Jeff in the Junkyard: Dashboard Heaven

Jeff In The Junkyard

Last week, we kicked off a new series on Barn Finds that covers my adventures to junkyards up and down the Eastern seaboard. Although I visited an incredible yard this past weekend in Pennsylvania, this week’s entries focus on a visit to a great hunting ground in Western Massachusetts. It was a particularly enjoyable visit because I discovered a true unicorn in the BMW world: a crack-free dashboard in a 1985 BMW 528e. The dashboards in these cars almost universally crack, and to discover one in a junkyard car is the stuff of fantasies. Needless to say, I enjoyed my visit and grabbed a few other goodies that day – including some photos of cars I hope you’re able to identify!


This MG Magnette is a hard car to find anywhere, and this example looked extremely restorable. I don’t know what lead to it being surrendered to a salvage yard, but the interior was complete and the grille was in the backseat – it didn’t even appear all that rusty!


This is a car I’m asking our readers to help identify, as I couldn’t easily label it from all of the brush that had fallen on it and the loss of any emblems or marking to offer a clue! What brand and model is this resting wagon, with its moss green paint and brown trim blending into its surroundings?


The classic VW Bus is not at all an unusual site in old-school salvage yards, and this location held quite a few air-cooled examples. From Squarebacks to Beetles to Karmann-Ghias, an air-cooled aficionado would have a field day here.


Here’s a car I didn’t even know existed – a Buick Apollo! This example had clearly done some hot-rodding in its day, with fender arches cut out for wider tires and some huge slicks in the rear. Needless to say, its days of tearing up the strip appear numbered.


Although this car looked like a GTO at first glance, it is actually a Pontiac Tempest that appeared fairly complete. I’m guessing that’s why it wasn’t up among the other finds hiding beneath pine trees and the turkey vultures that scowled overhead.


The Alfa Romeo Milano is one of my favorite sedans from the 1980s and rarely seen on the roads today. This one was picked fairly clean, and the factory Recaros were no where to be found! The white exterior with black striping must have been a stunning combo when new.


An original Volvo 164 had Jesse’s name all over it! It was super clean and accompanied by a flat-hood 240 with the original single-round headlights and grills.


And finally, here is the car that gave me the best reward one could hope for after driving 2.5 hours to the middle of nowhere. A 1985 BMW 528e that had been off the road since 1998 and somehow – miraculously – still had a crack-free dash. The fruits of my labor can be seen below, and within a few days, it will replace the ugly, cracked unit in my latest project, a 1987 BMW 535is:


That’s all for now – until next time, we’ll keep hunting for the hidden yards along America’s highways and backroads so you don’t have to get covered in poison ivy and tick bites! Stay tuned for next week’s updates, and log your guesses for the mystery wagon below.


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WANTED 1959/1960 Pontiac ANY parts car Contact

WANTED 1964 Pontiac GTO Looking for rust free post GTO. running gear optional. For resto mod Contact

WANTED 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 cabriolet I am looking to buy foreign classic car projects Barnfinds call adam (203)-507-7900 Contact

WANTED 69 or 70 Plymouth GTX Looking for 69 or 70 with a four speed. Prefer numbers car. Contact

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  1. Jim Mc

    I’m pretty sure the wagon is a 68 or 69 Plymouth Fury or a Dodge equivalent – Newport maybe? Definitely a late 60s Chrysler.

    Like 1
    • Dana Murray

      I strongly believe it is a 1968 Chrysler Town & Country The concave sides indicate that as the 1969 was the first year if fuselage styling. Also the bit of rear taillights and hood shape confirm that for me

  2. Wayne

    The wagon is a 68 Plymouth Sport Suburban.

    • damian

      Where in massachusetts are those junkyards? Do you have an address??

  3. Paul

    Cool, another source for Junk Yard stories. I love Murelee’s in Autoweek.

    I must be in a speed phase right now. I see that Magnette and immediately think Rover V8.

    • Jeff Staff

      Paul, that’s our goal – while I can’t get out there every weekend, I’m sure as hell going to try!

      I know…the Magnette stayed on my mind for a while, too.

  4. KO

    Love it!

  5. Mike D

    The wagon is a 68 Plym Fury , I believe the Sport wagon was a Belvedere, and, yes, would LOVE that Apollo . dollars to donuts tho, bet the frame on that wagon is shot

  6. Eric A

    By any chance did you see a Fiat 124 coupe? I need a dash.

  7. Charles Gould
    • Mike D

      my bad, Charles.. they made a “Sport Satellite,” also a wagon, could it be we are both right? . I was def wrong on the Belvedere

  8. Jeff Staff

    Good job on identifying the wagon, guys! I’ll make the next one harder…

  9. Wayne

    Thanks Charles! If I recall, the wagons with the woodgrain were the “Sport Suburbans”. Mike is also right when it comes to the Belvederes as they had a “Sprot” wagon.

