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.
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.
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.
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]
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