Everyone does the "Greatest Hits" retrospective thing at the end of the year, right? Right! I'll admit that some of these posts weren't big hits, traffic-wise, but they were the ones that made me proudest. Enjoy.
Shabbat Shalom, M****R F****R: Team T-Shirts of the 24 Hours Of LeMons
I've been hauling team T-shirts back from races all over the country for a couple years now, and I'm going to force you to admire them, dammit!
The Car That Started Murilee On His Vehicular Downward Spiral: Hubert The Hatred Bug
Even though I'm a solid-citizen homeowner in my 40s, a real pillar of the community, I still prefer seriously horrible beaters- the kind that only a 17-year-old should love- for project cars. Why is that? Here's why! Even though my first car was a '69 Toyota Corona and my second car was a $113 '67 GTO, it was Car #3, a wretched '58 Beetle hacked into a cruel parody of a Baja Bug, that made me what I am today. To make things even cooler, some model-building freak did a tiny-scale replica of Hubert.
Crown Victoria Window Regulator Replacement, or: How Detroit Cuts Production Costs (part I)
Adventures In Speedometer Replacement, or: How Honda Builds Good Stuff For Cheap (part II)
These two posts stirred up a lot of controversy; first, I used a junkyard power-window regulator replacement on a '97 Ford Crown Victoria to illustrate where and how Detroit cuts corners on quality. Then, I swapped junkyard speedometers in a '92 Honda Civic, to show how Honda manages to cut costs without going overboard on the crappiness.
1957 Plymouth Savoy, Reefer-Smuggling Family Legend
My uncle- an old-time Minnesota biker and Abingdon-on-Thames-trained British car mechanic and the man who taught me 80% of what I know about wrenching on cars- made his living in the early 1960s by running bricks of "marihuana" across the Mexican border in a hopped-up '57 Savoy coupe, and I try to tell the story of this moonshine-runner-esque tale.
Chrysler Newport Hash-Smuggling Family Vaction: Belgium To India And Back
This tale was sent in by a reader in the UK, and how could you not love the story of a young boy riding with his father and the beautiful Belgian "Titi" on a dope-running adventure in a 1970 Chrysler Newport?
Junkyard Build Quality Challenge, Door Panel Edition: USA vs German vs Japan
This post, in which we disassemble the door panels of similarly priced Audi, Lexus, and Buick cars in the wrecking yard and analyze the build quality thus unearthed, is Part One of what will be a regular series. The results may surprise you!
Found Tools Are The Best
I've spent a lot of time in wrecking yards over the last 25 years, and during that time I've found a lot of free tools. This post shows a selection of some of my favorites.
Ghost Ride The Whip Box Relies On Junkyard Goodness, Gets Thumbs-Up From Tigra and Bunny
When you want a powerful, self-contained, roof-mounted PA system that can be shipped across the country and withstand the rigors of a 24 Hours Of LeMons race, and you want to build it cheap… you need some junkyard engineering to get it done right.
Repo Man Creator Alex Cox Tells Jalopnik How He Selected The Film's Cars
I've always wondered how Alex Cox went about making the perfect automotive selections for what I consider to be The Greatest Car Movie Of All Time. So I asked him.
Lower Your Office's Property Values With Junkyard Desktop Wallpapers
Do you really want to use those images that the drones in Redmond or Cupertino preloaded onto your computer as desktop wallpaper, or- even worse- shots of some boring vacation? Hell no! You want desktop wallpaper showing squalid junkyard scenes, in all the most popular screen resolutions!
The Lucas Electrics Photoshop Contest
I scanned some Lucas Electrics ads from a stack of Autocar magazines of the 1950s and 1960s, and our readers made some outstanding remixes using them.
Murilee's Movie Car Hall Of Fame (Part I)
Murilee's Favorite Bad Guy Movie Cars (Part II)
Much as I love the Vanishing Point Challenger and the Two Lane Blacktop GTO, I figured it was time to give some of the less well-known- yet still awesome- movie cars some ink. In Part I, we saw 20 all-time great movie cars ranging from the '40 Dodge Coupe in The Man Who Wasn't There to the '72 AMC Matador in Cheech & Chong's Up In Smoke. Part II featured the "Sinister Fifteen," with legendary movie cars driven by baddies.
Make Your Own Animatronic Screaming Skull Brake Lights With Junkyard Parts
Why would you put a pair of clattering, chattering skulls operated by Volvo power-door-lock actuators in your car's back window? Because you can!
The Ultimate Automotive Survivors: 50 Cars Made For Over 20 Years (Part I)
The Ultimate Automotive Survivors: More Cars Made For Over 20 Years (Part II)
Everyone knows the VW Beetle, Austin Mini, and Citroën 2CV were made for many decades, but how about the 38-year run of the Fiat 1100/Premier Padmini? In Part I we see the first 50 cars, from the 65-year Beetle to the 20-year Suzuki Cultus, and in Part II we get 23 more, including some weird Chinese stuff none of us had ever heard of. Part III is in the works, so stay tuned!
Heroic Tunachuckers Perform Amazon Engine Swap In 90 Minutes
This is one of my favorite '09 posts because I think the grimly determined facial expressions on the Tunachuckers make the lead photograph one of my all-time best (which isn't saying much, but we take our triumphs where we can find 'em).
All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies
When someone whines at you, don't you feel like activating a flashing, illuminated sign with attached klaxon, all made of junkyard components and based around a circuit using a turn-signal flasher? Of course you do! By the way, the World's Greatest Whiner sign may be going up for sale soon (I don't have room for it), so drop me a line if you want it for your office- no reasonable offer refused!
Confound Thieves With A Camouflaged Car Stereo For Under $20
Love living in the hustle and bustle of the big city, but hate having urban entrepreneurs use your stereo as a Hubba Rock ATM Machine? For about 20 bucks and some sharp-eyed eBay shopping, you can have an iPod amplifier that looks like a torn-up, wire-dangling hole in your dash!
Model Bloat: How The Camaro Gained 827 Pounds Over 37 Model Years
I keep meaning to do Model Bloat posts about other notoriously enlarged vehicles (e.g., BMW 3 Series, Ford F-150, Honda Civic), but for now you'll need to make do with Camaro Model Bloat.
1982 Datsun Voice Warning Box Used Tiny Phonograph Record, Just Like Moon Base Robots (Part I)
Datsun Voice Warning Phonograph Mystery Solved: It Talks! (Part II)
Remember the super-futuristic "talking cars" made by Nissan in the late 1970s and early 1980s? It turns out they used itty-bitty phonograph records to make the magic happen. In Part II, we get the device working. Next step: rig it up for some DJ scratching!