(first posted 10/13/2011) I hate shopping. One of the few consolations is to check out the cars in the parking lot, and WallyWorld is pretty much tops in that category. Well, that and people watching. But I leave shooting the people of WalMart to others, and they do it justice. Anyway, this isn’t the first Wal Mart Concours; but the last one was almost two years ago. So I thought I’d cruise the lot to see what’s worth shooting. Nothing earth shattering, but a fairly eclectic collection. I didn’t exactly shoot every older car, because that would have meant a substantial majority of the whole lot. But here’s what was worth spending the energy on, starting with this fine (and rare) example of a Plymouth Arrow pickup, with the SPORT decor stripe option, no less.
This is the only one that gets two shots. Yes, it would be good to be able to tell folks you drive a Plymouth pickup when being asked about your ride.
The rest will be shown in the random order as they were shot. This one’s not that old, but I know there’s a few fans of these hereabouts.
The thrifty show up in not just any old Civic, but a 1300 FE 5 speed, the EPA Queen of its time.
Here is a serious lust object. I’ll let you guess which one.
But lust is a fleeting phenomena, especially when confronted with this.
Now this is a bit out of character, not only for WalMart. but Eugene in general.
There’s so many of these, so this will serve as the token for the whole bunch.
And these will stand in for all the Civics. That sedan is my favorite vintage of them.
No parking lot in Eugene can be without one representative of its official car.
This Cressida is old enough to make the cut.
These are getting a bit rare. I couldn’t conjure one up for the CC Complete Cutlass Chronicles; I should have just come here.
We’re so overdue on a CC on this. Well, that goes for quite a few others here too.
This threesome evokes another era.
That can obviously be said for all of them, including this contrasting pair.
And this one evokes an era we’d rather X out. Given how many Skylarks of this kind are still doing the shopping around town, these later ones seem to be more akin to the A-Body roaches that are everywhere.
There were several of them here, but I’m only showing one. I suspect many of these are former rentals that found there way here.
Can’t kill these either.
No self-respecting Wal Mart lot would be complete without one of these.
As tough as they are, these old Four Runners are getting a bit rare, thanks to the youthful hands they usually end up in. This one is the exception.
Speaking of tough old trucks, look what pulled into the handicapped space while I was inside. Well, it probably is a veteran of a war, although it looks pretty able-bodied. And as I walked out with my package, a fine ’53 Chevy rolled by the front door. By the time I put down my package, and fished around for my camera, it was too far gone.
We just did it, but this one may well still have its original motor.
Here’s a flash from the past. A fair number of J cars are still around.
A couple of oldies with a semi-oldie.
Laurence, one of your favorites is here; slightly worse for wear.
Someone loves their Prelude.
This is a bit different: an old Subaru hatchback turned into a Brat clone; or?
Congratulations to Tom Klockau for guessing this one from the Clue.
I got what what I came for, and then some. Now which one is mine?
I am going to guess that you drive the modern toaster, not the classic toaster…
Wow… That J2000, haven’t seen one of those in a long time, but once upon a time they were everywhere.
What’s so mind boggling about certain cars like the J is just how incredibly ugly they were. They really didn’t have a good side to them at all, and that goes for all FIVE versions. Add in the fact that they were pretty unreliable for the first few years with those anemic, buzzy engines, and it’s amazing GM sold as many as it did. Well, they were still at 45% market share then, so many people were still true believers.
Anyway, that is one damn depressing car!
J cars were not only incredibly ugly, the were also incredibly crappy, which accounts for how few of them are around these days.
And to think they were still selling them more or less unchanged through 1994 (when just about every competitor on the market would have wiped the floor with a Sunbird)…ugh!
I saw a mint J Holden Camira a week ago first one in ages but there are a lot of the Daewoo versions still circulating.
A Camira? I haven’t seen one for a couple of years here – and we built the things!
Not the one I saw Ol Pete it was a Holden Camira but the rebdged for NZ Isuzu Aska variety they were awful.
