Last year, I featured “CC’s Western Wall” that I also call The Wall of Cars, my nickname for a scrapyard in Laramie, WY that had a huge wall/pile of cars that went on and on. While they’ve started whittling away at part of it, I noticed they got a bunch of obviously new additions so I stopped and took a look yesterday on my way home from there.
They don’t seem to have a fence (or it’s buried under the cars) but the chunk of land between The Wall and the railroad tracks seems to be a non-signposted no-man’s-land that this new batch sits upon. Most importantly for me, there are no signs forbidding access. I drove right on up and since it was cold just rolled down my window with the heater on full blast, snapped the pictures, and got back on the road. Most of them superficially seem more or less OK, but that’s the case with many of the cars at this place, not every one is horribly wrecked etc.
So that’ll make a fine question for today – which one of these would YOU take home and use after you fix it? And why over the others? The first contender is possibly the most CC-worthy, obviously an AMC Eagle. Resplendent in wood paneling and lots of chrome trim, these seem to be on the verge (verge!) of becoming sort of collectible.
Perhaps though you’ve lusted for something more genteel, perhaps for this Mercury Mystique GS, that tweener-sized twin to the Ford Contour that was somehow both too Euro but not Euro enough, and in any case way too expensive to replace the Tempo/Topaz without bumping up into the Taurus class. Nevertheless, FoMoCo seemed to sell a bunch of them (as well as several more bunches to Hertz), but I can’t recall the last time I saw one of the Mercury ones rolling around. You could be that guy or gal!
Pushed up hard against the Mystique I was surprised to see a Buick Park Avenue. I quite like these, even if this doesn’t appear to be a supercharged Ultra version. With 3800 V6 power, a very comfortable interior, and some of Buick’s finest build quality, these were surprisingly common in the Bay Area when I still lived there. Out here though? Quite a rarity. I wonder what went wrong with it to end up here, although this part of the country sees some very high annual mileages.
Mercedes-Benz E-320 wagon. It is a 4-Matic and it appears to have California plates (rear visible in next pic). I really wonder what wheels were on this one to cause them to disappear. Perhaps it merely had good tires, who knows. Anyway, now flopped unceremoniously in the snow it no longer has quite the presence it would have had on the dealership floor when new. This generation wasn’t nearly as beloved as its W124 predecessor generation but still sold in respectable numbers, and the E-class wagon supposedly has the highest average income demographic of all of Mercedes’ lines. There’s probably some wheels that’d fit in the stack o’iron behind it and they’ll use the forklift to heft it off the ground. Easy peasy.
Yes, I know, heresy; Civics supposedly last forever and don’t wear out. Well, this one seems to have had a few hits in front on its way here and who knows what else. It’s still not a bad-looking car and while some may call it bland, others may simply prefer its non-shouty nature. Fix that one thing, whatever it is, and it’ll possibly never need anything else.
Oy, a Chevy Venture, as unbeloved a minivan as is possible. Sold on price, driven hard, put away wet, and eventually junked. I can’t say I was ever a huge fan although they are more attractive than the preceding Lumina version. And more attractive than the successor Uplander version that tried to look like an SUV. Changing the name always seems like an admission that something wasn’t well regarded, right? Anyway, between this, the Lumina and the Uplander, I guess that makes this the most attractive FWD Chevy minivan ever made then…although I still prefer the RWD/AWD Astro, even though it’s supposedly an even bigger deathtrap than these U-bodies in a frontal collision.
Someone managed to make that most Euro-flavored of Cadillacs ugly with those chrome fender trims, they go oh-so-well with the blacked out window trim. This generation Seville is, to me, the single most attractive shape that Cadillac built between oh, 1975 and today. It has presence, doesn’t look cheesy, isn’t trying too hard, and looks comfortable in its own skin. This is a Cadillac I may have bought once upon a time. (But OK, I probably would have bought the Audi instead as I re-read this. Still, if I had to pick a Caddy, this would be the one, just for the styling).
