This week I want to know what's the best thing you found at the junkyard?
What you see below isn't my best find (not sure what that is for me, as I get a lot of stuff there) but my most recent score is the super rare floor shifter and console for the Ford Crown Victoria (and its Panther Chassis counterparts). It's pretty filthy but it's all there and will come out pretty nice after I give it a serious cleaning. I may sell it or keep it, not sure yet...but apparently these are hot commodities in the Panther Chassis world.
That's one of the beautiful things about being in Georgia. It's Chevy country around here so Mopar parts, while much fewer than central Illinois, you can sometimes find a deal like that four speed. Not all of the time, but occasionally. One day I will put it in my stepdad's Duster for him. Even if I have to rebuild it, which I will anyway, the casing is worth more than I spent on the whole thing.
Probably nothing, I saw it and called a friend and he said "buy it, you can make money on it!" But you never know, the right Panther might come my way and I will regret selling it!
Whatever, I am just glad I am saving it from the scrapper!!!
Not so long ago, I've purchased a driver side door panel for my Cadillac coupe "97" Eldorado in prestige condition despite being in the junkyard. One mans garbage is another mans treasure!!
As a teen went to old man May's junkyard to get a rearend for my '41 Ford. We found that and were hauling it out when we passed by a totaled Buick and just happened to stop and raise the hood. There was a perfect nail head. We ask May and he said $50 for motor and the Ford rear. I tore off home and borrowed enough so that replaced my flathead!
My son and I ran across this 1986 BMW in a junk yard that was complete (minus the engine) and in pretty good shape. They had ran the fork lift forks into the passneger door and fender, but we were able to find replacements. Picked it up for $250. Then a friend of a friend gave us a recently rebuilt ford 5.0. So we dropped it in the little BMW. We just fired it for the first time last week, and it ran! Moving on to the body and paint now.
it actually went in very smooth. We put a mustang T5 tranny with it. The shifter landed in the exact spot. everything else fit just as well. Still need exhaust and to have a driveline made before it will move under its own power.
Excellent story. My first car was a Bimmer 524TD. I enjoy it for nearly 3 years before the transmission went to bunkers. But, I had so much fun memories going to technical college down in Central Florida over 25 years ago.
my best was while walking past a 46 to 48 plymouth sedan, i spotted the hood ornament plastic insert in pristine condition laying on the package shelf. after scoring the parts i came for, presented my stuff to the yard owner, who oohed and awed over the insert and then told me $10 for everything.....
not a salvage yard score, but at my local landfill on day and spotted a shiny glint in the mud. kicked the piece out and found a locking gas cap. after washing it off and researching it, discovered it was the correct Mopar marked cap for my 47 Plymouth. local locksmith keyed it for me.....
The junkyard was just getting ready to close, and as I was walking thru the yard on my way out, I spotted 4 tires with the nipples still on them. The size I needed, and boy did I ever need them! I was there getting something else for a different vehicle too! Called off work the next morning, and was waiting when they opened the gates ;)))
Bought a 74 VW beetle from a neighbor after the engine caught fire. Paid $50, which was her deductible. Went to a yard and found a complete engine with rod knock and complete wiring harness for $50 and $10. Didnt care about the knock, because I needed all the sheetmetal, and wiring to fix the lightly burned engine. After painting the 10 year old bug, looked and ran like new!
It was 1956. Junk yard in Granville NY. I bought a good looking 37 Ford coupe for $15.00. While towing it home we popped the clutch and the engine ran on the old gas!
Should comment on my post above. I just noticed Hagerty has me listed as a new driver. I am 83 years old and the car I towed that Ford with was a new 56 Ford convertible. It was my fourth car. I was 18 years old.
I bought a '40 Olds coupe from a scrap yard for parts for my nice original '40 coupe. Funny though,how you buy a parts car and never need any parts off it. The frame and badly shot up and decomposing body shell are still back in the woods.
Also found a nice original green rubber floor mat to replace the tired black one in my '72 Chevy pickup.
Row52 sent me an email back in October, there was a mid-70's Trailduster in a lot a couple hours away and it still had the unobtainium PLYMOUTH front grill emblem attached. 45 bucks for the entire grill assembly.
My goodness, the old school Plymouth grill. I haven't seen one of those in years. My old man had a Duster that comes with that grill. Wow, pure nostalgia is coming back to me again.
