By on July 22, 2019


The General spent the 1980s experiencing a burning desire to sell high-profit-margin personal luxury coupes that combined the irresistible sales appeal of the with the technological sophistication of the latest high-end German machinery. This decade gave us such fascinating GM machines as the , the Buick Reatta, the , and the . You won’t find many Troféos today, but I’m always on the lookout during . Here’s a clean ’88 in a Denver-area self-serve yard. (Find Out…)

By on July 15, 2019

Once the original two-door wagon became a sacred icon among those who prize Detroit machinery of the Eisenhower Era, all GM two-door wagons attained a certain prestige among those who enjoy cruise nights, car shows, Time Out dolls, and the 119,544th repetition of Hot Rod Lincoln (no, not the gloriously hillbilly , the , which ). I would have thought that a ought to have found someone willing to keep it on the street, but this car in a northeastern Colorado yard proves me wrong. (Find Out…)

By on July 8, 2019

Keeping any Audi on the road can be costly, once the car gets a decade or so old, and I see in . You’d think that the factory-hot-rod Audis would be worth enough to keep them out of the clutches of The Crusher, but such is not the case; just in the last year, I have seen and in low-priced self-service yards. Now I’ve spotted this in Denver, with the allegedly valuable Recaro seats still inside. (Find Out…)

By on July 1, 2019

Mazda and Ford go way back when it comes to the badge-engineering game, what with all those , Mazda-based Ford Escorts, , and so on. Since I love weird examples of badge engineering in the junkyard, I’m always on the lookout for the likes of a or , and so I have been keeping my eyes open for a rare for quite a while. Most of them got crushed long ago, as the early Explorer has very little value today (due to its laughably small size and lack of luxury features, by 21st-century American-market suburban commuter-truck standards), but this ’94 just showed up in a Denver self-service yard.  (Find Out…)

By on June 24, 2019

The 4WD Station Wagon, known in its homeland as the , sold very well in Colorado, where I live, and tended to be both reliable and well-loved by owners. I here, so many that I don’t photograph any but the most interesting. This one in a Denver yard had an impressive-even-by-Toyota-standards odometer reading, so it made the cut for a . (Find Out…)

By on June 17, 2019

The General made more than two million during the car’s 1971-1977 run, and the numbers climb much higher if you include the Vega-derived and its siblings. The Vega’s many quality problems and rapid cheap-subcompact depreciation led to nearly all of these cars disappearing from American roads well before the dawn of the 1990s, but I still find during . Here’s an early Vega two-door hatch that seemed to be in pretty good shape before it hit a large animal on an Arizona road a couple of years back. (Find Out…)

By on June 10, 2019

Some of the most interesting examples of GM badge engineering during the last few decades involved the Isuzu brand; first, the () arrived during the late 1970s, followed by the Chevrolet/Geo Spectrum () and (Isuzu Impulse), and finally the Trailblazer-based . Mixed in there was the Isuzu-ized second-gen Chevy S-10, also known as .

You won’t find many Hombres in your local wrecking yard, but I kept my eyes open for one until this ’96 showed up in Denver. (Find Out…)

By on June 3, 2019

In between the homely and the punitively sensible , the folks at Dearborn provided North Americans with the and its Mercury sibling, the Zephyr, as reasonably modern rear-wheel-drive compact commuter machines. For those car shoppers wanting to get a bit devilish with their selections, Ford dealers offered the Fairmont Futura coupe, while your local Mercury store had coupe.

Here’s a tan-beige-brown Zephyr Z-7 in a Northern California self-service wrecking yard. (Find Out…)

By on May 28, 2019

Back in the early 1980s, when I began my junkyard-crawling career in , I would find examples of on a depressingly regular basis. , in about the same quantities; the only difference is that now they’re 40 years old instead of six years old.

Here’s the latest: a black ’79 without a speck of corrosion, spotted in my old East Oakland junkyard stomping grounds (though at a yard that didn’t exist in 1982). (Find Out…)

By on May 20, 2019

After the , Chrysler didn’t have the resources needed to design and build a subcompact economy car from scratch. Fortunately, Chrysler’s Japanese ally, Mitsubishi, was willing to ship over plenty of cars to be sold as Dodge and Plymouth Colts (we will not discuss the wretched at this time). The Colt didn’t get front-wheel-drive until 1979, though, so Chrysler USA turned to Chrysler Europe for the Simca-designed Horizon platform and began selling in 1978.

Here’s an early Horizon in a Denver self-service yard. (Find Out…)

By on May 13, 2019

1989 Honda CRX in California wrecking yard, LH rear view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - PaardensexThe is one of my very favorite 1980s cars, hailing from an era when Americans paid well over MSRP and/or waited for months for the privilege of getting a new Honda. Twenty years ago, I owned a few early CRXs (before giving up on the carbureted CVCC examples, which were impossible to get through California’s strict emissions tests due to ), and I often thought of getting a fuel-injected late CRX.

Such cars were expensive back then, but values have plummeted to the point where I now see 1988-1991 CRXs at U-Wrench-type yards. Here’s one in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Find Out…)

By on May 6, 2019

After since early 2007, I just realized that the newest discarded Mustang I’d documented was . As you’d imagine, Mustangs from the and eras are easy to find in North American wrecking yards, so I resolved to shoot the next interesting one I found… which turned out to be this much-abused ’95 GT I spotted in a Silicon Valley self-service yard. (Find Out…)

By on April 29, 2019

BMC and then British Leyland churned out and near-identical Austin-Healey Sprites for 20 years, with the final example coming off in 1980. Because project-grade Midgets still clutter garages, driveways, yards, and fields throughout the land and they’re not worth much, the clock runs out for many of them every year.

The next stop, usually, is at a self-service wrecking yard. Here’s a forlorn ’79 I spotted last week in California. (Find Out…)

By on April 22, 2019

Finding a Malaise Era Cadillac is interesting, especially when at a cylinder-deactivation engine. Those cars don’t make me sad, though.

A nicely customized show-car Cadillac with metalflake paint and pro-applied airbrush work in a junkyard — that makes me sad, even if it did suffer from . I found this once-glorious Cad in a Denver-area yard last summer. (Find Out…)

By on April 15, 2019

The early-21st century fad for retro-styled cars, including the PT Cruiser, Chevrolet HHR, Mini Cooper, and Fiat 500, got its start with the late-1990s introduction of the (we’re still waiting for a Nissan model made to look like ). Like most people (and especially like most who had ever ), I grew weary of the sight of these allegedly cute cars after a few years, and as a result I’ve been ignoring the many examples I find during .

These cars make up an important piece of our collective automotive history, though, and I resolved that I’d shoot the first one I found on a recent wrecking-yard trip. Here it is, straight from the Denver U-Pull-&-Pay! (Find Out…)

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