Also about as S L O W as an early 1960’s 4 cyl PowerGlide Chevy II station wagon.
You wouldn’t see half of these in the northeast. I can’t remember the last time I saw a J or X car on the road (good thing too). The older Hondas, Toyotas and Subarus rusted into oblivion long ago, too. And a Plymouth Arrow pickup! They were rare when new.
In a grand coincidence, I had a pristine Skylark X body sedan go through an intersection in front of me today. Plainly a current or former little old lady car. It was even that awful light yellow with the dark brown vinyl top.
We’re in a similar predicament here…..Winnipeg, the center of Canada, with punishing -30 to -40 winters and HARSH road salts that eat away at cars. I was marveling in Paul’s diversity in his local WalMart parking lot, but we honestly do not have even a fraction of those older cars kicking around. You’re lucky to see the occasional Cavalier, and that’s pretty much it. Though, today, I saw a 89-93 Thunderbird LX that was in pretty good condition, but the last time that I saw one of those was in March or April of last year and they don’t come around often.
Wow! I haven’t seen a Mk. 1 Honda Prelude since Mitch McConnell was knee high to a filibuster! Love the Cressida, too. I have a thing for those big Japanese sedans with a straight six. Oh, and the Chevy B body as well.
“And this one evokes an era we’d rather X out. Given how many Skylarks of this kind are still doing the shopping around town, these later ones seem to be more akin to the A-Body roaches that are everywhere.”
You used the term “roach”. I believe you may owe Geozinger a beer for copyright infringement, part of his quote “Cockroach of the Road”© referring to Cavaliers, Cobalts and possibly in the future, Cruzes! I owe him at least a couple.
Is that Army truck the same one repainted with the “Bob” Dobbs moniker on the doors from over a year ago?
You’re right, I do owe him one. But he needs to come get it here.
I’m pretty sure that’s not the same Army truck, because I still see it around too.
LOL, guys… Since I was a young boy reading Hot Rod magazine, I’ve always wanted to go to SoCal just to observe the car culture there. But slowly, Paul is slowly changing my mind about where I should go to see car culture…
Oh, and to be clear: the original “Cockroach of the Road” really was a Citation; just as they were devoured by the road salt, the default GM/Chevy small car became the Cavalier and it inherited the title.
Although, when I was down south, any number of Camrys, Altimas or Corollas could have inherited the title…
Having just returned from SoCal a couple of weeks ago, and spending a few earlier trips out there, I’m not sure if the Beach Boys image of California ever really existed, at least past the early 1970’s, when I lived out there in the air force. The beaches are still cool and the Pacific ocean is still ice cold, however!
The Pacific gets up to the low 70’s F in Los Angeles and upper 70’s F in San Diego. From San Francisco north it’s around 50F all the time.
The original Cockroach car was probably the Datsun B210, which Car and Driver dubbed the “atomic cockroach” in their road test.
My mother in law to be had one of these when I met my wife, to this day we joke about that car. Everyone except Ma in Law dubbed it “The Roach”, she thought it was sporty (still does). It was POS right from the start.
BUT THOSE WHEEL COVERS! Which I’m sure were copied from some Italian supercar but I’ve never figured out which one.
You guys would cringe at some of the ads from people selling their expensively imported X cars in NZ I read the ads and think of all the kind words posted here and laugh why would you mail an X car all the way across the Pacific instead of a Mustang Firebird or Camaro what were you thinking?
That Arrow truck is fantastic. There is a few of that era around here but I don’t think I’ve seen the Plymouth version in a long time. That first generation Prelude looks to be a real cherry.
The Arrow is by and large my favorite as well…I can’t imagine how many of those they sold new.
Plymouth did carry equivalents for much of the Dodge truck lineup (full-size pickups excluded) at one time. At a recent car show, I had the good fortune of seeing a clean one-year-only Scamp pickup (Rampage), along with a mildly customized 1975 Voyager van (Sportsman). I’m still looking for a Trailduster (Ramcharger) in the flesh, though.
