Rt. 11 U-Pull, Northeastern PA's Newest Junkyard

Stop on by!

Driving along Route 11 through Northeastern PA, you don’t expect to see what I’ve drooled over seen every weekend for the past nine years. Tier after tier of mostly German cars nestled between the trees, stacked on top of each other, all grouped together (mostly by type) as far up the side of the mountain as the eye can see. The problem? They were off limits to any and everyone but the owner, until NOW.
Isn't there someone around here who might dig this?

Arrow Auto was a small auto sales and service shop in Dauphin, PA. Some years ago its owner moved across the river from the old location and began to collect cars with a fever matched by no other.  He started out on a fairly flat piece of land, but as the collection grew, the cars were stacked up the side of the mountain until they disappeared over the ridge. From the road, a Porsche 914, many air and water cooled VW’s, some Audis and a random BMW can be seen. The guy was an obvious nut about German automobiles.
People I know have stopped by over the years to inquire about parts and cars on the property and were always promptly turned away being told that nothing was for sale. As you can imagine, this just made it all the more frustrating to drive by and look up at all the beauty that was rusting away on that mountainside. About a year ago on the drive by one weekend, it was apparent the collection had suddenly started to thin out on the bottom tier. About six months later a sign went up. A sign that was like a beacon from the car gods.  A sign that said RT. -11 U-PULL OPENING MARCH 27th. Could it be? Yes. Oh yes, it could. And there was much rejoicing.
Delicious patina

The morning of March 27th broke sunny and breezy, so armed with nothing but sturdy shoes and the camera we parked the car and started to ascend to the open garage doors up the sloping driveway. We were met by a wonderful woman who took our $5 per person entrance fee, asked us to sign the applicable release forms and said, “There’s 20 acres of cars, seven tiers up. Have fun!”
20 acres, SEVEN TIERS?!  My first thought, “Did I just hear her correctly?” My second thought, “Crap, I didn’t bring my inhaler, hope I don’t croak.”  With a shrug of my shoulders the scavenging commenced. We cackled with glee as we walked up to the first group of vehicles, saying hi to all the giddy people descending back to the garage with their treasures in hand, slung over shoulder and balanced precariously on their heads.  We were like kids in a candy store scurrying from car to car yelling, “Hey! Over here! Woah wait, what’s in the trees over there?!”
As we kept climbing, we could not believe our eyes. Audis, BMWs, a Honda Element, every single VW you could possibly imagine (except a Corrado, sorry Deartháir!) Porsches, American classics, a Z600 Coupe, an old 50’s Ford, taco trucks, old school busses, R/C cars, you name it, I probably saw it. By the time I got to tier four I was overwhelmed and totally winded but insanely happy.  By the time I got to tier seven I was beyond all cognizant thought process. I just stood and stared at all the glory laid out below me, grinning like a dope and drooling a little.
I think there was a lil' fire...

This was supposed to be a “scouting” visit. Two of us went to assess the vehicles and report back to the VW gang, but thanks to a rusty screwdriver found in the back of an old VW we scored a few rarities, most notably an unbroken, unmolested Karmann Ghia badge and the nose badge off a Porsche 944, not to mention the boxes of original VW fuses and old school Sapphire radios. It’s not every day someone gets first dibs on 1500 foreign and domestic cars, (1100 of them VOLKSWAGENS!!!) that have been sitting almost untouched for up to 30+ years. It’s definitely going down as one of my top ten most memorable experiences to date, and I now have a new weekend hobby for years to come.
And how did this place go from off limits to open for business?  Unfortunately the previous owner met an untimely death in an automobile accident just up from the property. It was then purchased at auction and made ready for the masses. The new owners are honest and friendly, the prices are right and the cars are ripe for the picking.
If you have the chance and are on the east coast, I implore you to go if for no other reason than to say you set foot in a brand new junkyard. Who knows what remains to be found?
[Check out all the pics here]

0 Comments

  1. Sadly, I have very little use for any Volkswagen parts (or any German auto parts, for that matter), and live nowhere near the east coast. I could ignore the first bit, and just revel in the glory of piles of old cars, even if I don't need any of their bits, but the 8 hour commute to get to the northeastern part of PA is a bit much.
    Thanks for sharing the experience, and making me lament the dwindling number of junkyards that'll let you just wander around aimlessly. That is how I spent many a summer day in my formative years. In junior high, I lived about 2 miles from a junkyard, and my friends and I would ride our bikes up there, and just wander the lot. By the time I reached high school, thanks to our litigious society, most of the yards in the area (including the one where I spent so much time in previous years) were changing over to "place your order, and we'll go pull it"
    Thankfully, in the ensuing years, thanks to indemnity waivers and a shortage of junkyard labor, the self-serve junkyards seem to be having a minor renaissance, although the cars to be found are seldom as worthy of note as they were back in the day.
    A time capsule yard of cars that would have long since been crushed at a modern yard is a rare find, indeed.
    Packing a lunch, wandering the field, and having a picnic on the hood of a rusty VW sounds like a good way to spend a day. There just aren't enough women who would agree.

