Clack… Clack… Clack… The windshield wipers’ melodic tone made our two-hour trip seem much longer. The allure of a seldom-visited yard packed with vintage cars and parts beckoned us. The light mist in the air was certainly not enough to dampen our enthusiasm. Just a couple of miles from our destination, the mist that followed us throughout our trip became a steady rain. Still undaunted, we had come too far to turn back now. Arriving at the salvage yard, we made our way to the main office. The sign on the door proclaimed, “No Dogs Allowed, our cats don’t like them.” We carefully dodged the numerous cats and kittens dotting the floor as we made our way to the counter. “Y-block parts, yeah we got’em,” the owner announced. He was a slender but feisty old guy, whose face bore the signs of a lifetime in the yard. He pulled a tin of Copenhagen from his pocket and with a pinch of his grease covered fingers proceeded to pack his lower lip. He went on to say, “Before you spend a bunch of time pulling heads off, check out what’s in the white bus atop the hill.” We grabbed our toolbox and raincoats and headed into the yard. The rain was coming down harder now, and while we expected to see a single bus on the hill, instead there was a row of buses with the contents of each scrawled in grease pencil across the windshield. Soon we spotted the white bus with the words “Ford Heads” clearly displayed. Stopping for a moment to take a couple of photos, I pushed the shutter release for the second time when the digital camera simply stopped working. The precautions I had taken to keep my camera dry were clearly no match for a late June thunderstorm.
I was reminded of how dependent we have become on electronic devices, and how my old film camera served me well for years without faltering. Even with its shortcomings, I was unlikely to give up on the new one; it has saved me thousands over buying film and processing. There is little doubt technology and the internet has changed the way we enjoy our hobby as well. Once it was common to spend months searching for parts, while today most are only a few mouse clicks away, and the computer has become an essential tool in the garage.
We climbed into the bus; inside were hundreds of Ford heads stacked neatly along the sides. My son went to work, carefully checking each of the castings, as I fumbled with my now deceased camera. His voice soon rang out, “I got them!” I put the camera away, and savored our “non-digital” moment of discovery.
Surely this isnt all of the story. When will the rest of the story be published.
The only thing I got from this story was to either not use a digital camera or take extra precautions against it getting wet.
I agree – from the title I was expecting something about what kind of tech might be good or bad buys in a junkyard, or what tech to expect a junkyard to be using.
I’m working on a 1987 Dodge D100 long wheel base, 318 with automatic transmission.
When I was a kid there was a pick your own junkyard within walking distance. I worked there on and off, pulling parts for folks who didn’t know how to find what they wanted, or didn’t want the hassle. Another spot had lots more cars, but was only open in the afternoons and was an hours drive away. Both places only crushed about every two years or so, and the pickings were good. On one of the last times I worked there, I pulled 20 motors before the cars got crushed and got paid one motor and trans for this 69 Firebird I rescued. That was back in 1987, those places and all of the places I knew are gone now. I moved a couple hundred miles away to a more urban area, and although I’m sure there are a few lots of old cars left in the area, I just don’t have the connections to find them. You always wondered what was going to be under that hood you were wrestling open, was it a big rat or just a 6? Oh, by the way, I finally got that Firebird together last summer. Talk about a long term project!
Yep, Captain Comet you are unfortunately correct. That’s exactly what they ALL do now. Sell those old classics for scrap metal money, UNBELIVEABLE. Still seems so nuts to me, I probably will never get over it. I can recall just such a yard in Louisville, Ky. my old home town. This yard was called simply JIM’S. I can still hear old Jim’s voice and picture him with his coal black very curse hair, combed straight back high atop his head, (I never could figure out if that was hair jell or what appeared to be old black axil grease in his hair but it never moved) as he answered the phone and yelled “JAAAM’s”, that’s it just “JAAAM’S”. He ALWAYS had a huge wad of twenty dollar bills, five’s in the middle stuffed in both front pockets and these things were easily 3″ thick. His yard was packed with older mustangs. I was restoring a 1969 Mach – 1 Mustang in my 20’s and the time period was the late 80’s ,early 90’s. All the 60’s model Mustangs were already getting hard to find and old Jim had them all, LOL. The best part I can remember is they weren’t considered rare to him, just junk cars. EVERYTHING, no matter what it was, you pulled it yourself and the price was always “TWINY FIIIIIIIIVE, TWINY FIIIVE” you could bank on it. I really loved that old yard and even old “JAM”, he had his kind moments if he started to recognize you. That place was a real gold mine to me and I did keep it my own secret. Well, “Old JAM” finally passed and all was left to his only one heir and that was a daughter. I rode by one day and had to pull in because I noticed the old painted plywood sign was gone. As I walked into the yard headed to the little old shack off to the right side where Jim always sat. I was stopped dead in my tracks with shock and horror as I stood and watched all the new activity in the yard. It was already half empty and there was a new piece of equipment there smashing all those old Mustangs flat as a fork truck was dumping them in just as fast as it could and another loading them onto the long line of flat bed haulers coming from the back of the old rock road that circled the yard. I slowly made my way to the old shack anyway in shock to inquire. Inside I found a very heavy young woman with coal black hair that somewhat resembled my old friend Jim. I asked her “Where is Jim”. She simply replied “DEAD with a long pause then FINALLY” as she stuffed the large wad of hundred dollar bills in her front pocket. Old Jim was a man of few words and apparently so was she, I often wondered if the only words he knew were “JAAAM’S, and TWINY FIIIIIIIVE” I turn and walked away thinking how much she resembled my old friend Jim and how little respect she had for him and the old gold mine of Classic Mustangs he took a life time assembling. It was just money to her and she couldn’t wait to stuff her pockets full of it. I drove away in MY old Mustang shaking my head in disgust at what she had absolutely no respect for – (all those old mustangs or old Jim) as she destroyed them all and her fathers legacy just for money. Sad day for me and always comes to mind every time I see an old classic destroyed. I have to ask my self, Is change really always such a good thing?
Thanks for taking the time to write this. It is so sad to see these yards being cleared out at such a rapid rate. I am headed to Tennessee in the next few days to hopefully score some Vega parts,from an old technically closed junk yard that I am sure is not far from being cleared out as well.
The internet and junkyards can be a good pairing,too. I live in an urban area and the biggest u-pull-em yards cycle through cars fast…. 120 days there and they get crushed. They are LQK yards, though, and post new arrivals on their site. Very searchable. If you search “196*” and don’t enter a brand or model, that will do a wildcard search for everything from the 1960s. I do a computer search about once a month, and this saves me from driving to four different towns, an hour drive to the outer two of them.
But then the frenzy when you do find a good parts car! … whoo-hoo …
aways fun going to the bone yard , just line chritsmas don’t know what you will find .
Your lucky to find those old timer wrecking yards these days ,but I’m sure all real car guys have one in mind still kicking it. Most yards now a days just crush them for scrap metal. Have fun working on your rides this winter,or just tuck them away til spring.
I love to go to the junkyard. I can a whole day there dreaming of how I can use each vehicle!!!!