Closing Its Doors: Utah’s Only Classic Salvage Yard

Prepare to be bummed out: a haven of vintage cars and parts that’s been an Utah institution for decades is set to wind down in June. McBride’s Auto Wrecking in Grantsville, Utah is being forced to shutter after new housing developments encroached on the long-standing property and new residents grew cranky at the prospect of living near such a facility. Find the tragic story here on Hemmings and be sure to help the owner offload as many parts as he can.

Unlike stories of hoarders caught with their blinders on, this is merely the case of pricing a longtime land and business owner out of his living. The current owner is the son of the founder, who was a Cord factory mechanic and saw opportunity when the Grantsville airport didn’t survive the Great Depression. The elder McBride purchased the property and began inventorying salvage vehicles and other parts cars. It would become a destination for enthusiasts, with one of the biggest Studebaker parts inventories I’ve ever seen.

The son of the founder, Dennis McBride, has never needed a website. He doesn’t advertise. And according to Hemmings, it’s important to recognize this isn’t a junkyard but rather a collection of classic cars and trucks with acres of dry, western sheetmetal to offer up for projects. Unfortunately, as is often the case, suburbanites take up residence in new communities knowing full well about the parts facility next door and then utilize political strong-arming, new regulations and property tax increases to drive the blue collar business into extinction.

McBride also has a collection of his own, stored in a reconstructed airplane hangar. He has some beauties, including a preserved Grand National, gorgeous Avanti and numerous others like a 1956 Thunderbird he purchased brand new. There’s a Facebook page that’s sprung up in support of the business, and alerting enthusiasts to the pending wind-down. Word on the street is that he’s selling cars for just over scrap price and there are lots of dry, straight carcasses to choose from. Help keep the projects alive and call McBride on 435-830-0069.

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Comments

  1. Billy 007

    Hmmmm, wonder how much he was paid for the land. Did he make out well? If he bought a first gen T-Bird brand new, he is way ready to retire anyway, might have been a blessing, at least for him and his family. We all miss the junk yards of old, but most of us have to admit, they were an eyesore.

    12
    • Shane

      Billy, you nailed it. McBride sold his all that land to the developer building those homes. He is a wealthy man, but boy does he love a story….and the pity. Just have the courage to tell your car buddies you sold out!

      When he sold the land, he agreed to have the cars gone as part of the sell. The local municipality has nothing to do with this and getting a lot of bad press because one guy loves to tell stories.

      If you want to test me on this, see if you can get him to call you back. The man loves being in the newspaper. If you like tall tells, you’ll love this guy. I can’t believe this made it all the way from our local paper to Hemmings. The term “fake news” just took on new meaning.

      Oh yeah,
      T-Bird – did not buy new
      Father – not a Cord factory mechanic

      4
  2. Cncbny

    I like your thinking! Family first, then fun hobbies

    7
  3. LAB3

    Here in Michigan we have a “Right to Farm” law that keeps farmers from being run off their land due to encroaching development. Maybe we need to think about “Right to Junk” laws as well!

    67
    • Billy 007

      Most of the farmers I know make out like bandits when suburbia comes calling at their door. Somehow I don’t think those farmers will be eating cat food for breakfast, as I doubt this fell’a will. The real sad thing here isn’t financial, it is a lost way of life for an old guy who probably thought he would be there every morning until they dragged his lifeless body away.

      26
    • Billy 007

      Would YOU like to live with a view of an unkempt junk yard, would your wife? I doubt you would be that stupid, but how would you rate the intelligence of someone that willingly buys property when something is already there? When suburbia comes, there should be reasonable accommodation for existing things, though politicians are a weaselly bunch, never known to do what is right. They go for the votes and increased taxes newer people would give them. Ideally, the developers or neighborhood organization should make the owners of unwanted places an offer they can’t refuse, then everyone wins, but that doesn’t seem to be the way here in America, it is mob rule, esp if that mob is rich and powerful.

      36
      • LAB3

        Yeah, I knew you would have something to say to my comment! I’m very much a libertarian in my outlook on how other people choose to live or what they do on their own land. If my neighbor is doing something I don’t like, I can plant a row if trees or put up a fence. Just because someone is doing something I don’t like, it doesn’t automatically qualify them as a criminal! Having served as my townships zoning administrator in the past I can honestly say that the REAL reason people complain about things is because they can. Yes, I’m quite aware that justice is whatever the highest bidder says it is, that doesn’t mean that I personally care to play that game. BTW, after we ousted the old guard in our township the ZA position went away and the Office of the Constable was re-established. There’s crime, stupid human tricks and stupid humans, a Constable is elected to know the difference.

        21
      • CanuckCarGuy

        Used to be location, location, location…now it’s buy cheap and complain about the neighbours.

