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Remember old time wrecking yards?

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  • Upscale junkyards...*shakes head*
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    Almost all the junk yards near my house are "up scale". they have the cars in perfect rows on blocks or welded together rims, all gravel or blacktop, no more trudging through mud puddles. One of the newer yards is 100% concrete!!!!!!!! The only time you can even enter the yard is when you want to pick out a fender or door, and you MUST be with an employee, no wandering around or scavenging for little tidbits here and there. Only two good old style you want it go get it yourself yards nearby anymore, and they are all full of old cars from the early 80's to early 90's, and if you don't get there when the car gets there it gets stripped out fast and how. It's crazy, 10 years ago I could go into any yard anywhere and get what I wanted "shopping" for little stuff like trim rings for rims, not anymore.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I wonder how much of this change is just a reflection of the current corporate obsession with "unlocking shareholder value"--trying to look good to investors by squeezing every cent out of their operations, at the consumer's expense. Of course investors are also consumers so I wonder who comes out ahead, especially when Joe Lunchbox, small-time investor, is laid off so his company looks good to Wall Street.

    I also wonder how much of this is due to injury lawsuits. A junkyard can be a fairly dangerous place even if you're careful. Everything from trip-and-fall to having a car fall on you.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,679
    Or having a leg removed by a 130 lb German Shepard!

    I think that the liability aspect killed the self-serve junkyards. Sad...some people just look for reasons to sue someone.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    I'm suing the junkyard for emotional damage!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    The U-Pull-It junkyard I go to has you sign a waiver before allowing you to search for parts. This is one way around those litigous jerks that ruin it for the rest of us. I'd hate having to go someplace to get a desperately needed part and being told they don't have it when I see it sitting right in front of me.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,679
    Even when waivers are signed people can still sue...and win!

    Sadly, there are folks out there who go through life looking for someone to sue so they can quit their job and retire.

    Lots of "fun things" are no more because of this...sad.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,959
    ...in one of our local junkyards. I remember it was on the trunklid of a late 80's H-body (either a LeSabre or Bonneville). I reached into the trunk for something-or-other, and when I pulled back and raised my head up, I whacked right into the edge of the trunk lid.

    Bled like a stuck pig, ended up getting a few stitches out of the deal. Felt plenty stupid! The thought to even try suing them never even crossed my mind, then or today. It disgusts me that some people probably WOULD sue over something like that, and win!
  • I remember this amazing junkyard I visited in about 1972, where my friends and I managed to dismantle a 1929 Ford "crackerbox" cab for my 29 pickup and fit it into my dad's '66 Dodge van. That yard had *nothing* newer than about 1940 in it. Mostly Fords and Chevy's, with a few other makes. Most of the cars and parts were mid 30's vintage, but there were about a half dozen Model A trucks, a couple of Model T's, and a mid 20's Chevy or two. It was somewhere on the eastern outskirts of Lancaster, California, owned by a "Colonel Hayes." I wonder if any of it's still there.
  • I high school (class of 82) my friends and I were always working on late 60s/early 70s muscle cars. There were several junk yards in the area around Myrtle Beach, SC. One we always went to had a "any motor for $100.00 policy". They would hook this tractor with a makeshift boom up to the motor, cut the motor mounts and just rip it out. Oh yeah, you got the tranny with it too.

    We used to find Chrysler station wagons that had 440 four barrels with hardly any milage all the time. Drop them in a Challenger or Cuda, change the oil and go Trans Am / Z28 / and Corvette hunting. (Yeah, good old redneck southern boys)

    My friend and I tried a nostalgic trip to the yards a few years ago. Most wouldn't let us in and the ones that did had nothing of interest at all. Another part of my youth that is slipping away.......
  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    In 1965, two of us went into an unfamiliar wrecking yard and happened to park our car out of sight of the office. When we asked about a spring for a common-model Ford, the guy scowled, told us he didn't have one, and generally made it clear that we weren't welcome. As we walked to our car, we glanced through the fence and were stunned to see 20+ Edsels, more than we had ever seen in one place and most were in pretty good shape. We slipped through the fence and were dazzled to find neat rows of 55 & 56 Chevies, a whole section of just 57 Plymouths, etc. They had the spring we needed, plenty of them. Many of these cars weren't wrecked - just missing some parts. We high-tailed it just in time. And some people wondered if car theft was big business in that area.
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 581
    have at their inventory.

