Last week here in the Land of Sky-Blue Waters, the mercury was struggling to climb above the twenty below zero mark (that’s Fahrenheit, by the way). Add a decent wind and some precipitation, and what do you get?
You get the junkyard all to yourself, that’s what!
Once again the Junkyard Outtake presses on, undeterred by such things as wind chills and rapidly-dying camera batteries – all to bring you the best finds of the week. Let’s see what has appeared at the U-Pull since our last visit, and check back on a few old friends while we’re at it.
Upon entering the yard, it’s tough to overlook this Impala.
Who’s the monkey that did this?!
Oh yeah, slather it on. Did somebody ask for “extra cheese”?
Hard to say whether this was a creative statement of some sort, or they were really that confused. Which was it? The world may never know.
The yard has waited longer than usual to crush – probably because they’re waiting for scrap prices to hit their usual yearly highs, which always seem to come in the dead of winter. This row is quickly getting cleared out.
But wait! What’s that next car in line for the crusher?
It’s none other than the Electra coupe from nearly two months ago. Poor old thing. It has no idea what’s about to happen.
What’s even more tragic is how so few parts have disappeared from it over the past months.
At least someone got this one piece of glass. A few other small odds and ends are gone as well – but all that nice, straight sheetmetal will be flat soon. What a shame.
One of the four Buick sport wheels has disappeared off into parts unknown. With only three remaining – and no discount for waiting until the last minute, nor for their no longer being a set – I guess I won’t be buying them. Nor will anybody else, by the look of things; wheels lying atop a car means they’ll be getting crushed together.
After that sad sight, this Cavalier is a welcome distraction. It’s the first honest-to-goodness art car I’ve seen in the yards in a while. A masterpiece it ain’t – but you’ve got to give them credit for trying (if only they’d tried half as hard under the hood!)
Nearby, there’s another new arrival – that perennial CC favorite, a Cadillac Fleetwood.
Hmm. I wonder if this one’s been a Minnesota car long?
The chocolate brown interior looks comfortable, if a bit wet and dirty.
What can one say about plastiwood that hasn’t already been said?
Dig that door! I tried to shut it, but it would not cooperate.
Now we see why. This one’s got the über-rare 5M8 ventilated door option! I suspect it also has the optional BP7 Flintstone Brakes (the two were often seen together), but I don’t feel like lying in the snow to find out.
And speaking of peculiar options, that sure is a dandy hitch setup!
Finally, we have arrived at the back of the yard, temporary home of the ’81 coupe that was previously featured in our B-Body Bonneville Bonanza. It’s just as crashed as ever – only now there’s some snow on top.
But that doesn’t matter. I’m here for its headliner – perhaps the only one left around these parts which isn’t sagging. If I can get it out in one piece, it’ll be mine. ($6 cash, and some numb fingers, is a small price to pay for completing my LeSabre’s interior.)
I was halfway through the job when something in the neighboring Ford department caught my eye.
Now, I’m no Ford guru – but that looks like a ’78 Marquis to me. And a coupe, no less!
What’s that under the hood? The label says it’s either a 351 or a 400. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference.
Looking inside, we see a surprisingly nice interior. Unlike most cars in this yard, I suspect that red cloth would actually clean up to like-new.
67,334 miles. Somebody shoulda stuck this one on craigslist instead of junking it.
So far, only the bumper, wheels, and rear drums appear to be missing.
Ooh! Ooh! There’s that word again! You know which one I’m talking about.
Though the tin-worm has started to do its thing, there’s still a lot of car left to work with. Er, there was a lot of car left to work with. Its days are officially numbered.
Meanwhile, my goal has been accomplished. One more part salvaged!
Next week, we’ll head up north to check out a snowmobile junkyard that’s packed with dead sleds from the ’60s and ’70s. If two skis and a 2-stroke is your idea of a good time – or even if you’re just curious and want to see some prehistoric snow-machines – you won’t want to miss it!
But it is warm in the smelter!!
In regard to that Impala I wonder if they were trying to fix rust holes? My dad and I took a rectangle of cereal box cardboard, tied a piece a string through the center, pushed it through a rust hole in his Legacy’s tailgate, and pulled it “flush” with the remaining metal surface. After slathering enough Bondo on to hold the cardboard in place we cut the string and slathered more bondo on, but I would say we did a decent job of making it relatively smooth.
