The automotive industry is one of the most rapidly changing businesses on the planet, and there are always new and improved vehicles hitting the market every year. Finding a vehicle that has made an impact but never really managed to take off can be a fun and interesting experience. If you have ever been to a junkyard, you are bound to see some pretty unique and extraordinary cars that just didn’t make it long enough to continue seeing the light of day. With the rise in popularity of self-help junkyards, there has been more of an interest than ever in rare junkyard finds - this trend continues to grow.
With the last few decades of advancements, there have been quite a few notable vehicles that pushed the envelope for design but never managed to take off. It can be easy to forget how these one of a kind cars and trucks were new at one point, and the new advancements that they brought the market. Cars that are rare such as the Mitsubishi Sigma are just a few that were ahead of their time and you’ll see periodically at junkyards around the country - this is just a small taste of the rare vehicles that are out there.
Many junkyards will sell cars as builders and you can have a chance to take some of these rare vehicles home if they are in decent condition - this is how many consumers end up finding a rare car that really never managed to find a market.
25 1986 Dodge B250 Leopard Van
Big vans have been around since as far back as businesses needed to deliver goods, and the Dodge B250 was one of the most well-known workhorses. This particular 1986 Dodge B250 Leopard Van looks like it was used more like a bedroom on wheels than anything else, and it's interesting to see such a unique van in the junkyard.
The Dodge B250 was born on the same platform as the pickup trucks were at the time, and for a few short years, there was also a Plymouth variant as well.
24 1996 BMW 318ti California Edition
One of the rarer cars to find their way to a junkyard the 1996 BMW 318ti California Edition was the pinnacle of cool nineties luxury cars. Offering a hatchback design on the fun to drive 3-series there is nothing boring about the 318ti, and this model looks like it was taken care of at one point in time.
This blue paint job also looks factory made, and the California Edition is rare in itself although not as fun to drive as an M3 by any means.
23 1971 Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi
The rise of the hippie bus was one of the most iconic stories in the automotive industry, and Volkswagen was at the forefront with their Kombi. This particular 1971 Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi is beyond repair, with a fair amount of rust but it is interesting to see just how one of the most iconic vehicles on the road has aged over all this time.
The 1971 Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi had a much larger interior and a lot of new improvements for the seventies, but the van was ultimately replaced by the Vanagon.
22 1982 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible
Long before the Chrysler Sebring or Chrysler 200 Convertibles, there was the 1982 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible. This luxurious little convertible was ahead of its time in many aspects combining a powerful V6 engine and much better fuel economy than the convertibles of the past which made the LeBaron one of the best selling cars of all time.
This was one of the cars that managed to turn the tides at Chrysler, and unfortunately this prime example never really made it back onto the road apparently.
21 1984 Dodge Ram 150 Royal SE with Slant-Six engine
During the eighties, Chrysler Corporation was in a decline and then a rebound, but unfortunately, the Ram truck brand was largely unchanged until the nineties when the new Big Rig redesign came onto the scene with a more modern truck.
The 1984 Dodge Ram 150 Royal SE with Slant-Six engine is a rare model that was seen at this junkyard, showing some of the more unique features that had been optional on this one of a kind package. The Dodge Ram 150 was constantly outdone by Ford and Chevrolet at this point, but it's interesting to take a look at the Chrysler products of this time period.
20 1982 Dodge 400 Landau Coupe
There is no doubt that the majority of vehicles that you will see at a junkyard are going to be eighties Chrysler models, and this is because this was a shaky time in the company's history - their cars were lackluster in terms of quality until the advent of the K-Cars.
The 1982 Dodge 400 Landau Coupe was another interesting car that really didn’t have a place on the market, and when the lackluster sales were settled in, the coupe never ended up finding a stable market and was thus discontinued.
19 1999 Acura SLX
When it comes to Acura of the nineties, the brand was generally scattered and the SLX was another notable vehicle that never really caught on. This is because the 1999 Acura SLX is basically an Isuzu Trooper, and the consumers at the time knew this and thus the SLX never really caught on with the buying public.
