By on March 18, 2019

1981 Toyota Corona in Denver wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBecause my very first car was a 50-buck ’69 Corona sedan in dazzling beige, I always photograph Coronas when I see them in wrecking yards. Sadly, Toyota stopped selling the Corona in North America in 1982, which means that I might see one every couple of years these days. Here’s a luxurious, fully loaded 1981 Toyota Corona wagon in a Denver self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2019

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Our man Steph Willems chronicled the state of the station wagon in America a couple of days ago, reporting that longroofs (longrooves?) amounted to less than 2 percent of the new vehicle market in 2018 despite a 29 percent sales increase compared to five years earlier.

VW Group is doing its part, offering both the pricey A4 Allroad and the bargain Golf SportWagen shown here. The latter is a case of getting more for less, as the wagon is priced $160 less than its hatchback fraternal brother, despite having more horsepower and more cabin room.

And, oh yeah, it’s still available with a manual transmission.

(Read More…)

By on January 2, 2019

1986 Toyota Tercel wagon in California wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsUsed-up examples of the 1983-1987 Toyota Tercel wagon (known as the Sprinter Carib in its homeland) still show up in junkyards today, but nearly all of them are the four-wheel-drive versions; the humble front-wheel-drive ones weren’t as desirable (once they became beaters, hoopties, and/or buckets) and mostly got crushed a decade ago.

Here’s an ’86 in a Silicon Valley self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2018

1983 Mercury Lynx wagon in Arizona wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
Before the North American Ford Escort became a Mazda 323/Protegé sibling, the folks in Dearborn masterminded a Mercurized version known as the Lynx. Escort wagons are rare now (though I have shot a couple during my junkyard wanderings), so I did a double-take when I saw this optioned-up ’83 Lynx wagon in a Phoenix self-service yard last winter. (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 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 March 26, 2018

1994 Volvo 940 Turbo wagon in California wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Volvo 900 Series replaced the 700 Series, which replaced the 200 Series, but — in true Volvo fashion — there was sufficient production overlap between these related models that all three were available at the same time for a couple of years in the early 1990s. The 940 sold well in the United States, but you’ll see more 240s and 740s today, perhaps due to the great affection held by Volvo fanatics for the “real” rear-wheel-drive Swedes.

I went into a Northern California wrecking yard determined to shoot the first 940 or 960 I saw, and that car turned out to be this 940 Turbo station wagon. (Read More…)

By on January 29, 2018

2018 Buick Regal TourX - Image: Buick

For 2018, Buick split its new Regal into two body styles: a liftback and a wagon dubbed the TourX. SUVs and crossovers make up a large chunk of the Tri-Shield’s sales, but these two machines will arguably swallow as much or more cargo than some of their high-riding showroom brethren.

Upon the Regal’s rollout for 2018, the marque estimated the TourX take rate would be around 30 percent. Now, thanks to either a rethink of market demands or someone’s innate love of wagons, Buick has revised that number upwards.

(Read More…)

By on November 27, 2017

1986 Toyota Tercel Wagon in California wrecking yard, RH front view - ©Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
The Toyota Sprinter Carib was sold as the Tercel Wagon in North America for the 1983 through 1987 model years, and most examples rolling out of American showrooms came with the more fuel-efficient front-wheel-drive setup. However, the four-wheel-drive Tercel Wagons held their value for decades after the front-wheel-drive ones depreciated into oblivion and were crushed, and thus I don’t see many of the latter type in wrecking yards these days.

Here’s a now-rare FWD ’86 that held on past age 30, spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2017

1983 Toyota Cressida in California wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
It has taken a few decades, but Toyota Cressidas now show up at the big self-service wrecking yards in respectable numbers. I find these Lexus ancestors very interesting, so I shoot most of the ones I see; so far in this series, we have seen this ’80, this ’82, this ’83 wagon, this ’84, this ’84, this ’86 wagon, this ’87, this ’89, this ’90, and this ’92 (plus this ’79 and this ’86 wagon in my Junkyard Gems series).

Today’s Cressida is a zero-rust ’83 wagon in California. (Read More…)

By on September 11, 2017

1984 Buick Century wagon in California wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
The Chrysler K-platform-based minivans debuted for the 1984 model year, marking the beginning of the end of the station wagon’s mainstream appeal in the United States; not many years later, SUVs would snare most of the potential wagon buyers who didn’t get minivans.

Here’s a Buick Century wagon from that decisive year, spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2017

Callaway Corvette AeroWagen

Callaway Cars has been tuning and tweaking Corvettes for decades and, in 2013 the company announced it might consider producing a “shooting-brake” C7 and cash in on the returning trend. Since then, it has been developing the design while evaluating market appeal.

On Friday, Callaway officially announced its Corvette C21 AeroWagen package and the vehicle’s debut at the Michelin NCM Bash at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. An interesting idea, perhaps, but I am not in love with the execution. Callaway’s close ties to General Motors makes you trust the fit and finish will be factory quality, but fifteen grand is still a lot of money for owners to spend on potentially ruining the back half of a Corvette.  (Read More…)

By on February 2, 2017

2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon

With Cadillac’s CTS-V Wagon dead and buried, unorthodox — yet highly practical — automotive enthusiasts have been at a severe disadvantage in North America. Europe always seems to have at least a couple overpowered “estate cars” while we’re left pretending that a compact four-door Golf R is a replacement for a tuned-up 5 Series Touring or RS6 Avant.

God bless Mercedes-Benz and AMG for understanding there are still some wealthy Americans that want to load a station wagon with a half-dozen pure bred Labradors or ten bolts of Egyptian cotton (or whatever rich people put in their cars) and drive it 180 mph down an expressway.

For that highly discerning clientele, the all-new 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S wagon will be arriving this autumn. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2017

2002 Volvo V70XC Ocean Race in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

I’m always on the lookout for small-production figure, special-edition cars during my junkyard explorations, and we have admired such classics as the Etienne Aigner Volkswagen Golf and the Daytona 500 Pace Car Pontiac Grand Prix in past installments of the Junkyard Find series.

Today, we’re moving into the 21st century, for a genuine, numbers-matching, one-of-650-made 2002 Volvo Ocean Race Edition V70 Cross Country, spotted in that hotbed of nautical action: Denver. (Read More…)

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