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Art & Inspiration So at what age were you exposed to junk yards?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Tow Truck Tom, Dec 4, 2021.

  1. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 3,092

    from Alabama

    A big city yard ???....
    17 years old...Those Guys ripped me off.

    A "Country Yard" ?
    15 years old... I eventually made friends with the owner. It was mighty special and it took 5 years or so...
    I'll never forget the day he showed me the car! Don did not show the car to just anyone. You had to be among the trusted few....
    It was a right of passage in a way. It was special to be accepted around the 55 gallon drum stove in his cars....and just talk while he worked.
    The big yards downtown....
    Those guys can kiss my ass.
  2. 31 Coupe
    Joined: Feb 25, 2008
    Posts: 318

    31 Coupe

    I had to wait until I was in my 60's before I got to walk around FLAP.
    I'd previously bought parts from Skip through HAMB classifieds and eventually got to shake hands with him.
    Thanks for the great deals and tee shirt Skip.
  3. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,146

    from PNW

    Probably 8 or 9. Guy who rented a flat from my Mom took me. All I can really remember is him stuffing my pockets with radio knobs, door handles, window cranks, and cigarette lighters. Stuffed rear view mirrors and little trim pieces in my sweatshirt. I jangled when I walked and he didn't let me go in the office. Think he took a glove box door in and haggled the counter guy down to half a buck. Not really the example you want to set for young kid. However, my Mom had a remedy for that. After I told her what happened (after much questioning) she drove me back to the yard, gave me 5 bucks and sent me in to apologize to the owner. Life long lesson learned. Oh, and that five my Mom shelled out she got back from the renter probably at least a hundred fold. But he never knew it.;)
  4. Fingers
    Joined: Feb 23, 2005
    Posts: 114


    Not my first yard experience by a long shot, but I worked at one for a few years in the early '90's and had some great times.
    Tow Truck Tom likes this.
  5. Greg Rogers
    Joined: Oct 11, 2016
    Posts: 541

    Greg Rogers

    That is such a cool story! Reminds me of when I stole a warm Coke from the case near the Coke machine at a supermarket. I told my Dad about it and he made me apologize to the store manager and pay for it. I very good lesson learned... ( now how did I get into itallics?)
  6. Gary Addcox
    Joined: Aug 28, 2009
    Posts: 2,472

    Gary Addcox

    I was 5 when my Dad bought a '40 1/2 ton flatbed from Shiner, TX for $150. He took me to several junk yards in South San and I was "afflicted" with grease and rusty parts for life. At 74, I still don't turn down an invitation to hit a junkyard. Never know what you might find !
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2021
  7. We had a large one close to us, John Street Auto Wreckers in Babylon NY. I was 7 and went with my dad to get rims to mount his snow tires for his '59 Country Sedan. The 2nd one was after his car was wrecked in 1963, North Clinton Auto Wreckers in Bay Shore NY to get the snow tires off the car. I was 8.

    John Street moved and is now in Islip NY, John's Auto Parts. It became a condo site in around 1972. North Clinton I haven't been to in years and may be closed, it was renamed as Poppy's at one point.
  8. WB69
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,857


    Have no clue on my age. My Dad was a scrapper therefore he always kept track who was paying the most for everything. He knew of every salvage/junk yard for miles around. Every Saturday we took a load of something somewhere. And, of course we had to make the normal walk through to see if anything new of interest had come in since the last time we had been there. Leon Bee, I've been to "Easy Jack's.
  9. SDS
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 419


    1984, 13 y/o. Grandpa took me.
    Thought it was garbage, but fully realized the value of them when I was 15. Any muscle car prt you needed was ripe for the picking - snatched a lot of quarter panels of junkyard cars.
  10. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,753


    I was probably 8 years old. Often I rode my bike just a few blocks from my house to a junkyard. There behind a loose strand of wire fence was paradise...........all the front row cars were pre '40. I would wander around that font row and jump in any one of them I wanted to, sit behind the wheel and pretend drive. Not once was I chased out of there. Wow, the adventures I had.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2021
  11. speedshifter
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 312


