Hooniverse Asks: Do You Have Any Keepsakes From Cars You No Longer Own?

I recently discovered a long-forgotten Volkswagen key in a little-used drawer. As I pulled it out I asked my wife whether she thought it was for our old Jetta or our even older Golf, but she was of no help. I guess, seeing as it’s been more than 12 years since we’ve owned either it matters little which one it served.
It did get me thinking however, about vestigial artifacts that remain after a car or truck leaves our possession. I have a hubcap from my first car, a Chevy Corvair, and almost all the mechanicals from an MG Midget I bought and stripped. Sadly, I have no keepsake from either my MGBGT, Spitfire, or ’66 Mustang, three cars that I still remember fondly.
What about you, is there a treasure trove of parts from cars you once owned? To you keep them as talismans in the event that the car returns? What parts did you hang onto long after you let go the car from which they came?
Image: Used-Auto-Parts

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49 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: Do You Have Any Keepsakes From Cars You No Longer Own?”

  1. crank_case Avatar

    Small Fiat emblem from the keyfob of my first car (a Punto sporting) and also a new catalytic converter and set of tappets for a Fiat Cinquecento.
    I seem to be unintentionally creating a Fiat Autojumble every time I own one.

  2. P161911 Avatar

    For many years I kept the rear seat from my K-5 Blazer (It was totaled). I have a box of parts from my Fiat 850, need to get those on eBay. I still have several BMW E30 parts and books. Still have a few things left from my Z3 (camshafts, valve covers, etc.) and a bunch of debt on my credit cards from that damn car!!! I have a die cast model, dealer promo VHS, factory repair manual and several other things from my 1994 Corvette. I have a few 1996 Camaro items, books, brochures, etc.. I accidentally kept one of the key fobs from our Trailblazer (couldn’t find it when I sold it), that needs to go on eBay or possibly be re-purposed for my Dad’s Saab, think I still have the Trailblazer sales brochure somewhere too.

  3. GTXcellent Avatar

    Funny timing on this question – just 2 days ago I was able to return to my local auto parts store, 16 platinum spark plugs for a 5.7L Hemi. A truck I haven’t owned in over 5 years.
    I’ve been doing a pretty major remodel/reorganization of my “shop” area out in my shed, and came across this stash of spark plugs that I obviously never got around to installing. The boys at the store said to bring ’em in, as long as the part numbers were the same. Happy day for me.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      You think that’s bad? I have a Ford distributor, and a Ford passenger side door latch assembly (inside handle mechanism/cable/latch), for my ’95 F-150. I should unload those on eBay. Also an EEC-IV breakout box.

  4. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    I haven’t consciously held onto anything as mementos (except license plates), but I do have some random bits from vehicles I no longer own, is some cases for as long as 20 years. A front plate mount from a ’76 Spitfire. Skid plates from an ’89 S10 “Baja”. A pedal assembly from an ’84 Fiero. I treasure them all. Some day, someone is going to need a wheel cover for an ’88 F150, and then who will look the fool?

  5. pj134 Avatar

    The Jeep emblems from my first car and the key. I’ll soon get to keep all the aftermarket accessories that the prior owner put on the 95 ranger rover country I picked up to flip. Super exciting.
    Who owns any vehicle with “Rover” in the name and decides “I’m just going to fuck with the wiring a lot”?

  6. Hillman_Hunter Avatar

    I have the horsey emblems from my 1984.5 Mustang GT350 – a collectible by virtue of its louvers and bordello-red mouse fur interior trim. http://www.themotoringenthusiastjournal.com/photo_gallery/images/mustang_50/1984_mustang_01.jpeg

  7. onrails Avatar

    Trunk badges from my ’76 SkyHawk and ’03 Mini S are glued to my toolbox. Nice to look at them and smile every now and then. Good memories of many, many, many miles from both of them.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        I have those from my ’95 F-150, and my current ride (’13 Tacoma).

        1. hwyengr Avatar

          I’ve got them for every one of mine. ’63 Rambler, ’85 928, ’97 Grand Marquis, and the new Forester. Though, having the window sticker from a car you bought 6 months ago is probably just more good record-keeping than a talisman.

          1. hwyengr Avatar

            Oh, and I also still have them for the departed R53 Mini, the first Mustang, and the RX-8. Stupid buyer of my 2nd Mustang asked if he could have it.

