denver self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2018

1989 Chevrolet Camaro RS in Colorado wrecking yard, LH view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThird-generation Camaros are so plentiful in wrecking yards (and on the street) that I don’t pay much attention to them unless I see something special. Say, Iron Duke power with an automatic transmission, resulting in the slowest Camaro of all time… or a lovingly customized example, covered with unique airbrush work, as we see in today’s Colorado Junkyard Find. (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2018

1962 Chevrolet Biscayne in Denver wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsDuring the early-to-mid 1960s, the king of the full-sized Chevrolet world was the loaded Impala. The Bel Air wasn’t quite as luxurious, but still had a decent amount of swank. For the bargain-conscious car shopper who wanted a bare-bones full-size sedan without a lot of costly gingerbread, the Chevy Biscayne was an excellent choice.

Here’s a ’62 that outlived most of the Impalas and Bel Airs, now ending its 56-year journey in a Denver self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

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