    I don't remember my age when I started scrounging the local yards. Some of the goodies I observed at Shines scrap yard were a cut off roof from a 33 or 34 Ford coupe, a Clayton drive on dyno, a piston grinder ( for finishing to size semi finished pistons, Years ago machine shops stocked these pistons & would cut them to the needed oversize). a 9" Ford posi center section that I bought for $7 & a good 55-57 Chev trans that cost a whopping $10. Gustoff bros had an auto salvage yard. They did repairs in a dinky little one stall garage with dirt floor. One hot summer day I was in that shop & one Gustoff bro was lying on his back in the dirt under an Olds. Without assistance he was holding up a heavy iron Hydramatic trans while his bro bolted it in place. I saw a v8 60 tube front axle on the pile & a 41 Buick century with compound carburation being scrapped. Later Gustoff built a big shop. Best thing about that shop is that they had what seemed like hundreds of nude girlie posters proudly on display. One day a few years later I was shockedwhen I entered I entered the shop. Every one of those magnificent works of art were gone, all gone. I'm sure I didn't sleep that night. That day, like the bombing of Pearl Harbur, will live in infamy. Oh those were the days. speedshifter Greg White
  12. Splitbudaba
    Joined: Dec 30, 2014
    Posts: 614


    About 10 years old, back in 1959. My dad took me to Snyder and Smorley Junk yard, north of Reading,Pa. We had a 56’ Plymouth two door, blue and white. We needed some parts for the interior and also found a newer set of hub caps. I remember walking around, one section was all 30’s coupes. I found out later they were used by the local dirt track guys, at the fairgrounds. Didn’t think much of it back then, if only I knew then what I know now!!
  13. Balljoint
    Joined: Dec 3, 2021
    Posts: 21


    Young enough that I can't remember. My Grandmother had a family junkyard of sorts parked in a hedgerow on their farm. There was a 53 Dodge with an early hemi (that was my Dad's ride when he was sparking the ladies in high school), an old Dodge truck that I think might have been from the late 20's or early 30's, it was green and I'm not certain but I think it might have had wooden spoke wheels. Several Stude's, my Grandfather loved Studebaker's and would drive them until they wouldn't run any longer, then he'd park that one and go get another one. He was a very mechanically inclined so he got a lot of use out of any car he drove. One day when I was young my Grandmother called a local guy and he came and towed them all away, even though I'd told her many times I wanted all of them. I guess I failed to convince her of my sincerity, being only six or seven years old I can understand her reluctance to hold onto them for another ten years or so. Dreams die hard.
    We had several junkyards close to home and the older I got the more I loved to spend time in them. Sadly, most of the local ones are long gone. I can recall many cars from the 40's through the 70's that probably headed to the crusher at some point. One small local yard was crushed in one or two days, I didn't hear about it until a few weeks after it happened. In that yard alone there was a Pierre Cardin Javelin, a 69 Road Runner, two 63 Grand Prix's with 8 lug drums, and quite a few cars and trucks from the 40's and 50's that were all crushed.
    After joining the U.S. Army for a stint I was stationed at Ft. Hood for a couple years. The area surrounding Ft. Hood and the many smaller towns and cities in that area was a junkyard lover's mecca. I can't recall the number of cars and trucks I wanted to drag home but it was about every third or fourth vehicle I'd see. If I'd been smart I would have dropped the Budweiser habit and purchased a truck and trailer and put them to good use. There were at least a dozen yards in that area that I would frequent on a regular basis just to enjoy the scenery. Unfortunately, cell phone camera technology didn't coincide with the peak prosperity of older junkyards, (imagine the potential). I haven't been back to the Ft. Hood area for almost thirty years but I'm sure I'd be disappointed, hopefully some young enterprising hot rodders snapped up a good portion of those cars and saved them from the fate of becoming someone's garden shovel or frying pan.
    Tow Truck Tom likes this.
  14. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,742

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Not really sure,may be 4YO,with my Dad getting some type of cheep part for his Chevy. I love looking around. Lot of time enjoying doing it for years. [​IMG]
  15. Balljoint
    Joined: Dec 3, 2021
    Posts: 21


    LOL!!! Great story RJP, and a good lesson learned as well.
  16. Koz
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,436


    I was probably seven or eight and My Dad couldn't keep me out of the shop. So he took me along wherever he went. This included his favorite parts haunt, Gibralter Joes Junkyard. The owner was a huge ex bail bondsman who was pretty intimidating to most but for some reason he liked Pop and me by association. The place was loaded with prewar cars including a load of "A"s and "T"s but my favorite was a black '40 coupe which sat well down in the yard under a huge Willow tree. Way too nice to be in the yard. Today it wouldn't last five minutes.