On the same day I scored a complete dual quad 425 Nailhead and TH400, a 64 Buick 300 4bbl engine, and 3-12 bolt Chevrolet rear ends. 2 were 68-72, one was from a 65 Chevelle. That was a very good day.
engine and trans were $750, each axle was $150, the 300 Buick was $300.
the yard is now closed. I tried to buy a 64 Wildcat too, but someone else got it.
The door on the '34 Ford tudor body I got (out of a river in Montana) was really bad, I found one door for a '33 at Junktown USA (Annandale MN) those doors are same but are not the same, I cut the top part off, welded on the one from my '34 door, this made a complete working '34 door & window system. Ya' gotta' do what ya' gotta' do ....
The junkyard in Princeton MN was being phased out, not much left. I stopped in, asked the guy if he had any cowl lights anywhere, he opened an old wood cupboard and there was a perfect pair of '34 Ford COWL LIGHTS, ten bucks and I was out the door, had my cowl lamps at last.
When I was in high school, Mom clipped the door handle off my ‘65 Spitfire. Local junkyard actually had one on their lot. I removed its handle, and in the process noticed the horn button looked good, so I pried it off. Half hour later I had my arms full of trim pieces & light lenses that “looked better then mine”. I took it all to the counter, he charged me $5 for the handle and told me to just keep the rest. I thought I’d won the lottery. Didn’t realize at the time I probably had the only Spitfire in the county (other then the wrecked junk yard treasure)
When I was doing my "pick-up on a motorhome chassis" project in 2011, one of the more challenging items was mounting the steering gearbox. After a few days work building the bracket, cutting and reversing the pittman arm, and shortening the draglink, I thought the set-up looked pretty good. But, I didn't realize it now steered backwards (steer to the right, the wheels turned left) Doh!! After some research I learned that late '60s Dodge Powerwagons used the same Saginaw gearbox, but built to "reverse rotation". A local junkyard had one example that saved all my hard work.
Not a score - but years ago my local Pull-a-Part got in some random old cars. Some of them were pretty far gone, but others weren't. It was sad to see them in Pull-a-Part since they won't sell you a whole car. You can see a few others, such as the Corvair, in the background. The Travellall actually wasn't in bad shape except for when they set it up on the "jackstands."
In the years between when I started playing with cars and when I got a wife, I spent a significant number of hours scouring wrecking yards and cruising back lanes. This would be in the late 70s - early 80s, when muscle cars were commonly viewed as old junk with terrible mileage. I picked up a number of deals, but a few still stand out in my memory.
A friend and I walked into a junkyard and spotted a '67 Plymouth Barracuda fastback that hadn't yet been hauled back to the stacks. At a quick glance it was straight and rust-free, though the light blue metallic paint was dull, and seemed pretty complete. Even though at the time I was heavily into Pontiacs, it was one of those cars I had always wanted. I walked into the office and started dickering with owner while my buddy was fiddling under the hood. The junkyard guy told me that the owner, the proverbial little old lady, had had it towed in just a few hours before and he hadn't had a chance to look it over yet. He asked for $150, I countered with $125. He agreed and as he was filling out the bill of sale my buddy started it up and drove it up to the office. Apparently, the only thing wrong with it was a loose battery cable. I had to fix one of the rear window regulators and reinstall the original radio, which I found under the seat, but otherwise it gave me faithful service for several years until some dolt ran a stop sign and T-boned it, crushing the passenger side almost completely from the leading edge of the door to the back bumper.
Another junkyard find was a '65 Buick Skylark Gran Sport. The 401 nailhead was frozen and it had the usual GM A-body rust through at the bottom of both quarter panels, but it was a 4-speed car with power windows, driver's seat, and antenna, as well as air conditioning! The red exterior was heavily oxidized, but the white and black interior looked perfect. After some haggling, I paid $250 (cash only!) and towed it home. I pulled the motor and took it into my favorite speed & machine shop and the owner offered instead to sell me a freshly machined, but unassembled, '65 425 nailhead, along with new bearings, gasket kit, oil pump, timing set, and an Isky cam/lifters/springs set. Oh, and he'd throw in a rebuilt TH-400 transmission with a shift kit. Seems his son had been racing a '65 Riviera on the local dirt tracks and had planned a rebuild during the off season, but it took so long to get the cam kit from Iskenderian that he moved to a '66 Chevelle and left all the parts in the back of the shop. I got it all for another $250 - again, cash in hand. The capper in this project was when I was doing another junkyard dive and spotted a '66 Buick Electra 225 and popped the hood to find it had the 425 with the dress-up kit. Cast aluminum finned valve covers with the BUICK script on the sides, chromed dual-inlet air cleaner, and multiple chromed brackets and bolts. Being a '66, it had the spread bore manifold to fit Rochester's newly-introduced Quadrajet carburetor, which, unfortunately, had been removed. I got the intake and dress-up kit for $25. I thought about it afterwards and went back the next week to pull the motor and transmission, just for spare parts, but the car had gone to the crusher. Oh well.