The Cavalier art car is neat and nice when these art cars have a theme instead of being so random.
The Caddy’s open door adds character, but what is so bad about that Fuel Injected engine? The trailer hitch looks sketchy because I would think the top span would flex and rub against the bumper. Regardless, seeing a Caddy with a trailer hitch is cool, you hardly ever see that.
Horseheads Pick-A-Part is hardly this interesting when it comes to Snow Belt junkyards because most of the cars in there are from the late 1990s onward. I wonder how these old barges lasted so long?
If you were meticulous with the maintenance, didn’t tax it too much, kept the fluid levels up, one COULD get a 4100 to last somewhat decently. Unfortunately, longevity even with good maintenance wasn’t a characteristic of the Caddy 4100 – not like a ‘real’ Caddy V-8, or SBC . . . . Most of these would announce their demise with piston slap . . . getting 120K out of one was doing pretty good. In hindsight, like so many of the real bad bean-counter GM decisions of that era, we wonder – why even bother? The FI system itself wasn’t all that bad; it was a throttle body system which by ’82 (intro year of the HT 4100), the bugs were worked out (unlike the Caddy TBIs of ’75-’78) . . .
The 4.1’s (4100’s) did somewhat better in the FWD applications . . .
^Yep. Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_High_Technology_engine
My father-in-law got 177,000 miles out of the 4100 in his ’83 Seville. When it decided to go, it went in spectacular style.
“I wonder how these old barges lasted so long?”
The tree soot on many of these cars suggest rotting in backyards was part of what kept them around so long.
Surprised they lasted until 2014 then. I grew up in Tompkins County and most of the countryside was picked clean around 2006-2008 during the times of sky high scrap prices, these would have been scooped up right away.
You don’t see very many Cadillacs (or any other car for that matter) with trailer hitches now but back in the day that was the way to roll. When I was growing up, in the fifties and sixties, people didn’t buy trucks for personal transportation and SUV’s were not even on the horizon. Instead, if you needed to tow anything, you simply installed a hitch on your car and went on your way. I remember a family friend towing his boat with a 1959 Cadillac convertible. Trailer hitches used to be as common on station wagons as they are on pickups today.
I used to think trailer hitches made cars seem ‘tougher’ in the 60’s. My grandparents Electras had them.
I think you’ll find heat shrink marks behind that filler someone shrank out a dent then skimmed it for a repair the way a proper panel beater would do it then that piece of junk died so they scrapped it
I wondered if they just used that junker for practice bodywork.
Wow! The sheet metal pieces on the Buick coupe and the Marquis are in good shape, especially for up there. The interiors on the Caddy and Mercury definitely worth salvaging. Amazing that the Caddy Fleetwood (’85?) made it that long with the POS HT 4100 and the trailer hitch made me laugh. What did it tow? A Little Tykes Cozy Kar?
Unfortunately, we can’t save them all . . . . .
I’m sure that rotten Caddy door wouldn’t shut because not so much of it’s damage or rust, but of the Siberian temperatures you guys are dealing with up there.
As I write this, it’s 75F in Honolulu . . .
Snowmobile junkyard. Snowmobile junkyard. Snowmobile junkyard! I can’t wait.
It’d be nice to see a ’72 Polaris Charger 295 like I grew up riding on (hint hint).
The pictures were actually taken several weeks ago – and rather hurriedly, at that (trying to beat the darkness). So they kinda are what they are.
But I can say that there will be a ’74 or ’75 398 Charger in the mix 😉
351M or 400M, doesn’t matter much. Both engines are slugs. Too bad tho, that Marquis would have made a pretty cool DD.
No such thing as a 400″M” only the 351M was designated as such. I am as sick of hearing 400M as I am of hearing the Chevy 153/181 four cylinder called Iron Duke. Know your engine family’s, or do not post because all you do is promote false information. And I have a friend with a ’77 F250 4WD with a built 400, and, hardly a slug. Please remember these are Cleveland based, lot of potential there. And yes, stockers are slugs, had a 400 in the ’75 Torino Elite I had for a while.
Second time this month I come here to see people defending the Ford 351M/400. I had hoped that I’d seen the last of these malaise engines, personally.