    I spent many a summer day under that tree imagining driving that super cool '40 once it had been transformed into the famous "EL Matador" that I worshiped in the car mags of the day. About everything from the drivetrain to the canted quads could be had in that yard. At that time, no cash though along with no skills etc.! When I turned 14 my Dad provided me with a '39 tudor for my birthday that promptly got the quads.

    That's another story entirely.
    Tow Truck Tom likes this.
  17. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,862

    from NKy

    Bones if you need after hours guard , call me !
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  18. probably around 12 yo, in 1958. I needed 40-48 hydraulic brakes for my first car. My dad said I couldn't drive it until it had hydraulics. Later i was hunting down 15" wheels for the Ford bolt pattern, and ended up with 49 Mercury's and one Lincoln 6" wide wheel. Most of my early hunting was with my dad's help, and in tiny yards along the Klamath River in northern CA.
    Tow Truck Tom likes this.
  19. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,893


    My dad's buddy used to race the old coupes at our local dirt track. The guy had a dump truck and bulldozer that he made his living with, but he junked cars to fund the racing habit. As such, there was always junk cars in his lower field, just past the pole building the race car was in. My dad started dragging me to his buddy's place on Saturdays and that junk yard became a fascination to me. Dad's buddy make his youngest son (about 10 years older then me) keep me from getting hurt. We got along pretty got and got into a bunch of stuff in that yard. He showed me how to pull the seats out of the junk cars and look for all the cool stuff that was under the seats.

    The summer after 6th grade, we moved about a 1/4 mile from dad's buddy's place in to a new subdivision dad's buddy's family started.. I'd go by dad's buddy's place often on my bike, and he would put me to work on the race car, or help him junk something out. He would always pay me when we junked something.
    I also discovered that the guy that owned the biggest junk yard in town lived just behind the house across the street from us. His youngest son and I played car together for many years.
    When I was old enough to work at the gas station, I had the chance to work on cars on the sides (mom would not let me work on cars at home), and it wasn't very long before I was a regular customer at Steve's Car Crushing. Since he was a neighbor and I played with his kid when we were younger, he made me some great deals. When I started running the dirt track car, he (and a few small local yards) really helped me out. I started junking cars, and repairing cars, to fund my racing habit.
    When I lost my job at the gas station, I worked with my dad (he ran a jackhammer) but soon discovered that line of work was not for me. At the time, my wife and I had bought a house about 3 blocks from Steve's Car Crushing. Since they were so close, I did a lot of business with them.
    One day, Steve and I was talking and he told me was thinking about selling the junk yard and moving out of state. Steve had done that before, probably 15 years before. He sold his yard complete with equipment and moved away for about a year. When he sold that 1st yard, Steve owned all the land around that 1st yard, but the new owner didn't want any thing except the yard itself. When he came back, and opened a new yard directly across the street from the one he had sold. The new guy was sort of an ass, so when Steve opened up right across the street, almost everyone went back to Steve's. I knew all of this, so when Steve said something about selling out, you know the first thing that came to my mind.
    Steve told me this time would be different. The sale price would include all the surrounding property, all of the equipment, and all of the cars and trucks on tall of the property. The land behind the original yard he had sold was stacked 3 high on the entire 4-5 acers (all told, it was nearly 10 acers total). He would also stay on for a year to teach me everything I needed to know, and the sale would have stipulations preventing him from opening another business of any kind within 50 miles of the location.
    We talked for a few months, he was serious. He gave me a $100,000 price tag, and he would carry it entirely on a personal contract for 10 years. $100,000 in 1980 cash was a lot of debt for a 24 year old with a wife, a house, and a young kid! I probably made the dumbest decision of my life, I passed!
    About 6 months later, Steve sold the yard, roomer has it he got $150K cash. The guys that bought the place crushed everything on the property (all 10 acers) and the roomer said they cleared over 150K by just scrapping everything. They set up a late model car yard there, but got busted for grand theft auto 6 months later.

