Visit to RI Junkyard With Fellow Barn Finders!

Recently, we profiled a Cadillac Eldorado coupe which had been photographed several times over the years as part of large junkyard collection in Rhode Island. You can read the full post here on Barn Finds, and today, a few Barn Finds readers joined me to check out this storied facility, which is in the process of clearing out decades of cars and trucks. This pair – including a Pontiac GTO with a stick – is just a morsel of what we found inside. 

The yard operators asked me to not disclose the location, but you’re welcome to message me if you see a car or truck you’d like to buy parts off of or buy outright – and I’ll connect you with the owners. Old fire trucks, muscle cars, workhorse pickups, entry-level imports – it’s all here, and very quickly sinking back into the earth. Move fast if you see something you want.

This is one of two very complete Volvo PV544 cars in the yard, and this one had a surprisingly nice interior – even with the window down. There’s a huge canopy of trees above the entire property which spans for acres. The yard owners are interested in selling whole vehicles, and cars like this Volvo would make an excellent parts car or ambitious restoration project.

The owners were big Cadillac fans, as evidenced by the car that started this entire inquiry – the Eldorado coupe posted last week. There’s several additional Cadillacs of different eras on the property, including this sedan that the owners claimed drove into the yard. Check out the full gallery below for photos of other interesting cars and trucks in the yard.

I also want to give a special thanks to Barn Finds readers Craig and Rhett who joined me today. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time Barn Finds readers on the East Coast have gotten together, and it was a pleasure to have company on this brisk Saturday morning salvage yard expedition.

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Comments

  1. Dave

    Hate to say it, but only three words describe this:
    Too Far Gone!

    13
    • bry

      Ashes to ashes, rust to rust…..

      1
  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    Looks like you guys had a fun time. Sadly, Dave’s observation appears to be correct…

    6
  3. Spud

    I love looking around in junkyards as much as anyone here I’m sure…but I just don’t get the regular posts about totally trashed cars as something that might warrant “restoration”. Basically, once the car gets to the place where there’s as much moss as paint, trees have grown around the cars, and interiors have been left open to the elements due to years of no glass…well, at that point it’s trash. Interesting automotive trash (we call these “crushables”), but trash nonetheless. I’m sure that’s a bummer to the hoarders who are thinking they’re going to sell these heaps.

    3
  4. Gaspumpchas

    Think parts cars, guys. Wonder how much is left of the goat and its drivetrain? Also Like the Ranchero with the one off custom cap!!!

    Cheers
    GPC

    4
  5. John M.

    Being both exposed to the New England elements and sinking in the ground for decades, these cars and trucks will only be good as parts vehicles. Even the most structurally sound car or truck will need tons of money, time and a real good shop to give it a new lease on life.

    7
  6. Spud

    I love looking at pictures of junkyards as much as the next person here, I’m sure; but the frequent posts about totally trashed cars as “restorable” is getting kind of tired. These poor vehicles that are sunk into the earth, covered with more moss than paint, and surrounded by trees that have grown in SINCE the cars were placed are perhaps art, and definitely scrap metal…but that’s it. Particularly these ones today…there’s hardly a straight piece of body work on any of them. Most look crashed before they wound up in the RI yard or maybe have had trees fall on them. Or both. Sorry, these aren’t even parts cars…calling them more just seems kind of sad.

    6
  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    So, they want you to keep the location a secret? Surely they don’t think anyone would sneak in and rummage through that mess of junk. More likely they don’t want the EPA to find out about it.

    14
    • moosie Craig M Bryda

      You can bet your bottom dollar that the EPA & every other local agency knows about this place
      long before this. Betcha that 98% of what’s there aren’t even good for parts,,,,,,,
      even if. they would sell.

    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      Hmm. Rex, do you know how often junkyard owners are targeted for anything made of metal being stolen from the yard? Anything to make a buck? Junkies are a desperate bunch and I don’t blame the yard owners one bit for not wanting them to know where to score a few $$ worth of scrap to turn into their next “fix.”

      The EPA could give a rat’s ass about the place, you can’t build anything on the land and it abuts a national forest and a highway. The government doesn’t even want to touch it but a “connected” neighbor is making their life hell.

