So here we are; another Friday, another Junkyard Outtake.
Some people say there’s a special place in the afterlife reserved for Deadly Sins, one with fire so intense that it can melt through solid steel. But before these cars can make their way to the smelter, they have to spend a little time in that purgatory known as the self-serve junkyard.
But first, let’s take a moment to salute one of the more innocent victims of the constantly shifting scrap metal market.
This Chevy van was a recent transplant here in road salt country, with a body that was remarkably clean (though marred by one large dent, and suffering from a lack of trim and someone’s unstoppable desire to paint its beige stripe black). Sure, it had the less desirable 305, but it was blown up anyways, thus a perfect opportunity to slide in one of the 350s I had waiting on the shelf.
Trouble was, the owner didn’t have the title handy. So I made a deal with him: a little money now, a little more when he produced the title. But after two years, it became clear that he was never going to come up with its title. So I made the somewhat heartbreaking decision to demote the van to parts status.
After picking off everything I wanted, and stuffing a variety of unrelated metal scrap into the van’s cargo area, the rig weighed 4300lbs – enough to net me $460 after crossing the scale (nearly double what I had invested in it). Though the van itself won’t live on, at least its parts will help keep others alive.
Selling scrap cars is a good excuse to go to the junkyard and any excuse to wander the yard is good enough for me! Let’s see what lies behind the fence today.
This Cutlass Supreme coupe had 5-spokes, and sports an uncommon blue-gray paint color. I can dig it.
Unfortunately, it’s got rust, just like so many others. It also likely has motor and/or tranny troubles.
Still, not a bad-looking car.
This Olds 88 provided me with an item I’ve long been searching for: working gas hood struts for my (soon to be former) faux Touring Sedan. Yay, no more carrying a hood prop!
Turns out this car had only 66,000 miles.
Too bad LN3 3800s aren’t in demand. This one might be a candidate.
Glue-on spoilers much? Seriously, it was applied with something that looked like Liquid Nails.
Here’s a second-gen Aurora. Parts aren’t exactly flying off this one.
Well, at least they sold a little plastic off it.
Open doors lead to wrecked interiors.
This was what it looked like a few months ago. Guess it didn’t really matter whether the door was shut or not, what with the windows being broken.
Speaking of pictures taken in the dry months, how about this ragtop Sunbird?
That air cleaner can only mean one thing…
…there’s a four-banger under this hood. No turbo, though.
At 173K miles, it did better than most.
Surprising that no one has snapped up these wheels yet. The tires still look pretty meaty.
And finally, your featured Deadly Sin–this Riviera, which looks about as un-roadworthy as you’d expect.
At least they were trying for something, um, different…
I wonder when anyone last saw the monochromatic glow of this touchscreen.
At least the former owner had a nice view… perfect for looking at while pondering deep questions, like why on Earth they bought such a car.
For next week’s Junkyard Outtake, it’s ‘go big or go home.’ So we’ll go big… by posting all the 2-ton and larger trucks we’ve found in the past year. Then we’ll go home… because it’s too freaking cold to hang out in a junkyard all day!
Under the touchscreen- is the lower left button misspelled ‘GAGES’???
Yep…GM thing I think. On my ’98 Cavalier, one of the warning lights read “Check Gages”
My Ford says the same thing “Check Gages” whenever something critical is happening.
I’ve noticed this somewhere once as well; thought it was an isolated typo. What’s the deal?? Maybe there was another company that managed to trademark the word “GAUGES” at some point? Or perhaps Ford and GM thought their customers would confuse “gauges” with “gouges” and expect there to be some kind of stabbing/eye-poking functionality that the car would carry out robotically?
That 66K mile 88 is the only one I’m shedding any tears over. That looks like a waste of a perfectly good car. The others, well . . . .
Me too – I’m just finishing up refreshing a 1988 Buick Park Avenue with 47K original miles for my friend’s mom – it was a one-owner, garaged car from an estate. I’ve been driving it to work the past few weeks to ensure that the intermittent no-start has been solved (think it was the original ignition coilpack module – fully encased in plastic, it just couldn’t dissipate the heat properly).