Potential….yes. But almost every other Ford engine is a better starting point for a push rod engine build. That includes the 429/460, the FEs, and the (don’t call them Windsor) small blocks. Many of the engines from the 70’s and 80’s had potential, but only some of them are worth building up due to reliability, availability of parts, and bang for your buck. That Caddy 4100 also has potential, but I wouldn’t touch it. 🙂
I can’t look, I really can’t look…
The Bonneville (or is it the Canadian Parisienne?)…the Cadillac…the Buick… the back end of that Olds Ninety Eight hiding out in the background…the Marquis…
This is torture!
FYI, the Ninety-Eight was featured in a previous Junkyard Outtake.
And yes – I agree. Hard to see so many neat cars meet their demise. At least I can say that both those B-body coupes contributed to one of my projects.
I remember, it was tough the first time around.
I used to own one of those Oldsmobile Ninety Eight’s about 10 years ago. The previously owner had destroyed it in such a way that it was hard to know until I had bought it and started using it, but even then it was a comfortable car with great options. Even today I think they still look pretty modern.
Glad we finally got out of that GM section of your junkyard, Keith. 🙂 Back in the late 70s, I knew a guy who had a red 76 Marquis 2 door much like that one. His had no vinyl roof but had the fender skirts, and I thought that it was one of the more attractive cars of that generation. A neighbor has one of these (a silver sedan) sitting out rotting away. Though it has really low miles, it has probably been ruined just from so many years out in the weather.
I never used to look outside the GM department and the truck section, since my buying is invariably limited to those two areas. But since writing here, I do give the other sections a quick once-over. (Remember the green non-Grand Marquis?)
For anyone who’s wondering: yes, I also look through the Chrysler department. But there hasn’t been anything even remotely interesting there in months. There were three AMC Eagles at one point this past spring, but unfortunately I had no camera along at the time. Since then – nothing!
The Coronet that was featured several weeks back is as close as they’ve come recently, and it wasn’t even in the correct area.
Any Panther platform cars hanging out there? Lincoln Town Car, Grand Marquis, Crown Victoria? Great cars!
That red Marquis Brougham made me smile. 🙂
Sad to see a lot of cars I recognise from TV detective shows here.I don’t remember seeing a Mercury coupe like this in the metal.Seen plenty 4 door sedans though.
A real Uncle Buck 2 door Mercury Marquis, that’s pretty rare.
78 Marq. Bro.
“67,334 miles. Somebody shoulda stuck this one on craigslist instead of junking it.”
Maybe car got donated, and at auction, only scrap yard bid on it. Others have seen similar situation. Old timer wills a 1970’s big car to family, and to them it’s “eww let’s get rid of that old tank”.
Quite possible. I kinda pictured the heirs calling a 1-800-junkmycar type outfit, which sold the lead to the U-Pull. But they definitely buy stuff from charity auctions, IAA/QCSA/Manheim Total Loss, impound auctions, direct from scrappers and tow companies (sometimes right off the truck!), and anywhere else cheap wrecks can be found.
Heck, the Land Rover that contributed its dual sunroof setup for my ’77 G10 was in that yard, and it had tags from the ADESA wholesale auction still attached. They leave no stone unturned!
The yellow plug wires offer a second possibility: perhaps the grandkid or neighbor brat bought it from Gramps, got in over their head mechanically, and ended up junking it out of frustration.
Hard to say.
So it’s been 24 years since 1990, when a car like that had most likely fully depriciated, and you still can’t even give away even the best examples. I mean, that Marquis looks is so close to showroom that I must be missing something. Just a shame to see another two tons of Detroit steel, in nice condition and a great color at that, destined to become five Hyundais.
Seriously, what a waste, that thing looked beautiful inside. It’s clear Ford really did do better interiors in the 70s than GM. You could give them away to me in a heartbeat. It’d be fun to have the whole family: LTD, Marquis, Continental. Throw in a big Cadillac, and my current Electra, and I’d have a barge for every day of the week.
I agree, a waste of a nice car. A bit of rust repair and that Marquis could have been a nice summer/cruise-in driver for someone.
A shame that so many people see a nice old Mercury or Buick and only think “what a stupid old car” and junk it for beer money. Then they get in their clapped-out Corolla or giant-winged Civic and drive away with no sense of irony whatsoever.
Here’s one in better times.
This picture reminds me that I still have a 1976 Mercury dealer color and trim book, which I talked a salesman out of at the end of the 76 model run. I now know that I should have tried harder to get one from a Dodge dealer during the E body years. Sigh.