  8. Alff Avatar

    Most of what I’ve kept is spare parts as opposed to keepsakes. I do have a large lit peace sign that we put out at the holidays, cut from the hood of an old Alfa Romeo.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Still have the caliper seals for the oxidized Focus. I managed to gift away the studded wheels for a beer per corner, though.

  9. Sjalabais Avatar

    I still have one of the Volvo High Mileage Club (of course that’s a thing!) medaillons of my first car.
    Spare parts for all sorts of cars I’ve owned are scattered across my garage and basement. I’m not the kind who’s good at throwing stuff away.
    Btw, of all the glorious illustrations used here over the years, today’s ist just killing it. Nice.

    1. Victor Avatar

      My 1978 burgundy 244 was the same color as the 100,000 mile badge.Cloth interior and lumbar support seats.Wish I had kept that car.

    1. Fuhrman16 Avatar

      What engine are those pistons for? Some some sort of two stroke? They seem rather tall and lack oil control rings compared to most I’ve seen.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

        Yes, both two strokes – Honda MB5 and Kawasaki S1 250 triple.

  10. hwyengr Avatar

    I’ve got the right fender, steering wheel, keys, and owners manual from the ’86 GTI, the grille badge from the inaugural 2006 MINI Takes the States road rally and an RX-8 Spirit R badge that was given to all Series II RX-8 owners at Sevenstock ’12.

  11. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    Not exactly automotive, but this still hangs in my garage…

  12. Fred Talmadge Avatar
    Fred Talmadge

    Having just moved I found a few. Manuals from a AH 3000. Owners handbook from 1959 Sprite. TR3 hubcap emblem. AH emblem, I think from a wooden shift knob. Old Moss Motors catalog for MGA and B. Lastly, John Muir’s Complete Idiot Guid for VW.

  13. 0A5599 Avatar

    I used to have 360 callout emblems on a 440 six pack car, to keep the guy in the other lane guessing. I put the 440-6 emblems back on when I got rid of the car. The 360 emblems are still around somewhere.
    I went to my first Lemons race when they still had the Curse. The destroyed car had a DOHC engine. They broke it in such a way that a piece of the cam cover now just says “DOH”. I have that in my possession, but I never owned the car.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      My first LeMons race as other than a spectator was the one and only event held at Oregon Raceway Park at a point when the Curse still existed but had mostly fallen out of favor. The majority of votes went towards smashing a photocopier that a team had brought as part of a theme. I kept the scan mirror (undamaged!) with the intention of mounting it on a car but have yet to do so.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Oh, the symbolic revolt against office live is heartbreaking.

      2. 0A5599 Avatar

        I’m not in favor of the Curse in Lemons races, but think it should be introduced to the Concours d’ Lemons. Not for the cars on display, but for their tow vehicles. Let’s see those trailer queen Concours cars try to make it all the way home under their own power.

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          I’ve discovered that the loophole is to use a tow vehicle that also qualifies for entry into the show.

          1. 0A5599 Avatar

            … assuming it arrives, I’m sure.

  14. dukeisduke Avatar

    Oh gee, let’s see. I have a pair of taillights for a ’74-’75 Vega, in the GM boxes. Each one has a crack in it (invisible except up close) that could be sealed with Super Glue, but they’re otherwise perfect. They’re from my first car, a base ’75 hatchback. I took the car to get it inspected, and the guy wouldn’t pass it because of the taillights. When I complained, he asked, “Are you telling me how to do my job?” Being just 17 at the time, I said nothing. I bought new ones at the dealer (they were like $15 apiece), and he installed them.
    Other stuff I’ve got? Exhaust hangers for a ’78 Audi Fox, and some of those crappy fuses they used, an AM radio from my ’68 Bonneville (I replaced it with an OEM AM-FM stereo with separate multiplexer, that that I bought off of the Hemmings), various crap (used and new parts) for a ’66 Corvair, Moog rubber radius arm bushings for my old ’95 F-150 (I bought them and then later found out they squeak, and so I bought the Ford polyurethane parts), and probably other stuff that I’m forgetting.

