Half-Price Day Junkyard Day

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Uttering the phrase half price anywhere near the word junkyard sends a couple of the Jalops driving with toolbox toward the self-service junkyard like so many moths to a streetlight on a summer night. One of the larger self-service yards in California had a statewide half price sale a while back and we were there in NoCal and SoCal. Bumbeck headed down out of the hills into hot and dusty Sun Valley while Martin ventured out onto the mean streets of Hayward from Alameda. Out of the thousands of cars being picked apart we've chosen ten that qualify to enter into the pantheon of Jalopnik half-price day junkyard specials. Our selections in blazing full color after the jump.

Ford Pinto


Ah, the Ford Pinto. After having successfully made it thorough the 12-step program for those that had to drive Pintos through their formative High School years, it always fills us with a combination of awe and revulsion whenever we see one of these compact hatches at the junkyard. This one had already given up its popular with the builder crowd rack-and-pinion front end, but had a fender already yanked and waiting for the lucky soul still driving a dented fender orange Pinto.

Chrysler Newport

Here's a '78 Chrysler Newport with a four-barrel 360. Someone's already yanked the carb, but everything else is still there. This engine choked out a miserable 170 horses in '78, but that's just because it suffers from 8.2:1 compression and other Malaise Era smoggitude; add the usual ingredients of aftermarket pistons, cam, and respiratory gear and you'd have an engine that would really wake up a Dart or Valiant. And, hey, '78 was the first year for the lockup-converter Torquflite.



Despite having made it through the Subway Series, this mighty Merkur had fallen. The Merkur was sold here in the states as a 2.3L turbo and intercooled Ford Sierra with another name. At first we were bummed that someone had swiped all the pocket parts emblems and badges. Sadness turned to joy as we found one of the Merkur emblems minutes later on the rear trunk lid of a Fiero. The obvious choice in parts with the Merkur is to yank the 2.3 turbo mill, intercooler and trans for your Mercury Bobcat wagon. Don't forget to roll over to the van section and grab a smoked bubble window for additional style points. Cherry pickers rent at an additional fee. [Tell me about it. Never lose you keys if you live on the 6th floor.— ed]

Cadillac DeVille


Ignore the Ford intake and all the pine needles cluttering up the view. That grungy engine reposing in this beat-to-shit '70 Cadillac DeVille is none other than the 375-horse 472, a forged-crank monster that doesn't weigh much more than a small-block Chevy, fits easily in GM A-bodies, and has a fair selection of aftermarket performance goodies available. Sure, the 500 had 400 HP, but GM only put it in the FWD Eldorado and let's just make it perfectly clear that we'd sooner pull out several of our own teeth with a needlenose pliers than spend another endless day breaking tools and fingers extricating a 500 from an Eldo. Might as well take that BOP-pattern TH400 while you're at it.

Rambler Wagon


This find would be like winning the lottery for a Rambler fiend scouring the junkyard; we picture some old guy with a couple of Rambler project cars hitting the yard on Half Price Day, hoping to find an early AMC with a few compatible parts, when he spots this '59 wagon and blows out a couple heart valves- GHASP!- with the shock of recognition. It would also be a moneymaker for an eBay shark who can recognize the pieces that will fetch ten times the junkyard price. This Kenosha Kreampuff's been de-engined already, but the fenders are still there, as is the tailgate and most of the glass.

Plymouth Conquest


This flatside Mitsubishi Starion imported for Plymouth and rebadged as a Conquest hit the floor of the yard while we were milling about the Pontiac section. The unmistakable wedge shape of the Starion made its way into the corner of our eye while it was still on the forklift. While the engine looked pretty well cooked, the turbocharger had a rebuilt by sticker on the wastegate actuator. Hair dryer removal ensued. Rusted exhaust manifold mounting bolts served as a reminder to bring some JB-80, or similar, next time around. We already have a set of those wheels from the last half price day.

Toyota Corona


We have a soft spot for 60s Toyotas (in fact, Murilee's first car was a '69 Corona) so it made us a little sad to see this fairly intact one on the yard. Toyotas didn't start selling like crazy in the US until the '73 Arab oil embargo, so it's tough to find junkyard parts for the older ones. This '67 Corona is a rare junkyard find indeed; not only does it still have the engine, taillights, complete interior, and a jillion other rare-as-hen's-teeth bits and pieces, it's got the supah-cool Toyoglide transmission ready for harvest.

Mazda 323 Turbo


You don't see these every day on the street, much less sitting in the junkyard: an '88 Mazda 323 Turbo. Everything's still there for the discerning junkyard scavenger looking to build a totally shocking sleeper out of Grandma's 4-door 323, from ECU to intercooler and all the other stuff that makes for turbocharged fun. Unfortunately, this one doesn't have the AWD option, but torque steer puts hair on your chest! Extract the engine, all the turbo plumbing, and the transaxle... and don't forget the all-important ECU!

Chrysler Conquest TSI


Moving further into the eighties and Mitsubishi Starion rebading exercises was this wide-body 1987 Chrysler Conquest TSI. Despite its obvious signs of neglect and abuse at the hands of the previous owner, this Starion had a mere 54K on the clock. A chewed up turbo cold side wheel filled us with punk rock rage thinking some bozo took a low miles Conquest to this sad ending. The only solution was to drop the 5-speed manual transmission and bring it home in the Starlet as a backup for the Starion. While we were under the car we had a great conversation with a guy scoring the rockers for his Mazda B2600 Pickup. G54B cross-branding junkyard goodness. Mitsubishi also put the G54B in forklifts. [Perfect for our forklift project car. Maybe you guys can get on that this week. — ed]

Lincoln Town Car Limo


The salad days of prom goers, wedding bells, and excursions down into Hollywood are over for this once fine Lincoln Town Car. Under the long white hood of this stretch Lincoln was a 5-0, perfect for a swap into that Fairmont wagon otherwise rusting away in the backyard. We're not really sure what else this beast could have given up besides a multi-switch console and a few toothbrushes.


Junkyard Chronicle [Junkyardchronicle.com]

Jalopnik Late-Night: Junkyard of Davey's Dreams [Internal]