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Saturday, April 20, 2019

VIDEO: Wrecked 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody looks like an organ donor

Up for grabs at a no reserve auction to the highest bidder.

Stolen and crashed. This wrecked 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody landed in my sights at a Birmingham, Alabama wrecker auction.
I don't see many nearly new, $70,000 muscle machines at this no-reserve auction. This crashed cat, 1-of-1,876 Widebody Hellcat Challengers built in 2018, and 1-of-only 491 in the Pitch Black paint option, looked like a total loss. But I was hoping this modern muscle car still had a heartbeat. 





I lifted a blood-stained airbag on the driver's side to take a closer look at the damage inflicted by the wheel and tire that were shoved behind the door hinges and through the floor pan. This appeared to be a major front end collision. When a 4,500-plus vehicle collides with an object at speed it hammers the "hell"-cat out of itself. I hope whoever was driving survived and takes heed the next time they sit behind the wheel of a 707-horsepower beast. 


Airbags blown out everywhere inside the wrecked 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody.


Thick and thin
For what it's worth, the Widebody option adds 69-pounds and is a $6,000 markup over a standard slab sided 2018 Challenger Hellcat. By our calculations, that's $87 per pound of Widebody goodness. Is it worth it? The fender flares don't fare well in demolition duty. But, if looks could kill, we'd say this Hellcat died trying. 


The powerful 6.2 liter engine took the brunt of the crash on this 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody.


Beast underneath
That supercharged 707-hp engine is the only reason we're looking this thing over. Hellcats in stock trim are capable of 0-60 in 3.4 seconds. They can cover the quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds at 126 mph and can touch 200 mph at top speed. Yikes! That's a real speed demon.


Can you have too much horsepower? Me? No. But some people can't handle the responsibility. Horns start growing out of their head when the engine revs.


How fast can you afford to go? 
Mother Mopar will sell you the Hellcat crate engine for $18,000 out-the-door with a 3-year warranty. Also, popular wrecking yards sell low-mile Hellcat engines and 8-speed automatic transmission combos for around $25,000. That's a lot of cash! So, any would-be junkyard dog with a few bucks can seize the opportunity to bid and make some easy money flipping the drivetrain or build their own Hellcat hot rod. That's just what we were planning to do until the wrecker company yanked the car from the auction list. They said the Hellcat had been stolen. Some details with insurance and the owner would need to be dealt with before it could be sold. Doh!

I later found out that around 10 of these Hellcats have passed through this Alabama wrecker company since they were introduced for the 2015 model year. That's a low number, about 2 per year on average.


Thanks for watching
More wrecks and wreckage to come. And as always, more rust recovery by the Junkyard Life Rusty Gold Rescue Team! We are always hunting old cars and stories from characters like you. 

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust


Nose is hanging off and right rear wheel and tire are ripped away from body.
Wrecked, black 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody has meaty fender flares. At least on the parts that were't destroyed.



Do you have a classic or muscle car barn find? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com or Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

1976 Chevy C-10 Scottsdale Stepside Sport: Orange party-time pickup with a secret

The original owner's wife was ready for it to leave the yard after 43 years.

Tangerine Two Step. It seems we here at Junkyard Life have gone a bit C-10 crazy. That is only because they are so cool and represent an era we love. Prepare thyself, O’ Junkyard Life truck fans! We love this truck — a 1976 Scottsdale Sport. A really odd-optioned, one-owner refugee from the best (our opinion) era ever!



C10 has its door open and bed full of leaves and debris.
1976 Chevy Sport stepside in orange was picked up for cheap. The original owner's wife was ready for it to leave the yard after 43 years.

Step Lively!

  Junkyard Life staffer Keith Lively is that nice guy you know who makes friends with ease. Keith has had dibs on this one-owner Stepside since he spotted it parked in a yard several years ago. Things seem to work out for Keith because he treats people respectfully and often goes out of his way to do things for people in need. Dibs often come through for people like Keith. He finally got the call to come make an offer on the truck. 
  It had been sitting for several years. Despite the Stepside Chevy’s inoperable state of being, the owners still renewed the tag and carried insurance on it. One day the wife wanted it gone. 
  Is there a story here? Oh, yes. Yes, there is. 
  “Call Keith Lively!” she said. 
  The owners tried to give Keith the truck and he tried to pay them. Neither budged and eventually the original owner reluctantly took a little money for it.  
  This must be how they negotiate in the Bizzaro World. The deal included one stipulation — the owner (husband) wanted to see it run again. The wife wanted it gone. Wait for the Fun facts!
1976 Chevy Sport stepside has rust in usual places but is solid overall. This is how it looked in original owner's driveway.

