Hooniverse Asks- Have You Ever Hit a Junkyard Jackpot?


I don’t know about you but I loves me some going to the junkyard. I am fortunate to have about a half dozen excellent pull-your-own lots within an easy drive, and the $2 admission is really about the cheapest fun to be had on a weekend short of going to the basement to watch it rub the lotion on its skin reading the paper to residents at the old folks home.

I’ve also had some trips to the yard result in pure gold – such as the time I found a clapped out Triumph Herald, and upon opening the trunk of which discovered a treasure trove of NOS Lucas parts, all still in their boxes. Another trek to the same yard yielded a pair of TR3s that between them gave up a quartet of SU carbs, a Laycock-de-Normanville overdrive, and more Smiths gauges than you could shake a dipstick at. Win!

Much like those boxes of chocolate that keep surprising Forrest Gump, you never know what you are going to find when visiting a junkyard. Of course dropping a couple of singles and then coming up empty handed is always a chance, but life’s always a gamble, and you can’t win if you don’t play. Also, never bring a knife to a gun fight. Where was I? Oh yeah, what about you, have you ever struck gold amongst the rust and pitted plastic that litters your favorite junkyards? Have you ever hit the junkyard jackpot?

Image source: [Hemmings]

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106 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- Have You Ever Hit a Junkyard Jackpot?”

  1. P161911 Avatar

    I did score a 3.25 limited slip diff for my E30 BMW, it came off a 535 e28. I came ooh so close to scoring a 4.11 LSD off a E30. 4.11s go for $250-300 on ebay, Pull-a-part charges $60. I was there helping a friend get a ABS unit for his T-Bird S/C. I was going to help him and then go back to get the BMW diff. We got his ABS unit, when I went back to the e30 there was a guy crawling under it to get the diff.
    I have been known to go to the junkyard just to look around, not even bringing tools with me.

  2. RustyCSX Avatar

    I've gotten my fair share of parts at various boneyards, including a nice set of Pontiac #96 heads from the junkyard owner's "private collection", but my best junkyard score was not even car related. I was poking around a junkyard here in MA that had a section of older cars with some friends, and we found a seemingly clean mid 60's Rambler. While inspecting the extremely clean interior, my friend says, "check out this strange little TV". I took a look at it, and immediately had a major nerdgasm. It was a Vectrex video game console, something which I had coveted for years! he handed it over, and after inspection, I took off to the parts counter, and they told me that I could have the thing for free! And yes, it works great.
    You never know what you are going to find. I still have no clue how or why an obscure early 80's video game console was hanging out in the back seat of a Rambler, but I'm not complaining.

  3. Alff Avatar

    I have not since leaving Seattle, when the inventory at the lots tended to closely match the inventory of my driveway. Here in Kansas City, the yards tend to stock domestic vehicles from the late '90s to early 00's. This combination makes it difficult to find anything for my late model Dodges, anything for my Subaru and as for the Alfa, well, I eventually just bought my own parts car.
    Does anyone local know of a pull lot that specializes in interesting foreign vehicles?

    1. P161911 Avatar

      Right around the corner from work is English-Swedish Car Spares. http://www.english-swedish.com/ I'm not sure they let you pull your own, probably. I found 4 or 5 cars for them in the early 1990s and got finders fees (MGA, Jaguar 420, E-type, etc.). I went there once 20 years ago to look around. They had a burned 1950s Lotus Elite chassis.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        "…I'm not sure they let you pull your own…"
        Unfortunately, fewer and fewer salvage yards will let you out into the lot. I am sure that pilferage and liability are the drivers, which is understandable, but I miss being able to poke around on my own.
        <img src="http://www.sportwheel.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/sportwheel_building_300.jpg"&gt;
        When I lived in the Twin Cities and wanted to get out of town, I'd head to Sport Wheels in Jordan, MN, an awesome place that had literally acres of bikes and tons and tons old parts, much of it rare, vintage stuff. I'd head out there on a Saturday morning and spend the day just wandering around, digging through boxes, seeing what they had. None of the staff ever gave me any grief about it. I have no idea what the place is like now, but I've recently bought some parts for the Bultakenstein from them off Ebay.

    2. danleym Avatar

      I've got the same problem here on the other side of the state (St. Louis). I can usually find an old (pre-88) Chevy truck, but even those seem to be becoming scarce around here. And I'll find the occasional Eagle, but the places around here mostly have late 90s and up cars.
      There is a place I've heard of in Cuba, Missouri (a bit more of a drive for you than for me), that is almost exclusively older cars, with a decent AMC stock, too, but I don't know where exactly it is or what it's name is, so I haven't made the few hours trip out there yet. I don't know how much of a foreign stock is there, either.
      Edit: A quick google search helped me out- here's the place http://www.76autosalvage.com/ It's actually in Willow Springs, near Cabool, not Cuba. And it looks like it's mostly domestic stuff.

