Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

8,000 Cars For Only 3 Million!


If I had $3,000,000, I would be moving to Wendell Idaho right now. That may sound strange, but after reading this post on Hemmings, we think you will understand. One of the oldest salvage yards in the country is located there and it is up for sale. The owner would like to retire and obviously they plan on living well in their old age. Perhaps we should all combine our resources to save the inventory of over 8,000 cars? Hey, we would only have to make $375 off every single car to break-even…

warehouse of projects

If you don’t have that kind of money, there are several large sales that were recently sent in that might be worth taking a look at instead. Reader Gwbaueriv tipped us off to a warehouse in Baltimore that is full of projects. There is also an estate sale in Alexander City, Alabama with a forest full of old trucks. They might not be as spectacular as the Wendell yard, but there might actually be a financial upside to them. Money aside, we hate to see these old salvage yards dieing off. It seems like they are disappearing at an ever increasing rate with each passing year.


  1. Plasticman

    Wow! you could take some very atmospheric photos there, could be a few haunted Chryslers!

    Like 0
  2. DanaPointJohn

    You are right saying that the “owner would like to retire and obviously they plan on living well in their old age.” Did Idaho legalize marijuana too?
    Since no one needs/wants 8,000 cars and no one will spend $3M on this “collection,” please post an update when they start selling-off the cars one at a time.

    Like 3
  3. Ron

    I would love it. Buying lottery tickets this weekend. Never know. :)

    Like 2
  4. Bagel

    A commenter on the Hemming’s post makes an interesting point… “3.2 Million is right on the mark!! Here is what the guy did $200.00 per ton X average old car of 2 tons X 8000 cars = $3,200,000.00 Simple 3 grade math!! So yes they will get 3.2 Million !! and with 190 days of crushing there will be a 80 acre cow pasture worth $250.00 per acre for a nice bonus of $20,000.00 !!! I hope that I am wrong but if I was to bet this is the way it will go!! Dan H”

    Like 2
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      They are probably right Bagel. Let’s all hope that doesn’t happen though.

      Like 2
      • compuglobalhypermeganet

        ~ i’m in! where do i send my money and how much. i’ll bring both my motor homes and bunk a half dozen boarders. now if we can just nominate a decent full-time chef.

        Like 0
  5. Brian

    I’ve seen the ads on Craiglist for the cars in Alabama. The prices seem alittle too optimistic (high) for parts/project cars to me.

    Like 0
  6. rancho bella

    As the age of car guys increases, these hunks become less valuable by the day.
    To prove my point just go to a Good Guys car show. Hell, half the attendees are on oxygen bottles and canes………………..Most young people don’t care about old cars.
    There may be some cars or trucks of interest…………but not 3 million dollars of interest

    Like 0
    • Dolphin Member

      I see the same thing at the Show ‘N Shines and car shows I go to. Most people are ’50s-and-up. But when the shows are in town centers instead of out of the way places that you have to drive to you see more young people, and some of the are showing their cars.

      Seems to me that shows have worked best when clubs work with towns and cities to have the show in a blocked-off section of the town center. I think the businesses will come on-side once they realize that shows like that bring in a lot of foot traffic and end up being good for them, too. I’ve seen restaurants fill up and not only food stands and other mini-businesses show up to help feed and entertain folks, but even radio stations getting in on the act to promote the show—and themselves. Lots of possibilities there.

      Car shows that attract lots of people of all ages take organization and work, but it’s worth it to the hobby, and for efforts like the one in this entry to do something good with a lot of old cars that would otherwise go to the crusher for the value of the scrap. I sure hope someone steps up, but they had better have a lot of time and energy to market the cars/parts, otherwise the temptation to give in and just go for the scrap metal value will be too great.

      Like 0
      • rusty

        Heres a thought too, re the loss of people interested in old cars….

        there are a lot of classic car guys who have been in the scene a long time that are sick of clubs and carshows and have lost that interest. I have and am well over them..sure Ill health helped that situation for me but the gradual club attitude of attending car shows instead of a picnic drive sort of took the vintage car scene from using the car as it was intended to an “hey look at me.. Im sitting behind my car in a group but dont you come near me or my car or I’ll stare at you,” attitude.

        I do realise most of the cars I was into were less drivable in heavy traffic but overal even with powerful classic cars how many do you see on the road just going for a drive…hardly any.

        Many Classic cars as cars are dead. Perhaps the younger crowd will only be interested if the car they choose can be driven anywhere anytime… And i’d agree with them…car shows just relegate classic cars to mantle piece collectables. I got into classic cars when I bought my first car as my everyday driver in the late 70’s. The fun was driving it…not sitting in a paddock waiting for the $6 trophies.