Through With the Two Step
  So, what did Keith bring home? More than he thought. This is by definition a 1976 Chevrolet Scottsdale, short wheel base, stepside dressed in Tangier Orange and accented with a sporty white stripe package. Oddly it is optioned with a Quadra-jet topped 350, a manual three-speed transmission, manual brakes, no air conditioning and a 3.42 gear in the single traction rear end. That doesn’t sound unusual so far, does it? Now factor in the set of Rally wheels, power steering and analog gauges to go with that eye popping exterior. 
  The Scottsdale interior is a perfect Saddle tone. Very appropriately named and absolutely perfect for a truck called Scottsdale. It has an equestrian theme hidden right there under and all around you!


Heater only, no air, manual brakes.
350-V8 topped with an Quadra-jet carb just as it appeared from the factory. Heat only, no air, manual brakes. Bare bones but sporty.

The Step Pre-Lively
  The truck was not special ordered* as far as we can tell. But we would have thought it was considering the odd combination of options. The original owner reported that the truck sat on the 
lot of Sutherlin Chevrolet in Pell City, Alabama for six months. Somehow it missed finding a new home. If that is true, Junkyard Life surmises that they must have had a terrible sales team in the truck department. 
  We couldn’t sell water to a fish, yet I am confident we could have sold this sporty truck. It fit into the tie dye world of bold colors and trends of 1976. 
  After six months in dealership purgatory, the new, orange truck began a colorful life with owners who would hold onto it for 43 years. Boy, was it colorful! Trust us, read the Fun Facts. These may be the funnest of all the fun facting we have ever done! 


Perfect landing spot for the rescued C10. Let's get to work!


Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
  Junkyard Life staffer Keith Lively hauled the treasure truck home. Remember the inoperable status and how the original owner just wanted to see it run again? Well, fifteen minutes after being unloaded, it was running again. Keith found a fuel delivery issue and to test his theory, he gave it a Junkyard Life solution. He strapped a small fuel jug to the grill, routed the fuel pump lines, checked fluids (looked great), added a hot battery and cranked that baby right up!

Junkyard engineering. The old external fuel tank trick used to bypass clogged fuel lines and trash that may be in gas tank that has been sitting for decades.

Say what?
  Sometimes things just work right. This 350-V8 starts easily, doesn’t smoke or leak oil. It doesn’t even have an exhaust leak. It runs quiet and appears as balanced today as it did in 1976. For a vehicle that has battled nature, where sitting dormant only exacerbates every issue, this one seems to have beaten the laws of physics. It does have the expected rust issues, but mechanically is rather sound.

The stepside is getting a fresh coat of paint on the wheels and some new tires.

Next step?
  This C-10 project can take many directions — 70’s street machine, pro touring, “as is” fun truck, rock stock or modify? What is a Keith Lively to do? While we order parts and rack our brains, read the fun facts of this truck and the rock and roll decadent life it led prior to being parked. Oh, the facts are fun.

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life


*The truck potentially could have been special ordered and then simply not picked up. Deals fall through. It happens. Maybe the “three-on-the-tree” scared away prospective buyers?


Before the cleanup began this was a down and dirty truck. But wait, what did we find in the glovebox?...

1976 Chevy Sport truck stepside had an interesting history.
Red panties, Mardi Gras beads and a hotel matchbook. More than enough evidence to convict this as the party truck. Oh, and don't forget the bullet hole in the hood. Maybe, that's why the wife wanted to get rid of the old truck?


Scottsdale Party Wagon PG-13 Fun Facts
  1. The dealer was desperate to move this truck off the lot. According to the original owner, he traded a 1968 Chevelle for it and not a lot (if any) money. That must have been one nice Chevelle!
  2. The original owner claims the gun rack was already in the truck when he bought it new.
  3. The truck was not equipped with air conditioning. An aftermarket under dash unit from Sears was installed during the truck’s party years.
  4. There is a bullet hole in the hood with a strange entry point. It appears it was shot from a higher point. It happened at a bar is all we were told. See Fun Fact #5
  5. The original owner was a party guy. See Fun Fact # 7
  6. The RPO codes on a Chevrolet truck were in the glove compartment.
  7. While looking for the RPO codes, we found (really, we did) proof positive of the sultry night life this truck led — Mardi Gras beads, a hotel matchbook and a pair of red panties. 
  8. Why the husband was more attached to it than the wife all made sense to us after Fun Fact #4, #5 and #7 brought it all together for us.
  9. We previously associated Porsches, Corvettes and Trans Ams with this salacious lifestyle, but we were wrong. All you need is a really cool truck and maybe the right cologne. 
  10. Jody, Keith and Ron wondered if this guy was a former member of Van Halen or Motley Crue?