    3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Where did you live in Seattle? I was stationed at Ft. Lewis for two years, and used run up to Seattle and hang with a couple of bikers who lived in the Capital Hill area.

      1. MVEilenstein Avatar

        I'm in south Everett. FWIW. Ft. Lewis has changed a lot over the years.

        1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
          Peter Tanshanomi

          I am sure it has. I was there in '83-'85. That's getting to be a long time ago. The HTTB and 9th Infantry Division are no more, and it's now "Joint Base Lewis-McChord" since they've decided to play nice with those flyboy types. I've been told that I wouldn't recognize the Tillicum/Lakewood area, either. And I am aware that Capital Hill has changed drastically, too.

          1. MVEilenstein Avatar

            Lakewood in particular is growing a lot. Capitol Hill has its reputations, but there are some good places to eat up there. If anything, it's just more crowded. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

          2. danleym Avatar

            Hey, there's nothing wrong with those flyboy types! I spent a few weeks TDY at McChord, not even all that long ago, and it wasn't a "Joint Base" then, so that change must be pretty recent. I never got over to Lewis, but McChord was pretty nice. I wouldn't have minded being there as a permanent station.

          3. mdharrell Avatar

            My problem with the joint base is the elimination of the existential quandary posed by the former exit sign:
            <img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6198/6061454952_9d9ef78ac8.jpg&quot; width="450">

          4. jeepjeff Avatar

            What!? They changed the Exit 120 Sign! NOOOOOOO! That was one of the Best Road Signs Ever! (Right up there with Dike Access (Also, I-5 Washington, Exit 22)). What? I have favorite road signs. Shut up.

          5. mdharrell Avatar

            At least this one's still at Mt. Rainier to remind us of the choices we make in life:
            <img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6129/5930012541_414340e1d2.jpg&quot; width="400">

          6. danleym Avatar

            I like this one myself. I had actually seen a picture of it at one point (early 2000s?) and figured it was some silly photoshop. Then we actually drove past it on a family vacation. That was a great day.
            <img src="http://i277.photobucket.com/albums/kk65/Partycommissar/funnt-motorway-exit-sign-bat-cave.jpg"&gt;

          7. Alff Avatar

            Is that the one near Bellingham?
            I was unloading my mountain bike for a ride on Chuckanut one day when a muscle headed guy and his date pulled up. He asked me where the Bat Cave was. I told him it was right underneath stately Wayne Manor. He looked totally dumbfounded, but his girlfriend and I had a good laugh.

          8. danleym Avatar

            This one's near Asheville, NC.

          9. vroomsocko Avatar

            I too drove past this on family vacation. Who knew the bat cave was in North Carolina?

        2. joshuman Avatar

          Have you ever visited the home brew store there? They have a decent web presence. I think it is between Boeing and the mall. The one in Kirkland is overpriced and I never seem to make it to Renton to the dusty one.

          1. MVEilenstein Avatar

            I have not, but I know where you're talking. I'm actually not a beer drinker (please don't ban me!).Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

          2. Devin Avatar

            Someone needs to be a DD.

      2. Alff Avatar

        Grew up on the Eastside – Bellevue, Redmond, Woodinville. After high school I lived a lot of places – U District, Ballard, West Seattle, Queen Anne.
        My family has lived in the Northwest since the 1800s – among the early settlers of Whidbey – so I've got relatives all over the Puget Sound.

        1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
          Peter Tanshanomi

          I first tried Chicken McNuggets in the McDonalds near I-5 in Federal Way. I always remember that every time I talk about that area. I have absolutely no idea why, but I do.

          1. Alff Avatar

            Being snooty Eastsiders, we used to call it "Feral Way", not too far from "Low Renton".
            Many of my friends who used those nicknames now live in those cities.

          2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            SEE ALSO: "Prig Harbor."

          3. Alff Avatar

            Home of Grandma, Aunt and Cousin Alfisted.

          4. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            Do they own an art gallery? If not, how are they allowed to live there?

          5. Alff Avatar

            Doctors and not the priggish kind. Cousin took his wife and kids to live in Africa for three years to work for Doctors Without Borders.

          6. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            My sister is a doctor. She lives in Williamsburg, VA.
            So, yea. Same thing.

    4. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      Similar story for me. In CA there was a yard with what I called the Mazda graveyard. There were a number of MPVs there. I was incredibly happy when I found a yard not too far from my work in IL that had one, only front corner crunched (unfortunately the same one that later was damaged on mine). Other than that, no luck again here. But that MPV here had EVERYTHING still. I got all sorts of little things that mine was missing, most notably the owners manual. In CA the cars were better picked over, everything easy to put in a toolbox was already gone. Also the people at the yard knew I was coming about every three months for something from that MPV and let it be for a couple of years, that was nice cause the CA ones didn't operate that way. Maybe cause this was a smaller place here? Maybe cause they laughed about the hornet attack?

