Over 200 Classics California Estate Sale!

With 212 classics for sale in this estate find sent in by reader Doug M., I’ll bet everyone can find something they are interested in! The vehicles are located in Merced, California, and are listed both here on craigslist and here on the seller’s website, where a couple of them are individually priced, including the Jeep above.

For the domestic truck fan, there are several old tow trucks, roll backs and small vans, a 1963 Econoline pickup visible in the background of one of the first photographs, (8) 1973-88 Chevy/GMC pickups, (7) 1973-88 Ford pickups, a 1957 Willys wagon, a 1956 Ford pickup, and 1956 and 1963 Studebaker pickups among many others, including two cement trucks that both run (!). By the way, lien sales have been run on all these vehicles; it looks like a clean title can be obtained at that point, but I’m not a lawyer; perhaps one of our California readers can chime in with some clarification?

For the European car lovers, here’s a Porsche 914 next to a 1969 or 1970 Triumph Spitfire Mark III. There’s also an MG Midget, another 914, 12 Mercedes, two Fiat spiders (and two old 1100’s) as well as two more Spitfires in the partial listing visible on the web site.

For our domestic car lovers, there’s a pair of Corvairs, 1956 and 1957 Fords, a 1960 Chrysler Imperial, a 1969 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 and many more. I think this sale is definitely worth a look if you are in the area — since the photos and listing on the website are pretty incomplete, please post some pictures and details if you go by! And also, I have a challenge for you: let us know what the heck you would do with a running, classic cement truck! I couldn’t come up with much; I’m curious what you use you might come up with? (besides use it as a cement truck, of course!)


WANTED 1960-1964 Chevrolet corvair WTB Gen1 Chevrolet Corvair Contact

WANTED 1970-1978 Datsun 240z 260z 280z Hello, I’m looking to buy a datsun z car from 1970-1978, project condition or nicer car considered Contact

WANTED 1967-1977 Ford F250 Looking for a Highboy – 4X4 near Texas! Contact

WANTED 1976-1980 Plymouth volare Looking for Dodge Aspen / Plymouth Volare donor car with good sheet metal for parts for my project Contact

WANTED 1972 Ford Ranchero GT Ready to go 4 speed, no restoration project, preferably white in Midwest Contact

Submit Your Want Ad


  1. Jeffro

    You see cement truck…I see portable ice cream mixer/maker. Or a good way to serve alot of margaritas (perfect blender).

    • CarNut from Winnipeg Member

      Kettle corn at the fair.
      Margin is much better than ice cream.

    • Bryan Cohn

      Best idea ever! 🍦

  2. Flmikey

    I would like to think huge finds like this will lower the stupid prices being asked for “classic” cars these days…

    Like 1
    • jaygryph

      It won’t. Most of these will end up as scrap. That big eastern Oregon Chrysler estate auction ended up with a few cars escaping, but most of them were crushed out by a crusher brought on site to dispose of them.

      Some of these will go to project people, some of them will go to flippers and will further drive up the prices on things.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about the prices. Save your money and wait a bit to see what the economy does the next few years. You may be able to score already completed running driving cars for what seems like chump change.

      There were a LOT of deals to be had in 2008 as peoples priorities shifted from cruise ins to keeping the power and water on. Vast swaths of both new and used car dealerships in my area folded and there was a huge surplus of inventory, both boring and interesting, if one had stored away funds to spend on such luxuries.

  3. milotus

    If anyone makes it to this sale,
    please give us an update,& more pictures.

  4. Rex Kahrs Member

    Yet another installment of “Why did you decide to collect all this stuff in the first place?”, and “Why didn’t you make more of an effort to store it properly?”, and “Why didn’t you dispose of it before now, instead of burdening your family with it??”. Just asking.

    Like 1
  5. boxdin

    Every time I go to the boneyard I see cars & trucks that were advertised at high prices, sometimes they go lower, but later I see many of them at the boneyard.
    You would think the seller would start w a lower price…

  6. packrat

    If I ever hit the lottery, I’mm’a pick up a dry-stored, rust free chevy styleline around the era of the one depicted here and throw packs of money at it until I have an imperfect but complete and original driver.

