Just north of Los Angeles is Sun Valley, a parched, dusty wasteland of scrapyards of all sorts. I love it there. There's some great automotive and aerospace salvage yards, and if you don't mind dust and a hateful, determined sun, you can make some great finds. The other day I was in one of the foreign car junkyards— not a special one, just a good go-to pick-a-part place— and was pleased to see they've kept their Curio Wall.
I don't know if they call it that, but that's sort of what it is. It's like the scrapyard's mantlepiece, where the stuff too interesting just to get stuck in the yard is placed, for all to enjoy. So join me, gentle Jalops, on this guided tour of these fine, desiccated specimens. We're going to tour the wall from left to right, as it spans the junkyard, like it was a colossal line of text for us to read.
Unknown fiberglass kit car thing. Unlike most of the 70s-era kit cars (the era I believe this is from) this sleek, long-nosed almost-beauty seems to be built on a GM chassis of some kind. That proboscis is a bit much, but the side is sleek. Anyone know what this thing is?
Honda N600 Sedan. I always liked these little two-bangers. They were sort of like Japan's answer to the Mini, and as Honda's first non-sports car, was the Civic's ancestor. I never did understand why it wasn't a hatchback, though. Just an awkward little trunk.
Fiat Multipla. Man, I love these. These were sort of what the Microbus was to the Beetle, these were to the FIat 600. Fiat 600 rear with engine and back seat, with a boxy front grafted on, making a 6-seater in a truly tiny amount of space. You can tell this was one of the few true US-market ones by the extra-bulging headlights. This one seems pretty complete— a good candidate for restoration when I can borrow a helicopter to steal it.
1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle Made into a weird Hebmueller coupé. I like this one, as it's nice and bonkers. It's clearly a '74 Super Beetle (curved windshield, shock-mounted bumpers) but the choice to make it into a Hebmülller coupé is really bizzarre. The coupé was an incredibly rare prototype, and while there are replicas, almost nobody makes them out of such late Beetles. Especially Super Beetles. I'd love to know the story behind this one.
Yugo. A freaking Yugo. This isn't particularly weird, but it's a Yugo. When was the last time you saw one? I think someone's got great foresight storing a Yugo up here so future generations can appreciate it. Maybe some will pray to it? It'll be worth seeing.
1980 or 1981 Rover 3500. This was the US-market version of the Rover SD1, a pretty impressive and interesting car. I always thought of them as sort of a British Citröen, in a way. They only sold about 1200 of these things in the US, and I can't imagine there's more than a handful still around in the US.
Subaru 360. This looks like a late '60s one, most likely from the batch imported by Malcom Bricklin. I've driven one of these once; they're slow and light and lots of fun, in their way. This one looks like a giant had chewed on it for a little bit.
Something British. Austin? I feel like I should be able to ID this better; the front end looks a lot like the Black Cab Austins, but it's a sedan body. Someone must know this proper British car; school me, please. This thing is right on the tip of my brain.
That's wall one. There's a second wall, but we'll save it for later, because, come on, let's not be car-hulk gluttons.