    The roomers didn't help ease the pain of the decision I made. I don't believe a junk yard would be the business I would want to be in these days, and I think I've done alright. That what if will always be there in the back of my head. Gene
  20. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,604


    I remember that the wierd European cars had this strange smell that was probably caused by the decomposing interior fibers or something. Can't really describe it, but I'm sure that I would recognize it if I come across it again.
    Valentines Speed Shop likes this.
  21. Oddly enough, I didn't go until after I started driving and had my first car for at least a year. By that time there was some early 70's cars, but rarely some 60's cars. I did find some parts for my '60 Elco (I'm still running the 4 row radiator from there) and later stuff for my girls '61 Bel Air (still have 1 lower valance panel from the yard). A couple of years ago I just started to go back to help out friends and for o/d manual transmissions, I missed it.
    Tow Truck Tom likes this.
  22. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 8,540


    Around 5 years old, my Dad back then always had some old car that needed fixing, trans, engine, whatever, I went with to yard to get what he needed, I think he got these cars for close to nothing, get them running, drive, sell, repeat. When we went to the races, sometimes it was an adventure with some roadside fix, I remember one car that the wipers did not work, Dad rigged up strings on blades so they took turns (Dad, Mom) pulling to have wipers, we always made it to and back only remember riding in a tow truck or being picked up a few times. As a teen, my hot rod shop/parts store was the junkyard, I purchased an engine, installed in my first car, bought many trans, rear ends, rear axles, etc. All us kids were lucky in our area, we had a yard that helped us out with good info/fair pricing, a very successful junkyard thinking because he took care of us kids, I remember he had a modified he raced locally, Jim Gish was his name, yard name escapes me this am.
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  23. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,385

    from Oregon

    For me it was around 13-14 yrs. old. I bought my uncle's '47 International panel truck, and began working to get it running and driving after sitting for years. He helped by taking me for parts, but like my dad he wasn't a car guy either. So when it came to fixing the mouse eaten front seat I asked him to take me to a wrecking yard. We dug around imports with a bench seat, and I found an old Simca with a nice light blue seat small enough to fit the dark blue panel's cab.
    After that I was hooked on wrecking yards, and still love those that let me find and pull my own parts.
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  24. ... Probably around 12 years old .. A buddy from school's dad had a wrecker and would tow for the local yard ...
    ... One day he and I got to go on one of his dad's salvage runs to the yard ...
    ... Once we got there my buddy led the way out into the yard straight to a '60 Bonneville that was rearended badly ..
    ... He said get in ... we're going for a ride! ... He turns the key and the V-8 comes to life ...
    ... Only problem was the car only drove in reverse! ... So here we are ... 12 years old doing donuts in the dirt in reverse until it ran out of gas ... something I'll never forget ...
  25. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 929


    My uncle took me to a few yards when we needed something for his Camaro, something that was frowned upon by my parents! Got to be friends with Ted Howard in Warren; he used to repair VW's, then turned to Land Rovers, Volvos, and other European makes, had some interesting stuff out back, and a few projects in the barn. My favorite was the 1938 Buick Roadmaster with the leather interior, always loved to sit in that one! Ted's shop was always open, and if he wasn't around I would leave a note on his desk to say hi. He was quite a character, I sure miss him. Then I started to bring my own son with me on frequent junkyarding expeditions for my projects, and we came across some pretty cool cars over the years that we had a lot of fun looking at just to see how they used to design and build them back then.
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  26. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,362

    dan c

    i was 15. we used to go sailing on the missouri river at portage de sioux, mo., and always stopped at a junkyard to get parts for our fords at a place right at the river. it's still there!
    Tow Truck Tom likes this.
  27. thefabulousnip
    Joined: Sep 8, 2021
    Posts: 8


    I was 8 years old. I was sent in to get the fenders off a 57 Cadillac hearse. I couldn't lift them, and my dad and Sonny Man had a big laugh
    Tow Truck Tom and Boneyard51 like this.
  28. MO_JUNK
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,151

    from Rolla, Mo.

    Third or fourth grade. We would slip in and look at wrecks. I remember seeing some bad stuff-lots of blood and an occasional tooth. First working visit was probably about the seventh grade. Searching for parts became a pass time as I became a teenager and driving age. Thankful that I was able to experience those walks through salvage yards in rural Missouri.
    Tow Truck Tom and Boneyard51 like this.
  29. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 5,625


    Will do! Doesn’t pay much, but the company is great and the beer is cold!

    Budget36 likes this.

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