  4. dukeisduke Avatar

    Oh yeah. One time my Vega was sideswiped by a lady trying to turn left from the left main lane, caving in the right front fender. So, I go to the junkyard to find a fender. I was already needing a manual steering gearbox (mine was slopped out), and lo and behold, the Vega in the junkyard with a straight body just happened to have power steering and a tilt wheel. Awesome!
    I got the tilt column, gear, pump, and mounting brackets (the alternator had to be swapped to the right side of the engine, from the left side) for $100. I just had to buy new hoses and a drag link (found out that power steering Vegas use a different one), swap the lock cylinder in the column, and I replaced the ignition switch, since I had to take the column out anyway. The fender was $35, and I just had to take measurements and drill holes to mount the GT emblem.

  5. joedunlap Avatar

    Never have found any "pots of gold" on junkyard jaunts, but Ive been fortunate to usually find what Im looking for. However, finding a bunch of NOS Lucas parts in the trunk of a Triumph Herald seems more akin to finding out you have cancer in both lungs, or at the very least, boxes of grenades with the safety pins rusted most of the way through.

    1. Irishzombieman Avatar

      My dad was a mechanic all my life, and there was a dude in my hometown who brought his MGB in regularly, as it broke on a sort of 8-week schedule. Fully 50% of the failures were electrical, and one day he said to my dad, "Why don't you just re-wire the entire car?" Dad re-did it with Mopar parts. Cut the break down rate to once every three months, and never again electrical.

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        I keep saying my Chrysler electrical system is a step up from British Leyland. Maybe only one step, but a step. Now, proof!

        1. Irishzombieman Avatar

          I think a ton of electrical issues have to do with the fact that an engineer is trying to make things work with an eye on absolute cheapness AND ease of manufacture and assembly. Using the same components (and maybe better wire), a technician would get the same results (i.e. the lights work) but would build a system with an eye on reliability, ease of troubleshooting, simplicity, neatness, maybe even aesthetics.
          Well, maybe not all technicians. But that's the kind of electrical system I shall build whenever I get the BMW 2002 that I'm going to drive until I die.

  6. wolfie Avatar

    About 15 years back at the local yard,I got a 280zx that had a light tap in the back and a broken drivers seat back for $350. including the parts, It was my "summer" car for years.

  7. Irishzombieman Avatar

    Found a $20 bill stuck in the rear seat of a Beemer 7 once. That was awesome.
    My favorite find was an early 80s Maxima, from which I snagged the phonograph voice alert unit. I haven't seen it in years now–either threw it out by accident or it's still lost in the garage. I keep hoping that I'll find it someday, and if I do, I'll be as excited as when I found the car the first time.
    But it won't cost me $10 this time.

    1. salguod Avatar

      I've heard that junk yards make a bunch of money digging for lost change, like a few bucks per car. Add that up over hundreds or thousands of cars and they do pretty well.
      Of course, who carries change any more? I bet their take on that has gone down.

      1. Irishzombieman Avatar

        If you haven't read it already, this is a kick-ass Murilee article following two cars through their twelve week life at the junkyard.
        Thought of it because at he mentioned that at this one they save the change for employee pizza parties.
        I just got lucky that time. But I still check the seats.

  8. Vavon Avatar

    I had bought a base model 3-door 205, but after a few days I discovered that it didn't have a spare-wheel.
    So a friend and I went to the local junkyard to get one, I asked the guy how much a new wheel would cost.
    He said 30 French Francs or 100 French Francs for 5 wheels. Obviously I wasn't going to get 5 wheels!
    So we walked on to the lot to see what we could find. To our amazement we found 5 GTI wheels in good nick!
    These 14 inch alloy wheels would normally fetch between 150 FF and 300 FF each!
    We took them back to the guy and he was visibly even more surprised to see that he had those wheels at all.
    However the guy was really nice and said, Oh well, I did say 5 wheels for 100 FF, so give me your money!
    We went home with 5 nice alloy wheels albeit with rubbish tires, because they were totally worn.
    I got 4 new Michelin tires and we put the 4 new wheels on the car, now my 205 1.1 totally looked like a GTI…
    One of the steel wheels was used as the spare wheel, the 3 others I gave away to a friend with a 309.
    What happened to the 5th GTI alloy you ask? I sold that to some stranger for 150 French Francs.
    So in the end I got four 205 GTI 1.6 alloys for -50 French Francs, now that's what I call a real steal!
    <img src="http://faimg1.forum-auto.com/mesimages/238716/DSC03101.JPG&quot; width="600/">

    1. Irishzombieman Avatar

      I love, and have made jokes about, the craziness of French cars.
      But dang! I never knew they made one with five wheels.