    Not too awful long ago I went looking for additional horns to put on my car (it only came with one puny horn from factory).

    After alot of searching and sightseeing, I found a recent model LHS. The old boy took them off for me and I paid $5.00 for both of them. "Five dolla" (smile)

    wil
  • Like most of the readers of this board, some of the fondest memories of my teens & twenties were of junkyard adventures.

    We had a somewhat eccentric Chrysler dealer in town here who never auctioned any of his used cars. If he couldn't sell them, they went to his 'junkyard' just outside of town. He was in business from the 40's thru the 70's. In this yard you could find rows of '57 & '58 Desotos, Chyrslers and more Imperials than anywhere else! Although parts were usually missing from most cars the guy would never sell you anything off of them. Only way you could get anything you needed was barter!

    My first car was a 64 Chrysler 300. He had several in the yard. I needed a wheel opening moulding badly - was the only thing that kept my car from being near perfect. After 3 years of trying to find one elsewhere and begging him to sell me one he finally agreed to a 'deal'. I had found a '64 300K in another yard and stripped it of all I could get. I rescued the hard to find little 300K badges but couldn't use on mine. He owned 2 'K's in his old car collection (his old car collection was another neat story!) and was willing give me the moulding for the 'K' badges. That made me VERY happy!

    Papa Berger as he was known amongst the local Mopar heads passed away and his family sold off everything. All those great cars in his yard got towed away to nearby 'modern' yard and were immediately crushed. What a shame. Those cars could have helped so many restorations.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,679
    Around here that horn would have cost within five dollars of the price of a new one!

    Sounds like the good ol' days!
  • My brother is restoring a 1977 Toyota Celica ST. He recently bought a front bumper, hood, headlamp bucket, and assorted other components from a yard in PA for a grand total of $65. The parts need to be restored, but they are in decent condition. There are still some cheap yards out there.
    -Andrew L
  • wtdwtd Posts: 96
    I just went to a local junkyard yesterday that has mostly all older cars. This guy restores old cars and sells them. His place is not even listed in the phonebook. He lets you take off your own parts and doesn't charge much. Has alot of late sixties impalas & caprices, buicks, pontiacs and alot of other things I didn't have time to look at. I was there looking for parts for my 70 Monte Carlo. I saw one thing that wanted to make me cry. He has a 69 caprice 4door that had many options including power bucket seats which were laying out on the ground next to the car. You don't find buckets in these cars very often, not to mention power ones. Car also has the hide away headlight covers which are still intact. Power windows and locks and it was an original big block car. Motor, tranny and rearend are gone. I used to have a car just like it but it didn't have all the options this one has.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,959
    There's a local yard that specializes in Mopars, and I'm going scouting for a pair of 15x7 rims for my '79 New Yorker. I used to have a '79 Newport that, with those wider rims, handled suprisingly well. In fact, I bought it from that junkyard for $250.00! I think the norm for these cars was something like 15x6. I still had a set of 15x7's left over from when I got rid of that Newport. I think I paid something like $15.00 each for 'em. Hope they're not too ridiculous nowadays!

    I'm kinda looking forward to just walking around and exploring, too. This place is pretty cool, and they'll still let ya do that.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,679
    The DOG ! Watch out for the DOG !
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,959
    There was this old guy at the front counter who was kinda nasty, and told me up-front, $35.00 per wheel. They keep all their rims on a rack back there, but he didn't want me touching it, although he did let me walk around some. But he told me to let him get the rims.