X-bodies did not last long here. Our neighbors across the street had a yellow Citation 4-door in the mid-to-late 80s, and it was already a rustbucket. They also had a brown 1977 Caprice Estate with the wood sides, and it still looked good even though it was older than the Citation. Years later, they actually won a 1996 Sebring convertible in a raffle. The neighbor next to them had a cream 1977 Caprice Estate in mint condition. Those two Caprices were always parked in front of each other on my street. And in about 1995 or so, another neighbor got a light tan 1977 Caprice sedan as a work car. So I remember those Caprices very well!
Back in the early 80s we had a family friend that WON a cavalier wagon in a raffle of all things!!!! Can you imagine your colossally crappy luck??? You never won anything and when FINALLY, your ship comes it it’s dressed as a cavalier….
Don’t tell me – second prize was two Cavaliers!
Eugene reminds me of Pottsville (and surrounding towns) PA, which I go to annually in the summer. Just a lot of well-preserved older vehicles, and some classics. And yes, parking lots are museum-like. Never have I seen a parking lot like this in the Midwest.
Every time I go to that town it’s like I’m in another era. I don’t know what it is about the folks there keeping up with their cars better, but to see a 2005 and newer is an exception, not a rule. 90s rule those streets, and 80s and 70s are still alive and very much around. Just like the houses and buildings.
Unfortunately, I live in the yuppieville. Yawn.
Nice pics as always!
I’ve never seen one of those Preludes in real life – the clue, to me, looked just like an extended K-Car.
Anyway, interesting finds, Paul. It all looks rust free, unlike in the Northeast!
Well I know Paul would lust over that later E320 Estate, as I have often before. Although I wish the 4.2 V8 was offered in those/wonder the reason why they weren’t.
If I had to choose my 3 from the lot it would be that Eighty Eight LSS second in, The E320 Wagon and the earlier FWD C body Ninety EIght.
You know, I’m looking at the Eighty Eight, and I’m thinking it’s actually a late 90’s Regency, seeing how it’s got the 92-95 tail lights and the Ninety Eight’s grille. After Olds discontinued the Ninety Eight, they decided to reuse the interior and grille, and create the 1997-99 Oldsmobile Regency.
I think you’re right, it is a Regency. The 1994-95 Eighty Eights had that grille, but it was body color. Regencys had the Ninety Eight alloys too, though I think the aftermarket wheels on this one look pretty good.
Scratch that then, If my dads Eighty Eight LS is any indication, that Regency rides straight up B-Boat nautical. LSS or nothing.
“No parking lot in Eugene can be without one representative of its official car.” Even though this one has Utah plates…probably someone from there going to U of O.
Hey, I think I should at least get half marks for identifying #2 as a Brat, which as far as I can tell is the same as the Brumby! 🙂
I have to go with local brand names like the Mitsi sport ute.I went off the Brumby roof profile even though the tailamps were wrong
Id love to read your take on the Aussie Crapi Paul it was a dark era for Ford Australia and that reskin of the Mazda cabriolet was just the icing on the cake. Ford had 4 ad slots per hour at one point hiring to build those things but I was living on the wrong side of Melbourne at the time or I might have fronted up.
Paul, please tell me you got more pics of that Skylark! It looks to be a 1985 model, which was the last year for them, and the same year as the one I had as my first car.
X-Skylarks and Mystiques, yes, I have strange taste 😛
The sheer quantity and variety of older cars still in use is quite surprising to me. These pictures remind me of visits to my wife’s sister in Santa Cruz. I could not imagine seeing this much old iron in one parking lot here in greater Boston; too much has rusted away.
The later Olds regency is a rare car I had forgotten about. I can’t see a Delta 88 without thinking of Dick Van Pattan.
I can assure you, the Cars I see in my part of Southern California, specifically the North part of the San Fernando Valley are all over the map… Many survivors, restored vehicles of all makes and years.
