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Jeff in the Junkyard: Parts Harvesting Score!

I have been negligent in posting any recent junkyard expeditions, but finally had a Saturday morning clear and a yard in sight that had two excellent parts cars for my two most recent project acquisitions. Theres isn’t much else more satisfying that getting a crap-ton of needed parts for not much money, other than seeing other interesting junkyard finds like this fairly clean Pontiac Ventura – I put the model year at 1977 or thereabouts.

This yard is in Rhode Island, and is one that’s been off my usual rotation for a few months after several consecutive fruitless visits. This is partly to do with the frequency with which I was visiting and also the type of parts cars I was looking for; at the time, I was still hunting for 80s-era BMWs that are nigh impossible to find in northeast yards any more.

It was clear the yard had been busy, inventorying all manner of interesting vehicles. Nothing particularly valuable, mind you, but still surprising to see in snow country. This Suzuki Samurai was a rare “tin top”, a model with a fixed roof rather than the soft top. Clearly a plow vehicle at one time, it was extremely rusty but still full of good, used parts.

I started to get excited when I saw several older Mercedes-Benzes on the property, including this once-grand 450SL. These Mercedes roadsters are so hit or miss: they are either time-warp examples that bring all the money or completely rotten and suffering from years of neglect, as this car was. However, I wasn’t there to pick off parts for an R107 project.

I was there to raid this incredibly clean Mercedes 190E for my junkyard find Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth project. This was one of the nicest junkyard cars I’ve ever worked it, and it yielded numerous needed spares including rear door checks, a mint washer fluid tank, Becker Grand Prix radio / cassette, an ashtray that had never been smoked in, and more. On to the next one!


  1. Doc

    The trim alone on the T Bird would be worth something to someone.
    Can not find that stuff even in condition to send out to a metal shop for re work or polish.
    Collectible? Probably not high on most people’s lists, but late 70’s cars are proving to be quite the style at shows of late, prompting lots of gawks and talks.

    Like 3
    • Little_Cars

      The center of the Thunderbird trim appears to be black vinyl, which would make it acceptable for all manner of body colors. T bird also appears to be wearing a set of upsell spoke wheels or maybe a set from a Lincoln? Unless it’s slow around the “metal shop” I don’t think any business would waste their time reworking or polishing this trim. The demand is not there (yet). Best suited for the home restorer with patience and lots of time on their hands.

      Like 0
  2. JC

    Jeff you the man! Call me next time ill Rhode trip w ya ! I live in NH and
    Get just as exited about cars as the rest of the Barn-find Fanatics!
    Lunch is in order!
    Great job and Great articles “ all of you! “
    JC NH
    The lesser of the JC’s

    Like 3
  3. Pookie Corvettejamie

    Where can I get a job like this? I love junkyards!!!! And, I’m a knowledgeable car nut. I would just need help decoding VINs. Pick me! Pick me!

    Like 4
  4. JC

    Ditto ! 😎👍♥️ JC

    Like 2
  5. JC

    Can you Write and include the info and links ? In A story form pics etc .
    Then you prob have a future …. jc thx

    Like 1

    What are rear door checks? Perhaps something that limits how far the door will open? Or???

    Like 0
    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Exactly. The ones on my Cosworth project are completely seized.

      Like 0
      • CATHOUSE

        Jeff, thank you for clearing that up for me.

        Like 0
  7. art

    A day in the junkyard is just about the best way to spend time.
    I can’t count the hours I’ve spent in yards starting from about age 14.
    The best place to escape and just de-stress and imagining the life each car led and how it ended up there.
    I should have owned a junkyard..except that I would have never wanted to sell anything.

    Like 4
  8. Little_Cars

    @art….evidently, judging from the numerous junkyard albums showing up on BF, some people DON’T!!!! :) lol

    Like 0
  9. Jonathan

    In the mid-late 1990s, I was 16-20 and was mtn biking and kayaking all the time. I had a 1987 Plymouth Colt (2dr hatch) that was able to handle my hauling/treking needs, but I really wanted one of the ‘tin’ top Samurais. They were exceptionally capable and just looked rugged, like a poor mans Defender 90. My cousin had a soft top one and it was alot of fun out in the dirt and back roads of northern lower MI.

    Like 2
    • Gaspumpchas

      Jonathan, those samurais were popular in new yawk for a while, but there were so many accide.nts with them, especially rollovers, that no one here would insure them.

      Like 0
  10. JC

    Yeah and the drivers kept cutting themselves on their sword! …. so Suzuki had no choice and rolled over and but to commit to automotive Suicide!! Literally !
    Oh come on ….. now “thats “ funny!
    JC ; 0 ).

    Like 0

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