By on August 26, 2019

2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIt took a while for the 2000-2005 Toyota MR2 Spyder to start showing up in the big self-service wrecking yards I visit, but depreciation finally caught up with the final generation of Mister Two. I spotted a 2002 MR2 Spyder with sequential-manual transmission in California a few months back, and now I’ve found this five-speed manual-equipped ’01 in Colorado. (Read More…)

By on October 22, 2018

2003 Nissan 350Z in Colorado wrecking yard, LH rear view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

These days, I find many discarded Nissan Z-Cars from the 280Z through 300ZX eras, with the occasional 240Z or 260Z thrown in to add variety. 350Zs, though, have retained sufficient value to evade the high-inventory-turnover self-service yards where I get most of my Junkyard Finds… until now. Just as BMW Z3s and Mazda RX-8s began showing up in these yards a couple of years back, the 350Z’s time in the U-Wrench-It yards has come.

Here’s the first (but not the last) of the 350Zs to appear in my local U-Pull-&-Pay yard in Denver. (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2018

1995 Dodge Stealth in California wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsChrysler started selling Dodge-badged Mitsubishis all the way back in 1970, then built plenty of Mitsubishi products in North America under the Diamond-Star Motors flag later on. The Mitsubishi GTO (sold as the Mitsubishi 3000GT and Dodge Stealth on this side of the Pacific) was built in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, and was one of the more interesting sports cars of the 1990s.

Here’s a 1995 Stealth R/T, photographed in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2018

1989 Toyota Corolla GT-S in California wrecking yard, RH view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Corolla was the first Toyota car to be a smash sales hit in the United States (I’d like to say it was the Corona, for obvious reasons, but that car’s sales figures were merely respectable for a then-obscure brand), but we didn’t think of the sensible little econoboxes as fast until the legendary AE86 Corolla GT-S in 1983. Then came the front-wheel-drive FX16 GT-S, a worthy competitor to European hot hatches.

The AE92 GT-S never gained the cult following of the earlier GT-S cars, and so you won’t see many on the street today. Here’s an ’89, spotted in an Oakland, California, self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2018

1986 Toyota Celica in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
After producing rear-wheel-drive Celicas for 15 years, Toyota went to a front-wheel-drive Celica platform for the 1986 model year, while the rear-wheel-drive Supra got bigger, more powerful, and more Camaro-like. These Celicas were quick enough to be fun and made long commutes affordable, but they never attracted much of a devoted following. This means that when one wears out, chances are that it ends up getting scrapped.

Here’s a first-year fourth-generation Celica that I spotted in a Denver-area self-service yard last month. (Read More…)

By on June 16, 2017

2017 Toyota 86 sunset - Image: ToyotaFive years have passed since the Scion FR-S — known elsewhere as the Toyota GT86 and known now in America as the Toyota 86 (and at Subaru as the BRZ) — arrived in America. Buyers, never particularly numerous to begin with, are few and far between. Toyota now sells 62 percent fewer Toyota 86s in America than the Scion FR-S managed during its first year.

You expect to see sports cars peak early and then gradually fade. The degree to which the Toyota 86 née Scion FR-S has faded, however, has been more than a little striking. FR-S/86 sales have fallen so far, so fast, that U.S. car buyers are now ten times more likely to acquire a new Chevrolet Camaro, three times more likely to acquire a new Volkswagen Golf GTI, and twice as likely to acquire a new Mazda MX-5.

But is the Toyota 86 deserving of such rejection? Not according to a just-completed CAR Magazine comparison test in which the five-year-old Toyota claimed victory — ahead of the Mazda MX-5 RF and BMW 2 Series. (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2017

1986 Toyota MR2 in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
The Toyota MR2 has always been a somewhat rare Junkyard Find, partly because not many were sold in the first place, and partly because the surviving examples tend to be cherished by MR2 enthusiasts. Here’s a solid ’86 that showed up in a Denver self-service wrecking yard a couple of weeks back. (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2017

1981 Datsun 280ZX in California wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Datsun 280ZX was sold in the United States for the 1979 through 1983 model years, and many a line of cocaine was sniffed inside these cars during their heyday as affordable sports cars. The 280ZX still shows up regularly in California wrecking yards, but most of them go unphotographed as I continue seeking out the really rare stuff. However, since I’ve never included a 280ZX in this series, and this one in the San Francisco Bay Area was an especially ugly rare 2+2 version, I decided to photograph it. (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2016

1988 Nissan Pulsar NX in Wisconsin wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The second-generation Nissan Pulsar NX (known as the Nissan EXA outside of North America) was a cheap, mildly sporty two-seater that never sold as well as the Honda CRX or even the Ford EXP. In this series, we’ve seen this Colorado ’87 and this California ’89, and now we have a rusty ’88 in the weeds at the edge of a Wisconsin yard. (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2016

1980 Plymouth Arrow in California Junkyard, RH rear view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Chrysler imported and rebadged quite an assortment of Mitsubishis during the gloomy years of the Malaise Era, and we have seen a good sampling of those cars in this series so far. There was the Mitsubishi Colt Galant aka Dodge Colt, the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda aka Plymouth Sapporo/Dodge Challenger, and the Mitsubishi Mirage aka Plymouth Champ, among others.

The Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste aka Plymouth Arrow was never a big seller, but this one managed to outlive nearly all of its brethren, only washing up at this Northern California self-service yard after 36 years. (Read More…)

By on December 28, 2015

03 - 2004 Mazda RX-8 in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Just about every kind of vehicle shows up at the low-priced, high-inventory-turnover self-service wrecking yards, sooner or later. It took until the late 2000s before I started seeing Mazda Miatas in such yards, and now it appears that the advance scouts for a steady flow of RX-8s are here. I saw this silver ’04 at the same Denver-area yard that gave us the biohazardous 2009 Kia Rondo. (Read More…)

By on June 3, 2015

IMG_0204

Constant readers may recall I recently traded a 2008 Honda S2000 for a new Volkswagen GTI 6-speed. Both can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in the mid to high 5s, but with the turbo lag on the VW and the pre-VTEC lack of punch on the Honda, the power delivery on both cars is nonlinear, which grows tiresome at times.

I need a break from millennial motors and motorcycle-inspired engines. I want torque and I want it now, damn it.

Enter the 2016 Nissan 370Z.

(Read More…)

By on April 24, 2015

12 - 1983 Mazda RX-7 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

First-generation RX-7s aren’t as common in self-service wrecking yards as they were five years ago, but it’s not hard to find a couple in a typical large yard in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Most of the time I don’t photograph these cars, but we’ve seen this ’79, this ’79, this ’80, and this ’85 so far in this series, and now we’ve got today’s beat-looking but low-mile ’83 from Northern California. (Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • Serpens: No, but you could see the C-class continue upmarket in lockstep.
  • 28-Cars-Later: But the grille emblem lights up, and ya gotta have that right?
  • 28-Cars-Later: I don’t want this to be true, but I fear it is…
  • dal20402: I test each car (except the C-Max Energi, which I only had to fill up about every 3 months) by calculating...
  • Dan: Fuel economy in the truck forums. “I want to install a 4″ level and new wheels with 35″ mud...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States