I fixed the rust and repainted the Gran Sport and put it all back together with the dressed up 425 with an 850 cfm Carter Thermo-Quad, and it was one of the torquiest muscle cars I ever owned. In first gear (BW cast iron T-10 with 2:54 low and 3:42 gears in the rear) at idle(!) you could let out the clutch gently from a dead stop and it would just trundle on down the road. With a little bit of practice with the throttle and clutch, you could also start off in 4th. I taught my future wife to drive a stick shift in that car and she loved it. I eventually sold it to some kid who had more of his daddy's money than he did good sense, and he promptly wrapped in around a telephone pole.
Lastly: while cruising through farm country, I spotted a '64 Pontiac Le Mans Sport Coupe (post) with 4 flat tires sitting at the back of a long driveway. It was brown with thoroughly dead paint but no rust through, and the brown interior was in excellent condition with bucket seats, automatic shifter in the console, uncracked "wood grain" rallye steering wheel, 90-degree tach in the dash, and vacuum gauge in a pod on the console - all pretty rare options. The current owner, son of the original, was more than happy to let me haul it off for $50, but he wanted to pull the radio (original AM) to put on his tractor(!). I offered $25 cash and a brand new, in the box, AM/FM cassette stereo with a couple of marine speakers. He and I shook hands, each thinking he'd gotten a killer deal, which is the platonic ideal of a good transaction. After I got it home and got it running, I noticed the block code (XB) was for a '65 regular fuel 2-bbl 389. It hadn't even dawned on me that the intake was the 65-&-later bolt pattern, rather than the '61-'64 style. I went back to visit with the former owner and he told me the original 326 had thrown a rod out the side of the block in the first year of ownership and his father persuaded the dealership to upgrade the warranty replacement with a 389, since he was using the Le Mans to tow their camp trailer and(!) a small boat. Crazy people. I swapped on an old aluminum Edelbrock P4B manifold with a '65 Carter AFB and a pair of long tube headers capped off by by a pair of straight-thru glass packs, and changed the 2-speed TH300 for a TH350 with a 6-cylinder torque converter - all spare parts I had lying around. It ran like a scalded cat. If I recall correctly, it went away in a massive 3-way swap (that included a '65 GTO with a '63 Tempest four cylinder mated to its original Muncie 4-speed, a warehouse full of odd parts, a pair of '68 GTO projects, and a couple of promised body & paint jobs) when I married and went back to college to finish up my degree. Priorities, man.
Mine was a score, just not a parts score... Back in the early 80’s, I was at a junk yard called “Banks” in Woodbridge, VA looking for parts for the ‘71 Ford LTD I had at the time. I came across a 1/4” ratchet and extender in some old Ford and threw it in with my tools. I cannot remember what parts I found that day, but I still have, and use, that 1/4” ratchet and extension!
Bought this 69 Dodge Dart gt convertible from a local junkyard in 1982 or so for $100.00. 225 slant six and the lifters were ticking away.. Adjusted them up and drove it for five years... Eventually sold it for $600.00.. One of the best cars I've ever owned... Wish I still had that little beauty...
In the Army stationed in Atlanta Ga, about 1960, I found a 1936 Buick Century, black 4 door in a local junk yard. Junk yard guy said it just came in. Body was perfect, no rust, engine was so clean you could eat off of it. Engine started and ran perfectly, interior was kind of rodent chewed as I recall. I gave the 75 bucks for it and then the following day went back and told him to keep my money. I realized that even if I found a way to get it home there was no place to store it at my parents house, and I had another year to go on my enlistment and had plans for college after that. Sure wish I could have kept it.
In the early 80's, I was restoring for street use a very original all AZ 1964 GTO convertible, Grenadier Red with Parchment (white) interior and top. It had been owned by an older guy, and it was sold out of his estate sale, unfortunately after sitting for years, undriven, under a carport. Clean sheet metal, but the trunk and floors were rotted from the rain.
