Jeff In The Junkyard: Digging in the Archives

Jeff In the Junkyard - Archives

Due to the summer time activities taking priority over my junkyard excursions, I’m running out of fresh meat. But rest assured, an external hard drive still has a few gems stored away on it, and I’ve begun pulling together some finds from the yards of yesterday. What’s most distressing about this process is realizing how many valuable cars (for my purposes, anyway) I walked right past before I ever knew I’d need parts from them someday!

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Remember when U.S. Mail trucks were actually vintage classics still working the roads of America? I’ve seen these in yards before, but very few still with their original lettering intact. If I recall correctly, this Jeep wasn’t all that rough but had definitely entered retirement.

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Not all old Alfa Romeos end up crossing the auction block or being trailered to historic racing events around the country. In addition to the obvious body damage, this Alfa was exceptionally rusty. In fact, I suspect most of the damage occurred once it was in the yard and its crunchy sheet metal gave way to being tugged and shoved into line.

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Surprisingly intact, this mustard yellow TR7 went to the junkyard in the sky so others could live on. This yard was in Baltimore and always seems to have a few TR7s kicking around; I haven’t seen one up north in ages. Blame the salt we lather generously on our roads.

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I tried like hell to save this old girl. After taking the pictures, I posted info to a few Subaru enthusiast sites hoping some vintage owners could grab whatever useful parts she had left. The front fascia looked like a good replacement for any owners suffering from a nose hit, but the rest of the car was extremely rusty. Supposedly, a few die-hard Subaru fans got some bits before it got crushed.

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Do you ever think about luxury cars in the junkyard, how the original owner spent a good chunk of money to be the first one to call it theirs? Even in the malaise era, Cadillacs were still owned by wealthy consumers, so I always wonder what the initial drive must have been like in this pastel yellow coupe. Now, it’s just another resident of a row in a junkyard in Worcester, Mass.

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This is the one that kills me. I own an almost identical 3-Series to the white one pictured here. Numerous parts – the front air dam, fog lights, sport steering wheel – were on this car when I found it, but this was years before I owned my 325is. I had no interest in the parts this car offered, but the real kicker was the interior: sport seats, cloth, with a black and brown houndstooth pattern. That interior is worth a fortune today.

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And what would a junkyard be without a Gremlin? As you can see in the picture, this was a very clean example that likely got donated or simply dropped off for $300 when scrap prices were high. Such a shame considering worse cars find their way to eBay, every day. I don’t know who Bob Date was, but he got the vote from the former owner of this orange AMC.

Want to check out previous Jeff in the Junkyard entries? Just click here, and let us know if there’s a yard in your area we should visit!

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Comments

  1. Todd Zuercher

    Enjoyed all the photos today, Jeff. As an aside, I sold an E30 interior exactly as you describe last Sunday. It was in great shape but I went a different direction with my car. E30s are rapidly becoming extinct at the u-jerk-its around here. Hardly anything more satisfying than finding the exact part you need for a few bucks or better yet – that you can stuff in your socks :).

    • Jeff Staff

      Then you know my pain! That photo was taken about 7 years ago. It was a stock 325ES, which was next to a small bumper 325IS, which was next to a red ’87 535IS! Are you kidding me!? Oh, to go back in time to when I actually cared about these things. Ironically enough, I now own both the 325IS and 535IS, and you’re right – they are a rare sight in U-Pulls, especially in the northeast. I’ve only found a few and that was after extensive research into yards that were off the grid…

  2. JW454

    It looks like the Cadillac is a convertible rather than a coupe. It also looks to be in pretty good condition and pretty well intact. These had a great ride back in the day. Not much for the curvy roads but they did go down the highway like you were floating on air.

  3. jim s

    i too have walked past a lot of junk, back in the day, that is now worth a lot of money. part of life i guess.

  4. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    What would be the true definition of a crying shame is if you walked by a completely rusted out bathtub Porsche. Of course, it seems that no one ever disposed of them properly. They just left them to rot in their backyard, maybe feeling guilty that they let it get to that point in the first place.

  5. Roy Crader

    “UP THE LAZY RIVER BY THE SHADE OF A TREE” wow what a photo.

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