      You know the phrase about assuming, right? ;-)

      3
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        ‘Junkies are a desperate bunch and I don’t blame the yard owners one bit for not wanting them to know where to score a few $$ worth of scrap to turn into their next “fix.’ LOL, my 1st job was working at a junkyard and love lurking through them to this day. Sorry, but I find it funny to see the term junkies used here, perhaps a doper? I consider myself a junkie today, looking for my next fix. Old car parts.

        2
      • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

        Dope fiends, opioids addicts, meth heads, whatever you want. They flock to junkyards like moths to a flame if they know where it is and when the coast is clear to steal something in the form of “currency.” That and regular thieves who want something for their own car. Every yard owner I’ve spoken with (and I’ve visited hundreds up and down the east coast) has told me near the same thing every time.

        3
      • Rex Kahrs Member

        Ahh, I forgot about drug addicts scrapping metal. Now that WOULD be desperate given the depressed prices of scrap metal these days…I recently scrapped my blue 1971 300-lb cast iron tub and got 10 bucks out of it. And don’t the metal scrap yards in any given town know the guys in the junk yards, and would thereby be able to thwart the theives? Well, whatever.

        From the outside looking in, it’s hard to see that the owners of this yard are good stewards of the cars or the property. Are they suddenly attempting to do the right thing and shepherd the cars and/or parts to the right hands? Well, as has been mentioned here, they are about 20 winters too late.

        2
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Boy Jeff, you cats are blessed to have hundreds up and down the east coast. I do understand the theft, hence the junkyard dog. Pretty sure any thief can open a phone book to find a yard if they do not know were one is already. I will say it works both ways. The boneyard I worked at in 1973 had enclosed trailers come into the yard about 5 oclock, when I was punching out. The next day I would find traces of car parts. Mostly Corvette pieces, all the big stuff must have went out, stripped out in the same rig, night shift I guess.

  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    Maybe I’m eternally optimistic here but I think there is a lot of potential for some of these relics. I’ve seen a frame, a front axle and a cowl become a drivable truck so it’s all in your determination to make the project work or not. There are some vehicles I wouldn’t mind dragging back to my place if I had the time to do the job. Looks like you all had a great time. Thanks for the photos.

    5
  9. Mike

    A lot of these pictures would meet Craig’s List standards. Wipe off the pine needles and it would be ready for posting on e-bay.

    5
  10. Retired Stig

    I’m lost on this one. No doubt it was grand fun poking around, “cause ya just never know till ya look”. But most of what I see is truly junk, valuable only to a very unique buyer. The cars have all been bashed from six directions, and ill treated by the yard owners. The fasteners would almost certainly have become one with the parts in New England weather, and its hard to imagine if the struggle to remove any would be worthwhile.
    Maybe some of the heavy bits are good: frames or control arms and the like.

    4
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      ….and isn’t poking around ’cause it’s fun half the point? If I found a project on every junkyard visit I made, I’d have run out of space long ago. If something good turns up on every fifth junkyard visit I undertake, I consider my hobby to be a roaring success. Not everything has to turn into a home run.

      2
  11. Rhett

    Jeff, great shots! I should have spent more time taking photos than I did!

    Pictures cant do this yard justice… lots of hidden gems and rare parts . Yes, the cars themselves are too far gone for anything but a masochist, but the trim and mechanical stuff didnt look as bad as many northeast yards I’ve been to.

    If BF organizes another trip in the NE, please count me in. Also down for a rally if we can get enough people to jump in?

    Thanks again for organizing the trip.

    6
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      Rhett, so glad we had the chance to meet. Thanks for joining and the feedback. Maybe some of the commenters live in parts of the country where 90% of the yards didn’t crush this stuff decades ago like we seem to do in ultra-“progressive” New England. A yard like this is an absolute rarity in this neck of the woods – and the reason it’s going away is like so many others like it: government overreach.

      8
  12. glen

    No snow?

    2
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      Been a blessedly mild winter so far. Cold, but no snow.

      2
  13. Mr. Bond

    Wonder how realistic the prices would be. Jeff, any feedback on that?

    3
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      We all felt part prices were high but I asked about a whole vehicle and found the asking price to be within an acceptable range for negotiation (no idea if they’d negotiate).