      1. Vavon Avatar

        It saddens me to see that Americans so often forget their history… 🙂
        [youtube 296E57CxNw4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=296E57CxNw4 youtube]

        1. Stigshift Avatar

          C'etait magnificque, Vavon! Fait accompli.

        2. Irishzombieman Avatar

          HA! Well-played, amigo.

        3. mdharrell Avatar

          We haven't completely forgotten.
          <img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8027/7416532646_5d7722cae5.jpg&quot; width="450">

          1. Vavon Avatar

            What the hell is that???

          2. mdharrell Avatar

            It's a Briggs & Stratton Flyer (formerly Smith Flyer). The same car was sold in an electric version (without the fifth wheel) as the Auto Red Bug, the Red Bug, and several other names. Street-legal, too, in at least some jurisdictions.

          3. Alff Avatar

            That class of vehicle – the cyclecar – was somewhat popular in the early days of the car. Except in a small part of North Seattle, where it still is.

          4. mdharrell Avatar

            Ahem. Shoreline. Or, for an old-time resident such as yourself, North City.

          5. Vavon Avatar

            Thanks for showing me that strange thing! Did some research…
            The people with a bit more class, ordered the white-wheel option.
            <img src="http://www.remarkablecars.com/photos/1919-briggs-stratton-buckboard-09429.jpg&quot; width=500>

        4. MVEilenstein Avatar

          I want to see spare tire burnouts.

  9. danleym Avatar

    Never really hit the jackpot, but I've had a few decent finds. I always get excited when I find an AMC, but to date the only one's I've found have been Eagles. I've been able to pull a few parts off of them, though, and I've found that I can usually find enough other stuff to take off and sell that will pay for the parts I actually need want. Last one I found had a full set of fender flares, which I was really excited about, until the dude at the counter told me how much they charge per flare. I still got them, because I'd hate to see them destroyed, but I won't be turning much of a profit on them once they sell (anyone here want a set of Eagle fender flares?).
    Speaking of that, I need to get those on craigslist. They've been sitting in my garage for two months now. And I don't even own an Eagle…

    1. Alcology Avatar

      Ha! I have an extra set stored away for a rainy day. The plastic end caps on eagles are always in demand by eagle owners if you run across those.

      1. danleym Avatar

        Damn! I was secretly hoping you might need a set.
        I should post them up on there, too. I've been on the Eagle's Nest a few times, never to the time to join, though. The only place I currently have them listed is on The AMC Forum, but most of those guys lean more toward the older AMC stuff.

  10. JayP2112 Avatar

    I got to be pals with the owner of a British-Z car lot. He'd let me poke around the lot. I'd find something awesome like TR tube headers or axle lowering blocks he'd say those were claimed by someone and he was waiting on the weather to turn warm to pull those off.
    I was young and didn't have the mad negotiation skilz yet.
    In that TR with headers, I dug around the interior to find an NSU key fob. Well, the metal part that fell off the rotted leather that was still hanging from the key in the ignition. Used it on the 5000 keychain. Sits on my desk at home now.

  11. Devin Avatar

    I haven't spent too much time picking around junkyards, but I frequently drive by one that has all sorts of crazy stuff placed right by the highway – Forward Look Chryslers, some ancient Buicks, other stuff I can't recognize from a distance that looks cool – and I keep thinking I really need to swing by there one of these days.

    1. danleym Avatar

      You're missing out. Junkyards are glorious places, full of mystery and wonder.

  12. Matt Avatar

    I found a ratcheting 10mm snap-on wrench in a Subaru once, I still have it, and it gets more use than any other wrench in my arsenal. That's my best find!
    Back when I had my first car (a 1985 Pontiac Bonneville 305), I came across a Grand Prix of the same vintage with the auxiliary gauge pack (voltmeter, oil pressure, temp, and fuel gauges). At the time my car only had a fuel gauge and dummy lights in each opening. Grabbed it, bought it for $15, got it home and plugged it in only to discover that only the voltmeter and the fuel gauges worked. Oh well, non-functional gauges look better than dummy lights anyways…

    1. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

      Probably you needed to grab the sensors off the engine too.

