Skip to main content

I remember wandering through junk yards just like this.  Now, we have maybe three left with a 30 minute drive where there used to be a couple dozen.  Scrap prices finally overcame spare parts prices (and/or the local EPA shut them down).  The last junk yard near Beaufort, SC, in St. Helena, had just as many cars this old and many more from more recent years.  The owner cashed out by bringing in two car crushers and crushing/hauling over 2,000 cars out of there in two weeks.  Sad, sad time for may local car guys.

The NE yard I got all of my drive train parts from for my '46 Ford Coupe looked just like this - Lots of cars left from the 30's - 50's and you had to remove anything you wanted by yourself (or with friends).

Junk yard


Images (1)
  • Junk yard
Last edited by Gordon Nichols
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

There isn’t a single car in that lot that I wouldn’t love to have!

I, too, remember wandering the wrecking yards and finding obscure tidbits for whatever I was working on at the time.

Just last week I was trying desperately to find a piece of original steel for my 1957 Chevrolet Suburban.  I scoured the internet and just couldn’t find what I needed.  Then it dawned on me there was an old wrecking yard south of town (pretty much in town now) that had everything you can imagine for a decades old vehicle.  I remember walking through that place and seeing all manner of rare stuff like pre-WWII Harley Davidsons with factory side cars and every truck and car you could imagine.  It was actually featured on a TV show a while back but I can’t recall which one.

Anyway…I called and lo and behold the same crotchety old man I remember from the mid-80’s answered.  As usual…he had just what I needed.  We chatted when I picked up the part and he was every bit the “salt of the Earth” kind of guy I like…and he’s only 93 years old!

@RoyP I always loved the name of the guy who founded the Oldsmobile Automobile Company - Ransom E. Olds.

He also founded a truck division which made the REO line of larger trucks which was highly successful (I drove a Diamond REO tractor trailer when I was in college).  

He designed a fast-heating automobile steam generator that could go from a cold start to enough pressure to begin moving the car in less than 30 seconds, all before 1910.  

Oh, and he also created the moving, mass-production assembly line that Henry Ford copied and used (along with everyone else who survived the consolidation of the car industry back then).

Old Ransom was one smart cookie.  You can read about him here:

Ok it's Friday so I'll add my story

When I was in college at home for a week with the folks, my dad and I were doing something on the car and managed to break a bolt for the valve cover.  No one had that crazy metric bolt in stock cause 'merica.    Anyways there was a local 'scrap yard' we'd gotten parts from before for the car but it was closed so we - dad's idea! being desperate and all and a Sunday - hopped the fence to go to the junked car we knew was there from past trips. (Yes junk yard visits with dad, explains much heh? ).  So we procured the simple bolt and where nearly out when the junk yard dog saw us and started the barking

Never saw my dad run run that quick before.  First and last time skirting the law

Back in the 70’s, prowling junkyards was a thing for my BMC-loving brothers and I. I probably paid $25 for the dual SU setup off a Sprite or Midget for my Austin America, manifold included.

Two treasures I’ll never forget: Western Auto had a totaled AC Cobra that had been rolled so many times out on what is now I-80 in the western desert by the Salt Flats that the aluminum body was pretty much the same shape as the frame. It sat there for probably 15-20 years until someone figured out the VIN plate was worth $20-$30K. Millions today.

Another was an Abarth Fiat 750 Double Bubble coupe. Someone needed something out of the frunk, an MC or something probably, and they’d taken the aluminum lid off and thrown it in the ground, only to be run over by the fork lift a hundred times.



Images (1)
  • 69AB743B-C0C5-46BC-A214-F8758D7EC65E
Last edited by dlearl476

Harmon's, Geier's, Ace, even Johnny Mann's: all gone.

We never had the kind of places where you could get SU duals, but we never wanted them anyhow. The treasure was in finding the 4-bolt main small-block, the "double hump" 2.02 cylinder heads, or the crossed flag "V8" emblem for the hood scoop. Where is the youth of today supposed to find a Ford 9" rear-end or a Borg-Warner T10, if not in a "U-pull-it" salvage yard?