People who take pride in whatever they have fixed up to its former splendor. I’ve often wondered about having a “Seen in Southern California ” section on curbside classics, or other various locales that are inherently rich in older survivors & classics, many still enjoyed as working daily drivers.
Some very cool stuff there Paul!
My parents had a 1983 Buick Skylark with the 2800 V6 and auto. As X body cars go, theirs was OK and the same mechanically,for the most part for my Dad’s ’83 Citation that he bought used in 1987 to you guessed it, replace the Skylark! Not intended to be that way, but he felt the Skylark to fancy for him after they’d bought a 2 YO Honda Accord SE-I, their first Honda since the ’76 Accord they bought new. So he went to the GSA Gov’t fleet auction and found a blue 5 door Citation with the same drive train as the Skylark, with AC and AM radio no less and that’s what he drove. I have to agree, they ARE roach mobiles as I still see them in various stages of condition and mostly the Citation, Skylark and Phoenix. He’d drive that old Citation for 10 years before giving it to my oldest sister when she and her second husband moved out here and needed a car. They drove it for oh, 2 years or so more before donating it and replacing it with an ’88 Dodge Caravan.
I’ve always loved the old Pontiac J 2000 hatchbacks the best of all the J car iterations, especially with that early soft nosed front end and rear and I’ll have mine in red thankyouverymuch. Sadly, they were rare as dirt back then even though it WAS seen in the other body styles most often.
I almost never see the first gen Preludes anymore, even here in Seattle, but I still see plenty of the 2nd gen Civics and up though. I had the 83 1500DX hatch version of that car so it had the rear window defogger, rear wiper/washer, AC and an AM/FM mono radio and had the 5spd manual and was fun than a barrel of Monkeys with all of 67HP! I owned that thing from ’92-98 and put some 70K on it too.
As for later Civic hatchbacks, I think the 93-96 split tailgate hatchbacks were my faves.
Adding my Regal and a 81 buick Electra, I also own two 1st Gen 4Runner, one used as winter beater, the other one used as trail and comute truck..
As for the lust object in picture 5, I’d pick the Toyota Camry at right, a ’95 or ’96 given the taillights not being full-width those years. I was more into the Mercury Cougar of all (left), but not if gas was too pricey for me. Pass on the wagon in the middle (just not into Mercedes, even tho early ’00s small 4-cyl sedans got my attention).
In the next picture (6), the Mercury Topaz, I really liked that car even better than perhaps the more popular lookalike Ford Tempo (maybe the Tempos sold more then). I changed my mind though, when I sat in the back seat of one that belonged to a college friend. Just hated how the seat-back curved under my shoulders. I felt too tall as a result.
I had fun looking and chiming in here. Thanks; I look forward to more.
Most of these cars are long gone in Chicagoland. Not only from salt/rust, but just the hard core city streets too!
There are a lot of bloated older, aging chassis and bodies needing work moving around Wal-Mart parking lots. But they also enter and exit the interior of the store as well.
Some are newer models that have been poorly maintained and abused, often sporting graffiti that cannot be easily removed.
That old Nillsson Tune “Me and my Arrow” goes on in my head when I see these. Oblio didn’t have a point, or was it Arrow? Coincidentally, I am looking to get an early ’90’s SL.
Wow, a Topaz, and the obscure LTS version. We had the identical car in the family, but it was a GS with the Max Edition package. That gave the buyer the blackout trim, two tone paint, luggage rack, and the wheels (shared with the Capri) of the LTS on the standard GS. It was purchased at the long-closed Fore River Lincoln-Mercury in Quincy, MA. I can still hear that 2.3 roaring at 3500 rpm in third gear cruising at 65 mph….
The Wal-Marts I “visit” here in northern Florida are heavily populated with near new Japanese sedans and minivans, along with domestic and Asian SUVs.
BTW, my local Craigslist has 1 or 2 of those FWD Capris for sale every now and then, no one ever seems to sell them though. And there are also 1 or 2 Cutlass Supreme….CONVERTIBLES the same generation as the 1 pictured, that show up on Craigslist. Those never seem to sell either.
