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Rust In Peace - Wild Musclecar Graveyard

The Wildest Musclecar Graveyard In America. And Get This: It's All For Sale! At Least In Theory.

Photography by Meve Stagnante

There's nothing better than wandering around boneyards looking for diamonds in the rubble. Now imagine those diamonds are GTO Judges and Shaker hoods. And it's real. On a recent winter trip to the East Coast, we visited Curboy's Auto Wrecking in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and were blown away by the astonishing assortment of rare muscle on the premises. Curboy's has been family owned for three generations and has a thriving late-model parts division. But the guys also have a soft spot for vintage tin and have been stashing it away for over four decades.

Though relentless exposure to the elements has bestowed terminal rust on most, the twist is that many of these older cars are oddly unmolested. Oh sure, the drivelines are long gone, but the trinkets, patina, and original feel endure. The trick is that the forest in which these cars dwell is only navigable during the frigid winter months. During any other season, thick underbrush, poison ivy, and a variety of unpleasant insects and rodents make visitation by fellow treasure hunters nearly impossible.

As we photographed these cars, we were hit with the idea that there should be a new class for them at car shows. Forget survivors, let's hear it for the victims. Call us nuts, but we bet we're not alone in the belief that car show spectators would dig a chance to ogle hopelessly wasted rarities. Walk with us now as we explore these mangled musclecars from beyond the grave.

This Humbler Has Been Humbled

Yes it's a GTO Judge, but is it a '70 (3,629 built) or a super-rare '71 (357 built)? The entire front clip and VIN tags are gone so we can't tell. We do know it was a four-speed car with power disc brakes, power steering, and A/C. From the presence of the original yellow paint, flame-broiled interior, and extreme level of corrosion, we'd bet it was stolen when fairly new, taken for a joy ride, stripped, torched, totaled by the insurance company, then left to decay right where you see it. Could the sad fate of this Judge have contributed to the soaring insurance rates for supercars during the early '70s? Dean Jeffers, President of National Mutual Insurance Company in 1972 was quoted by the media as saying, "These cars are not conducive to moderate drivers." The defendant pleads guilty, your honor.


Many think of the '68-'70 American Motors AMX as a sawed-off version of the popular Javelin ponycar, when in fact, the AMX design came first. So the Javelin is a stretched AMX. You probably also don't know that American Motors introduced the sexy two-seater to its major dealers at parties held at regional Playboy clubs with scantily clad bunnies slinging drinks. Dubbed "Mission AMX," the nine-stop tour lasted from February 15 to March 22, 1968, and helped motivate dealers to move 19,134 units before the four-seat version arrived in 1971. The party is long over for this rare pair of AMX hulks.

Road Bummer

Everybody loves a Road Runner, right? Right? Imagine our shock and horror when we stumbled upon the severely abused remains of this Beeper. Discarded long ago after an interior fire, this one was originally equipped as a no-frills stripper with manual drum brakes, no A/C, and (best of all) a four-speed stick. Model year '69 was a record breaker for the Road Runner, and this is one of 48,549 hardtops built. An additional 33,743 sedans and 2,128 convertibles resulted in a total production of 84,420 units. By comparison, there were 45,599 '68 Road Runners (15,359 hardtops and 29,240 sedans) and 40,660 '70 models (24,944 hardtops and 15,716 sedans). Regardless of its popularity, this Coyote Duster's power-shifting days are over.

Rustang Mach 1

This decrepit '73 Mustang Mach 1 SportsRoof still wears its original yellow paint and sexy Mach 1 tape-stripe graphics package. The third and final edition of the '71-'73 Torino-based Mustang family, this one packs its original H-code 173hp 351 Windsor two-barrel and Cruise-O-Matic transmission, making it the second hottest Mach 1 for the smogged-out '73 model run. The hottest was the Q-code 266hp 351 Cleveland (cost $214) backed by a Hurst-shifted four-speed (cost $193). A mere two years earlier, the '71 Mach 1 could be had with the wild J-code 429 CJ-R option (cost $531) with 11.3:1 pistons, 780 Holley, solid lifters, and 370 hp.

Dead Rat

Original big-block Camaros are worth their weight in gold, so feast your eyes on this month's offering. It's a '69 SS396, and besides being one of only 13,970 396s built (total '69 Camaro production was 243,095), what makes it so interesting is that it's been sitting in isolation since the mid '70s. As such, it has a certain time-capsule quality that transports the viewer back to the days when the sight of a wrecked SS396 Camaro wasn't a big deal. The Turbo Jet 396, M40 Turbo Hydramatic 400, and 12-bolt are long gone, but the original maroon paint kind of makes up for it.


It's perhaps the most frequently repainted car in history. Let's all shed a tear for this rare '68 327 four-speed Camaro that clearly lived fast and died young. The presence of dual-exhaust hangars confirms the original owner's good taste in ordering the optional 275hp Turbo Fire four-barrel 327 for $92.70. Still wearing its factory-applied blue paint, 327 emblems, and white nose stripe, this one couldn't have been more than a few years old when it was mortally wounded by a frontal impact with an immovable object. The tragic patina of squandered originality is priceless.

Beached Barracudas

The skyrocketing prices and red-hot collectibility of Mopar E-Bodies makes the fate of these particular second-generation Barracuda goodies hard to fathom. No doubt they'll be fished out of harms way before the crusher moves in ... or will they?

'Bandoned Buick

It's a little-known fact that the '66 Buick Gran Sport 400 was a lawbreaker. That's right, it violated the GM 400ci displacement limit for corporate A-body offerings. Was Buick cranking out supersized ringers while the Chevelle SS396, 389 GTO, and 400-cube Olds 442 towed the corporate line? Yes and no. The venerable Buick nailhead V-8 used in the GS400 measured 4.187x3.640 and actually displaced 401 cubes. Management obviously flexed the limit rather than wrangle with Buick engineers over one stinkin' cube. This GS400 is one of 9,934 '66 hardtops (along with another 3,882 sedans).

Dead Red Camaros

You love red Camaros, you know you do. In fact, you love red Camaros so much you can never get sick of seeing them. Whether you are gagging or cheering right now, here's a trio of red Camaros unlike any we've ever featured. And this time we really mean it.

Jensen Oxidizer

You're looking at the remains of no less than three Corvettes. You see, this decomposing '73 Jensen Interceptor Series III sold new for a dizzying $15,500. By comparison, its original owner could have paid $5,561.50 (base price) each for a trio of '73 plastic fantastics. Now do the math. The Interceptor must have been a pretty good car, eh? Like the DeTomaso Pantera, Iso Griffo, Monteverdi, Sunbeam Tiger, and AC Cobra, the British-built Interceptor combined Continental style with brutal American V-8 power, in this case a big-block Chrysler. A few thousand '66-'76 Interceptors were built with 383/400 power (pre-'72), then with 440 power ('72-up). A few '73 and '74 SP models were built with 440 Six-Pack power before Chrysler's supply of the discontinued tri-carb wedge dried up. A single 426 Hemi-powered Interceptor was built around 1968 (the Ferguson FF) to test the Ferguson all-wheel-drive system. This isn't it.

Curboy's Auto Wrecking
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