        Like 1
      • dj

        I understand. Once there were great car shows in my area. And then the clubs starting taking over. Now don’t get me wrong, I was in a Corvette Car Club. We had fun, organized car shows and had cruise ins. Now car clubs are different. Most here are full of buttholes and care nothing other than me me me. I stay away from them now and what shows I go to, I make sure it’s a little town and they need help raising money for a good cause. The car shows we knew years ago are a thing of the past.

        Like 3
    • Don Andreina

      Good call Rancho.

      There was a time when only brass era cars were considered classics, now try finding a buyer on the lesser versions. I remember being big time surprised when Jesse and Josh bought the Golf; the amount of commentary skyrocketed and it seemed like a lot of younger’uns. Today’s Javelin, tomorrow’s Essex.

      Like 0
    • Brian

      I agree with the above statements. I got into antique cars and antique car clubs before I was young enough to drive them! So we are talking about the mid 1980s. At that time, some shopping around would still get you into a solid, driveable late 50s or early 60s 4 door car for $500 to $1500. $3000 to $5000 would get you into a nicely restored driver car, were talking Studebaker Hawks, ’57-’59 Ford Galaxie 2 door hardtops, maybe a convertible if you really beat some bushes!

      At that time, you could still get used parts in some junkyards or a parts car could be had for $150-300 and you could easily do a nice cosmetic restoration on a solid generic american car for three grand between doing most of the work yourself but farming out paint, chrome, and upholstery.

      Back then, the “average guy” with a family could afford to play around in old cars!

      Today is a challenge! The cheap sources of parts for these same cars have dried up. Most salvage yards have NO cars older than 1994, and the few that do think they have gold sitting there instead of sheetmetal that is beat and rusted into uselessness from years of abuse and weather. The cost of materials and labor has skyrocketed. People assume if you have an antique car, then you have money and many (not all) in the trade take avantage.

      It’s true that the show and club culture has changed as the WWII generation of folks that I came to know fade away. Alot of these old guys would help you and kick in parts for cheap, sometimes free, because they wanted to encourage you and they enjoyed helping to bring an old car back. Today, it seems like these folk have been replaced by people who are present to promote themselves and their businesses, sort of a “mall mentality” and yes, way to much snobbery and bragging.

      I also agree that the younger generation, generally speaking, doesn’t car about cars. My 16 year old newphew isn’t even interested in getting his driver’s license! I got interested in old cars because of my father, and interested in fixing them because I watched him and nearly ever male figure in my life fixing things. Kids today have not grown up this way, again, generally speaking. They have grown up watching their father paying someone else to fix things or just throwing them out and replacing with new. So, between the cost of living and the way they are grow up, I can’t cast much blame on them, they are, as we are, a product of their generation.

      One more thing, most importantly, is this notion that everything old is therefore rare and valueable. Old cars, just like anything else, are only worth as much as somone is willing to pay for them. Real life in old cars isn’t like Barrett Jackson on Saturday night on the History Channel and people are not going to get into bidding wars over your ’64 4 door Biscayne because you saw “one just like it” sell on tv last nite, because that one was a Impala SS wearing a restoration that cost $35,000 more that it sold for at that auction! Grow up, get real, and sell it to the guy that really wants it for reasonable money and forget it. He isn’t taking advantage of you because what you don’t realize is that when he’s done restoring it, he’ll have invested more money in it than it’s worth and more time than it took to build it when new, and since he was willing to do both, he loves it more than you ever will!

      Like 4
    • paul

      r b you would think that, I would think that, but if I was this guy I would hire those crafty folks that handled the Lamberct deal, they got real folks, ( idiots or not ) to come up with real $’s for some real junk, or treasures.

      Like 0
  7. Kombi Smithers

    Any news on the A1 Auto salvage in roswell new mexico that was going to be sold or closed been there since 1940’s massive area of land it covers

    Like 1
  8. john marsh

    i would love to at least see this place

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Perhaps Josh and I will have to make a trip over that way to take some photos. I still kick myself that I didn’t take some of an old yard I used to frequent as a kid. The cars were situated along a winding creek and in between trees so it was quite a sight. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best method of storing old cars.

      Like 2
  9. Gavin Lang

    I hope the crusher doesnt get these cars. However, there is no way to economically keep this place going without a huge expensive effort. For most of us this is the first we’ve heard of this place. Unless you have many millions of dollars and want a hobby to possibly lose money on the majority if these cars are already washing machines… sad to say but the value in scrap probably surpasses the value of the vehicles. Im a car guy but even with an auction youd have scrappers with the high bid anyway. :(

    Like 1
  10. Toby

    Looking for Studebakers any year or model.