We have exactly one in the area. Neal's, and Wednesdays are half-price. Things are picked over to the point that what is left is little more than early 90s crap-box shells - any useful parts (even for these dregs of the automotive underworld) long since unceremoniously hacked away.

Pity, that.

Last edited by Stan Galat

In original picture - I see each area organized STUDEBAKER and part of sign ...HAM.  Wonder if that's were the Graham-Paige autos came to RIP.  They later sold out to Kaiser-Frazer about when I was born.  I have never seen one in person.

There were a couple yards near me (before retirement) in Northern VA.  Can't believe they still exist with the way the area exploded in growth. (Richmond Highway - RT 1, Lorton).

@aircooled posted:

I used to have a Fiat Zagato double bubble coupe with a DOHC 1 ltr power plant . It was half the price of a Porsche Speedster so I bought it. Super light and a lot of fun !  I traded it in  later for the Speedster and rolled the Speedster later.  Ah the good ole daze !...............Bruce

My brothers and I tried our best to talk Dad into the Abarth, but he wasn’t a car guy and didn’t see the value added like us boys.
He got the standard coupe instead. Still a fun little car. And for all the “Fix It Again Tony” haterz, not a single issue in 5 years of ownership, until he traded it for a big boat Buick LeSabre to pull his Airstream.  


Images (1)
  • C2D045FD-2BA2-446A-9E20-2FD7B1C36191

My Sister had a Fiat 124 Spider. She bought it with about 50K mi. I rebuilt the engine because it was burning oil so badly we couldn't get it up the East Peoria hill on Springfield Rd. It was a neat little engine, DOHC 1600, if memory serves, but built out of tin-foil and pot-metal.

The car was unfortunately rusting in half. We couldn't get the doors to open once closed, or close once opened without the aid of a floor jack (to take the strain off the latches). The headlamps couldn't be aimed because lace and hope were all that was holding the buckets in position. The bumpers were askew because the supports were rusting off.

The car was an absolute heap. Total junk.

I've got my eye on a Fiat 1600 Abarth cabriolet - a poor man's Ferrari 550. Stupid-cool. Fix It Again STanley.

Last edited by Stan Galat


You know, this is not just a bad thing for car guys, owners of old Fiats, and backyard wrenchers in general.

Think how devastating it must be for the thousands of junkyard dogs who are now out on the street, looking for work.

The junkyard dog has pretty specialized skills that have been developed over generations, and those skills are not easily portable or marketable.

Most of the good dog jobs today are in the Emotional Support sector, and having even a whiff of ‘Junkyard’ on your resume can be a tough sell. While most junkyard veterans are responsible members of the community, it’s still hard to avoid the traditional ‘bad boy’ image perpetuated in the media and pop culture. Many potential employers still remember the old Jim Croce lyric, and ’meaner than a junkyard dog’ has created its own barbed wire ceiling.

I can see self-help groups springing up, counseling members with grooming and attitude adjustment, and setting guidelines for when, and how, to bark at a job interview. Just what image you project is critical for dogs that have worked in the automotive security field. (They’d be wise to drop the term ‘junkyard’ altogether, I think.)

Today, it’s not really about who you are, but who you can make people believe you are.


Last edited by Sacto Mitch
@WOLFGANG posted:

I always liked the FIAT 850 Coupe and Spider of 1970.  Styling and size was just right.  Seems the metal was quite thin and very prone to rust (but what '70s cars weren't).  That 850 cc engine (34 hp) had to work hard to keep up though.

There was a slightly more powerful Abarth one.

There was nothing below 3800 rpm. But boy, once you hit 4K that thing sang all the way up to 7000. And like every Italian car I’ve ever driven, not a stoplight GP car, but they’d sail at 80-90 all day long.

Add Reply

Post Content
Link copied to your clipboard.