  13. OA5599 Avatar

    Murilee gave me a star on some formerly relevant site when I wrote this:
    It was a sunny day when my dad heard the news. He had been trying to collect parts for a project Packard, and one of the Packard club members told him about a treasure trove of cars that was about to flood the market.
    There was a junkyard about a 10-hour round trip away. For 40 or 50 years, the owner of the junkyard scrapped out the "regular" cars, but set the particularly interesting ones aside, without removing any parts. Several of these cars were uncrashed, and driven to the yard under their own power, victims of being out of fashion at the time they were sold by the pound. A charged battery, some fresh gas, and air in the tires was all these machines needed to be returned to life, although they might still require cosmetic freshening.
    The junkyard extended for acres and acres, and there was a lot of property for saving cars. The more unique cars, such as the Deusenberg and the curved dash Olds sat inside buildings to be sheltered from the elements. The lesser classic cars – prewar Cadillacs, Lasalles, Packards, and Lincoln-Zephyrs, as well as hundreds of postwar cars – were scattered throughout the property, 8 or 12, or even 16 Cylinders at a time. Nothing was particularly rusty.
    When the owner of the place died, he had willed it to his nephew, subject to the condition that the collection couldn't be sold until the young beneficiary reached his 26th birthday. Meanwhile, the property was condemned for a highway construction project. There was a six or seven week window of opportunity between the guy's birthday and the date the bulldozers were scheduled to push the road through.
    The nephew made my dad an incredible offer: everything in the yard for the price of the Deusey. Of course, even then, before the market had run up to stratospheric levels, a Deusenberg was still about 10 times the value of our house, and seemed like all the money in the world, so he had to decline. My dad did negotiate for several individual cars, most of which he purchased at three-figure prices, as-is, where-is.
    We spent a lot of time there over the next few weekends. Each trip he would go up with a buddy, a chain saw, and a small roll of hundreds. They would spend the mid-day extracting two cars from the overgrowth, and bring them home. Monday morning the cars would be listed for sale in the newspaper's classifieds, and by Friday, at least one would be sold to finance the next weekend's run. We would leave home before sunrise, and I would always fall asleep during the return trip, long before reaching my own bed.
    Dad ended up with a nice collection of early iron, but as life went on and various financial situations occurred, he would sell a car or two until he got down to the one remaining vehicle from that experience. He plans on leaving it for my son, who is now older than I was when he hauled it home.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      That is beautiful story, what is the car for the grandson?

      1. OA5599 Avatar

        1941 Cadillac Series 75.

        1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
          mr. mzs zsm msz esq

          Wow you're dad rocks! The two door style?

          1. OA5599 Avatar

            No the 75 is a limo. Ours is similar to this one, minus the fender skirts and with a much lower-budget amateurish restoration that is still only 90% complete.
            <img src="http://imagehost.vendio.com/preview/da/danschmitt/404903-2.jpg&quot; width=500>

    2. Scandinavian Flick Avatar
      Scandinavian Flick

      It kinda sucks when life presents you with opportunities that you can't fully take advantage of, but it's awesome that you were able to make the most of it anyway. It sounds like an incredible experience to share with your dad as well!

    3. Vavon Avatar

      Well that is a great story indeed. Never saw that on [redacted]. Luckily we are all here now!

      1. duurtlang_ Avatar

        Now you're making me curious. I'm not much of a regular here. Is there some special rule or reason not to mention [redacted]?

        1. Vavon Avatar

          Actually this [redacted] thing started on [redacted] itself, but I can't remember exactly why.
          There was a day that everybody on [redacted] was using [redacted] to talk about [redacted].
          After we got so fed up with the changes and stuff on [redacted] a lot of us moved here.
          As kind of a protest every time when we speak of [redacted] we refer to [redacted] as [redacted].

    4. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      i remember reading this! good story. thank you for reposting.

  14. $kaycog Avatar

    I've been to quite a few salvage yards. While in a yard in Nebraska, I found $10 in change in an ashtray, and my ex found chiggers. Whahaha!

    1. MVEilenstein Avatar

      Probably one of the few things I don't miss about the south.

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        We don't have chiggers in Colorado. They're miserable.

        1. Vavon Avatar

          For some reason I thought that chiggers was a candy-bar…
          When I saw those last 2 comments I was like: Huh?
          So I Googled chiggers… Thanks a lot, YUK!!!

          1. $kaycog Avatar

            Chiggers Candy bar………….oh, yum! ;D

    2. Irishzombieman Avatar

      HA HA! Chiggers! I laugh every time I hear that word!