    Well, I walked around some, and then when I came back, said I'd take a pair of cop car rims. Well, the guy came back with the conventional 15x7 rims that Chrysler's been using forever. In fact, these had "1962" written on them in pink marker. Main reason I wanted the cop car rims is that they're offset a bit more, which gives the car a wider stance on its tires. Also, the cop wheels are slotted, which makes them a bit lighter (prob'ly not much, though!) And I guess the slots help with cooling the brakes a bit.

    I did finally run into a familiar face there, a guy who's been working there for as long as I've been going there (about 13 years now). He said that he knew the wheels I was talking about, but they were out of em. I guess the cops finally wrecked all the Diplomats and Gran Fury's they're going to wreck, so there goes the parts supply! This guy knows my taste in cars too, so he pointed me in the direction of a '68 Dart GTS they'd just gotten in, and had stashed, that they want to sell whole. Runs good, but has the typical rust issues of the era.

    Well, I guess it wasn't a TOTAL waste...
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,679

    Well, it's been thirteen years (!) since this topic was active and it seems that most of the old wrecking yards have vanished. environmental concerns, neighborhood beautification efforts, probably liability issues seem to have spelled doom for these places at least in my neck of the woods.

    So, where are these wrecked and junked cars going now?

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,959

    There was a wrecking yard I discovered down in Southern Maryland back in 1989 or 1990. It was pretty far away, and in an area I don't get to very often, so I only visited it a few times. One car I remember there was a 1958 DeSoto Firedome hardtop coupe that had a '57 grille on it, and still had plates on it from 1971. I'd always wondered if it had been wrecked at some point and someone threw a '57 bumper/grille on it, or it was some kind of factory oddball. They wouldn't mix and match parts to use them up, would they?

    Well, I hadn't been down that way in ages, but a few years ago I went down that way, and realized that I didn't notice passing the yard. It was about 40 acres, and visible from Route 4, so I'd think it would catch my eye.

    I mentioned it on Edmund's a few years ago, and a member who lives down that way (can't remember their member name though) said that when scrap prices went up, that yard got cleared out and everything was sent off for recycling.

    I have fond memories of a place called Leon's Auto Salvage on Route 29, just south of Culpeper, Va. Granddad took me with him in 1978 when he went there looking for parts for a 1953 DeSoto Firedome 4-door he had bought from his brother in law. I remember him getting a fender, hood, bumper, and all the grille teeth for around $100. I went down there a few times from 1992-97, mainly on nostalgia trips, but I did score a few '67 Pontiac odds and ends. In 1992, it seemed it had barely changed. I was able to find the '53 that Granddad pulled the parts off of. And I found a '55 Fireflite Coronado sedan that I remembered being able to recognize as a DeSoto as a kid, but Granddad saying it was the wrong year. By 1994, the owner was starting to clear out and crush some of the less desireable stuff, and by 1997, it was cleared out even more. I'm kinda curious to get down there again and see how the place looks. But, I've checked it out on satellite photos, and I can see it's cleared out quite a bit. Oh well, guess nothing stays the same forever.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,689
    edited February 2

    Definitely less wrecking yards in this area.

    I remember back in the early 90s, there was an old time yard out west of Olympia, WA. It had been caught in some kind of estate dispute, and was shuttered for like 20 years - yet the cars remained. It was fenced off, but you could see it from the road. Then one day, it opened. It was all stuff from before 1970, tons of 50s cars, some pretty rare - many convertibles and oddities. I remember they had 3 fintails (they operated for a few years after re-opening, I think those came later). It was like a time warp - most of the cars aged fairly well in the gentle climate, it was a junkyard from 1972 moved forward a generation. Around 1997 or so, someone bought it all and moved it, I am sure harvesting the good parts and scrapping the rest. It's a huge empty dirt lot now.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,679

    Had it not been for wrecking yards. I would have been walking a lot in my youth. We didn't have any in the town I lived but about ten miles away, there were tons of them all in one small area. All of them are gone now.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,689
    edited February 3