    Like 0
  11. Dan Almashy

    in looking it up on google maps, I see its just slightly north on rte 46 out of town on the right, pretty large!!

    Like 0
  12. Livermoron

    Looking at the Google Earth image I am doubtful on the car count. 8K cars is a lot – figure if each car is 7 ft by 20ft you would need 25 acres bumper to bumper door to door. I know they say the land is 80 acres – but that would mean on average each acre has 100 cars – just doesn’t look like that to me.

    Like 0
    • Mark E

      If you look on the googleearth image, you see that there are cars going off the plot of land on the lower right. I’m wondering if those cars are included and if they’d have to be moved prior to the sale…

      Like 0
  13. Don Andreina

    I’ll take three million cars for eight grand if anyone’s offering.

    Like 1
  14. rustylink

    I love the math and logic I am reading about – the buyers that will be lining up with their 3 million in hand! Seriously, would you invest 3 million in this scrap scheme? I can think of much better ways to invest that kind of scratch than 8000 rust heaps at $200 a ton . I wish the seller luck at his current price. good luck flipping the land that 8000 leaking cars sat on.

    Like 0
  15. rusty

    Ahhh crushers…never get your offered money from them.

    Here in Aussie I have had a few friends clean out thier propertys when the Chinese were going crazy for our gold..err I mean tin. [scrap is worth little now]

    Well each and every one of them said they had been well underpaid for the amount of tin leaving their place…somehow the scrappers never seem to be forthcoming with the correct pound per $.

    One close mate had a land rover dealership/repair business in the bush…the amount of Landrover stuff and early rover car stuff was large….he laments that he knows the scrappers fingers were holding the scales up. Vintage tin gone for less than offered.

    Another was a Morris Minor Dealer who had sheds of numerous morries that just was too much for him being he was moving and his Business premisses was in city. I saw some of the cars on trucks pass me and I enquired of him if those were his..and as a far as I can work out he never got the promissed $ that his huge collection should have got. But the headache was gone I spose. Dont trust promisses from scrapies.

    For myself when I moved two houses of storage at once took trailer loads of my scrap steel to Simsies [famous Aussie scrap dealer] at the height of the scrap bonanza.but just dumped it without payment mainly because it was a hassle with these big business scrappers…they wouldnt pay unless it was more than a tonne and I simply was in a hurry to clean out my properties and I knew that my tralier loads were under the tonne. But a Chinese buyer [from a group of business looking guys with hard hats on] was there with a clip board who came up to me and said how much are you getting paid for this..I said nothing not a cent and he looked quizical. I guess he realised they were paying huge prices then for Aussie Scrap yet Simsies was getting a damn lot for free too.

    Needless to say I dont believe they will recoup said scap estimates..promisses are like classic cars .One day they seem $ sound next week when all done and dusted those promisses just rusted into the ground for cents..

    Like 0
  16. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    I just got off the phone with the manager of this yard and it turns out that the owner does not want it to go to anyone who is interesting in scrapping the cars. He is 79 years old and has been building this business for most of his life.

    This gave me a crazy idea. I doubt it would work, but what if we started a nonprofit and raised funds to save this place? It could be the world’s largest outdoor car museum! We could install information plaques in front of every car and charge entry. I for one would be interested in visiting a place like that!

    Like 1
    • rusty

      Man thats great..its the owners passion…lets hope someone takes over even if its a managed affair for his kids it’s left to.

      Jesse yes it is crazy,…but crazy good….would it work no..but it would feel good…hee hee.

      Ok have you heard of “kickstarter”

      Like 1
      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        I just checked out kickstarter. Unfortunately you cant use it to fund real estate purchases… Any other ideas?

        Like 1
  17. Barry

    As far as the count versus the acreage, its entirely conceivable. My yard had an 1100 car inventory all on the ground at one point on 5 acres. I wonder how close the nearest scrap processor is. Transportation costs can eat up a lot of the per ton price.

    Like 0
  18. rusty

    Jesse said ” I just checked out kickstarter. Unfortunately you cant use it to fund real estate purchases… Any other ideas?”

    but its not realestate its a museum with a lease on the land…then you finally buy the land for the $200,000 its worth….hee hee..[except that your museum value added to the land and now the acerage doubled in value..doohh.]

    kickstarter for museum without realestate…hee hee….

    for a 3 million dollar photo opportunity ranch…

    sort of like Africas reserves, where gun shots are exchanged for camera shots.
    everyone wins

    instead here tetnus shots are sold along with camera shots…double $ return and you win


    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      You get the vision rusty!

      Like 0
    • John

      How about a cooperative where people buy shares for like $1,000. and get $2,000. worth of parts?