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        Have a laugh on me…….. http://www.pronouncehow.com/english/chiggers_pron

      2. OA5599 Avatar

        What about a word that rhymes with it?
        [youtube dJFyz73MRcg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJFyz73MRcg youtube]

  15. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    In 1993, I bought a worn but complete, all-original, extremely rare, radial-head Bultaco Matador 200 Mk I (aka "Model 4") from the local motorcycle salvage yard in Idaho Falls, ID. For $50. It had sunk into the dirt past the wheel rims, and was such a mess cosmetically (frayed cables, bare seat pan, sun-bleached tank) that I didn't realize its true condition until I got it home. (Some of the blame for this goes to Bultaco's notoriously cobby early chassis parts, which looked like a backyard mechanic's fix right from the factory. ) I tore into it expecting a disaster, but the damage was all due to exposure, not mechanical failure. The inside of the engine looked fantastic. There was no conceivable reason it needed to be junked. I am guessing someone couldn't start it (probably electrical failure) and just gave up.
    <img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/t/1962-Bultaco-Mdl-4-200cc-Matador-RARE-PROMO-BIKE-MX-Vintage-Enduro-MotoCross-/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/$(KGrHqVHJC8E92k!1L,3BPfN4qEEV!~~60_1.JPG"&gt;
    The one in the photo is not mine, but one on Ebay now with a $4500 BIN, which is one of only two or three other examples I've found configured exactly like mine, with the radial head, the 200cc jug, and the Matador seat. This one's not as original as mine (this one has a stupid paint job on the tank), but mine looked a lot worse when I found it. But as I said, it turned out to be in pretty good shape mechanically.
    No sooner had I rebuilt it (ignorantly not keeping it original to save money, but ruining its value to a collector in the process), than I traded both it and another phenomenally rare score, a Gilera 202, to a friend in exchange for his '79 RD400F Daytona Special. Admittedly a great bike, but nowhere near as hard to find as either of those. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  16. Maxichamp Avatar

    If anyone sees a Phaeton at a yard, please let me know. I have two trim pieces that need to be replaced. One is the rear bumper chrome strip. The other is a plastic piece for one of the cupholders (dealer wanted $150+ for it).

    1. vwminispeedster Avatar

      Pin-n-Pull doesn't even list Phaetons on their search tool. I guess thats a good sign none are dead yet.

      1. duurtlang_ Avatar

        Some must have died. Even though these Panzers tend to plow right trough other vehicles, even Pheatons get damaged beyond economical repair in crashes.

  17. lilwillie Avatar

    The E21 '83 320i bimmer we used years ago for autocross was in a salvage yard waiting to be crushed. I traded a very clapped out Blazer for the car and brought it back to life. It needed some TLC but we got it running again and used it for three seasons in our local autocross. Scored Rookie of the year and a 1st in class with it.
    It is the same car that was pictured here when we volunteered it for a art car at our local car show. It sits outside right now waiting for me to get the itch to repaint it and start using it again.

  18. CptSevere Avatar

    During the neverending quest for a tailgate for my '66 F100, a buddy of mine took me to a junkyard in Grantsville, Utah. The place was just a paradise. Just about everything you could think of from the forties up to the mid seventies. Straight eight Buick Roadmaster sedanette? Check. '55 Cadillac converted into a motorhome? Yep. V12 American LaFrance? '48 Lincoln limo? More Studebaker Hawks than you could count? Yes. The place was amazing. The guy said that the city council was making noises about condemning the whole thing, and he was willing to deal to save the impressive collection of cars. I wanted to take at least a dozen of them home with me, but would have settled for the tailgate. Did he have one? Of course not.

  19. muthalovin Avatar

    A new flywheel for my 1990 Dodge Daytona Shelby was like $300 from the factory, so my dad and I set about all over New Mexico's various junkyards to find one. From Roswell to Alamogordo to Albuquerque to Farmington. Finally, somewhere on the outskirts of Cortez, CO, we were able to find one. Ten bucks, out the door. Totally worth the epic quest.

  20. Scandinavian Flick Avatar
    Scandinavian Flick

    My greatest junkyard score was a set of absolutely pristine Volvo 240 e-code headlights, which are rare enough as it is in California (technically illegal) but in perfect condition, nigh impossible to obtain. Like these:
    <img src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/SB.Alfaholic/Rk9P7uFfu5I/AAAAAAAAAWM/Bo4xTUwMD8o/s800/242Turbo002.JPG&quot; width="400">
    My favorite junkyard jackpot though is actually my first experience with the local Pick-n-Pull. The chrome strip above the bumper on my 240 was dented, bent and would not hold on. Being inexperienced with cars, I naively headed to the dealership, where I was quoted $250 for a new one. Yeah, right… bite me.
    So I headed to the junkyard.
    3 trips later, I finally found a perfect one, carefully pulled it, and brought it to the checkout.
    "That'll be two fifty"
    "TWO FIFTY!? I can get a brand new one from the dealership for that!"
    "You can get a brand new part from the dealership for two dollars and fifty cents…?"
    "………………… Oooooohhhhhhhh…. Here ya go!" *hands over 5 dollar bill*
    I've been addicted to the junkyard ever since…

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      For the price of a chrome strip, you could have had the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe, but because you're a friend, I'll give it to you free.