    In the city they are mostly gone, but out in podunk where my mother lives, most of the junkyards that were around 25 years ago still exist. My family had an 85 Tempo hanging around for many years, and I remember around 1995, it started to develop quirks - the junkyard helped for that too. The factory stereo failed, so I went to the junkyard to find one there. I remember they had a nice looking <100K mile 86 Tempo diesel on the lot (this was in 1995, I remember it), which intrigued me. I took the stereo out of it, knowing it would be an easy install. I didn't think it over very well, as that unit failed after a few months. I remember the same car was also involved in a fender bender which broke a rear light - I got a replacement at the junkyard. The power seat also died (in a fun smoke filled failure while I was driving) and it was fixed via junkyard parts. And for a very short time I had a 71 Datsun 510 wagon that was given to me - I got a windshield at another local yard, for $50. That was in 1994.

    My dad liked to scrounge out weird things at junkyards. His 60 Ford had bad floors/carpets, so once it was fixed, he wanted to replace them, but didn't want to buy new material. The same yard I used for the Tempo had a very clean ~78 Olds that had apparently suffered engine failure, and went to the junkyard (this was around 1992 maybe). It was a close match to the Ford color, so he pulled it out, shampooed it, and shaped it to fit in the Ford - somehow, it worked. Not bad for like $10 or something.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,679

    The junkyards in So. California always had a lot of rust free cars to pick from.

    For years there was an upscale yard that dealt only in Cadillac parts. This place, unlike the others had cement instead of dirt and it was immaculate and as well organized as can be. If you needed a trunk lid, chances were good they even had the right color. Everything was on racks and clean.

    I remember the place was HUGE and they had a large indoor area like a warehouse where they kept interior parts, electrical items and things they didn't want sitting outside.

    They had engines lined up in rows. Every engine had been steam cleaned and tagged.

    The tag stated what it fit and how many miles the donor car showed on the odometer. They would take compression readings and write those on the tags. Any engine that was suspect would be parted out. They would not sell 4-6-8 engines or HT 4100 engines nor would they sell diesels.

    The guy told me those engines were "pure trash" and that we wouldn't sell them.

    This place wasn't cheap by any means. A buddy bought a wiper motor there once and he said it was so close to the price of a new one that he almost passed.

    For all I know that place may still be in business but probably not.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,689

    There are a couple MB specific yards in the country. Same deal, very organized, not cheap - but sometimes can be worthwhile. There's a notable one in CA:

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,679

    I've always wondered how they can pull parts off of cars when they are stacked like that?

    I once had to climb a stack of junk cars when this HUGE junkyard dog came after me!

    The owner forgot to chain him up that morning.

    Funny now but not at the time!

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,689

    Never had to climb or experience a junkyard dog. I do remember being annoyed that the podunk junkyards were often muddy and a little disorganized.

    Thinking of it, the MB guru up in Bellingham had a small junkyard back when he sold parts on ebay - maybe a dozen or two cars being dismantled. The shocks on my fintail came from there - he had a car being taken apart, and told me it had nearly new shocks - if I removed them, I could have them. As a student with limited funds, I jumped on that. That reminds me, with the fintail's blinker issues, maybe a junkyard blinker would work. Probably a part that doesn't fail a lot - takes 50 years to wear out.

  • berriberri Posts: 4,179

    Junkyard Dog - I think there used to be a pro wrestler with that name who went into the ring unleashed from his collar. I think you guys are right that most of those places can only be found out in the stix these days. I like when I happen upon one, but with mixed emotions seeing all those neat old cars decaying and being slowly picked to death. I know calendars with rusted out cars are popular these days, but they make me sad. Same with the old aircraft boneyards in the AZ and CA deserts. I hate seeing classic old F-4 Phantom jets or old B727's and Lockheed Tristars sitting out there. But it's kind of neat seeing them and some of the old liveries from current and deceased airlines. What the hell, sometimes running into someone you haven't seen in years can have the same affect ;)

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