Monday, October 31, 2011

LOL Cars: Monster ‘dub’ rims for Halloween

Frankenstein rolls on monster dubs. You've seen 30-year-old donk, box and bubble Chevys transformed into flashy rides just by adding 22-inch chrome rims. Lately, the wheels have been getting scary big. 30s are the new 20s.  
  Look up and you will notice the bodies on these cars are rising. The latest 2-wheel drive monsters use a 6-inch, up to a 17-inch, suspension lift to raise the car above the enormous chrome wheels. These extreme lift kits cost around $2,500. Factor in another $10,000 on wheels and tires and the accessories quickly add up to more than the value of the car.

A Chevy Monte Carlo SS on monster dubs looks ready to crush cars on Monster jam. 

2-wheel drive looks like 4-wheel drive
Raising your box, bubble or donk requires money and courage. Like-minded car builders will marvel at your monster dub machine. But stares, chuckles and comments about the lack of 4-wheel-drive are sure to follow. 

The handling of a high-rise dub monster will likely suffer as much as a lifted truck on 35-inch tires. Broken suspension parts can make a mess out of lifted G-body in a hurry. I imagine roll bars and KC Lights will be the next step in the evolution of these monster dub machines. 

– Jody Potter, junkyardlife

A bubble Caprice with a suspension lift dwarfs a VW in downtown Birmingham.

1976 Pontiac Grand Prix on monster dubs.

That is the drive shaft connecting the tranny to the rear end.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cars in Yards: 1970 Pontiac LeMans coupe

Economy car in a muscle car body. Kevin Carnevale found this solid, six cylinder LeMans in the weeds next to an auto repair shop in North Reading, Massachusetts. "There was a weathered 'For Sale' sign in the window," said Kevin. "I owned one of these when I was 18 years old back in 1988 but I sold it." Kevin didn't want this one to get away. He grabbed the sign to prevent anyone else from knowing the Pontiac was for sale, just in case he had difficulty contacting the Pontiac's owner. You may want to file that shrewd buying tip into your memory bank to use later.

Yes, that is an inline six-cylinder engine under the 1970 Pontiac LeMans' hood.

The call is answered
The owner wanted $3,500 for the green, non-running, 6-cylinder coupe. "I told him that I wanted the car but could only give him $2,000 for it," said Kevin. After a lengthy phone call about the car, the 72-year-old owner agreed to sell the LeMans for $2,000. That's more than 40 percent less than the owner's asking price. Another excellent buying tip. There is always room to negotiate. Especially when the for sale sign is rotting in the window.

A mostly original 1970 Pontiac LeMans. Green was a very popular color.
History of the LeMans
The car was purchased in Texas in 1980. During the late 1980s it was repainted the original Palisades Green and was topped with an aftermarket vinyl roof cover. The car was parked in 2000 and still has a solid frame, trunk and floor pans. Storing the LeMans outside for a decade has allowed the usual rust spots to appear on the body and under the vinyl top.

Kevin Carnevale hauls the 1970 Pontiac home. 

GM built economy cars during the muscle car era – nobody talked about them then or now.

Future plans
"A mild crate motor and a TH350 are in the plans," said Kevin. Part of his quick mini restoration will include "red paint, a GTO hood and wheels."

Good luck, Kevin. Keep us posted.

– Jody Potter, junkyardlife

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cars in Yards: Just say 'No' GTO

Hey, look at that GTO! The words hadn't left my mouth when I spotted the large "N" and "O" on the Pontiac's windshield.  Two of the fiercest muscle car era Pontiac GTOs, a 1967 (above) and a 1969 (below), sparkled like emeralds along the back roads of Rainbow City, Alabama. I jammed on the brakes and rubbernecked like mad for a few seconds. GTOs of this vintage are seldom seen parked in the weeds in front yards anymore. 
  I had to get a closer look. I made a quick U-turn to check out the potent Ponchos. I did a double take then laughed out loud when I saw the answer to the question in my head. It was evident that this outspoken 1967 Goat, in good condition, has garnered more than a few knocks on the door at the rural farmhouse. The home owner's dog, chained to a stake near the front door, barked mercilessly as I pulled in and turned my Jeep around in his gravel driveway. All across the property, General Motors vehicles were scattered about in every direction. These two GTOs were the pick of the litter.