  15. ptschett Avatar

    I still have a replacement grille, the owner’s manual packet, one of the fob/keys, and my cargo box divider boards from the Dakota. (I didn’t know whether it was going to get totalled out or not.) CarQuest gave me full credit for the halfshaft that I never did manage to get installed, at least.

  16. Victor Avatar

    Does a scar on my chin count? Got one from my 1966 Mustang during a snowstorm. Hit a car that was stuck partially blocking the road.Did not see it until It was too late.

      1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

        Gotta admit it’s a good looking steering wheel. Just don’t get too close too quickly.

        1. Victor Avatar

          Deceleration Trauma.

        2. Sjalabais Avatar

          Tattoos are for weaklings, today we’re getting a mirrored “Ford” forehead stamp.

  17. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

    I’ve got the front plate and frame from my first S2000, the OE shift knob from my third, and the trashy aftermarket one that came in my fourth. Also the 80s era Momo wheel and OE subwoofer (broken) from my MR2, a spare set of coilover dust boots from the Miata, and a bunch of other small parts whose origin I can no longer recall. I’m not sure if all that counts as mementos or just temporary housing for tetanus.

  18. alex Avatar

    I still have 2 pieces of shattered rim from my beloved 2002 WRX that got whacked by a speeding moron.
    A few years later, I bought a very original Ford Focus SVT from a friend. Still have the owners manual, factory build certificate, a set of keys and service records from that one. (it was killed by another moron: me.)
    Can’t seem, to part with any of it,

  19. neight428 Avatar

    I have the “SVO” from the fender of my ’86 mustang SVO glued to the top of my toolbox. I rear ended an Isuzu Amigo and figured it for dead. I sold its remains to someone that fixed it in his garage, but not before I scraped off the badge.

  20. SawdustTX Avatar

    The car keepsakes wall, and I use my old license plates hinged above the paper towel rolls https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/99dfa1f90bf218c78bd368a9534e482b35508f51f748493a1cf4178c29bb9e74.jpg to keep the towels from unraveling in the wind. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/651480c9e11e98694762c3694bdd49cfb3f2447609fb338d6e8b0563aec655af.jpg

  21. bv911 Avatar

    I’ve got keepsakes from them all! Not that I’ve had a ton of cars, but for one reason or another, yes, now that I think of it, I do indeed…
    – wood rimmed steering wheel from the ’66 911
    – some black-on-white vintage-style gauges in a hand-made bracket from the ’69 Karmann Ghia
    – factory shop manual from my first new car; got an extra oil and air filter for it too (it left over a dozen years ago)
    It goes on. I _did_ make progress throwing some stuff out from my basement though. Anybody interested in Hot Rod or Car Craft magazines from the early eighties?

  22. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    I removed the grill from my ’76 Dodge van before it got sent to the junkyard. It hangs proudly in my garage. I also have a can of touch up Brickhouse red paint from my ’79 Volvo 242 and a set of hubcaps from my ’95 Escort wagon for some reason.

  23. Sean McMillan Avatar
    Sean McMillan

    I still have keys to most of my previous cars, as well as keys to the galaxie my dad had when I was a kid and a model a that was my grandfather’s. They’re all on a ring together in my garage. Don’t know what to do with them but for some reason can’t get rid of them.

  24. Ed Avatar

    Still have the factory steering wheel and shift knob from my old Corrado somewhere.

  25. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    An entire P6 Rover 2000 TC motor in NADA high compression spec, 14″ Rostyle wheel with original Pirelli Cinturato tyre, and bootlid for same P6. Oh and the number plates 2000TC. NSU RO80 steel road wheel. Citroen CX and GS grilles and hubcaps, and Keys for every vehicle I’ve ever owned.

  26. Mike Avatar

    The only two pieces I got to keep from my motorcycle which I totalled.

  27. salguod Avatar

    I have fender badges from my 76 Camaro and a grille badge from the 80 Monza that replaced it.
    My daughter save the key and fob from her short lived 03 Protege.

  28. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    Yes, somewhere in a box of papers is a Volvo High Mileage certificate from 1984-85 when our 164 hit 100,000 miles, plus I have the owner’s manual and one key from our totaled Mazda5, a key from our deceased and donated Saturn SL2 and some factory service tools and manuals from my Scirocco and Jetta. I did throw out the spare axle from an A1 VW