I still stand by my opinion that this generation of C and H-body GMs was one of the best-designed cars ever made by the General. The space utilization, visibility from the driver’s seat, and ease of maintenance are just not found in today’s vehicles. Plus, my MAB (middle-aged back) now fully appreciates the softer ride that just soaks up road imperfections, unlike most modern vehicles.
Looking at the Riviera and comparing it to the gorgeous 63 is like seeing a once beautiful actress in old age.What had they been taking at GM to allow this abomination to see the light of day?
Looking foreword to what you’ll show us next week with some of the commercial vehicles.
I’m thinking that low mile Olds was lightly wrecked by its original owner, and it get totaled. Or could be yet another, “lets just get rid of [late relative’s] ugly old car”.
And, around here, the ‘Deadly Sin’ 1986-91 E bodies are nearly extinct. Once in while see a Riv, but Toronados are gone.
Saw a base Toronado (non-Trofeo) of that vintage parked on a sidestreet some months back, looking thoroughly abused. Should have taken a picture!
I could almost see myself owning a loaded-up 86-89 Trofeo (as opposed to the much curvier 90-92) if the right one came along. Too bad one of those in reasonable condition has never presented itself.
The Riv, however… Much like their later brethren, they sound good on paper, but just one look at the shape of that body is all it takes to repel me.
“The Riv, however… Much like their later brethren, they sound good on paper, but just one look at the shape of that body is all it takes to repel me.”
90 Riviera owner chiming in. And that’s a shame you would put form over function. I never thought I would own a “baby Riv” as I was deeply into the 79-85 6th generations but one day I needed a set of cheap wheels and my 90 showed up on CL the night I was going to cave in and buy a 91 STS from the proverbial little old lady. The PO was surprised that somebody answered his ad so quick. It had some issues but I think that is the reason I picked it up. I was never one to pass up a challenge, especially since the seller was in a hurry and took my offer of half his asking price. 85K miles for under a grand. Some brake work. A quick charge of the AC and a set of barely used Monroe struts and shocks from the U-Pull-It and it was like driving a new 20 YO car. I’ve been saying this for a long time but I really need to get off my butt and submit a rebuttal for DS Numero Uno. BTW I do get admirers stopping me on the street to talk about the “baby Riv” they once owned. Not one of them ever thought they were buying an expensive Somerset and one even thought it was quite a steal back in 93.
And the Olds with 66K. You know if you look hard enough there are lots of low mile queens to be found. I know. I hit the boneyards every weekend looking for parts to perfect my Riv. Right now she is rolling on with injectors from a 56K example I found at U-Pull-It last year. Same situation. Looks like Grandmas Olds. Somebody snagged all of the sheet metal and the interior was so spotless you could have performed brain surgery in it. I’ve often said to myself, “why can’t I be sitting at the scale when people bring these gems in?” I would surely be glad to give them $100 over scrap. Seems like such a waste.
“but one day I needed a set of cheap wheels and my 90 showed up on CL”
I know how that goes. If you’d asked me a year ago whether I thought a FWD Olds 98 was in my future, I would have laughed. But that was before I found mine, rustless and with 94K miles, for $350. Sometimes the lucky find wins (even if it is purpleish-brown and has too many doors for my liking).
For a great many of the cars that show up at this yard, I wish I could have had a crack at them first. Even if I had to double their offer, some would be well worth it.
I actually like those Rivieras! I think the 1989-91’s are kinda cool, considering the previous ones from 86-88 were horrific. I knew several people that owned them (89-91) and they all loved them.
That Riviera is an ’89 (only year with the longer body and the touchscreen.) I had one for four years, exactly like this junker but in rosewood with a vinyl landau top. Don’t be hating on that car. Mine was, for the most part, a good set of wheels.
