Most of my parts come from lots found in warehouses, barns, sheds, basements, etc., but I do occasionally go to one of the local self serve junk yards. Last Friday (November 28), I went to the local Pull-A-Part, just off Lamar Avenue in south Memphis. It is mostly late model, but they occasionally have a classic or two. My primary mission was to find a front strut for my 1st generation Honda CRX autocross car - one that would fit directly or could be modified to fit. The problem is, there is no aftermarket support anymore for this generation of Honda. All the top shelf racing parts discontinued production years ago, so the only hope is to either find a good used set or take the true hotrodder approach and find another model or even make from which to rob parts. I found one I think might work, so stay tuned on that.
I always take a look around. I enjoy looking, plus you never know what you will see. There were several cars that, while not necessarily of any collector value, were interesting nonetheless.
Take this one, a 1983 Cadillac Cimarron - widely agreed upon to be one of GM's most spectacular failures. The car it was based on - the Cavalier - was probably GMs first modern reliable FWD economy car. I drove 1985 wagon for 7 years as a daily driver, putting 180,000 miles on it before driving it to the junk yard in 1994 with a blown head gasket and warped head. The Cimarron had Cadillac's first 4 cylinder since 1914, and the first manual transmission since 1953. It was priced at a premium - $12,131 base price for the debut 1981 model (by contrast, my 1985 Cavalier wagon originally sold for around $7400 in 1984).
The car paled in comparison to the European imports it was at least partially designed to compete against. Still, GM managed first year sales of over 25,000, but by the last year, sales had dropped to fewer than 7,000. My personal opinion is that Cadillac was trying to move in a new direction, given its traditional customer base was rapidly aging. The Cimarron was an attempt to attract younger buyers. And it at least partially worked - 3/4 of Cimarron buyers were first time Cadillac customers and the average age of a Cimarron buyer was under 50 years.
This particular example had the optional automatic transmission, leather interior, power windows and door locks, tilt wheel, and power seat. One wonders what it's life was before ending up in the GM section of Pull-A-Part.