While browsing our wonderful Curbside Classic Cohort gallery, I came across this array of pictures from Curbsider Canadiancatgreen. These were taken in a Canadian junkyard. It must be a part of the Great White North that doesn’t get a lot of the great white, because you know you’re in a rust-free climate when you see a Dodge Aspen without rust! Let’s take a stroll through the junk yard, shall we?
As for that Aspen, its dark green paint is surprisingly lustrous after all this time. The car seems intact, but for the gaping chasm where the engine once sat. I wonder what was in that engine bay originally, a Slant Six? A 318 V8? One wonders what it is powering now.
Speaking of remarkably rust-free cars, it seems almost cruel that this Honda Civic has been junked. There appears to be little if any rust, something that can’t be said for too many Japanese cars of the era.
In considerably worse condition is this Civic that was picked apart until it became a mere shell from the B-pillar back.
Nissan had a very consistent design language in the 1980s, as evidenced by this Micra. Although never sold in the US, the Micra was introduced in Canada in 1985 as Nissan’s smallest offering. Imported from Japan, the Canadian-market Micra was axed for 1991 in favor of a Mexican-built version of the recently discontinued B12 Sentra, the Sentra Classic. The Micra wouldn’t reappear in Canada until the current-generation model was launched in 2014.
Another model sold in Canada but not south of the border was the Passport Optima. These were a simple rebadge of the Korean-built Pontiac LeMans, and were the only vehicles to bear the Passport name. Basically, Passport was set up as a GM dealership network offering “international” models, and these Optimas were sold alongside Isuzu and Saab models. The Passport experiment lasted only from 1988-91, as Saab and Isuzus were then sold alongside the new Saturn division at dealerships. However, Canada then received the LeMans as the Asüna SE and GT. These were sold alongside the Asüna Sunfire (Isuzu Impulse) and Asüna Sunrunner (Suzuki Sidekick) at Canadian Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealerships, as those dealers had been clamoring for a line of cars similar to the GEO models sold at Chevrolet-Oldsmobile-Cadillac dealers. This experiment was even more short-lived: Asüna was dropped after just a year.
This gentleman Jaguar looks like it is tipping its hat to the photographer. These were refined and elegant, although their unreliable electrics were rather unbecoming of such a sophisticate.
Decidedly less refined is this brash, modified, first-generation Civic. Well, at least I think it’s a Civic underneath that custom bodywork. Are those Pontiac taillights?
Some automakers were able to respond to bumper regulations in the 1970s with nicely integrated bumpers. Other automakers like Ford and BMW really struggled, adding giant, tacked-on bumpers that looked ghastly. It appears Toyota wasn’t much better, as this black plastic park bench on the back of a Cressida wagon indicates. Well, at least there’s plenty of room to sit if you’re having a tailgate party.
Speaking of tacked on, what was Mercury thinking with the ’71 Montego? I want to like this ornate, sculpted front fascia as I do, say, the ’71 Oldsmobile 98’s front end. Unfortunately, it’s just too awkward and another bizarre affectation from the era of Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen at Ford. I don’t know what is more jarring: this, or the ’70-71 Thunderbird. At least the Big Bird had a longer, swoopier body to balance out its proboscis, while this just looks like a generic early-1970s domestic sedan with a bad nose job.
Speaking of Thunderbirds, our intrepid photographer managed to snap a shot of this gorgeous Lincoln Mark IV. These were closely related to the Thunderbird, but were around 50% more expensive. Long, low, large and lovely, these Mark IVs are, in my opinion, much more attractive than the rival Cadillac Eldorado of the era. Based on the bumpers, this would appear to be a 1974-76 model. This doesn’t look like one of the various designer editions of the time, but it looks mean in its black-on-black color scheme. I sincerely hope this big Linc isn’t getting junked. It may represent a lot of scrap metal (and I mean a lot, these were huge!) but it looks to be in quite good condition.
The only cars that the Mark IV doesn’t appear to dwarf are the Fuselage Chryslers of the early 1970s. This is a 1971 New Yorker, replete with slab sides and a trunklid and a hood you could land small aircraft on. That rear overhang is just so unusually, disproportionately big, it makes me wonder how many corpses a mobster might have stuffed in the trunk. Yikes.
That was quite an impressive mix of cars, but canadiancatgreen snapped even more (including some real rarities!). Stay tuned for Part II.