I searched every yard in town, looking for replacement trim parts, and hit the Pamona swap meet a couple of times. I bought a "parts car" '64 GTO in CA, with a big block Chevy motor and various hot rod parts for $500. It had a stock, perfect wood-grain steering wheel in the trunk, along with a perfect CA padded dash and gauge cluster with a tach, all rare options. It even had the power seat track and power window motors, removed and in a box. I grabbed all the rare parts, sold the front clip for $400, the driveline for $250, and gave the rest to the friend who trailered it from LA, in exchange.
The craziest find was in a yard in a small desert town, where I asked about "cool" Pontiac parts. The owner took me out to a shed and dragged out (by the ultra rare water neck) a complete '64 tri-power set up, complete with the chrome air cleaners! The date code even matched with my original engine. He set a "firm" price of $75, it took 2 of us to quickly carry it to my trunk. The finished car was sold when my kids consumed most of my time and money, I still watch for it at the auctions.
Best junkyard score was finding a nearly intact (minus the engine) 1973 Opel Manta Rallye in a GA scrapyard. At the time I had a 1974 standard 4-speed Manta (bright orange!) and had installed some cheap aftermarket gauges in an attempt to compensate for the base car instrumentation. The scrapped Rallye yielded a factory VDO tach and a neat center gauge pack with voltmeter, oil pressure and a clock! I also stripped off every Rallye emblem and trim item on the car and several "that looks useful to have" bits from under the hood. I stuffed my loot in a paper bag and brought it to the counter where they charged me $15 bucks for the lot. I drove home and ripped out the aftermarket stuff and eagerly installed the factory parts. Every gauge worked including the clock. I had to buy an electrical oil pressure sending unit and that cost a whopping $30 (it was 1979 and I was a college student on a budget so I had to skip some pizza nights). My little orange Opel was a budget super coupe with its Weber carb, Ansa exhaust tips, black painted wheels with stainless trim rings and factory gauge pack. Eventually I sold it and replaced it with a 1971 Camaro RS but that is another story...
In the early nineties I was redoing a 1965 Pontiac Lemans convertible. This particular car was owned by a fellow high school classmate from 20 years prior. At that time it had factory wire wheel covers on it. When I purchased it they were missing. I searched for
a while with no luck. Then a trip to a local junk yard to get rid of some metal resulted
in a "lets see what is out back". Sure enough an outbuilding was adorned with hub-
caps, four of which were a set I needed. $20.00 later they were mine. Two spinners
wore faded emblems but they were available new.
I had a rebuilt 307 chevy motor laying around. I casually mentioned to my brother in law that I needed to find an old truck to put it in. He called about two days later and said "I'm bringing the tow truck. Let's go pick up your old truck. It's in a junkyard in Alma, Texas." So far, a tow truck, an old truck, and a junkyard were all mutually exclusive. However, he is my brother in law. He is a preacher. So we went. It was a SWB 61 Chevrolet Apache 10 with a 235 6 and a radio. I swallowed hard. It would not start. The bed was rotted out. The paint was my favorite Chevy blue with rust details. The brakes didn't work. So of course I forked over $500. He hooked it up and towed it to his shop and told me to come over next Saturday.
Next Saturday I show and start going through the truck. It had 76,000 miles on it. It was a farm truck and looked it. But we started the close examination, and it actually was in great shape. It was filthy, but no dents. The interior had not been torn up. The bright work looked good. More work than I wanted....but this is my brother in law. By the end of the day that six was purring. A piece of bailing wire stuck in the axle had beat the rear brake hose over the axle. I spent three or four dollars on that replacement, and all of a sudden I have a running and driving truck.
We went to work. Got the 307 in. Replaced the clutch while the transmission was out. And now have a running and driving truck with no mufflers.
Fast forward to today, and that truck is still going strong. Well, Hagerty is putting it back together for me. The brake pedal went to the floor. The body is stock, but it has a 350 TPI and power everything. I have way too much money tied up in it but always walk away with a trophy when I show it.
My brother in law is now gone. But every time I climb in that truck I have those memories.
And, as you can imagine with any good brother in law, there are even more stories. Like the time I had that truck painted and it was perfect. I put a new oak bed in it. I was telling my brother in law that now I couldn't use it for a truck anymore. It looked too good. He called me up a couple of weeks after that and asked if he could borrow my truck. His was down and he needed to go pick up a couple of boxes. I gave him the keys. It came back the next day and the inside of the bed was all scratched and dirty. He was grinning and said he knew he had to help me get over the nice part. I was pissed and he was right.
