Many of my Junkyard Gems come from wrecking yards in the San Francisco Bay Area, which offers the wrecking-yard aficionado plenty of well-stocked yards with rapid turnover of inventory (as much scrap metal must be shipped out of the Port of Oakland every day). Because that region is such a hotbed of creative types, including most Burning Man participants, I see plenty of retired art cars in Bay Area wrecking yards. Here's an elaborately painted 1991 Toyota Corolla DX wagon, spotted in a Silicon Valley car graveyard.
Granted, the Flying Colors Corolla doesn't show the level of commitment to art-car madness that we've seen in some other junked mobile sculptures over the years; the owner probably wanted to keep one foot somewhat planted in, or at least touching, the square world.
Sensible cars such as the Corolla make good canvases for such projects. This '92 Corolla wagon with three-dimensional flanks and roof-mounted horse heads, for example, or this 1985 Toyota Van with hundreds of pounds of thrift-store items layered as an intricate rolling mosaic.
I've photographed a junked Volvo 740 Turbo with the same sort of treatment, plus a well-known (in Berkeley 15 years ago) '69 Mustang art car, and of course there's the Groovalicious Purple Princess of Peace Ford Taurus. I consider an Olds 98 converted into a political campaign's rolling American flag to be a Bay Area art car as well.
This car has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 103 horsepower, plus the fuel-saving five-speed manual transmission. The odometer read just under 200,000 miles when it arrived at this place — a bit low for a Toyota of this era, but still better than 7,500 miles for each year of its life.
The good old 4A engine, which stayed in production for more than 20 years and powered everything from AE86 Corollas to NUMMI-built Chevy Novas. This car has the economical 4A-FE version.
Not the most exciting car you could buy new in 1991, but a very good deal.