How fitting that right in front of the Cadillac Seville is a Lincoln LS. These are pretty rare around here, but obviously have their fans too. Edward Snitkoff would pick this over the Seville I’m pretty sure, but Brendan Saur wouldn’t be caught dead in it. For him there’s an old P38 Range Rover around the front of the place but I didn’t get a picture. Seen one Range Rover not running by the side of the road, seen them all…
Chevy S-10’s are like cockroaches too, just when you think you’ve seen the last of them, another pops up. This one seems to have led a pretty hard life but still has bumpers on both ends. Four wheels, enough lugnuts to hold them more or less on, and it’ll probably fire right up. Remember, it’s a Chevy, it’ll run poorly for longer than most others will run at all.
My PhD candidate tenant has one of these (festooned with bumper stickers on the tailgate), for a minute I thought this might be his but no it isn’t. Volvo XC70 Cross Countrys seem to outlast Audi Allroads but eventually the added complexity catches up with them as well, not really a surprise to see one here. The front end damage likely caused it to end up here, although I think the transmissions are in general more the 70-series’ Achilles Heel. The seats in these were excellent from what I recall, and this one still looks fairly modern. Which of course it is, although the oldest of them are now almost twenty years old, hard to believe.
And hard up against it, parked Parisian style, is one from the prior generation. Again with great seats and a very comfortable dynamic, these (and the newer one) were very popular here in the Rockies.
And then right next to the older Volvo XC70 is the grand-daddy of the segment, an early Subaru Outback. It’s hard to overstate just how popular these still are around here, even though most are total beaters by now. Still, they all seem to have well over 200k miles on them, and still seem to chug around town just fine, no matter how many times the head gaskets will have been changed by now (Or maybe just once with a better design/version to give them the fountain of youth?)
One of the few in this assortment with actual serious visible damage and deployed airbags, no surprise why this is here (for now). Is this the 4Runner’s greatest generation, I like to think so, the looks were just right, the 3.4 V6 had enough power and the interior was an attractive and comfortable place to be. A couple of years ago I think this one would still have been put back together by someone but eventually these get too old as well I suppose. But perhaps Gtemnykh and his brother would try?
The first generation unibody Grand Cherokee was everywhere back in the day too, now they are dropping off as well.
If you go back to the prior picture you will see that someone actually replaced the back plastic tailgate panel that ALWAYS is cracked on every one of these. And it still looks intact but being the wrong color looks even worse than with the crack. Sheesh.
My in-laws bought one of this generation Explorer (a 2002 I believe) new but in RWD, my sister-in-law still drives it around Santa Monica; I remember when my FIL told me he got it for $18,000 out the door, an absolute base model though with presumably less to go wrong. This one here looks like the opposite end of the spectrum, a fairly gussied up example. Not unattractive, but this generation was definitely on the downside of the BOF Explorer’s popularity curve.
Mr Shafer, all I can say is that at least the one in your driveway is white and not whatever color they call this one. And yours is in fantastic condition. I’ll let you and Mr. “ClubWagon” Cavanaugh debate and fight over this one. I just…can’t.
The high point of this little Focus sedan is probably the door handles, they felt good and solid as I recall from whenever I drove my mother’s hatchback ZX3 version. Overall this is a much better “Euro”-Ford than the Contour/Mystique we saw towards the beginning, but Europe never bought as many Foci in sedan form as we did. If it was a wagon or a hatch it’d be much higher on my own personal hit-parade, but DougD probably still has some spare parts that’d fit this in his garage.
The Impreza-based Outback Sport was never really that popular for some reason, although it looks decent to me. This is sort of like today’s XV Crosstrek I suppose although that one is selling like the dickens. With minor front end damage this one must have massive mileage to not be salvageable before getting here. That’s a minor but scary-ish hit, these are all on the Takata recall list. It’s a good, if rare, color too.
This mid-2000’s Toyota Sienna in a great dark blue color with some weird front end damage (paint?) makes it looks uncomfortably like my own fire-victim Sienna from back in the day post-fire. Now fondly remembered by me, these seem rare to see junked (although they obviously do get junked). With a willing 3.3 V6 (later a 3.5) they are quite a lot faster than many thought and a great option for seeing the country or just tootling around town. All this one (as well as the others) sees now is the train on one side and its dismal future on the other, sadly…So consider these choices and answer the question – Which one would you take and why over the others?