Classics In Wyoming: Our Automotive Heritage

Classics In Wyoming

So this past weekend was a long, but good one. We sold the Singer, Jesse worked on the MGB, and I travelled back to Wyoming for a family reunion. Prior to leaving on Friday, I was a bit bummed that I wasn’t going to be in town to work on our cars, but it turned out to be a great weekend in Wyoming! And not just because I got to spend some time with relatives, but because I learned my passion for classic cars actually runs in the family. I wouldn’t normally talk about something like my own family reunion, but seeing as I discovered what could be one of the last great holdouts of classic cars left in the west, I decided I just had to share this trip! I haven’t seen so many old cars parked in fields since I was a kid!

Field Finds In Wyoming

Friday afternoon, my girlfriend and I flew out of Boise, destined for Wyoming. Once we landed, we rented a car and began the hour and a half drive on back roads to a small town near the eastern border. During the drive we spotted a few cars here and there, but it wasn’t until we pulled into the tiny town where my mother was born that we began to see a plethora of classic. I hate to give away the name of this town, as it seems like it hasn’t been picked over yet and I would hate to see all these cars shipped off to other states.

Firebird Sighting

There were so many cars as we pulled into town, that I figured it was worth being a little late to the reunion to take a quick drive down the main street. It’s not a very big town, so it didn’t take but a few minutes, but we spotted a few good finds (like this Firebird). We decided we better get to the fairgrounds where the reunion was being held for dinner. Once we got there, I quickly discovered that my parents are quite proud of this site and the hard work we put into it, as my cousins had all heard about Barn Finds and wanted to tell me stories about some of the cars they’ve come across over the years. And that’s when I started to realize, while their interests were more targeted towards muscle cars and trucks, our love for automobiles is the same!

1974 Ford

My grandfather was a Chevy guy and owned a number of interesting GMs, including a ’57 Nomad which was the first and only car he ever bought brand new. My uncles all had muscle cars back in the ’60s and ’70s. Even my aunts seem to have an interest in classic cars. From the stories I heard over the weekend, my ancestors spent many an evening debating who made better cars and that debate continues to rage to this very day. Above is one of my Uncle’s ’74 Ford truck. He still uses it to plow snow every winter and as you can imagine, he is a Ford guy.

GTX Convertible

One particular set of cousins inherited a love of Mopars from their father, he was the only Mopar guy in the whole family. I had heard stories about their cars, but had never seen them in person. As I was talking to one of them, he told me I really needed to see what was currently parked in his garage. We had a busy schedule for the reunion, but I told him we would have to make time to go look at his cars and boy am I glad we did! I got a small taste of what he had when he pulled up to lunch on Saturday in his Plymouth GTX convertible. After talking for a little while that evening, I decided to sneak off to take a few photos of some of the cars I had spotted on the way into town before it got dark. My girlfriend had pointed out some old truck parked by a dealership as we had pulled into town, so that was our first stop. As we were looking around, there were two guys also looking around the dealership. They were taking a keen interest in a Mopar sitting in the showroom.

Wyoming JunkYard

As we started talking, I could tell this guy knew his stuff when it came to Mopars. He could tell simply from the radiator and placement of parts in the engine bay of the car sitting in front of him that it wasn’t originally a Hemi car. I love to learn, so I started up a conversation and before long it came out that I write for this website. As it turned out, Steve is an avid reader of the site and has been following us since the very beginning. We had a wonderful time talking about cars with him and his father, but finally we decided we better get back to the reunion. To be honest, it was a bit surreal to meet one of our readers in person on accident in a tiny town in Wyoming, but it was one of the highlights of the trip!

Plymought Sport Fury

As the reunion drew to a close, we finally had some time to go check out my cousin Greg’s collection. First, he showed us a Plymouth Sport Fury which he is actually looking to sell. He had plans for it, but he’s currently in the process of building a new home and doesn’t have time for it. I’m still trying to decide if I want this massive boat or not, but it looks solid. He then took us into his workshop and that’s when things started to get real interesting.

Duster 340 Six Pack

First he showed us his 1972 Duster 340 Six Pack in Plum Crazy Purple. He had it up on the lift because he’s currently installing a new exhaust system, but he lowered it for me to take some photos and look at the interior.

Lil Red Express

Next up was his ’78 Dodge Lil’ Red Express. This truck was originally sold brand new in town to the gentleman that my cousin bought it from. After buying it, he went through the entire truck with his wife’s help. They repainted it, refinished the wood, and made it a good driver. As you can tell, he hasn’t had much time for his cars lately and they are covered in dust.

Model T

Once I had taken photos of both cars, he lead me to a door in the back of his garage. As he opened the door, he had a big grin on his face and he told me I was going to like this one. There in this lean to was a 1926 Ford Model T in almost completely original condition. It had been listed for sale on Facebook by the original owner’s son in my hometown of Sheridan, Wyoming. Greg’s wife just happened to see it, so they made the 4 hour drive to look at it. It was supposedly still being used to check fence on the farm up until the ’90s. The son had the interior redone at some point and had part of the body painted orange, but other than that it was left original. Greg plans on keeping it as-is, but fixing a few of the issues so it is safe to drive! Once I finished drooling over his Model T he promised me the next car would really blow my mind, so we left this garage and headed towards a smaller shop.