It's interesting to see an SLX here in the junkyard because so few of these sport utility vehicles were made, and generally, when they are for sale, they still have low mileage.
18 2003 Nissan 350Z Coupe
When Nissan began to recover from their financial downturn, the return of the 350Z was welcomed by car enthusiasts all over the world, and the car remains a popular choice to this day.
The 2003 Nissan 350Z Coupe pictured above was obviously abused or in some type of a wreck and it's sad to see such an iconic car in such a bad state, not to mention the fact that this car is still relatively young as well. There are many times when owners will abuse their cars and this is often when you will see a car like this in the junkyard.
17 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Most notable for increasing in popularity over the last few years, the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and its GM brand mates are some of the most iconic two-door cars in the world.
This Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme looks like it has seen much better days, and probably just ended up here in the junkyard due to negligence on the owners part. There are a lot of these cars that are still rolling around with the original engine, and this was one of the best selling cars for GM at the time.
16 1989 Chevrolet Corsica
Perhaps one of the most iconic cheap Chevrolet models of the eighties and nineties, the Corsica actually was not a bad car in many aspects. Being one of the most affordable cars in the US when it was new, the Corsica offered good basic transportation that would get you from point A to point B.
The 1989 Chevrolet Corsica pictured above looks like it met the same fate as many cars from this era, and this is sad considering that these cars were ahead of their time in many aspects.
15 2000 Mercedes-Benz C230
One of the more interesting sights at the junkyard is the 2000 Mercedes-Benz C230, which was known for its unique looks and one of a kind luxury features. Generally, Mercedes-Benz is one of the more reliable automakers on the market, so it's interesting to see the 2000 Mercedes-Benz C230 in this junkyard when the car is still relatively young.
It could only be assumed that the owner must have blown the engine, or the car was totaled in a car accident which would lead to a life in the junkyard for this Benz.
14 1993 Geo Tracker
During the nineties, GM wanted to sell more imports to compete with Honda and Toyota at the time, and thus the Geo brand was born. The Geo Tracker was a fun convertible SUV that was built as a more modern incarnation on the Suzuki Samurai, which was also sold at the time.
This particular Geo Tracker looks like it has seen better days, and there are hundreds of these little SUV models in junkyards across the country because of their cheap price.
13 1983 Mercury Lynx L Wagon
When the Mercury brand was starting to find its own during the eighties, the brand offered a selection of unique and otherwise luxurious cars that were pretty much the same as their Ford counterparts.
What helped the brand to differentiate itself is the one of a kind features that each car brought to the table, offering consumers an upmarket experience that they might not have otherwise had. This 1983 Mercury Lynx L Wagon looks like it has seen better days although the body appears to be in good condition.
12 1986 Subaru GL 4WD Wagon
During the eighties, Subaru was working hard to distance itself from other manufacturers, offering rally oriented cars that featured all-wheel drive. While Subaru cars have always been unique, to say the least, you can’t go wrong with the one of a kind Subaru GL 4WD Wagon - this example looks as though the owner might have finally either blown the engine or transmission.
It is interesting to note that the Subaru GL 4WD Wagon featured the flat-4 engine, which is literally flat in its design with the spare tire being located under the hood as well.
11 1968 Ford LTD Sedan
Ford has ruled the police and taxi cab market for decades now, and this large 1968 Ford LTD Sedan was their crown jewel at one point in time. This model actually looks to be in good condition and could've probably been restored somehow but the junkyard decided to part the vehicle out instead.
The 1968 Ford LTD Sedan featured one of the best engines in Ford history. Who could forget that six-passenger seating that made this big sedan famous for so many years before the minivan was even a thought?
10 2000 Daewoo Leganza SE
The Daewoo brand actually suffered a sad fate in the US market. That is sad considering that the cars were not actually half bad. The company never invested in any real advertising, instead relying on college students to spread the word.
While this is a unique concept and a great way to empower college students, it wasn’t a great way to sell cars and thus many Daewoo models found themselves in the junkyard or priced so cheap that they are floating around on Craigslist.