        21
      • Jim

        If it wasn’t for the junk yards people would have to buy everything new and car rebuilders would not be able to show part of history

        2
      • Jim S.

        No I wouldn’t like to live in view of a junkyard. That’s why I wouldn’t buy a house in that development! But, for someone that knows full well a junkyard is there, buys their house and now complains about said junkyard…….well that’s a different story not isn’t it? It’s like the asshats that move next to an airport and then complain about planes landing and taking off.

        35
  4. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Not surprised. Look at that view!

    4
    • Billy 007

      Maybe he needs a fence, could it be that simple? I feel we are not hearing the whole story here.

      13
  5. My70ss

    What is the Name of the Facebook page? Couldn’t find under McBride. Thanks

  6. Derek F

    Too bad it’s come to this, but the place is a bit of a mess. I could have all sorts of fun out there with a tractor arranging all those cool cars into logical sections or what have you. Just more big boy toys.

    11
  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    Well, you can imagine that there is a fair percentage of those cars that aren’t worth saving (the GM X-car , the late-80s Caddie, and the ugly green ’71 LTD come to mind). Then there is the percentage of cars that just don’t have much in the way of useable parts…basically stripped carcasses. Then there is a lot of miscellaneous metal junk that should just be recycled.

    What’s left are some decent cars with decent metal parts or glass. So now these cars can finally go to somebody who needs them and will use the parts, instead of just sitting out there doing nothing. Hopefully the Studes will find a good home.

    14
    • dweezilaz

      I’m glad you weren’t around deciding what was worth saving and what wasn’t when I was chasing parts for my 63 Valiant in the 80s.

      10
      • Rex Kahrs Member

        I’ve owned half a dozen A-bodies. But no X-cars.

    • Emmy J

      A ’71 LTD is on my automotive bucket list, since it’s one of the first cars I remember riding in as a kid. Hopefully all of the restorable ones won’t be crushed to make room for muscle cars.

      5
  8. jw454

    I believe the same thing happened to Queen City Speedway just north of Cincinnati Ohio. The housing projects kept moving closer and closer until their complaining got the track closed for good. I spent many fun Friday/ Saturday nights there. It’s happening all over.
    The issue, as I understood it, was the one night per week traffic jam during the summer months rather than the noise.

    9
    • mike D

      to me, it is like moving near an airport and complain about the noise, which was there first? don’t like the noise? don’t live there!

      29
  9. Rex Kahrs Member

    I’m completely over the idea of having neighbors.

    37
  10. Beaver

    These are the same people that try and get rid of DEER when they move into the mountains Just DUMB ASS MORONS!

    35
    • Ikey Heyman

      Yep. Here in Colorado, people come in from out of state and build these butt-ugly McMansions up on the top of some mountain (so they can get a good “view”), then they want local government to do something about bears getting into their garbage!

      16
  11. Retired Stig Member

    These stories always infuriate me. What happened to personal responsibility? If you buy a house next to an airport, expect airplanes. Same for junkyards. Think you might see junk? Poor little snowflakes. Buy somewhere else, or live with it.

    51
    • Ron Wheeler

      Maybe on his property, a firm will build commercial stores that will shadow their homes with lots of traffic.

      6
      • PatrickM

        lol!!!

        1
  12. Howard A Member

    This drew quite a stir on Hemmings. Of course this is going to hit a classic car person in the gut, but, it’s all about change. These houses represent peoples dreams. Homes, jobs, lawn care, schools, Kwiky-Marts, you name it, this is what people need today, not rusty Studebaker fenders. I don’t know about farmers making out like bandits, farmers always get the raw end of the deal, but this guy has some sweet classics, and the land, (provided the EPA doesn’t condemn it for leaking fluids, THAT would be the REAL kick in the butt), will generate more revenue than his junkyard ever will. Turn the page, pal, you had a good run at it.

    5
  13. davew833

    I live in Utah. Grantsville where this property is located is in the desert about 40 miles west of Salt Lake City, Utah. The Salt Lake City metro area is experiencing a severe shortage of affordable housing. Northern Utah median home prices are outstripping large Western cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas which is causing developers to pursue what would previously been less than desirable areas for new home development in Utah. It’s a sad thing for guys like this who were left alone out in the sticks for years. A couple of the pictures above show some of the newer housing that’s encroaching the area.

    10
    • rjc Member

      Dave do you remember Old Joe Moore. Had a personal junk yard close to here.
      We bought a 71 barracuda shell from him. Transfer d the complete floor with frame rails and fire wall on to my brothers barracuda convertible. I traded him my 63 dodge dart gt 273 v8 for a complete 69 fastback mustang.
      I heard he passed away , not sure if his wife kept the place.
      He owned a large towing company.
      He raced a 340 duster .

