Junkyard Finds: Classics at Yank-A-Part Yard

One of the comments I make most frequently to salvage yard owners is that they should put their most unusual or special parts cars and trucks online, somewhere, anywhere, in order to drive foot traffic and phone calls. Few of them ever heed this advice, but one salvage yard in Seattle has wised up and started posting the classics in its inventory here on craigslist. You may not be able to buy this gorgeous 1973 Mercury Capri with the desirable Cologne V6, but you should absolutely pull parts off of it. 

Most salvage yards I encounter have either had terrible experience online or simply don’t care whether an online ad brings a few more people into the facility. The classic vehicles get crushed at the same rate as a late model econobox, which is really a shame. Fortunately, I’ve been able to rescue a few derelict classics from these environments, but only after my own detective work. The listing seems to imply they’ll sell the Capri whole, but this Stepside pickup isn’t even mentioned.

This Mercedes-Benz R107 looks too nice for the pick-and-pull, but unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see models like this 450SL end up in the salvage yard. The supply of these well-loved roadsters remains too high to justify keeping a needy one on the road, and repair costs often outstrip the value and performance of older models like this one which fared particularly poorly under heavy-handed emissions and fuel economy regulations. Lots of good parts left on this one.

And given the introduction of my latest project, a 1986 Isuzu Trooper two-door rescued from a junkyard, this near-identical model makes me sad not only because it’s the end of the line, but because I can’t pop on over to peel off some good (and much needed) spare parts. So, if you live in Washington State, give Yank-A-Part Auto Wrecking a look, as they’re doing the enthusiast community a favor by sharing the details around special interest vehicles inside their facility.

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Jeff, I remember the same from my days haunting Pick-Your-Part yards (an exercise many Renault owners were familiar with!). In CA, I believe they could not be sold as whole cars after the license plates were taken off, so when you found them it was usually too late for a rescue.

    But I did find numerous oddballs (including a pretty nice Fiat Multipla) I would have brought home — much to my then-wife’s consternation — had it been possible. Every time I decided to make an offer, the yard manager would refuse.

    I never saw anything really exotic there, though.

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    • belinda

      Vehicles that have been “junked” in Calif.(Title papers and REG 42 turned into dmv) >CAN< be re-reg/titled. Brake and light inspection certificate, and for 75 and newer, pass the SMOG test, along with a vehicle VIN# inspection certificate. New plates and a "branded" title (salvage). Big corporate yards(Pick n Pull, Pick your part etc) just don't want to be bothered to do it.

  2. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    Nice find, Jeff! My first car was a ’73 Capri with the V6 and four-speed! It had a cool hand-cranked sunroof too. I didn’t realize how sweet it was in the upper RPMs until just before I sold it. Then a few years later I met a guy with one who wasn’t afraid to dump the clutch at 7000 and burn the tires off. Like most German cars, even my crusty one would run at 90+ for as long as you and the road would allow it. I ordered a Dobi exhaust from California and it sounded like a mini-Ferrari. Thanks for the memories!

    5
    • Cj

      I, too, had a ‘73 V6 manual (always thought the V6 was distinguished by a black vinyl top which mine had). Also had the crank-open sunroof which took two burly mechanics to pull open when it got stuck (eventually I quit using it). Traded it for a ‘65 356 C. Big mistake – but I loved them both.

      1
  3. Dave Mika

    Sad to see the Benzo like that. My wife has an ’83 380SL that she toots around in during the summer. Faster than you would think, and very reliable.

  4. William Vreeke

    I still have the ’73 Cologne 2600 4 speed, yellow, black vinyl top Capri I bought in 1972 while in college. Still all original w/ some NOS replacement parts (wheel cyls., fuel pump, water pump, front end bushings, etc.) Still runs like …….. well, you know if you ever drove one.

    2
  5. ctmphrs Member

    I’m still waiting to see the classics you spoke of.

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  6. stillrunners

    Some of these cars are coming out of Estate or other auctions – so it is sad – bid on a nice driving thur the auction big block 1974 Suburban and won the bid at $225….the family had specified – Salvage only – so it could never be put back on the street. It was parted out factory tach and all…..

  7. davew833

    I attempted to restore a ’76 Capri II back in the early ’90s. Went to a small wrecking yard to get a power steering line from one of their cars there. It was before the days of U-pull-it, so I watched some neanderthal with a front end loader pick the car up off a stack of three and flip it over on its back for easy access to a $10 part. So much for the top, glass, doors and any other valuable parts destroyed in the process!

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