9 1994 Pontiac Grand Am SE Sport Coupe
During the nineties, Pontiac was a mere blip on GM’s portfolio of brands, and almost every car in the Pontiac lineup was a rebadged Chevrolet or Buick model, thus creating a blandness factor that many Pontiac loyalists were not used to.
This 1994 Pontiac Grand Am SE Sports Coupe looks as though it suffered the same fate as many of the other models that surrounded the lineup at the time. Generally speaking, the junkyards are full of these old Pontiac models which doesn’t say too much about reliability.
8 2008 Saturn Astra XE
The Saturn Astra was probably one of the greatest compact Saturn models to hit the market, but GM waited to release it until the economic downturn when the economy was crashing hard. Thus, most people don’t even know that the Astra existed.
This 2008 Saturn Astra XE looks like it was in a front end crash which ended the car. This is sad because there are very few of these cars that were actually in production before GM shuttered the Saturn brand altogether.
7 1993 Volvo 240 Wagon
Where do we start with Volvo? They are wonderful cars that offer a steel cage design and a level of safety that isn’t seen on very many automotive models. And, this rare junkyard find actually looks like it was in good condition with nice paint and everything!
The 1993 Volvo 240 Wagon was an excellent car, even coming in a Turbo configuration if you wanted it. We can only assume that this model either blew a motor or a transmission since it seems as though the car is in otherwise decent condition for its age.
6 1986 Oldsmobile Calais
Another car that looks as though its owner put a good deal of effort into it, this two-tone 1986 Oldsmobile Calais is a blast from the past. These little cars were ahead of their time, even offering a digital dashboard that featured a calendar and all kinds of other notable features that never really appeared on vehicles again until the new millennium.
The 1986 Oldsmobile Calais was a V6 powered coupe that drove like a much larger car, and these vehicles actually managed to sell quite well for GM.
5 2002 Audi A4 1.8T Wagon
This is a sad sight indeed, a 2002 Audi A4 1.8T Wagon which looks to have been wrecked at some point. This is one of the best cars to come out of the 2002 model year, especially in the Turbo configuration.
Audi products, in general, are great cars, and this A4 has a beautiful blue paint job that we can only assume the owner was quite proud of. The 2002 Audi A4 1.8T Wagon is also known for being featured in quite a few movies, and it looks like this one is being parted out quite well.
4 1995 Dodge Stealth R/T
During the nineties, the Mitsubishi and Chrysler partnership spawned some pretty cool cars that had US badges on them, and this 1995 Dodge Stealth R/T is one such example.
The Stealth was a domestic version of the 3000GT, and in many aspects looked a lot more refined with a smoother nose and a more modern design. This 1995 Dodge Stealth R/T looks like it was used for racing or owned by a younger driver, which would explain the early grave in which the car is currently residing in.
3 1998 Eagle Talon
What we have here is a sad visual for two reasons, the first is that 1998 was the last year for the Eagle brand altogether, and secondly, this car looks remarkably stock.
By today's standards, the Eagle Talon and Mitsubishi Eclipse twins are usually heavily modified by the time that they hit the used car market, and this example is all original down to the factory hubcaps. We can only assume that the original owner might have finally decided to junk the car, but this is nevertheless a remarkable sight for one of the best compact sports coupes.
2 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally Edition
One of the more unique compact cars to come out of the early 2000s, the Mitsubishi Lancer was a great car in many aspects. This example of the Lancer made its way into the junkyard, which is a sad reality because the 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally Edition was a notable upgrade over your run of the mill Lancer model.
This particular example looks to have been in a collision since it still has the factory rally wheels on it, and the paint is notably clean as well. It's a shame that this unique compact car couldn’t have been saved.
1 1981 Ford Escort GL Sedan
The Ford Escort is a car that just about everyone has seen once or twice at some point in their life, and it manages to be one of the most popular cars on the road to date. This particular example looks like it lived a good long life on the road, still featuring the factory rust-colored paint that made these cars famous during this time period.
The GL Sedan had a lot of upmarket features such as a cassette player, which was a pretty unique option at a time when CDs were just getting developed.