I wonder what it could be about these cars that makes people still throw them away while they are at the same age when 50s cars were established top dollar collectibles and Hollywood icons. Hard for me to imagines someone doing the same with a 1958 Mercury in the 80s or 90s. Is there something about big broughams that turns people off? My guess is that many older people see them as just old cars and many younger people see them as the exact opposite of the perfect car. They want Hybrids and tuners. Klockau, I guess you have seen a few go this way before.
TTAC has a few articles with once clean and we’ll maintained 70s era boats that have been junked. Makes me wonder if there will be any left (besides donks) in 10 years.
I prowl the junkyard on my days off and have seen plenty of cars that make me wonder why they were junked. One time there was a clean, undamaged 1990-94 Town Car in white with white leather interior, red carpet and red dash. I also saw a 1974 Comet sedan (the Maverick clone) and a circa-1968 Mercedes Benz 280S sedan in light blue that was also in nice shape, though you could tell it had been sitting in a garage or shed for a long time.
You should start taking some pictures. Maybe then we could franchise this thing out… “Junkyard Outtake: Illinois Edition” or some such. It could work! 😀
Will wrote “My guess is that many older people see them as just old cars and many younger people see them as the exact opposite of the perfect car.”
I think that’s pretty much it. The people who bought these cars new are REALLY old now, if they’re still alive. The “new” “old” people–60+ are the Boomers. They saw these cars as being for middle aged people (their then-50 something parents c. 1975) when they were produced. They were in college or young professionals at that time and never wanted these cars. They wanted the Benzes and Bimmers, or like my parents, Hondas and Toyotas. They don’t have nostalgia for them, they saw them as tacky and inefficient boats then and see them the same way now. They view 50s cars differently, I think, because those are the cars of their childhood. Plus, the 50s and 60s are portrayed as an idyllic time (which for people of some backgrounds they were)…Animal House, American Graffitti, Happy Days, etc. Having a 50s car feels like a time machine back to that simpler time.
But the 70s and early 80s don’t evoke that same sentimental nostalgia. A ’75 Electra 225 is a time machine back to cities as portrayed in “Death Wish”, back to disco, back to waterbeds, back to oil spikes, malaise, Watergate, losing in Vietnam, and a general loss of confidence in institutions, rules, and the establishment. 70s Broughams, as has been remarked before, were a way to, at first, hide from that craziness, and then, in the downsized 80s versions, a way to resist further change. So they just don’t evoke the same kind of response because nobody wants to go back to 1975.
Conversely, as you note, the kids seem to want “hybrids and tuners” and also BIG Trucks. They also don’t want to go back to 1975.
Thus, big 70s Broughams and slightly smaller 80s Broughams are left out in the cold, except for the donker bast-rds, which as far as I’m concerned is equivalent to crushing pristine ones.
I’m making it a mission to amass a few of these big boys–in particular I would like to have the ’76 Cadillac and Lincoln–over the next decade. I really like driving big cars. For various reasons I don’t anticipate having a long commute or needing to drive every day, so it’s not an inconceivable proposition.
Can anyone explain this to me. In every single U-pull yard I have visited for the last dozen years, I have NEVER found a complete set of 4 wheels. But you can always find several sets of 3 or less. Is this done on purpose? If so, what is that purpose?
I can’t be the only one who has noticed this. Anyone know the answer?
Those W-body Impalas seem to have deteriorated pretty fast.
I actually kind of like the Electra coupe. My Mom and Dad bought an ’83 LeSabre Coupe new, and it was the biggest mechanical pile of junk I’ve ever known about. It looked nice new, but I thought they never aged well. 30 years on, however, it’s starting to look OK again.
Anyway, the cam bearing bosses were misdrilled on our old 307, and it would smoke distributor gears or pull the shaft down and physically smash the internals (I was 6, can’t remember). They eventually replaced the engine after replacing about 7 distributors, which left the car stranded all over North America.
That Marquis Brougham makes me sad. I wish someone could have given it a second chance. That car has some serious potential. I like that it is loaded up like a Lincoln too – tilt, cruise, power windows, locks, split bench “Twin Comfort Lounge Seat” – and seeing that it is not a Grand Marquis but a Marquis Brougham makes it even more enticing. I very often saw Marquis Broughams that were either really loaded or stripped. I always liked seeing the luxury steering wheel in the full sized Fords/Mercurys – they should have had it standard IMO. Sad ending to a nice car.