Remember “Jalopy”? From Wiki: “Jalopy (also clunker or hooptie) is an old, decrepit, unreliable and often nonfunctional car which has limited mechanical abilities and is often in an unmaintained and often in a rusty or dented shape. A jalopy is not a well kept antique car, but a car which is mostly rundown or beaten up. As a slang term in American English, “Jalopy” was noted in 1924 but is now slightly passé.
When a jalopy gets to a state in which its maintenance becomes too expensive, its owner would be required to make a decision about its fate. Some owners abandon it in the street as a parked car (an action forbidden by law in most jurisdictions). If it remains parked, the local authority commonly tows it to the junk yard. Other people may then sell it (or deliver it) to be stripped for spare parts for use in other vehicles.
The origin of the word is unknown. It is possible that the non Spanish-speaking New Orleans-based longshoremen, referring to scrapped autos destined for Jalapa, Mexico scrapyards, pronounced the destination on the palettes “jalopies” rather than multiples or possessive of Jalapa.
Origin: 1929- We find a definition in print in 1929: “Jaloppi--A cheap make of automobile; an automobile fit only for junking.” The definition has stayed the same, but it took a while for the spelling to stop bouncing around. Among the variants have been jallopy, jaloppy, jollopy, jaloopy, jalupie, julappi, jalapa, and jaloppie.
John Steinbeck spelled it gillopy in In Dubious Battle (1936): “Sam trotted off toward the bunk houses, and London followed more slowly. John Weir the Great, King of the Nords and Jim circled the building and went to the ancient Ford touring car. ‘Get in, Jim. You drive the gillopy.’ A roar of voices came from the other side of the bunk house. Jim turned the key and retarded the spark lever. The coils buzzed like little rattlesnakes.”
Jalopy seems to have replaced flivver (1910), which in the early decades of the twentieth century also simply meant “a failure.” Other early terms for a wreck of a car included heap, tin lizzie (1915), and crate (1927).