Editor’s Note: Ron’s statement “All you really need is a cool truck and maybe the right cologne” should not be used as a mantra or any kind of words to live by.


Goodies found in glovebox include red panties, mardi gras beads and a motel matchbook.

Three-on-the-tree 1976 C10.

350 emblem in the grill of the 1976 Chevy Scottsdale Sport stepside.



Wood still holding up strong in the bed of the stepside. Most of these beds rot out when left outside.

1976 Chevy Sport Stepside
Keith Lively attacked the side of the orange truck with everything in his toolbox to get the orange paint to shine again.

Before shot of dull, dirty paint on the ’76 C10 Sport.

The orange bed shines after layers of surface rust and grime are removed.
Amazing what some soap, elbow grease and determination can do to a junky ride. The orange bed shines after layers of surface rust and grime are removed.

Wheels are getting a makeover. New paint and some trim rings are on the parts list.

A bullet hole in the hood of the ’76 Chevy stepside. Could it be related to the long term parking and the red panties? We can only image it's a great story.


Square body trucks have been a hot item of late.

Gun rack was installed in the truck since new in 1976.

Nothing to brag about here. A heater and a fan.

Chevy orange valve covers look red next to the truck's orange paint.

Keith Lively ready to install a new tank in the Chevy Scottsdale.

1976 was first year for Chevy Sport.

Scottsdale was a trim level above the base model Chevy trucks.

Getting some respectable rubber under those fat rear fenders is a top priority.

Stripes all around even on the tailgate of the 1976 Chevy Sport truck.

Stripes that once appeared over the tops of the front and rear fenders have disappeared. 

Stay tuned as we make progress on the new Junkyard Life parts hauler.



Do you have a classic or muscle car barn find? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com or Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net.



Saturday, March 9, 2019

Finding a 1974 Camaro Z28 LT on the way to the Rose Bowl

Found in California while in town for Alabama vs UCLA football game in 2000.

Gold in California. Gerald Davis climbed aboard a plane to go watch football in California. He came home with a 1974 Camaro Z28 LT. Fate? Hardly. Davis had his sights set on southern California Camaros before he left Alabama. His target, the early second gen variety. The same cars that filled his high school parking lot. 

Reason to hunt
  Locating rust-free 1970-1974 Camaros, even in Alabama, is tough. Once you subtract the demolition derby remnants left by decades of anxious teens the challenge is severe. More so when you prefer budget-friendly finds like Davis.



Gold with black interior.
Climb in a 1974 Chevy Camaro Z28 Type LT 4-speed with light gold paint. 

Bible of cars
  Davis scanned the latest Hemmings Motor News ads with his final destination of Pasadena, California in mind. He would be staying with family in El Cajon, near San Diego, and any southern California Z28 would be within driving and car hunting range. As luck would have it a 1974 Z28 was listed for sale in Palmdale, a 30-minute drive north of Pasadena.


What game?
  Davis tackled the California Camaro opportunity head on after he landed in the golden state. Before he drove to Pasadena to watch Alabama face UCLA at the Rose Bowl Stadium he contacted the owner of the ’74 Camaro. The ad stated it was a true 1974 Z28. ’74 was the last year of the small back window second gen Camaro. And the last year before the Z28 took a two year hiatus. 
  In 1974 the Z28 package included a 350 V8 with 4-barrel, dual exhaust, sport suspension, Positraction rear axle (4-speed manual Z28s came with 3.73 rear gears), sport mirrors. Front and rear spoilers and hood and deck stripes were optional.


As had most of the front sheet metal after a front end collision.
The grill on the 1974 Camaro Z28 had been changed. As had most of the front sheet metal after a front end collision.

First look
  Uh oh! The Camaro was parked outside in the elements. Blowing desert sand had created a haze on the glass and the original Light Gold (53) paint was burned by the harsh sun. But those weren’t the first areas of concern for Davis.
  “When I first saw the nose, I thought that’s not a Z-28,” Davis said. “It had the wrong grill and header panel.”
  For 1974 the Z28 came with a blacked out grill that featured the red, white and blue Camaro emblem in the center. This Camaro has a silver grill and the emblem is centered on the header panel. Something was amiss.
  “The second owner (in Palmdale) told me the car had been involved in a front end collision.” 
  As luck would have it, junkyard parts from a Light Gold ’74 Camaro were found. The crunched black grill, header panel, and hood featuring the optional Z28 stripes were replaced with base model parts by the previous owner.



Z28 stripes were optional across hood and rear deck lid. No stripes on hood since it had been replaced.