  7. Blindmarc

    This reminds me when I went to a yard in ft. Worth and the guy quoted me $40 for a charger emblem, and $10 on a tuff steering wheel. I bought the tuff wheel and pocketed the emblem…..

    Like 1
    • Jeffro

      I’m telling!

    • milotus

      NOT COOL to steal parts,no matter what they’re asking.
      That’s the reason a lot of places like this wouldn’t allow people
      on the property,while the owners were alive.
      I’ve run into that a few times.

      Like 1
    • Ck

      Your not a very good thief ,bragging about what you stole.Oh yaa and now We all know what you did last summer.

      • Blindmarc

        It was 40 years ago at pick your part , slick

    • Rob

      doing that that ruined the “pick it yourself ” days .

  8. ian

    How far gone does a “barn find classic” have to be before it is in reality nothing more than a junker in a field ???

  9. moosefeather

    Whenever I see junkyards like this I always think we don’t need to produce more cars in this world. I’m sure if the auto industry turned to restoring old cars (can even resto mod them for those demanding superior modern technology) we’d have enough to go around. Didn’t Nissan buy up some old z cars and do that at one time. I would think it would be better on the earth’s resources & environment. A huge market would be created for skilled labor. But best of all our streets would be way more interesting. Kind of like driving around in Cuba. Oh, but I’m an idealist.

    • Doug Towsley

      BIG thumbs up for Moosefeather. I 100% agree. We bought a new 2004 Toyota corolla based on our experience with Ol’ Yeller, a 1978 Toyota corolla wagon. The 78 was an AMAZING car and went thru mulitple family members and was indestructable. We were very disapointed with the 2004 Toyota and an Inferior car in every way. We have test drove and looked at newer models and while far more stylish, Id take that old Toy any day over the heaps of crap produced now.
      I have a Datsun pickup I just rebuilt. FAR cheaper and more economical than any new car. The only area it falls short in is crash safety. Priuses are a joke if you look into them.,, studies have been done to determin the impact on the environment and they just do not pencil out. We call them Smug Cars as they are for self absorbed and pretensious hipsters and yuppies with zero clue.
      YES,,, Nissan DID buy up some old Z cars and rebuilt them. Did not have any trouble selling them either. Old iron is best, beats the crap out of the plastic-fantastic made now.

      • AutoArcheologist

        Where I agree wholeheartedly, I feel the NTHSD (or whatever national dept holds control over vehicle safety) would tend to disagree with the idea of lots of old iron being on the streets… shame really.

      • Doug Towsley

        AutoArchelogist.You are correct in the Crash safety aspect, NTSB is one of several of those organizations. The engineering and computers used to design cars are so much better today. However, it depends on the vehicle,. Complicated topic but if you were to compare my ’70s Datsun pickup to a modern small truck, the Modern ones are MUCH safer, However if you were to compare that modern Truck to say…A 1960s Dodge Truck, then the old Dodge would come out of a wreck pretty well. But 2 different hairs to split. The survivability of the Driver or passengers or the repair costs? Show me a modern vehicle that wont cost at least $2500 for even a mild fender bender. Look at the front ends of a modern pickup. Most dont even have a bumper. Just a LOT of plastic on the front. EXPENSIVE plastic.
        Was driving my old GMC pickup last year and had the stinger for my trailer hitch still on it. The Bumper is solid steel and diamond plate and frame is gusseted and beefed up. Some lady in a Volvo rear ended me. Volvos have excellent crash safety. But man,,,, did that sound expensive. That Stinger was like a steel fist and went thru her grill and radiator. Whole front end totaled. Beauty was she APOLOGIZED to me! When I got home I got some Rustoleum Silver and touched up the paint on my trailer hitch. She had to get a tow truck.
        But more to my original point, As I said theres thousands of new cars that were damaged in our recent storms of Ice & snow,. why not modernize some old Iron with a snazzy bit of modern tech? You are killing 2 birds with one stone. Putting some old iron back on the road and using more fuel efficient and performance with modern design. (Better brakes,suspension, etc) There is an active group in my area that are recycling GEO cars and old Toyotas, Datsuns and the like with a variety of powertrains from electric to Diesel and gas. For a fun read read about John “Plasma boy” Wayland and White Zombie,. That car does 11’s in the quarter with lead acid and with Lithium does 10s. I have known him since 1980 and used to take guitar lessons in his old store. Bought some gear from him over the years too.
        He does a great job of recyling old cars into some kick ass machinery!