      3
  14. Jimmyg

    This is exactly how Raceway park in englishtown New Jersey was forced into closing the 1/4 dragstrip. People moved in knowing that the dragstrip was there and just started using the courts to close them .

    15
  15. Carla Hernandez

    Clowns move next to an airport and then complain about the circus.
    So if any one knows of other yards that need to be cleaned up to make them look presentable to the hoards, lets form groups that show up to help out in order to save them…possibly any attorneys could help with local zoning, help with local authorities, politicians…

    12
    • bobk

      Was going to say, one of the biggest problems GA (General Aviation) has is developers coming in, building right up to the airport’s property line – airports that have been there for decades, and then the folks that buy the houses start complaining, petitioning, instituting bogus lawsuits, all in an attempt to shut down the airport.

      Rant over.

      bobk

      13
    • James K

      This is a great idea, people should volunteer or setup maybe a non-profit to help out these yards.

      5
  16. David Fleischer

    WRONG!! This is not the ONLY classic car yard in Utah. There is a huge junkyard in Ogden, Utah with 1,200 pre 1970 cars in the yard. This yard is called B & R Auto Parts 770 W 1700 S Ogden, Utah 84404. Ph 801-399-5203

    6
  17. 79malibu

    Such crap! I hate it when that kind of thing happens. The guy that has runn a business for 70+ years gets forced out when others go into building houses when they know what is there! Bunch of jerks if you ask me!

    15
    • dennis

      Shouldn’t that’s be a grandfathered clause??

      1
  18. Mike m

    I agree, how would young adults learn anything about automotive when there’s not going to be anything left. Sad……

    9
    • PatrickM

      “Oh, I’ll just but another beat up Corrola. Insurance is dirt cheap. If it breaks down, I’ll just buy another beat up…” Can’t ya just hear it??

      1
  19. roundhouse

    The houses they put up are pretty ugly. The classic cars provide better scenery than those jammed together saltboxes. Go figure.

    14
  20. Madmatt

    This sadly has been happening for decades, I personally love “the view”,
    ….Lol..,and would have piece of mind,knowing parts were so close..!
    So sad that some wealthy developer chose land that was so close,
    Iam sure that there were other areas nearby,but they probably were
    more money..,dont these people have anything better to do…,
    even out in the sticks there are still people who want to control others,
    and the “others “are sick of it..!!

    9
  21. Rick A. Loera

    Who needs old cars today for kids. They all want video games and rap. We live in a different generation today. Very sad. Today’s kids are missing out. The ones that do like cars are using parking lots and public roads to race and drift their cars. Those old race tracks could have made a safer place for those kids to legally have fun. As far as encroaching housing. We complained about this year’s ago while living in San Jose, Ca. There was a theme park called Frontier Village. Anyway the closer housing got to Fronteir Village the more residents complained. Being ten years old at the time I thought, ok if you don’t like living by a theme park then why would you buy or rent a home by a theme park. Same thing happened when they built homes near Reed Hillveiw Airport. Again neighbors complained. Luckily it fell on deaf ears. It’s not the airports fault that these people somehow missed the fact that their were airplanes flying overhead. This airport was for small airplanes. In San Jose they did take out a complete neighborhood that was in the path of landing and taking off at Mineta Airport.

    5
    • James K

      But you see, if instead of saying ‘who needs old cars for kids?’ why don’t we figure out how to get more kids involved? Show them the value of these old cars?

      6
  22. dweezilaz

    As a kid, I used to live in Tooele, the next town over from Grantsville. I wonder if some of the cars my family owned ever made it there: wrecked 63 Dart 270 wagon, 56 Mercury Montclair, 65 Corvair Monza….

    Such a shame. A house so close to that JY would be right up my alley.

    I used to bike out to Candelaria’s on the outskirts of Tooele. It’s where I found a replacement tail light for Granny’s Mercury. $2.00 I think it was, for the entire unit, light, chrome, the works. The former owner of the Montclair had duct taped a pair of red panties over the broken lens.

    I still have the horn button from an old DeSoto that I got there.

    The area is a beautiful place. Still the only place I consider “home”.

    7
  23. Jeff

    Totaly agree – I’d definitely rather live with a view of a junk yard than surrounded by ugly suburbia with it’s inhabitants mowing their artificial lawn on saturdays –
    just no dignity these people

    8
  24. ctmphrs

    I don’t want to live next door to a wrecking yard, but I sure would like to live close to something like this.

    3
  25. Mike_B_SVT

    See now, I think if I were forced out of my livelihood because of complaining neighbors, I would probably go into Organic Farming. Y’know, just convert those few acres into a little farm. Be sure and spread a few truck loads of manure a few times a year… Plow it up on dry windy days… or maybe plow it at night, because I’d likely have a day job, so that’s the only time I’d have free.