      2
  14. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Looks like no bone yards around Wisconsin. Cars just scatered around. Yards around here have vehicles in line and somewhat according to brand. I am sure it was fun, would like to trek around there myself.

    3
  15. AMCFAN

    Kind of wondering if the owner (s) are really wanting to sell anything here and if so are realistic on their asking prices. If any real thought as to their asking prices or an unrealistic made up number because that’s what I think it’s worth and if not it can sit price??

    Maybe owners do not need the money. That being said It takes special people to make a trip to go on a cross county trek to spend hours wondering around in a long forgotten auto grave yard to look around.

    It takes even more of a special person to make a cross country trek to drag something back out of the earth. Something rusted to the ground full of mice and who knows what else. Not to mention paperwork issues. It would have to be pretty special or priced right. I do not see either here. Tired of dealing with those who price accordingly…….usually to a running example.

    If that’s the case much easier to watch any of the number sites for a car that runs that you can send a transport to pick up for you. Time is money and transport from the West to the east is way cheaper then driving to and from. Even if a non-op may be a few hundred more. Use the vacation time and spend with the family.

    2
  16. CATHOUSE

    Sometimes I have to wonder about some of the posters here on BF. All some people see with so many of the offerings is “trash” or “junk”. Certainly many times the featured vehicle is beyond reasonable restoration but that does not make it “trash” or “junk”. In most cases the vehicle will still have some useful parts to give up to help bring another one back to being on the road.

    As for this particular offering if I could I would buy just about every vehicle in the yard. Most everything there is probably only good for parts but that is exactly what I would do with them. Figure out exactly what is there and then market those parts to help others get their vehicles back together.

    Jeff,
    Is there a way to private message you about this yard? Or by “message me” did you mean to just post a comment here for you? Thank you.

    7
    • AMCFAN

      Great dream Cat. You will need several semi truck haulers and a large loader and skid steer on sight and that is a start. You will need man power. Nothing runs and you will manually load. Good luck. Hopefully you are close because any distance will not be cost effective. Keep in mind a hill full of cars have had parts removed. It’s a junk yard and that is what their owners do.

      The problem is junk yard operators have been outsourced by the internet and local Autozone’s. Why go to a junkyard for a rotor and pay what the guy feels like charging when for $12 they can buy one new?

      1-800 build a car catalogs have hurt too. Again why deal with someone who is attached to their old junk when you can buy new. Bumpers fenders trim. Old junk yards sadly are gone for a reason. The rare Chevelle fourspeed console was rare years ago. This would be best left as a museum and charge admission.

      1
      • CATHOUSE

        A dream is about all it is for me. That is why my post says “if I could I would”. Well I cannot so I will just have to dream a little more. You are right though, it would be a lot of work to remove all of those vehicles. I do believe though that there are plenty of vehicles shown in the photos that there are no 1-800 numbers to call for brand new repro parts. Of course you would need to be able to purchase the vehicles at a reasonable price in order for my idea to work.

        1
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      Cathouse: mail@barnfinds.com. Josh or Jesse will forward your inquiry to me. Thanks!

      1
      • CATHOUSE

        Thanks Jeff. I will be sending an email.

        1
  17. luke arnott

    I would love the Seagrave V12 Canopy Pumper,which looks restorable,but getting it to the UK?Oh dear!

    3
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      I hope that one gets saved. It was beautiful.

      1
  18. Alexander

    Jeff L, you get around. First the Georgia yard and now this adventure! I’ve asked this before, but if a price is negotiated with the owners would they have the means to get the vehicle at least onto a parking lot where I could back up my trailer? Or is this “y’all come with whatever tools needed to get the car extracted from the woods?” Also, any chance there are titles to the cars that can be legally signed over?

    2
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      Titles are very unlikely. In RI, we do not title cars over 10 years old (and they were even more lax in the “old” days), so you’ll likely just get a bill of sale. And yes, they would move all cars down to a location that is easy to load from.

      As per Georgia, it’s helpful to have the in-laws there. Makes me look forward to air travel, which I generally loathe.