    1. See, as an avid aircooled VW collector, I about crawled out of my skin with glee in that place…although it's more of a watercooled graveyard as I'm sure you saw in my photo stream.
      I assure you, the whole picnic thing is the BEST way to spend a day. I can't wait to go back in 2 weeks. Hopefully it'll be nice enough to do just that.

  2. Wow, that sounds like it was really cool — love the photo stream too. Now, (scratching head), time to buy a weekend-warrior project car, or get serious about this Lemons thing!

  3. As bad as it may sound, I don't have any remorse for the owner. A man who collects cars to rust and won't sell them clearly has issues and the collection of old tin is slowly drying up as the years go on. I could only hope this happens to all the whackos who own miles of cars people will kill to get at, but are too selfish to share. Didn't their parents teach them better than that? Anyways, hell of a find I'm getting excited just thinking of all the possibilities that lie in there.

    1. Why, you got some? I'll give you ahhhh $20 a piece, yeah yeah. Jokes aside, the steelies are less favorable (HEAVY,) but all in they're worth about $50-100.

  4. At least this collection won't go completely to waste. Still, it's clear that most of these vehicles have been sitting far longer than was good for them. I'm of the opinion that a low-price pick n' pull is the absolute best business model for both owner and customer.

    1. Yeah, it's really sad. Up close a lot of them are really gone. Breaks my heart, but at least Carol and Eli (new owners) had the smarts to get the place and open it up for what it should be…otherwise they'd still be off limits.
      I'm heading back up in 2 weeks to go pick more. I'm sure I'll be adding more pictures to the stream…

  5. Thanks for thinking of me Ambersand! Great pics on the photostream, I'm jealous I wasn't there too, it must have been a ton of fun!
    There are some curious things about the Honda. The car was probably stripped by somebody with an N600 Sedan (about 2 1/2 times as many were imported) because they left a lot of high-dollar AZ600 specific parts that would have been easy to get off, but they also left a lot of parts that both models shared and are also hard (impossible) to find. Maybe they're just coming back later.

    1. I didn't realize the Coupes were so rare. I had a chance to pick up two of them for about $400 some fifteen years back. Oh, well. Hindsight adjusted to 20/20 with rose colored beer goggles and all that…

      1. It was like the first "disposable" car. In '72 they only cost $1250 brand-new, so when they broke,which was often (the build quality was the great, but the crap they built them out of was not), it was cheaper just to go buy a brand-new car. Most of the 35,000 total imported went to the Crusher by the Mid-'80's, and the rest got parked because of the "Giant SUV Era" and rusted to death like this one. This one still has a bunch of good parts on it though, and if I were any where near it a completely stripped shell is all you find after I left. I'd take everything.
        Check out the monstrous brake pads on these things. They still made enough heat to warp the rotors though, and both are highly prized (you can fit a whole set of four disc pads in the palm of one hand and still almost make a fist)
        <img src="http://i422.photobucket.com/albums/pp308/rexjenney/th_P4111258.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket" >

          1. Lots of cool stuff in that yard. I know a retired guy that owns a coupe (blue), in his microcar collection. He also has an Isetta, an Autobianchi, a Mini, and some other weird cars. He usually drives one of them to our Corvair club meetings.

          2. i have a 1978 Alpha Romeo for sale, $6000.00 Anyone interested? (red fastback)

  6. Reminds me of a property that was up the road from me several years back. Only difference was, it was littered with muscle cars. Every time I drove by I would see something new through the trees that I wish I could rescue. Whether it was a Vette, Chevelle, SuperBee or Mustang it was sad to see them rust away. This makes me want to take a road trip and see if they are still there.

    1. Sorry I didn't see this comment sooner – the address is really unknown – simply because these guys don't show on the map yet, but if you head down Rt 11 (coming from Harrisburg) you'll take the exit off 81 for 11/15 N to Marysville – follow that for about an hour and you'll see it on the left. If you're coming from points north, it'll be same exit, just coming down 81 S. It's between Duncannon and Shamokin Dam if that helps at all.

  7. Rt11 was invite only last year, which is why most of the good sought after stuff is so picked over. (mk3.5 cabrio, anything mk1 that is hard to find, anything mk2 that is hard to find like pirelli editions, etc) The 4-5 people that had the invite, picked it clean and then this year, it was opened to the public. Now its a scramble to get what little was left behind, out of there before anyone else does. A lot of useful parts if you want just replacement panels or little everyday stuff. But anything specialty or hard to find, its long gone to the parts hoarders across central PA.
    We went this past weekend, a lot of stuff still there, but nothing out of the ordinary. Eli has no clue on cars or prices and one weekend, we've gotten killer deals (hatch, complete AEG intake swap (intake, injectors, valve cover, engine cover) for less then 100 bucks and then sometimes, you grab a seat and door cards and he wants 150-200 bucks. I think it depends his mood.

    1. Man, i wish i read your post yesterday! I just drove 2 hours down in hopes to uncover the secret treasure trove only to find nothing that my local u-pick wouldn't have…$5 to get in and over charged for the parts I did get.

  8. pretty much everything cool and hard to find was crushed buy the new lessee of the yard then when there was nothing left to crush he ran out of money and it just sits idle looking for a new lessee

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