    I wonder if the neighbors would feel better about that? “But it’s organic! I’m saving the Earth here!” >.>

    16
    • ken TILLY

      @Mike B Svt.

      I absolutely LOVE your idea. That would sort the Bstds out although by that time the collection would be history unfortunately.

      4
  26. Darrun

    I once was in a slightly similar situation. My neighbor didn’t like the size of garage that I was building next to his property line. Although it was compliant to county code. But, He decided the garage on the back of my lot would be easier to deal with, than a purple house with hot pink shutters,and yellow doors. As much as I wouldn’t wanted to live in such a house, I would have followed through.
    This guy just needs to start his own subdivision. The first house as described, with plans for many to follow, if he has to remove the cars. He probably wouldn’t have the first one finished before they wanted to find a reasonable solution.

    1
    • Bill McCoskey

      A long time friend was being pestered by the local county for letting a rear portion of her lawn go to “meadow” with long grass. She was a botanist by education and explained how it was ecologically sound land management, but they wanted nothing of it and fined her. She went to court, the judge took the time to read up on what she was preaching [ecological land management] and he found in her favor. She found out when in court it was a neighbor across the street from her home who complained, so she obtained 6 vintage white porcelain toilets, set them in a row across the front of her yard, planted flowers in the bowls and tanks. She painted the toilets with pretty botanical scenes, and signed each one. Said they were artistic planters. Judge agreed. Second case found in her favor.
      County continued to hassle her so much she sold the house and moved to a different county.

  27. ROARRR

    We have a neighborhood EXCLUSIVELY for wrecking yards here on the central coast of calif, there are one or two small homes there for people that find that acceptable but there’s not much chance someone will want to build a new neighborhood there. That happens frequently when someone puts a popular place like riverside raceway, cottati raceway etc way out in the sticks where land is cheap and then someone puts in a gas station / minimart, then–

    1
  28. Alford

    Junkyards, race tracks, airports, farms are all disappearing thanks to developments both housing and shopping centers. Even well maintained middle class homes are targets if the cities can find someone that can develop the area with the ability to pay more taxes and provide employment. Then it’s a race to court to implement eminent domain proceedings or change in zoning laws. There is a major airport getting reading to shoot themselves in the foot by selling a section of real estate they have that is bordered by runways and fuel/oil storage tanks and things associated with an airfield to be developed into homes.

    2
  29. 88V8

    We have the same bs over here in the UK. People move next to a farm then complain about the smells and the noise.
    Or they move near a church then whine about the bells. and often, the imbecile Planning system supports the incomers against the locals.
    Makes me spit.
    Houses… let’s be clear; there is no shortage of houses. There are more houses than there have ever been. What we have is too many people. Does the world need more people? Clearly no, yet the population keeps expanding, and if we look why we find certain religious and racial groups are mainly responsible.
    In this overcrowded world, no one has the right to increase the population, so any couple that produces more than two children is in my view thoughtless, stupid, selfish..
    Traffic jams, houses creeping over the range, interference with strips and scrapyards, destruction of wildlife – too many people.

    9
  30. Steve A

    Just not right. He was there first!!! The perspective new homeowners don’t like seeing what I consider BEAUTIFUL, go buy a house someplace else!!!

    9
  31. duaney Member

    The yard should be grandfathered in. Most states can’t force someone out like this unless they condemn the property. Perhaps this is what they did here. Hopefully many of the vehicles will be purchased. Unfortunate that it’s too far from me.

    2
    • dennis

      This was my first thought and wonder as I don’t live in Utah didn’t know if the regs would be the same.

  32. Paul

    I heard they are going to put a sewage treatment plant in the place of the junk yard. To help with all the new homes being built! One could only hope!

    1
  33. Joe Howell

    Had a huge yard nearby I used to roam in the 60’s full of interesting stuff on both sides of the highway. Unfortunately President and “Lady Bird Johnson” had to drive thru it occasionally when visiting Camp David. This sight so offended Lady Bird that she started her “Beautify America” campaign. They had to put up a huge fence to shield the public’s sensitive eyes. It’s still there but cars get picked and shredded quickly and don’t sit for years like they did. Better get it when you see it, that car will likely be gone next trip. Good thing I don’t have a Home Owner’s Association to keep happy. The RV parked in the driveway, frequent gunfire, taking a leak in the yard, revving up the Harley and flying the American flag would be sure to raise some hackles. Hope this guy gets the last laugh and they build that sewer treatment plant there to the new residents’ delight.

    3
  34. Seth Higson

    Is there any links to what’s available for us non-USA folk :)

  35. Ol Hokie.

    My area is going through a similar situation but it’s over a drive-in movie theater rather than a “junk yard”. The theater has been there for probably fifty years but some residents of recent nearby housing development wants it shut down because of noise.

  36. Rick A. Loera

    Yes and while your at it. Stay off my grass!!!

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