Deal is done
  A four-speed and hot rod rumble made the decision easy. The stack of receipts, an L.A. Southwest College sticker on the bumper along with California plates confirmed the history of the Camaro. It was rust-free (compared to what we see in the southeast U.S.) and would be coming back to Alabama a few weeks later on a car hauler. 


Dual snorkel air cleaner with chrome lid was standard on 1974 Z28s. 

Details
  1974 was the last year of the Z28 built without a catalytic converter and it did not go quietly. It went out with a bang. Davis’ Camaro had around 100k miles when he bought it in 2000. Now at 117k (in 2019) and still packing a punch when he nails the go pedal on the gold beast. Here’s what’s powering his stock Z28.

  • Engine: 350-V8 rated at 245 hp
  • Transmission: Muncie 4-speed
  • Factory hot rod parts: 4-bolt main caps. Forged steel crankshaft, heat-treated and shot-peened connecting rods, impact extruded aluminum pistons. Screw in studs. Big valve cylinder heads (2.02-inch intake/1.60-inch exhaust), 76cc combustion chambers with high-speed valve train. Oil pan windage tray and high-speed crankshaft damper. Dual snorkel air cleaner.



Light gold (code 53) paint is almost a perfect match on the replacement front end body panels on the ’74 Z28.

Type LT
  Camaro-speak for "Luxury Touring." Consider the Type LT the Lexus of 1974 Camaros. More insulation, more sound deadener, the lighting group, cushier seats, better stereo system and ribbed cloth on the door panels with map pockets. This gold Z28 has the "Type LT" emblems along with proof in the cushy inserts on the door panels. This was no cheapo Camaro with a 4-gear. 


Type LT emblems featured on the sail panel.
Type LT emblems featured on the sail panel and right rear next to tail light.

Lost the game but…
  Alabama, ranked #3 to start the 2000 college football season, fell to UCLA 24-35. The game, tickets and plane ride are a distant memory for Davis – much like the money spent on them. But all was not lost on that trip to California. The Z28, with Davis behind the wheel, still roams the streets of Alabama when he gets the urge to relive the glory days.
  Money well spent.

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life







Steel 15x7 five-spoke Rally wheels were made to accommodate specific thin trim rings. The wheels resembled Torq-Thrust mags.


Davis keeps his trim rings tucked away for fear of losing one on a bumpy road or sharp curve. He snapped one in place for a photo.



Surround panel for gauge cluster was pulled out during repair work. Note the "TYPE LT" horn button on steering wheel.


HEI distributors were installed after January.
Points type distributor was available through January 1974 on Camaros. The HEI air cleaner base will have a noticeable indention at rear.


L82 engines in 1974 Camaros received the finned aluminum valve covers with Corvette cross flags.



1974 Camaros were once scorned but are now earning respect for their place in muscle car history.


In 1974 the dual snorkel on L82 engines was smaller than previous years.


1974 Camaro advertisement: "Hidden windshield wipers tuck down for an uninterrupted body flow." Not sure if that was enough to offset the "Improved bumper system."


A 130-mph speedo and 6-grand tach in the 1974 Z28 gauge cluster.


Front view of replaced grill and header panel on 1974 Z28. 


The aluminum bumpers are stout with heavy steel inner support structure that help meet the new for 1974 5-mph bumper guidelines.



Side view of 1974 Camaro Z28 without rear or front spoilers.


Shifter that stirs gears in the Z28's 4-speed Muncie transmission.


Smog pump on 1974 Camaro Z28 350-V8. Even the clamps are date coded.


Most people ditched these smog pump systems when making performance mods trying to compete with higher compression foes.



Type LT emblem on tail panel.


Spotted in the wild, this 1974 Camaro Z28 was found parked at the local hamburger stand.


Camaro's gas tank straps look rust-free as do the sway bar and rest of underside.



Decoding VIN on a 1974 Z28 LT. 2nd digit "S" for LT, 5th digit "T" for Z28 350-V8 (L82).

1974 Camaro Z28 survivor of sorts from California to Alabama.


L.A. Southwest College bumper sticker remains from California days.



Ribbed cloth on door panel inserts were part of Type LT package.


Small back window made final appearance on second generation Camaro and Firebird in 1974.



California license plate stashed in back seat parts collection.



Unusual seat adjuster next to console on 1974 Camaro Z28 Type LT.


Driver door sticker looks original with no signs of respray.


Always a treat to see how good the paint looks under the trunk lid. Imagine if this Z28 had been kept in a garage all its life?



Look ma! No spoiler. The look is distinctive on a Z28. 


Do you have a classic or muscle car barn find? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com



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