By on June 22, 2021

While it’s not scheduled to make any public appearances until the United Kingdom’s Goodwood Festival of Speed kicks off in July, Genesis is dropping photos of the G70 Shooting Brake like it’s just days away from hitting the market.

Not our market, of course. The manufacturer shrewdly decided to leave the wagon in Europe, angering thousands of North American drivers who beg for vehicles like this with no intention of ever buying one. But it sure looks nice, with Genesis managing to stretch the bold design of the G70 sedan while adding a substantial amount of cargo capacity.  (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2021

1987 Subaru GL-10 wagon in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBy 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 sports 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. (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2021

Genesis teased the rather handsome G70 Shooting Brake (wagon) this morning, highlighting the brand’s ability to design sophisticated automobiles that don’t need to compete directly with the cost of your home. Unfortunately, just about every automaker on the planet has decided that wagons have no business in America. This includes Genesis. The manufacturer made it clear that the liftback G70 was designed specifically for Europeans.

While the body style used to be the king of the road, it was supplanted by the minivan in the late 1980s. By 1996, the last American full-size wagons (Buick Roadmaster and Chevrolet Caprice Classic) were discontinued. The region had lost its taste for them and the industry has been operating under the assumption that the feeling has gone unchanged for thirty years. Aren’t we due for a resurgence?  (Read More…)

By on January 19, 2021

1986 Nissan Maxima wagon in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsEven as Toyota kept the Cressida a rear-wheel-drive first cousin to the sporty Supra (sales of that car continued here well into the 1990s), Nissan moved the formerly-Z-based Maxima to a front-wheel-drive platform for the 1985 model year. The new, roomier Maxima continued to be loaded with futuristic electronic gadgetry and a Z-Car engine, and sales of the wagon version continued all the way through the 1988 model year. Here’s a well-traveled ’86 Maxima wagon in a Denver-area car graveyard. (Read More…)

By on November 30, 2020

1996 Saturn SW1 in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
We’ve had back-to-back oddball three-pedal cars in this series (a Suzuki Forenza and non-SHO Taurus), so let’s make it three weeks in a row with today’s Junkyard Find! Saturn S Series cars were always cheaper with manual transmissions, but nearly every Saturn wagon shopper insisted on an automatic. I knew I’d find a manual Saturn SW if I kept searching junkyards, though, and here it is: a low-end ’96 with single-cam engine, Ignore Me Silver paint, and a 5-on-the-floor manual. (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2020

1988 Dodge Colt 4WD Wagon in California junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsChrysler sold various Mitsubishis badged as Dodge or Plymouth Colts from the 1971 model year all the way through 1994.

Here’s a Mirage-based fifth-generation Colt in California, the final model year for the Colt station wagon, and it sports both a five-speed manual transmission and the very rare all-wheel-drive powertrain. (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2020

2001 Subaru Legacy Outback in Denver junkyard, RH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe Outback version of the third generation of the Subaru Legacy wagon, built for the 2000-2004 model years, was the one that really nailed down the Outback as the Denver motor vehicle.

These things are so commonplace in Denver car graveyards that I don’t even notice them (unless I’m looking for bits for my own ’04 Outback), but today’s Junkyard Find is a top-trim-level VDC with every imaginable option, on top of its standard six-cylinder engine plus McIntosh audio system, and well worth documenting. (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2020

1995 Volvo 850 Turbo wagon in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhen 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. (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2020

1990 Volvo 740 Turbo wagon in California junkyard, RH side view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsOne 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. (Read More…)

By on December 16, 2019

1981 Mercedes-Benz W123 wagon in California junkyard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe oldest Mercedes-Benz W123 diesels are getting pretty close to 45 years of age, which means that— finally— they’re wearing out and becoming easy to find in the big self-service car graveyards that I frequent. Most of these proto-E-Classes sold in North America were sedans, but the wagons developed something of a cult following and I keep my eyes open for discarded examples.

Here’s an ’81 300TD turbodiesel that seems to have been going strong when it got crashed. (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2019

1974 Toyota Corona wagon in California junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSince my first car was a very beige 1969 Toyota Corona sedan and I now own a heavily customized lowrider 1969 Toyota Corona coupe, I’m always on the lookout for Coronas in junkyards. Just prior to a California trip I took a week ago, I received a Row52 notification about a 1974 Corona at an East Bay self-service yard.

Here’s what I found. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2019

News arrived in our inboxes this morning of yet another death in the automotive family. The Buick Regal TourX, aged just three model years, was pronounced dead today, victim of insatiable consumer thirst for crossovers and SUVs. It leaves to mourn many dozens of wagon-lovers across the nation.

In a classic case of calling the locksmith after the equines have departed, let’s look at what a base model Regal TourX would have provided wagon customers.

(Read More…)

By on November 18, 2019

1990 Volvo 245 in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBecause Volvo made the 200 Series cars well into the 1990s, they were pretty reliable, and 240 owners tend to stick with their cars for decades. I still see plenty of Swedish bricks in the self-service car graveyards I frequent.

In fact, I walk by a dozen or two discarded 240s for each one I shoot, but I appreciate good manual-transmission wagons and high-mile veteran vehicles and this ’90 checks both boxes. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2019

It’s not difficult to spend forty large on a new car in America these days. Heck, the average transaction price across this country is knocking on that amount, suggesting that nearly half of buyers are signing a note for that amount or more.

Thing is, it needn’t be spent on a milquetoast minivan or cringeworthy crossover. There are more creative options out there in which to haul the family and life’s detritus to the hockey rink and soccer pitch.

(Read More…)

By on October 7, 2019

1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser wagon in North Dakota junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhile traveling to my job as Wise and Fair Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of Lemons Supreme Court at the Minneapolis 500 race in Brainerd last week, I flew in via Fargo, North Dakota. Naturally, I visited a Fargo self-service junkyard before boarding my plane home, and that’s where I found this rusty-but-well-preserved ’88 Cutlass Cruiser International Series. (Read More…)

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