Many of our readers were shocked by Germany's big win in the Door Panel Edition of the Junkyard Build Quality challenge, with an Audi 80 beating a Lexus ES250 and a Buick LeSabre. Today's challenge: Speedometers!
This series originated due to the stark contrast between an easy Honda junkyard parts-pulling experience and a hellish Ford junkyard parts-pulling experience. The junkyard offers an opportunity to see where automakers cut corners and where they didn't; sure, you tend to get a snapshot from 10-15 years ago, but corporate culture changes slowly and the lessons learned from a 1997 car have plenty of meaning in 2010.
Once again, I've lured Ghost Ride The Whip Box designer, VW Rabbit sedan 24 Hours Of LeMons racer, '76 Audi Fox driver, and all-around junkyard dog Casadelshawn to an East Bay wrecking yard with promises of a 10,000-calorie taco-truck meal, and he'll be providing most of the brains, muscle, and general wrenchitude for this competition.
With door panels, we learned a lot about finicky, easily-broken fasteners, knuckle-slicing electrical connectors, and the pieces that lurk out of sight of car passengers. Today we'll be learning about fragile trim pieces, headache-inducing ribbon cables, and the miracle of component outsourcing, because we'll be pulling speedometers from some upscale mid-90s machines:
We started with Germany last time, so let's stick with that tradition. Here we have a 1993 BMW E36; these things are showing up in large numbers in 24 Hours of LeMons racing, which means depreciation has reduced the value of non-perfect examples down to junkyard prices. Click the first image below to see what happened when Shawn went for the speedometer.
We'll try to stick with roughly the same price range as the E36 for our Japanese competitor, so this upscale Infiniti J30 fits the bill. How much will that snazzy speedometer resist Shawn's attempts at removal? Click the first image below to find out.
The LeSabre we used for door-panel removal last time didn't make Detroit look so great, so we'll give Buick another shot with this much sportier (and more expensive) Riviera. Click the first image below to see how the US of A fares this time around.