      Like 0
  19. Dave

    I’m with Rusty, I hope a family member or friend takes it over so that the cars won’t go to the crusher. Or even Jesse’s idea, if possible. And yes, what did happen to the one in New Mexico, or the one in Texas?

    Like 0
  20. paul

    I don’t know Lambert Chevy did pretty well proving that with enough advertizing ( drama) it can be pulled off, but as a side note here in the east the EPA would be having you dig up the dirt that oil seeped into from all those cars. That could be expensive, but I guess they do stuff differently out there.

    Like 0
    • rusty

      paul said ” the EPA would be having you dig up the dirt that oil seeped into from all those cars. ”

      oh i dont know

      isnt that how Jed made his money.& the kin folk said Jed move away from there…the Clamperts were loaded after selling their old wrecking yard to the oil company..and they still got to keep one car as a daily driver..cool

      I’d reckon triple win.. Jesse you are onto something here….

      Like 0
  21. jim s

    it would be a very interesting project. BUT. who would sell insurance for it and at what price. AND. just because the yard is already there and up and running does not mean the new owner can get the permits to keep open. IF. the EPA gets involved who knows what would happen. the buyer would need to do a ton of research and have a lot more money then just the asking price.

    Like 0
  22. jim s

    and then there is taxes and eminent domain just to increase the tax base. but it sure would have been fun to have owned a yard like this ” back in the day “.

    Like 0
  23. Don Andreina

    The Barnfinds Foundation. I’m putting my hand up to be a non-liable board member.

    Like 0
  24. braktrcr

    Wendell Idaho is where I bought my fire truck. Beautiful place. Great place to raise a family.

    Like 0
  25. Doug M. Member

    Here’s the critical question in my mind: what is the makeup of the inventory? A 5 minute walk with a cell phone in 3 random directions on the yard would give a good feel for the overall flavor of the yard. Too many 90’s minivans would kill it, but lots of 40’s to 60’s cars would be the ticket. I am thinking 3 million might be hard to raise. Museum concept good, but tough to sell (hey, kids! last year ya know how we went to Disneyland!? …Well, Guess where we’re going THIS YEAR?!!!) I think the best use is for someone to inventory the yard, get someone with deep pockets to simply underwrite the process, then have the non-profit group take on the proper sale and distribution of the classics. Turn the new stuff into scrap for quicker cash flow, while working the Ebay and other sources on the oldies. The owner gets a down payment put up by the underwriter, and periodic payments till done. The underwriter gets a premium on his investment plus more for the risk. The non-profit sales team gets a salary and a fun job for 3 years, the owner gets all his money over the 3 years, and the cars find new homes. Land sells at the end and everyone is happy!

    Like 0
    • Don Andreina

      ‘Guess where we’re going THIS YEAR?!!!’

      Gold. Snorted milk on this line.

      Like 0
  26. Tara P

    I could spend years viewing everything i had bought, then would i want to sell any of them, who knows, i just love old cars, i would probably sell some of the more recent cars, its a nice dream though, only got to find another $2,000,999 then they are mine.

    Like 0
  27. Tara P

    I have just looked at the satelite image of Wendell Idaho, i cant see where they are, any better directions, are they near the main highway.

    Like 0
  28. Gee P

    This is awesome. Feed me and give me a bed and I will come run this “museum” and fix up cars. Maybe we should ask Jay Leno for help ?

    Like 0
  29. jesse johnson jr

    here’s the skinny, the land this yard sits on was once the city of wendell dump, long ago covered over, and moved across the road to a new compacter site. Your not messing up virgin dirt. The cars off to the side of the picture are projects that no parts are pulled from and they do sell with the land and yard. they where put on that side of the fence over the years to keep people from removing parts, as they were to be kept intact. If you get rid of these old cars it just makes the price of finding these type of parts a lot higher, and if you are a true car guy you know aftermarket parts made out of the usa never fit right making your classic old car that you’ve spent a lot of money restoring, a cheep pile of foriegn made junk parts. That has helped mess up the American economy, by sending our dollars out of the United States of America. All people love old cars if they drive them or not. They still turn heads, they are like the furniture in your grandmas house, well built pretty to look at and respected, not practical to use everyday, but worth keeping around. These cars need to be saved, so our kids kids will know what its like to build something with pride, style, and class. Cars made today are not well built and mostly made in other countries or at least alot of their parts are. Which means less jobs in this country. Lean on the fender of your new car and you’ll see what i mean. I want to save this place at all costs, yes it needs some fine tuning but the amount of American history here is worth preserving. I would donate a dollar or 5 for that ..Would you?

    Like 0
  30. Dave

    I too would donate a couple bucks or so.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.