  10. jim s

    looks like a lot of goods parts. they should try to sell the vw bus on ebay. the 164 would be my pick. does the 68 plymouth SW have a frame or is it unibody? this is fun!

  11. Danny Rawinsky

    The black Magnette was not an uncommon car when I lived in New Jersey and was working in gas stations back in the 1960’s.

  12. St. Ramone de V8

    Great series, Jeff. This yard seemed to have something for everyone. Especially you. That dash pad must have taken some real time to pick, but what a prize. Please keep these coming!

    • Jeff Staff

      We definitely will. I had my uncle (who lives out that ways) help with extraction, which was a delicate process since these things can crack if you look at them the wrong way! But it was a great day in the wilderness, for sure.

  13. Gary

    Some good eyes here about the Plymouth wagon, at first glance my guess was a mid 70’s Chrysler, then after reading the posting realized that we have some mighty sharp gearheads among us. As far as the pics of other cars I like the Buick Apollo, not many of these to be found these days, also I would be a player for the ’65 Pontiac Tempest, my favorite body style among the 60’s “A” body cars, of course a GTO or LeMans would work also..

  14. Mike Bowers

    The station wagon is a 1968 Plymouth Sport Suburban, my parents had 2 of them to haul us around. Well Dad actually worked out of his for years as a moon lighting electrician. Mom hated her said it was like driving a large rock, but they had them for years, until they moved up to Vans.

  15. Mike Bowers

    I forgot to mention, back in the day, My Sister-in-law owed a Buick Apollo, it was a sharp car, it was blue with white interior.

  16. pontiactivist

    I love the junk yard crawl photos.

    I remember my dad had an apollo years ago. He sold it too my uncle and he put a 455 buick motor in it.

    I myself would love to have the tempest.

    • Jeff Staff

      We’ll keep them coming! The Tempest looked ready to drive on outta there…

      • J Type

        Hi Jeff, I enjoyed this segment. It’s amazing what some people throw away or send to the crusher. Would you be willing to share the name & location of this junkyard in western Mass? Thanks.

  17. Chris Buchaniec (@CBuchaniec)

    the green car is clark griswolds family truckster

  18. alan

    I took the full walking tour through this yard a couple of years ago when I purchased some ’62 Olds F-85 front knuckles. I took a bunch of pictures at the time of the great collection they have. Interestingly, I had visited the same yard almost 40 years before and there were some interesting cars in the pile then, too.

  19. Beach Roo

    68 Plymouth Sport Suburban Wagon… Mom and our neighbor had book ends. Ours was green with green interior and theirs was maroon. Hauled mom and dad, three kids and two German Shepherds while pulling a 19 foot boat to the Eastern Shore of Maryland… 383 V-8

  20. Bill McCoskey

    Dad bought a tan Plymouth wagon in ’68, but unlike the car in the pics, it was a 6 passenger [the 9 passenger wagons have the hand grips in the upper sail panels on either side of the rear window]. When the clock stopped working, I removed it, cleaned & oiled it, but during the re-install I scratched the face of the clock with my screwdriver.

    About 20 years ago I was in a junkyard in Culpepper VA, When I spotted a tan Fury wagon, optioned just like ours; 383 4V carb, dual exhausts, AM/FM stereo & A/C and clock — a clock with the exact same scratch on it’s face! It was a bittersweet reunion, to see our old wagon sitting there. It had been sent to the yard as a result of major accident damage to the right rear, bad enough to ripple the roof.

  21. Charles Gould

    What an amazing story! It is so sad that it is so bad that you cannot save this car and restore it.

  22. Howard Munday

    Bought a fully loaded ’73 Buick Apollo, midnight blue metallic with light blue 225 interior and a hatch back! My wife was a stay at home mom to two little girls to raise so the odometer was at only 13,000 miles when my oldest daughter was involved in an accident that totaled it. She was on the way to school when a girl who had decided to take her mom’s car to go to school, without asking her mom for permission pulled out in front of a school bus and hit my daughter broadside. The girl had no license and had had no driving experience at all because she was under the age for driving in Florida. No one was injured and the school bus did not become any part of the accident so all was not lost. The Apollo was a Chevrolet Nova with every option on it that was available for a Buick. My wife loved it but I ended up buying her a new ’76 red metallic Chevrolet Impala station wagon that was also loaded with all options because I felt a bigger vehicle was much safer for my girls!!!!! If that ’68 green metallic Plymouth had been a loaded Chrysler Town and Country it would have had a much better chance of being restored. The Town and Country, available with a Hemi four barrel, could pull stumps with it’s power and acceleration. I saw a ’68 frame off, restomod, 9 Passenger, Tuxedo Black one recently on at an asking price of $ 79,500.00 in Lakeland, Florida!!!!!!!!!

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