Bought in ’94 when I was 23, with about 95K on the clock. Cost me $7700, which I’m guessing was some pretty steep depreciation from new. After I moved out of exurban Milwaukee to take a job in Madison in early ’95, I still had to finish school in Milwaukee. Drove that car between the two cities twice a week for classes for several months. Was a terrific set of wheels, and I enjoyed the luxury. It was also the first car I’d ever owned with antilock brakes, which I loved, and they were reliable for me.
By 1998 the car had 205K, and though it still ran like new (3800 V6 and the GM 4-speed) the electrical toys were starting to get tired. The car had never had decent brakes (though that was my fault, being young and broke) and I was tired of swapping out the touchscreen. It wasn’t very reliable; I had to replace it twice at $400 per. But for all that, the only time it left me walking was the day the alternator seized.
So I got tired of it, and needed a little better fuel economy for a long commute. Got $1200 in trade for it on a ’97 Sunfire, which was less of a step down in luxury than you’d think (it had everything the Riv had except the Buick ride, and the leather seats and touchscreen which I didn’t miss) and was absolutely bulletproof. Still wish I could get behind the wheel of an ’89 Riv again, if only for one day. Not sure I’d want to own one though. I think parts for the antilock brake system in that car are unobtainium nowadays. Too bad.
The longer Rivieras were pretty nice, a quick work around to make the stubby looking 1986 version better looking, and consumers responded, they increased Riviera sales by a ton, though they never returned to their 1979-1985 peak, the 1989 cars design should have been released as the 1986. The car in the junkyard photos still looks pretty clean, with a nice looking leather seats, plus a moonroof too!
I remember falling in love with a dark red on dark red 1989 Riviera that was fully loaded with the Gran Touring suspension and moonroof, later I almost bought a really clean low mile, trip white 1991 with the conventional dash.
Well I’m glad you all had good luck with your Rivieras. My ’86 was the worst POS I ever owned. I have never again bought another new GM
Actually, I never bought either one, just day dreamed about buying one.
I remember back in the day pulling into a parking space next to a brand new Riviera and seeing the splash screen display Riviera when the owner started the car. I still remember how cool that was.
I think that the deadliest of GM’s deadly sins is the spelling of “gages”
According to my dictionary, that is an acceptable alternate spelling – in machine tool lingo, it’s typical to see it spelled this way.
Keep in mind that this is from the very same GM who decided that it was in their own best interest to spell ’employee’ with only one ‘e’ on the end – some bean-counter ages ago determined how much money they could save by not having secretaries type this extra letter countless times every year.
I still recall the first time in 1984 that I saw the sign at Delco Electronics that said ‘Employe Relations’ and wondered “What the heck?” and had to ask somebody what the deal was.
It seems like 80’s-early 90’s FWD GM cars such as the 88, Sunbird, and Riviera are quickly becoming forgotten and are not fondly remembered or desired by anyone outside of CC. Most of the ones I still see around here are either terribly beaten and driven by college kids and people from the lower income neighborhoods or pristine and driven by 90 year olds. Also, I don’t think I’ve met a person who has ever admitted to owning one.
Good riddance to all of them
I own a 1993 Riviera , blue over blue leather (same color as the junked car), use it as summer car, ( I live in Quebec, Canada), over 130 Thousand miles on this car, I bought it from the first owner.
very reliable, rides like a dream , descent gas consumption for its power,
low slung, and good handling, enough power to do a fast take-off at red lights and leave Camcords behind ,
No torque-steer , no body roll , no nose dive, you never notice the car is a FWD.
This car is the very definition of Grand Tourer,
GM Deadliest sin? yes of course it is!
Better to be with a lovely sinner in the Hell than a bland ugly good-doer in Paradise.
It’s interesting to me that without a title there is no mechanism to register it, but the junkyard and/or crusher will let you take it there, pay you for it, and eventually crush it. What stops people (besides ethics/morals/values of course) from just hauling any old Curbside Classic that they see parked on a corner to the junkyard for cash? Beats stripping copper wire out of an abandoned house… Here you need a title to crush it. Or you can have it towed away as an abandoned car but you won’t get money for it.