      1
  19. Little Cars

    Evidently, the proprietors learned everything they needed to know in kindergarten. Stacking, hide and seek, peek a boo, etc. What a mashup! I especially like the F-100 trucks. And more Saabs than I would expect in a yard like this. I have a high threshold of pain when looking at junkyard (yes junkyard) photos but even I agree that some of these vehicles should have crushed when they first arrived at the yard. The Fairmont woody wagon looks like it might have been sitting there since new…what killed it before the tree fell on the roof? Does an MG Midget on a semi-trailer seem right — what if one wanted to buy the whole thing? Must have help with removal and a tetanus shot!

    1
  20. Qabbott

    Did you happen to spot a 1972 Plymouth Cricket station wagon? A rare bird like that would be worth retrieving! (In any condition!)

    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      Nope. Did see one Datsun B10 and another 510, both wagons.

  21. Rhett

    I’ve never seen a Cricket wagon in the US – only sedans. I remember Mitsubishi/Colt wagons?

    1
    • Qabbott

      The Crickets sold in the USA were all based on the Hillman Avenger from Chrysler UK (Rootes Group). The post 1973 Crickets sold in Canada only were sourced from Mitsubishi. (Dodge Colt twins).

  22. Jasper

    IIRC, the packaging on Crazy Glue or one of its competitors showed a Cricket wagon probably well into the ‘80s. Never seen one on the road though.

    2
  23. canadainmarkseh Member

    Saw an early /mid 70’s Riviera boat tail in there. But like the others nothing more than a parts car.

    1
    • Rhett

      Hey thats me opening the hood – while it was just a base, bench seat car and missing the rear glass), underhood was totally untouched and all the emissions equipment, hardware and 7042240 800 CFM quadrajet was there. To a Buick restorer, that’s significant. I tried to get them to part with it, but they wouldn’t part the car out. When I went back to really look, the frame and sheetmetal were a lot more solid that I initially thought.

      1
  24. Chris

    I’m from Mass & there was a yard in R.I. I called recently from a craigslist ad & basically spoke with the rudest person with no basic skills to have a phone conversation with. Right from the start began cursing at me for calling on the ad & saying that I was probably looking to get his junk for nothing. This is a business man conducting himself in this manner was just bizzar to say the least. Not sure if this is the same yard but needless to say I hung up on him. Wouldn’t waste my time even going there after that. I was told he was difficult to deal with but that was ridiculous. I think some of the guys on here my have dealt with this guy before but not sure on that.

  25. Mustang Guy

    Nice job recording all those cars for all to see. I am interested in the whole 69-70 Cougar for parts. Can you put me in contact with the owner to see what he would want for it? Thanks.

  26. karl

    I’m sure I was there last year . We heard the guy “junior” was tough to deal with, but we went looking for parts for my buddies 69 GT Dart . The people who worked there were all just sitting around drinking beer, so we asked if we could look around and they just waved us in. The yard is an odd collection, you wont find any VW Beetles , Pintos or cars that you would expect to find, , but things like Alfas and other odd cars are all over the place with no sense of order . There’s real junk everywhere (washing machines , chunks of metal , rusty shelve units, etc) which made us wonder why they weren’t scrapped –
    The only Dart we found was near the entrance , really rusted and missing parts. We found both headlight trim pieces hanging off the alternator bracket , and we asked how much, he told us they were the “jewels” of the car and couldn’t sell them. So we left with nothing.

    2
  27. Little Cars

    As the years pass on, I still shake my head at supposed business people in the front offices of scrapyards/auto recycling centers. They sit on cars that may have actually been valuable to put other cars on the road. Now, after watching Mecum or Barrett-Jackson all of a sudden anything 40 or 50 years old suddenly cannot be parted out, or the whole car is being held for magic fairy dust to convert it into cash while they sit there drinking beer. Near me, in Woodlawn TN, is a place similar to the Mustang Ranch that specialized (they say) in restoring them. Their property is covered in great stuff not from the Mustang family including a bevy of MGBs. Everything is just sitting in the mud, advertised periodically on Craigslist, with prices so high and no negotiation allowed. Oh, you can spray yourself down with bug spray and long sleeves and walk the property for hours. But in the end, you won’t very often leave with a part or car for a price you’re happy with.

    1

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