Many years ago (ca 1992) a co-worker owned one of the FWD Capri convertibles. It was referred to by almost everyone in the office as the “Barbie Car”.
The Wal-Marts here, or at least the one closest to my house, is mostly populated by aging 4WD pickups and very used full-size vans. These seem to be driven by large families from the hinterlands making their weekly trip to the “city”.
I think I’ve told the story here before of the Walmart in Porter, TX. It straddles (and attracts its customers from) two wildly different demographics – the upper-middle to wealthy planned community of Kingwood just to the south, and the very redneck towns of New Caney, Splendora and Patton Village just to the north. I’ll never forget the Saturday morning some 15 years ago when I saw a brand new black SL600 parked beside a beat up F-150. The Ford’s tailgate was replaced by a sheet of plywood with F O R D spray painted on it!
Great post. We had a few Arrow trucks (Mitsubishi’s) in our USAF fleet in the 80s – like their Toyota and Nissan cousins, they were tough trucks, able to endure all the abuse young 20 year old GI’s could dish out.
I just love vintage military vehicles. How cool is to have that bad ass truck as a daily driver?!
That grille on the Plymouth Arrow pickup is an exact duplicate of a 1978 Chevy Impala
Years ago, a girl in the office has a Red Nissan like picture #15. She later married a dentist and the first thing jettisoned was the Nissan for a Olds 98. As time went on, I moved to a different office.
However, I did learn that the dental practice went bankrupt and she divorced, and she ended up with a Corolla like picture #8.
She did like red cars…
Wish cars on the east coast lasted this long…if you do happen to see a 20 year old vehicle here, it’s body is normally mostly rusted and is well used up..
Beautiful 1981 Cressida. Our family’s Northeast 1982 model looked at lot like that back in…1988. Incredible how long cars last in the Pac NW.
Did all of those Plymouth Arrow/Dodge D50 pickups have that color and stripe? It’s a close match for the truck our neighbor in Beaverton was driving in 1995.
There were no more than 2 or 3 colors per trim level and year. That may have been the case for all Japanese makes, but with the Mitsubishi-built models Chrysler was upfront about it with detailed color charts in the brochure;
Must be demographics. Our Walmart here in Tigard is always chock full of very late model SUV’s, Benz’s, Lexus etc… Rare is the beaters here.
Most of these were survivors, not beaters.
That is, unless you’re a classist pig who thinks anyone driving an old car that isn’t Mecum/Barrett Jackson bait is poor.
considering Beaverton and Tigard real estate prices, I’m not surprised, either that or you’re getting overflow from Costco
Sorry if this ruffles a few feathers but, if you can get up into a vintage Dodge Power Wagon, work the manual steering, manual brakes, endure the miserable rough ride with no air conditioning and work the manual transmission and clutch, you really have no right parking in a handicapped parking space.
I have very fond memories of a 1952 Dodge M37 Weapons carrier just like that except it had the hard to find ‘winter cab’ .
Talk about a tough truck .
Here we are years later and wally mart it still proving amusing vehicles and also the “wallymartians” of course .
I’m not classist, I no longer live at the far end of a dirt road but I’m still Blue Collar to me shoes, many if not most here are by most measures rich .
I don’t like rust ad mis matched paint because that’s all I had growing up .
I’m not embarrassed by that but I choose to not support it , my rigs have hard miles but I try to keep them clean, I wish (in one hand, in the other….so on and so forth) I could afford to repaint my 40 year old Mercedes taxi but can’t find an honest / competent body shop to save my life .
This car could easily be made to look decent if the owner took some time to strip the body before having a $500 respray done .
Single stage Acrylic paints forever ! .
BTW : does that mean I shouldn’t ever park my Motocycle in the handicap zone ? .
I don’t but occasionally wish I could, I’m not going to swap out the 40 year old original license tags…..
Be nice to older cripples, O.K. ? .