That’s been a problem around here, especially up until few years ago. The TV news was constantly fretting about “rogue tow operators” who’d crush your car for a quick buck before you even noticed it was gone.
As a result, 99% of recyclers began requiring (on the state’s recommendation) that you produce an ID when junking a car. A photocopy of your ID, along with the vehicle’s VIN, are then kept on file.
Many went even further, requiring a title to crush any whole car (and from a liability standpoint, who could blame them?).
No title? Better whip out the Sawz-All, ’cause you’re not crushing 50% or more of that car in any one given load. As in your area, those yards will try to tell you that your only legal option is to call law enforcement for a free pick-up.
Fortunately for me, only two out of six local yards are title sticklers. The other four are happy to accept a bill of sale with a photocopy of my ID attached. Better still, the one I use most often keeps my info on file, so things go that much quicker.
But I do always insist on a bill of sale whenever I buy a title-less wreck for parts. Never know when you might need it to prove your innocence…
I like the color of that Cutlass. That Olds 88 would still be on the road here, I think. People here appreciate a good late 80s – early 90s GM offering, as evidenced by all the square Cavaliers, Cutlasses and Sunbirds still puttering around.
It’s hilarious to see in the Sunbird a tachometer with the redline at 12 o’clock, racing style, and an 80mph speedometer.
It’s hilarious to see in the Sunbird …80mph speedometer.
iirc, that was part of the national 55mph speed limit, that we didn’t get rid of until 96 or 97. Required max of 85, with 55mph highlighted. And the Sunbird’s speedo has a yellow line at 55, while all the other marks are white.
I read somewhere that there is a psychological thing at play that people are comfortable with a gauge reading a bit above half scale. Hence a wheezing little subcompact, in the days before the double nickel, with a speedo that goes to 120, so that 70 is a little above half scale, and an early 90s V8 Mustang that only reads to 85, so the double nickel is in the same position on the scale.
I think that the 85mph speedo rule ended before the 55mph speed limit did.
I think that the 85mph speedo rule ended before the 55mph speed limit did.
According to the Wiki article, the NHTSA proposed eliminating the speedo rule in late 81. The national speed limit was raised on a few highways to 65 in 87 and 88. The double nickel was repealed nationally in 95.
Apparently, the beancounters at GM figured, having spent the money to print 85mph speedos, didn’t want to spend the money to print 120s until the car was restyled and they were compelled to print different speedos.
At my job a young man drives that exact Cutlass. I park next to it almost every day. He has kept it in decent condition so far, as it was near mint when he first got it. I’ve noticed a few dings and dents but at least he keeps it clean and seems to be enjoying it. I feel bad for the many cars that are kept in such great condition by the original owner only to be trashed by the new owner that doesn’t appreciate what they have.
I recently picked up a 2000 Accord EX that was a one owner car – an older couple from my town owned it – and it is absolutely like new. I feel like a million bucks driving a $3500 car that looks as good as the day it was made. It drives great, and if it needs a repair I simply fix it and move on. I don’t have to pay property taxes on it because it is so old and my insurance is very cheap due to its age. It consistently gets 26 mpg and everyone thinks it is much newer than it actually is. I feel glad that I can continue to enjoy a car that someone kept so nice for 14 years.
I scrapped a early 80’s chev van a few weeks back. It was missing its transmission and most of the floor around the doghouse but the back was stuffed full with 20 of those old frigidair water coolers from the late 70’s. It weighed 4500lbs and netted me $320 and I get dealer prices as scrap is a huge part of running a tow company(my brother is the owner) the price difference here in eastern canukistan is nuts and is probably because the closest shredder is in Montreal and the cars get cubed and packed on a trailer and sent there. Supposedly this will change this summer when the local scrap yard gets a new shredder.