  21. Johnny Avatar

    There's a an old place that I was just at in Vancouver B.C. last summer, that a Jensen Interceptor, a Honda S800 coupe shell, a Saab 93 front hood, a triumph TR3 spare tyre cover, a Maserati Bi-turbo, and all sort of other goodies… And they let you in the yard!

  22. Dave A. Avatar
    Dave A.

    June 2012. Got a tip there was a Jaguar XKE in a local junkyard. Upon arriving, the owner directed me to the back of the yard. There she was in all her faded red patina. 1965 XKE Coupe. The bonnet was perfect, but the rear quarters and the roof were damaged with small dents. Popping the hood, all was intact. The yard was all american iron. This british jewel stood out like a sore thumb. I negotiated a $2k sale price with the yard owner. I returned 1hr later with a 5 gal tank of gas and some tools, and a fresh battery. I disconnected the fuel line and ran a line to my fresh gas. With some blasts of carb cleaner and starter fluid, the 4.2L engine roared to life. The car had no brakes. I drove the car out of the yard and 2 blocks to my buddy's house. From there I trailered her home. The engine has strong compression across all 6 cylinders. I now have the car stripped and am attacking the dents. I hope to have fresh paint on her by next fall. THE BEST $2k I've ever spent……

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      Why risk the two blocks of street driving with no brakes instead of bringing the trailer to the junkyard?

  23. salguod Avatar

    My best junk yard finds were things I didnt' end up buying.
    Searching for parts for my Monza I came across my old Camaro in the yard. A bit sad.
    After I had sold the Camaro and before I had bought the Monza I had looked at a very ratty '75 Hurst Olds. It was for sale by the original owner and he told me that only 2 had been sold in Toledo, his white one and a black one. Later, I came accross the black one in a yard (likely searching for Monza parts). It had been stripped of nearly everything, including the H/O badges. Only reason aI could tell it was an H/O was the padded vinyl top with H/O impressions in it.
    I haven't browsed a lot in years, since I bought power mirrors for my '88 Caravan (place seemed to have the pricing policy that if it fit in a shoe box it was $10). I had to buy a fan & shroud assy from a yard last week for my daughter's car and the place was more like Autozone than the junkyards I remember. I spent a lot of time at Spuds in Toledo, the office was in the old farm building with a dirt floor and engines sittling there draining onto the ground. CCAP here in Columbus has a showroom with Weathertech mats on display and a bunch of new parts on racks. The parts counter is in back.
    Not really the same.

  24. Corvette_Poncho Avatar

    During the cash for clunkers thing a few years back, I scored a perfect set of 8-way power heated seats with airbags and belts from a very low mileage Aurora. They were a direct swap into my high mileage SSEI bonneville. I paid $39.95 each for those knowing they go for 5 times that on ebay. Also grabbed the weatherstip around the drivers door. Dealer wanted $120, the yard looked at me confused and told me to just to take it. The seats never made it in the bonneville and now server TV watching duty in my basement. Not a huge score, but still my best outing. Pick-n-pull in Wadsworth IL.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      But if your basement is ever in an accident, you'll be safely protected by the belts and airbags!

  25. Dirty Dingus McGee Avatar
    Dirty Dingus McGee

    Best find was my first.
    Summer 1973, building a hot rod (with lots of help from Pop, Uncle and Grandaddy) in anticipation of my forthcoming 16th birthday. Found a 427 Chevy engine in a wrecked dumptruck. Got it for $50(don't think the owner was sure which truck I got it out of).
    Getting it to work in a '63 Nova required about 40 more trips to the junkyard for various other parts.

  26. idiotking Avatar

    I have a buddy who bought my first Scout, and who then proceeded to retub it in fiberglas and make it ten times prettier than it had been when it was mine. We were searching the local junkyard for Astro brake parts (a hydroboost conversion is a cheap and easy upgrade for a 30 year old brake system) when we ran across… A Scout. This is in Maryland, where most Scouts were put out to pasture 15 years ago. We had limited tools and budget, so he looked at me and said, "We'll come back for it." I looked at him, blinked once, and said, "go get your tools, we're pulling the radiator NOW."
    An hour later, after sweating, mosquitoes, grease, and bleeding, we had the radiator, front hubs, various trim pieces, gauges, distributor, and carb. If I'd been more adventurous we would have gone back for the inner fenders (they hadn't been dissolved by battery acid) or the top, which was in good shape, but I was Scoutless at the time and we had no place to store big parts. I think he paid something like $75 for the whole haul.