Plymouth Road Runner

He opened the door to reveal this 1969 Plymouth Road Runner which is equipped with a 440 6-Pack and Air Grabber hood! When he found this Road Runner, it was dinged up and missing its engine. Since it wasn’t going to be original anyways, he decided to build it the way he wanted it. Him, his wife, and a buddy did all the body and paint work, and I have to say it turned out great. He fired it up and pulled it out of the garage and it made some incredible noises. As he was backing it out, I also noticed he has a Dodge Ram SRT-10 in this same garage, but I was so fixated on the Road Runner that I didn’t think to take any photos of it.

Wyoming Salvage Yard

We were running late for our flight and needed to hit the road, so we didn’t have a chance to look at my other cousin’s Road Runner or any of his collection, but I will be sure to make a trip over to visit them the next time I’m in Wyoming! I also will be making a few stops while I’m there to look at some of the salvage yards I spotted. It just goes to show you that there are still lots of classics out there waiting to be saved, you just need to know where to look! Oh, and family reunions actually can be fun. I want to thank Greg and his wife for showing us their collection and I owe gratitude to the rest of my family for a heritage of automotive passion! Maybe this car stuff really does run in our blood!

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Comments

  1. BR

    Marry the girl.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      +1

  2. SoCal Car Guy

    The Roadrunner is a 1970, not a 69.

  3. randy

    Thank you for taking the time to tell us some interesting stories. 69-70 it makes no difference to me, I just like seeing them.

  4. JW

    That’s a really cool story and you are very lucky to have family like that, I’m the only gearhead in my family and my wife’s brother-inlaw is the only one in her extended family.

  5. 1969Deuce

    Great snapshots.

    That 2nd photo shows a red GMC, either M135 or M211, an early ’50s version of the Deuce. 302 engine and an early automatic transmission. The transmission called for 30W motor oil and a lot of them were ruined when people couldn’t believe it and used ATF. When they’re reliable, they’re very strong trucks. Canadians used them much longer than the Americans. Unfortunately, the market doesn’t price them well so restoration and maintenance is a labor of love.

    Steve

  6. Blindmarc

    Save the sport fury! Not too many around and someone has to offer vinyl covers for the seats. Love them big cars, especially with hideaway lights.

  7. RoughDiamond

    Great story! Thanks for sharing.

  8. jim s

    give the location. if the vehicles end up out of state but being save that is better then having weeds growing over them. great story. it is tough being the only one in the family that does not know all the relatives by name but does know what vehicles they own/drive .

    • Josh Staff

      I would actually like to see these cars saved Jim, but the real reason I didn’t give away the location is to protect my cousins collection. It’s a very small town and it wouldn’t be too difficult to find his shop. I don’t think he would appreciate any unwanted guests dropping by. Once I know for sure that his storage is secure, I will give out the location!

      • jim s

        a very good point.

  9. Rob

    Nice bunch of vehicles found there in ‘Laramie’ County Josh. Though we primarily live in Corvallis, MT, our 2nd home in WY is a bit further North West, up in ‘Hot Springs’ County.. 【ツ】

  10. Gary

    Very nice story and great to have family who shares a lot of the same interests. Just by chance would the small town name start with an L? Just curious as I have family in NE, and have driven thru various parts of Wyoming, (from CA) once for our family reunion. Sioux County area, my late Great Uncle was a true gearhead, a collector of vintage Hudson’s.
    Thanks for sharing the story and pictures.

    • Josh Staff

      Good guess Gary, but no it doesn’t. I’d say more but I don’t want to give away too much. When I was a kid, most of the state still had stashes of cars like this, but most of the bigger towns have been picked clean. If you are ever headed back through Wyoming and have the time, I’d recommend taking the back roads and old highways. You’ll get to see some cool country, plus a lot of old cars!

      • Gary

        Thanks Josh for letting me know. The last time I was able to spend time driving thru Wyoming and Nebraska was in the early 80’s. I flew out in the mid 90’s for a short family visit but have been way to busy with life here in CA. I recently married and told my wife we are planning a trip in the future to see some of the beautiful Midwest. We will for sure be traveling some of the back roads of Wyoming. By the way my family on Mother side was in Harrison and Crawford, NE

  11. Larry Brown Member

    Great story Josh especially about the mopars. This 1968 Plymouth Barracuda Formula S 340 Convertible with 4sp is now going to be up for sale very soon. It is one of 60 produced with the 4sp trans and is a matching number car. I am placing it up for sale tomorrow afternoon as soon as I write up the ad for it. It is in great running condition and the body is straight and solid! Just maybe your relative that collects Mopars might be interested in it, lol. I will also be selling a 70 Barracuda body and a 70 Challenger body and a large semi trailer plum full of 68 thru 70 Charger parts along with parts off of a 73 Roadrunner and a special 74 Duster. It is definately going to be a very busy rest of the week for me.

  12. RIC Parrish

    I’m interested in the hardtop on the GMC Deuce and a Half, or the complete truck. Maybe you could send me some information privately? Thanks

  13. KO

    Great story and pics. Even better family reunion!

  14. Ed

    Thanks for enough clues to find the town. I’m actually heading that way next week, I’ve been looking for a 50’s Chevy P/U, those four relaxing under the tree look like candidates. Do you know if they were for sale?

  15. gunningbar

    Thanks… great story!

  16. lm

    image of trucks in field….very very nice image and have no interest in trucks

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