        See: http://www.plasmaboyracing.com/whitezombie.php

      • James Doherty

        Big Thumbs Up to you Sir.

    • James Doherty

      Big Thumbs Up to Moosefeather and Doug, there should be more efforts into popularizing old iron with more modern or better parts to improve safety and keep real cars on the road instead of these ugly modern personal conveyances. I think old cars can be improved upon structurally to perform much better in occupant safety compared to the modern stuff. Unfortunately, many of the items we love so much about old cars are directly responsible for causing harm in a crash (steering wheel, metal dash, lack of seat belts). So there will always be a trade-off in how much risk someone is willing to take or a challenge to keep the charm of the old with the safety of modern.

      I plan on doing something about this, I think helping to create such a market is the right thing to do. Perhaps if more people took the act of driving more seriously we’d have less chance of crashes happening in the first place.

      • Doug Towsley

        Thanks for the comments (and thumbs) James, I try to practice what I preach, I get offers and pressure all the time to part out some of my classic bikes, I have also rescued a number from people who WERE going to part them out simply to send them onto someone who wouldnt part them out. Theres a local guy we call “Trader Dave” he deals in classic sports cars but focuses mostly on vintage Motorcycles. Between him and his son they are also called
        “Killers of cool bikes” The local BMW club at their monthly Barley therapy voted one year that it would be a good idea to have him killed, whacked, rubbed out, etc. No one actually wants to risk going to jail over it, But they passed a motion they approve of the concept. While I complain about him, I have bought and traded stuff with him and my last one was a 1949 BSA 500cc rigid frame thumper. He was going to part it on ebay the next day. Ironically he is not the worst of them, Many rationalize they are “Supporting the hobby” by parting them out. I say BULLS**T! I I know of LOTS of parts stashes of orphan parts but they are only so many left of restorable or rebuildable cars or bikes. Its not financially feasible or wise to build a vehicle piece by piece buying each part. It enrages me to collect bits over a 5-10 year span to restore a machine and then see a better example parted out on ebay. I know a number of sellers who i see at local swap meets snapping up deals and often have them listed ON ebay by the time I get home and unload my truck. Thats a certain level of cheesy buying at a local swap meet to turn around and flip that same part on the internet.
        One year Trader Dave ran alongside a truck at our Oregon Vintage MC show and swap, bought a Rickman frame as the guy pulled to a stop to setup his booth. Paid $250. Walked over the his own booth and slapped it front and center in his with $500 on it and laughed all day about it. And he wonders why people want to kill him???

  10. Rex Kahrs Member

    A hearty thumbs-up to moosefeather for an insightful comment.

  11. Eric Hare

    The article says that it is a lien sale. In the back of my mind a little voice said that someone went bankrupt, and someone else is selling their collection. So prices may be reasonable, and anything not sold will go to the scrap yard.


      You might want to reread that. I read that it is an estate sale, which means the owner has passed away. It also says that a lien sale has been run on them. I am not in California so it might have a different meaning but I take that statement to mean that the seller has checked the VINs to see any have a lien on them. Please correct me if I am wrong, which is certainly possible.

    • Otto Nobedder

      In CA a lien sale can be performed on ANY vehicle. The Registered owner and Legal owner (Bank for example) has to be notified by Registered mail, and you have to have a legitimate reason for the Lien. Easy to re-register, but if reg. fees havent been paid, it can add up fast(and there is no high limit) The best words you can hear are if the vehicle has dropped out of DMV records(usually over 10 years-but not always the case) The DMV website has a page where you can calculate the fees due-better check the VIN first.

  12. Joe Nose

    That 50’s Panel gave ME the Willies.

  13. Bruce Fischer

    They all look pretty rough to me.Bruce.

  14. Rickyrover

    The Willys CJ5 and the Econoline van/pickup may be the best finds here. Most this stuff appears to be sitting down on the the ground where rust has entered frames and bodies…..too bad. Watch out for that junkyard dog!

  15. Oliver R.

    Hmmm!! Looks like a boneyard of junk that a tow company picked up and claimed it all by lien, and nobody picked up their stuff because the bill was outrageous for the tow; in other words, they paid NOTHING for all this stuff!! Now he or his heirs want cash dough bucks!! Very long outside “storage” !! UGH!! What a mess!!