  27. Alff Avatar

    My best find was in a junker but not a junkyard. While dismantling the parts Alfa I bought, my cheap 1/2" ratchet gave up the ghost. I decided to move on to another task and replace it later. Good thing, too, as the next thing I tackled was removing the nasty driver's seat. When the seat came out, I found a perfectly functional 1/2" Crescent ratchet underneath it. I decided right then that my Lord and Savior had sent this particular car to me.

  28. LTDScott Avatar

    Found an '86 Dodge Omni GLH-S in a self serve yard years back. Yes, the 1-of-500 real deal Shelby car. Unfortunately someone had already taken the Shelby valve cover and intercooler, but I snagged all of the other Shelby exclusive bits.
    I saved the Konis for my own GLH, but sold all of the other stuff on eBay for a decent profit.

    1. OA5599 Avatar

      The Charger GLHS cars got a Shelby valve cover, but the Omnis had the regular one with the word "TURBO" cast into it. Of course, the car you saw in the junkyard might have had the other valve cover swapped on by a prior owner, or maybe someone at the yard wanted the Mobil 1 tag that came on the factory one.

      1. LTDScott Avatar

        IIRC it didn't have a valve cover on it at all, so I assumed it was the Shelby one that got taken already.
        I did get the unique 2-piece intake.

  29. Hatchtopia Avatar

    I have found nothing at a junkyard except pure joy. My first trip was last weekend to find parts for the MR32 Lemons car – we needed some stiffer springs some other odds and ends. I volunteered to not crawl around in the snow and go search the lot for… yeah, a Geo Prizm GSI.
    Had I found it, that may have been the jackpot for me. Instead, I found an '87 FX-16 that we got some engine bits and marker lights off of and springs from a Lexus LS.
    But the joy I found was immeasurable. Just wandering down the aisles, looking into random old shitboxes and not-so-shitboxes (saw a nice looking Northstar-equipped Caddy with sharp-looking interior) – best 90 minutes of aimless wandering I've done in a long time.

  30. clunkerlove Avatar

    My Triumph Spitfire needed a jack handle, among many other things. I found a Spitfire with a totally flooded trunk, black mosquito infested water, in a scrap yard here in Austin TX (as I write this I realize how odd it was that a Spitfire trunk didn't have gaping rust holes for the water to run out of…). I got a broken antenna and probed the fetid depths hoping to avoid plunging my hand in this stew to see what was in there. I kept hearing objects sliding around, a metallic noise like bolts on the trunk floor. Finally I steeled myself to stick my arm in this freezing sewage.
    No jack handle.
    So I grabbed a handfull of the metal objects. Initial inspection revealed they were either fender washers with no holes or some kind of shim … and curiously jet black. Looking closer I saw that they had eagles printed on them, and serrated edges. They were, in fact, one ounce silver coins from the Canadian mint, 36 in total!
    My friends in the community commentariat might ding me for moral turpitude – but I realized I couldn't walk up to the parts counter with these coins and ask "how much". It was obvious what would happen. So 36 soggy coins went into my pockets and I walked out of there barely able to keep my pants on.
    I soaked them in a solution that removed the black oxidation leaving a dull silver finish, then spent a few hours buffing them with a silver paste polish until they had their original mirror shine. At that time silver traded for $12 / ounce as a commodity, so obviously more as a beautiful coin. Since then silver has gone as high as $47 oz.
    What would you have done upon discovering such a cache at your pick-n-pull?

  31. Spring-heeled Jack Avatar
    Spring-heeled Jack

    A friend was restoring a '49 Chevy truck and ordered hubcaps from some off-shore company. Said hubcaps looked OK until you realized Chevrolet was spelled wrong. So, on a trip to Seattle he wanted to check some junkyards (this was pre-internet). No luck at the first two, and a recommendation to try another about 25 miles away. It was also about 25 years away in time too. And about 25 miles down in the deepest, darkest, scariest place, (I think some folks call it a "holler) that I've ever been. Somehow, we didn't get shot upon entering the yard, somehow the pitbulls didn't eat us. Of course no hubcaps, but I bought a radiator temp gauge from a Model-A just ensure we'd be allowed to leave alive.

  32. Jeb Hoge Avatar
    Jeb Hoge

    Not a jackpot in the sense that I didn't buy anything, but there was a junkyard/sales lot in the most incongruous of locations…just off an interstate interchange in Manchester, TN (now known for the Bonnaroo festival, then known for…nothing, really). My driving teacher and I ended up there one Saturday in 1990 when I was making up some practice driving hours, and out of curiosity because of the place's name (which I actually have forgotten by now), we took a look around. It was full of Euro and sports iron…there were BMW 6s (I think it may have even been an M6) and 7s, Jags (my parents almost bought a hail-dimpled XJ6 there), Porsches, and more. It was a kid's dream, and once I had my own car (an '87 Integra I got that summer), I went over and walked that lot about once a month.

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