Junkyard Outtakes: Got Leverage?

I went to the Pull Your Own Part boneyard the other day and saw this blatant violation of the mechanic’s code. Most of us have heard the admonition not to use “cheater” bars, hence the term. They put quantities of force on tools that weren’t designed to withstand it. Just use the right tool for the job and you won’t need to cheat. But let’s admit it: we’ve all used them for that nut or whatever that just won’t budge.


Well, these guys have taken cheating to a whole new level. This is by far the longest bar I’ve ever seen deployed! I’m impressed and I’ll bet they got the nut loose (if they didn’t break the tire iron).

I also saw a few interesting vehicles there in the GM section.


This is the 1994 Buick Roadmaster sedan I went there to get parts off of, for my 96 Roadmaster wagon. And what did I see parked next to it?


Why, it’s a 1984 Pontiac Fiero, a car I haven’t seen on a street or even in a junkyard in quite a while. 1984 was, of course, the first year for Pontiac’s sporty commuter car and also the year of the car’s highest production. Those old enough to remember may recall the Fiero was a bit of a sensation at its debut, before people realized that the car Pontiac built was not very exciting performance-wise or even particularly functional.



This car has the 2.5L “Tech IV” fuel injected inline 4, since that was the only engine offered in the Fiero’s debut year, as well as the standard 4 speed manual transmission. The engine was the same one as the base engine in cars like the Phoenix and the 6000, making all of 92 h.p. At least the Fiero was the lightest vehicle with this engine, but it was no speedy performance car. Power would improve significantly for 1985 with the addition of an optional 130 h.p. 2.8L V6, but sales dropped by almost half and never approached 1984 levels again.

The Fiero is the poster child for GM’s habit in this era of introducing underdeveloped cars, gradually improving them, then cancelling them once they have finally reached an acceptable level of refinement or performance. Fiero famously gained a cool new Formula model, much improved 5-speed transmission and completely redesigned suspension for 1988, it’s final and least prolific year.

I think it was a disservice to this car for it to end up here in a general u-pull-it yard. It would have been better for it to be in a specialized collector car salvage yard where people looking for Fiero parts would be more likely to find it. Apart from the hood and rear wheels, there wasn’t much missing from the car.

I was looking for LT1 engine parts. When I spotted this Firebird, I figured it would be a V6, but lo and behold it was a Formula! If you know F cars at all, you’ll recall that Pontiac offered something for everyone. Trans Ams had ground effects, a large spoiler, scoops and backed it up with powerful V8’s. If you didn’t want all the macho flash, but you did want the performance, Pontiac offered the Formula. It had the exact same mechanicals as the Trans Am, but looked just like a base model except for the subtle “Formula” script on the doors. This one sports aftermarket wheels. Just to have everyone covered, in this era Pontiac also offered the Trans Am’s visual effects on the V6 model, for those (poseurs) that wanted the image without the performance (or cost).

I used to own a 99 Formula, which had the early LS1 and a 6 speed. This 94 had the LT1 and automatic, with the engine being surprisingly unmolested. As least it was until I came along and molested it a bit. Though certainly tired looking, it didn’t look too thrashed, so it must have suffered catastrophic engine or transmission failure to have ended up here. Sad!