BARNSLEY, England — Top-of-the-line things about traveling to the automotive graveyards of a distant land is that you just get to see discarded examples of vehicles that never got here close to being sold in the USA. I visited the breaker’s yards of northern England recently and photographed loads of machines that never had a probability of coming to our continent, including a 2007 Mitsubishi Colt, a 2008 Mitsubishi i, a 2005 Smart ForFour, a 2005 Vauxhall Tigra, a 2009 Alfa Romeo Brera S and a 2010 Peugeot Bipper. Today’s
Junkyard Scrapyard Gem is a really useful South Korean MPV that the majority American automotive shoppers would have shunned as they backed away in horror from its not-at-all-truckish shape: a Hyundai Matrix.
This automotive currently resides at Carlton Automobile Breakers in Barnsley, positioned in an industrial area between Sheffield and Leeds. There have been several boneyards specializing in transit bus parts nearby, with row upon row of British double-decker buses inside, but they gave the impression to be open by appointment only.
Carlton’s is a standard breaker’s yard (what we would call a dismantler in the USA), so customers can are available in an have a look at the inventory but generally will need to have employees extract parts for them.
Inside, it’s an excellent maze of mostly late-model vehicles.
You will need to walk sideways, rigorously, between the rows of double-stacked vehicles. Land is pricey in England, so businesses like this one should be efficient of their use of space.
I discovered some interesting older machinery, including this first-generation Suzuki Wagon R+, but most of those cars were too inaccessible to permit the shooting of a correct Scrapyard Gem photo set.
Naturally, I brought along a 100-year-old British camera to document my journey, on this case a London-made Houghton Ensign. Shooting weird ASA 50 film with a primitive box camera in gloomy winter Yorkshire is usually a challenge for the junkyard photographer.
Finally, I discovered this mysterious Hyundai with enough surrounding space to shoot photos from all angles.
The Pininfarina badges sold me immediately. What is this thing?
It is a Matrix, the export-market version of the Hyundai Lavita. The Lavita was based on the third-generation Elantra and was built for the 2001-2010 model years.
Its wheelbase is analogous to that of its platform cousin, the Santa Fe, but its overall length is greater than 18 inches shorter and its curb weight is a few half-ton lighter. Sure, it’s kind of funny-looking (despite Pininfarina’s best efforts) and was available in front-wheel-drive form only, but there’s a really impressive volume of passenger and cargo space inside.
Two within the front, three within the back, plenty of cargo room behind the rear seats.
The MSRP for the U.K.-market ’06 Matrix 1.6 GSI was £10,995, or about £18,185 in today’s kilos (that is $22,977 in 2024 U.S. dollars).
Three engines were available in 2006: a 1.5-liter turbodiesel with 101 horsepower/173 pound-feet, a 1.6-liter gasoline DOHC straight 4 with 102 horsepower/104 pound-feet and a 1.8-liter gasoline DOHC straight-four with 121 horsepower/119 pound-feet. This automotive has the 1.6, which was the most cost effective engine. Transmission alternative was between a four-speed automatic and a five-speed manual; this automotive has the manual.
Pininfarina designed a minimum of one South Korean automotive that was sold in the USA: the Suzuki Forenza (aka Daewoo Lacetti) sedan.
Enlarge your world.
The Lavita/Matrix was a great seller in places with expensive fuel and narrow streets.
Matrix production in South Korea ended after 2007, but continued for a couple of more years in Turkey.
This Article First Appeared At www.autoblog.com