1969 Pontiac GTO sporting a Judge spoiler on blocks in an Alabama front yard.

Simple message, delivered loud and clear
  Despite my desire to ask about the multitude of cars I turned around and left. The owner, who has every right to peace and quiet, said a mouthful with those two little letters. "No." No need for me to knock. No need for me to ask the same tiresome questions. The "No" GTO said a mouthful. The message was received without having to stare at the face of someone who doesn't want to be bothered. Perhaps a few people could learn something from this Pontiac's windshield.

– Jody Potter, junkyardlife

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Top 10 reasons to buy a burned Smart ForTwo Passion Cabriolet

Need 10 reasons to buy a burned Smart car? Some guys have all the luck. They plunk down $18,000 for the safety of a microcar designed by Mercedes to impress the ladies (or men if they so desire) and to give eco-conscious co-workers a reason to turn green with envy. Then, bam! A completely toasted Smart car in a (hopefully) limited edition shade of burned exhaust valve turns up at the local wrecker yard. The Smart's street cred is instantly ruined.

  What to do? Wait for some tuner geek to scoop it up for $300 and mod it with a Honda VTEC or pray somebody's paw-paw doesn't turn it into the world's first wood burning Smart-camino Fortwo?

  48,901 US buyers of the Smart ForTwo suddenly have a PR crisis on their hands. Junkyardlife is here to help these metrosexual owners with a top 10 list of reasons to buy a burned Smart car before this reaches Fiero fiasco proportions. 

Burned Smart ForTwo Passion Cabriolet at the wrecking yard.   

2012 Rally Red Smart ForTwo Cabriolet starting at $17,690. Ashtray included.

Drum roll please...
Top 10 reasons to buy a burned Smart ForTwo Passion Cabriolet

10. Smell like barbecue. No more toxic new car smell for you. This microcar has a pungent aroma that will make vegetarians hurl and meat eaters throw steaks on your German gas grill.

9. Better than GPS. Easy to find your burning smart car in the parking lot.

8. 100% topless and bottomless. The Smart's no hassle convertible top was an easy 1-button operation to get some sun on your face. Now, your see-through Smart car is a real eye-opener should you decide to drive in the buff.

7. Better handling. Wind gusts no longer blow the Smart car off the road like a $2 kite.

6. Hypermilers rejoice. It's 600-lbs lighter than an unburned Smart car. That's faster and spells a MPG boost!

5. Treehuggers will unite. Homeless environmentalists will circle burning Smart ForTwos for warmth and as a show of unity.

4. Size matters. Burning Smart cars leave a smaller carbon footprint than a burning H2 Hummer. Save the world, annihilate your Smart car. Kidding.

3. It does have an engine! The burned carcass reveals the Smart's hidden 3-cylinder Mitsubishi engine. Look behind the rear seat and under what was the ever-so-useful cargo area. The engine is there but you really didn't plan to change the oil did you?

2. Impress the ladies or gentlemen if you please. The $18,000 you spent on a Smart ForTwo cabriolet will score points during your speed date Q&A. You could have bought a Hyundai Accent with the same fuel economy but then you would just look like a cheapskate.

1. Truth in advertising. The 'uncar' Smart ForTwo ad campaign is a punch in the face to corporate suits who love to blur the truth. But, buyers beware. This coy warning label from savvy lawyers is cute and yes, it will be used against you should you seek litigation against the Daimler AG regime. 

Do your part. Save the planet. Hide or destroy all burned Smart ForTwos. Smarts handle and perform almost as well as (the sometimes flamable) 1984 Pontiac Fiero. They deserve better than that little economical 2-seater's unfortunate fate. 

– Jody Potter, junkyardlife

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Sturdy seat frames remain in this burned Smart ForTwo built by Daimler AG.

The red lump on top of the tire was the tail light.

Every plastic and rubber component on this Smart car melted in a fire of unknown origin (to me).

Can you spot the Smart's dynamic Tridion safety cell?

Smart USA customers rave about the roomy 2-seater.
Why not make it a Barcalounger 1-seater with elbow room?

Side impact door beams will have to suffice since the Smart's 5 airbags went up in smoke. 

The Smart car's 3 cylinder engine sits between the rear tires.

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