  16. mike d

    most are pretty beat, parts vehicles at best . Personally that Dodge school bus piqued my interest, most likely it is in poor shape like the rest ( probably full of parts ) wouldn’t do anything extraordinary with it , needed parts would probably be scarce

  17. Randy V from the Northern/Lower

    Did you ever hear of
    http://www.FARMSHOW.com they have this cool newspaper last one 40 pages long and it is what these guys come up with in there farm shops, and they build this cool stuff. They had in there last one the guy bought a cement truck and took the barrow off (sold the other stuff from it)
    the back, then mounted on his own type of frame and tosses in cows or chickens, pigs, and runs it on full tilt to chop it up then tosses in bales of hay to hold down the stink when the wind blows. Sooner or latter it is nothing but rich soil. This last issue a guy puts a school bus on top of a old silo makes a Great Deer Stand. Or if you have a dirty barn roof, a guy came up with a power roof cleaner that makes it like new again. Another switch his lawn tractor to run on a battery, two acres per charge almost three hours of mowing. Check it out l’m Not a Sales Guy for it. But there is some wild looking things that are, Found & Built in Barns now days. Look & See !!!!

  18. moosie Craig

    Look out for snakes in that tall grass,

  19. Rolf Poncho 455

    Hora for Moosefeather wel spoken I agree totally infact I’m
    a old car user and rebuilder my new Mercedes Benz just broke down
    and it cost a fortune to repair.For the same price I rebuilt my old
    VW Rabbit Golf and every one’s eyes is on it and want to bay it

  20. Ck

    I would be so on board with Moosefeathers Idea .Someone with some money or a few investors could buy one of the countless abandoned auto factories that are empty in this country,and rebuild/ modernize old cars.Look I realize not every one would be happy.lets face it ,it would probably be cars like the tri fives or camaros and mustangs.Although I’m not sure how the govment and there safty regulations would feel about it .It is being done to some extent by a few people.
    Its not factory but there are a few companys out there that are building/rebuilding cars.They may be Bandit Trans Ams and Eleanor mustangs.But they are modernized .They are also expensive.Hey you could always do it yourself,there are all kinds of repop bodies out there.Hey who knows what will go onin the future?Maybe some company wil build a giant 3D printer.Then all you will have to do is drive in a pristine car of your choice,and out pops your brand new old car.What?it could happen!

  21. AutoArcheologist

    There was an old yard near me in CT that my wife and I used to ride by every so often on our mt bikes. He wasn’t an official junk yard. again, more of a guy who just started collecting old cars and stuffed them into rows on the large plot of land he had. We stopped by once and the old chap was there, hanging out in one of the trailer homes he had on site. We spoke to him for quite a while. some great stories. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to sell any of the vehicles as whole cars.. There was a 69 mach 1, several old Ford, Chevy and Dodge pickups and panel vans, Edsel wagons, even a couple of Dauphins… Literally hundreds of cars from the late 30s up to even the late 90s. Being New England, most were well gone to rust.. however, there were several worth saving, including a 56 Studebaker pick up.. I really wanted it… Stopped by several times, my wife and I would stop and say hi if he was hanging out on the property and then we’d head off to wander through the woods. I’d come back with some odd parts, hub caps and such.. How much Mike? AAAHHH give 5 bucks. I had his number and tried to stay in touch. Would leave a card every time we saw him.
    Unfortunately, he died over the winter (about 2 years ago now) and when my wife and I rode by in the spring the place had been nearly leveled… almost all the cars were gone. There was a sign up and I contacted the company.. they kept three of the cars and as you guessed it.. crushed the rest. Real freekin shame, on more than one level.
    This truck you could see from the road… Just a few rows down from it was a Nash Metropolitan. Old fire trucks, campers.. it seemed like one of everything was out there.

  22. gardener

    Looked at the pic’s and putting just about any of them back to stock would be $ big money but there are a lot of great starting points and restomods just waiting for the dreamer in all of us.But you work at a dream long enough and it’ll get done.what cought my eye was a lot of good cabs and bodies needing new everything so the total idea is a great one.Lots of dreaming in that field.

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