237 Articles

One of the last of the rear-wheel-drive Renaults available in the USA

A final-year-of-production 1971 Renault 10, featuring water-cooled rear engine, in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.

We're pretty sure Mr. Vuitton had nothing to do with this car.

As Sir Mix-a-Lot stated so elegantly in 1992, Louis Vuitton never made a sweat suit. Louis Vuitton also never made a Mercedes-Benz W140 S-Class, but that's just what we've found in a Northern California self-service wrecking yard. Yes, it's two tons of Swap Meet Louie!


21st-century Outbacks are common in junkyards, but H6s are rare

Outbacks are plentiful in Denver-area wrecking yards, but H6-powered examples are hard to find. Here's a 2003 H6-3.0 Outback that I spotted last month.


When people tell you all BMW E30s are expensive, don't believe them.

Word on the street is that the iconic and much-beloved BMW E30, the 3 Series for most of the 1980s and a bit of the 1990s, has become too rare and valuable to show up in America's big self-service wrecking yards. Don't believe it! I see E30s in most of Colorado, Arizona, and California yards I frequent during my travels. Last month, I stepped into a big Denver-area wrecking yard with a mission: photograph the first E30 I saw. Here it is, a faded-but-intact 1991 325i sedan.


Not the slowest Camaro ever made, but unpleasantly close to it.

The Z-28 Camaro in 1984 came with a 5.0-liter V8 making a respectable 190 horsepower. Buyers who went with the base four-cylinder engine, however, got just 92 Iron Duke horses. Few did. Here's a very rare Iron Duke Camaro in a Central Valley self-service wrecking yard.


Saturn sold a lot of these sporty coupes, but you won't see many today

With three-digit horsepower (barely) and a manual transmission, the 1996 Saturn SC was reasonably good fun for a cheap price. This one managed to get close to 300,000 miles before being forcibly retired in Colorado.


Few civilians bought the 1991-96 Caprice, but police departments liked it

We saw a junkified Ford P71 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in Colorado last month, so it's only fair that we take a look at the P71's only serious rear-wheel-drive competition during the 1990s: the Chevrolet 9C1 Caprice Classic. Here's a final-year-of-production ex-police Caprice, spotted in an Arizona self-service wrecking yard.


Two-and-a-half tons of Teutonic luxury in a desert junkyard.

Sold new for the equivalent of $134,000, this refrigerator-white 1998 S500 sedan gave its owners twenty years of luxury under the Arizona sun. Now it has reached the end of the road.


The best combination of fun and fuel economy the 1980s had to offer.

I'm a big fan of the first-generation Honda CRX, as well as all members of the third-generation Civic family, having owned quite a few of the gas-sipping two seaters. These cars rusted to nothingness generations ago in the Northeast and Midwest, but you'll still find them in the warm, dry parts of the country. Here's a white 1987 CRX, spotted in a Phoenix self-service wrecking yard.

The seldom-seen Isuzu-badged Chevy Trailblazer.

The 2002-2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer had many badge-engineered siblings, including the GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Oldsmobile Bravada, and Saab 9-7X. The 2003-2007 Isuzu Ascender was the rarest of them all, and I was able to find this discarded '05 in an Arizona wrecking yard.


Porsche's affordable, VW-engined sports car.

During the second half of the 1960s, Porsche sold a four-cylinder version of the 911 as their lowest-priced car. The 912 sold well at first, but replaced by a joint Volkswagen-Porsche project, the 914, in 1969. The six-cylinder 914-6 was badged as a Porsche in Europe, while the four-cylinder 914 was sold as a Volkswagen-Porsche. In North America, all 914s were Porsche-badged, and they sold very well. Here's a '72 project car that got junked in Denver before completion.


One of the last of the good old mail Jeeps.

Just about the simplest street-legal motor vehicle available during its 30-year production run, the two-wheel-drive Jeep DJ is best known as a U.S. Postal Service delivery vehicle. Here's one in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.


One of the last Valiants, now destined for a California crusher.

With Slant-6 225-cubic-inch engine, four doors, and gold paint, this 1975 Plymouth Valiant sedan served its owners well. Now it resides in its final parking space in Northern California.


Consumption in America got even more conspicuous with the E32 7-Series.

The V12-powered BMW E32 7-Series cars get all the attention now, but the straight-six E32s were worthy Mercedes-Benz S-Class competitors as well.


A Geo-badged Suzuki Sidekick, found in Denver.

The Geo brand included California-built Corollas, Japan-built I-Marks, and Canada-built Sidekicks. Here's one of the latter type, spotted in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.

The Chrysler version of this stretched K-Car was called the E-Class. Subtle.

A midsized member of the versatile Chrysler K-Car family, with Mercedes-influenced styling. This one made it to age 31 before being discarded in Colorado.


The biggest, most decadent new German coupe money could buy in 1989.

Not many miles, but when something goes wrong on multiple-owner cars, it usually means a trip to the junkyard.


Two doors, five speeds, and a hard body.

The final model year of the original two-door Nissan Pathfinder, spotted in a wrecking yard.


The first model year the 924 was available in the United States.

This one has double-digit horsepower and an old-timey four-speed transmission.


Subaru got really weird with the SVX.

The SVX was orders of magnitude wilder than sensible commuting-and-outdoor-activities Subarus.


Pininfarina's happy little sports car, now discarded in Colorado.

The MGB's strongest rival in North America, the strong-selling Fiat 124 Sport Spider was fun and cheap. Here's one that managed to survive until age 44.