The $500 turned out to be a great deal for the truck. The 10's of thousands since then not so much. But it gets driven. It draws attention. And it wins trophies. Although I can no longer use it as a truck, I solved that with a new F150. And I am still with my first wife.
I found a 1960 Ford Sunliner driving by a North Hollywood wrecking yard, $195 on the windshield. Called the yard up, said I would be there after work.
When I got there, two young guys were looking it over, and said “we’ll take it”. I said “how much?”
I replied “I’ll give you $225”. They left. That was 1978.
I still have the car, insured by Hagerty.
It’s the mid 70’s. I’m pulling off the street into a pull in parking spot when a gal in a Fiat x1/9 drops a gear to pass my ‘68 GTO on the right. Say goodbye to the passenger door.
I’m calling all the local yards and one of them tells me they just got in a Tempest with a good passenger door. “You’re gonna have to paint it, it’s a really ugly green.” Turns out it’s a dark olive metallic color. Perfect match to my GTO!
It’s the late 70’s.
There was a yard in our area, Wades, that mostly sold rebuilders. There was a woody wagon I was interested in visible from the road. When I was there looking it over I spotted a ‘65 Mustang convertible. The grease pen price on the window was $175. WOW! When I approached Wade about it “I don’t have any $175 Mustang out there.” He checked his inventory,“Oh, that’s $575.”
I explained that the price on the window was clearly $175. “Well people are always rubbing off numbers and changing our prices .”
Don’t know how you make a 5 into a 1 but ok.
I went home and decided that $575 WAS still a good deal so it came to live in my garage.
One day I was thumbing thru my Mustangs Forever book waiting for guests to arrive for my son’s birthday party. It stated that ALL ‘65s had alternators. Another place it stated that the early ‘65s (‘64 1/2) had generators. I ran out to the garage and popped the hood. Sure enough, I had bought a ‘64 1/2 Mustang convertible for $575.
Best score ever was at a out in the boon,s scrap yard miles from nowhere wandering thru in search of some pieces for a Ford Van i had at the time when i came across a 72 Torino that had been smashed almost beyond recognition the rear clip was practically flat whatever happened it was horrific that said under a crumpled front end with a crow bar in hand i pried the hood open expecting to find nothing of interest WRONG 351 CJ the trans was busted at the bell housing and the engine was stuck but appeared to me mostly intact the owner of the junk yard was on vacation and the lad that was promoted to yard manager came over had a look and we conjured up a price which was heavily in my favor grabbed torches and the yard crane ish truck wretched the motor out and got out of there,a month or so later with not alot of cash spent the motor was alive again and with not to much trouble installed in my shaggin wagon a little more diggin around got a nodular 9 inch third member posi to complete the install that van surprised alot of people at stop lights aww the memory's that make up a life time.Cheers R
6 months ago, I walked into a business just as the guy was getting off the phone with a tow truck driver. I heard the tail end of his conversation about a truck that HAD to be gone by the end of that day, orders from the community! I asked him about it & found out it was costing him $50 to have it towed. I looked straight at him & told him I would give him $50 cash right then. I said you save another $50 from the tow-truck, you are up $100! He thought for a minute & I pulled out my $ put it in his hand & he called the tow truck right back & cancelled. I towed my new truck (an '01 Silverado LS 4x4 5.3 4L60E G-80 with front clip damaged) home. Later the next day, I stopped in & he thanked me for getting him out of a bind. I told him it was no problem & asked him about the sparkling transmission in the truck. He went white as a ghost, then told me, "Oh I forgot" the owner had (less than 3 months before) had a new re-built GM trans installed. I thanked him!
When I was in high school, I was looking to update the smokin', wheezing 383 in my 69 Road Runner. It was 1978 and hot rods, big blocks and high-performance engines were widely available in junkyards for next to nothing. I went to my local salvage yard and they had just pulled in a Superbee that had been mangled in an accident. The junkyard owner said he was told it had a 440 in it, and if I wanted to go pull it, he'd let it go for $250. He said he'd toss in the transmission for another $75. When I got to the car, it turned out it was a Six-Pack car. I quickly got the tripod hoist set up and got the engine and transmission out.