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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Old Car City USA Tour, Part 1: Museum or junkyard? (video)




Tour Old Car City USA in White, Georgia and you may wonder if it is a junkyard at all. Touted as "The World’s Largest Junkyard," this gear head destination is located 50 miles north of Atlanta.
  The Junkyard Life crew, consisting of, Jody Potter, Ron Kidd and Anthony Powell, found ourselves, in a rush to witness the spectacle first-hand. With only 2 hours until closing time, we forked over the entry fee and set out on a mad dash to see if this was the world’s largest junkyard or an outdoor museum of American automotive history. 

  The three-legged dog, known as Junkyard Life, toured Dean Lewis' legendary 35-acre, wooded playground of rusty relics in 2012. We found muscle cars, hot rods and classic cars along the 6-mile trail. Also, signs, bicycles, piles of parts and hubcaps could be found everywhere.

Question?
  A big question loomed. Is anything for sale? 
  “Everything is for sale,” said owner, Dean Lewis.
  We quickly realized that his prices would be hefty. Breaking up a part of Dean’s automotive collection meant spending several thousand dollars.
$3,000-$5,000 seemed to be the normal price for Old Car City’s junkyard jewels.
  A tough sell when your looking at what appear to be parts cars, at best. Viewing miles of rarely seen American iron in massive waves was satisfying. I only wished we had more time to linger. Several complete, restorable cars were also for sale near the front office. Those prices were higher, as you would imagine. 
  I can’t blame him. One man’s junk is Dean’s treasure.

  Watch the video, above, and help us look for the diamonds in the rough before they get any rougher.
  

Also, stay tuned for more photos, video from Old Car City U.S.A.

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life

Send photos, junkyard tips and stories to Junkyard Life


A giant billboard pitches Old Car City U.S.A. to passing motorists.

Anthony Powell, Ron Kidd, and Jody Potter take in the sights at Old Car City U.S.A. in White, Georgia.


Details:

Old Car City U.S.A.:

Address:
3098 Highway 411 Northeast
White, GA 30184

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

1955, 1956 Pontiac Safari two-door wagons lure junkyard nomads into the woods

Two rare, 2-door, Pontiac Safari wagons were discovered rotting in weeds.

Dibs on the ’55 Safari! Do you remember when you learned the definition of “dibs”? I always understood this to be a gentleman’s agreement that future possession was being claimed. Do you remember when you learned that not everyone knows what calling "dibs” means? I do. It happened when I discovered, and exclaimed, “DIBS!!!” on two, Pontiac Safari wagons. 

  Actually, I only claimed “dibs” on one. The blue and white, 1955, two-tone, beauty (above, left). I even agreed to let someone else assume ownership of the hollow-eyed, 1957 Safari sitting right beside it. 
   Junkyard Life brother, Bill Jones, knew an older fellow who, somehow, had two, special, two-door, Pontiac wagons parked on his property. Jones knew of my wagon addiction and led me on a Safari scavenger hunt.

Two, rare, two-door Pontiac wagons were stashed on some wooded property in Alabama. A Pontiac Safari scavenger hunt led to negotiations with the owner to buy the rare wagons.
Almost twin, 2-door, Pontiac Safari wagons make for an irresistible “junkyard find” in the woods. The blue and white 1955 model, left, and 1956, right, were produced in fewer numbers than the Chevrolet Nomad.


Safari So Good
  When I laid eyeballs on two of the flashiest wagons that
Pontiac ever built, I nearly jumped out of my skin. Both 2-door, hard top wagons were original, even wearing all the stainless trim and hubcaps. Although, one was a bitten a bit worse by the rust bug. 
  I decided I had to have the blue and white ’55! Negotiating a deal for the Safari was all but done and I had several things on my side. Let us review them:
  1. I knew Bill Jones who knew the Safari owner.
  2. The owner really liked Bill Jones.
  3. The owner said things like, “I want it to go to someone like you who will fix it and appreciate it.”
  4. The owner accepted my offer. (good money, too!)

What happened?

  The owner decided, for unexpected, sentimental reasons, that he wasn’t ready to sell. Yet.
   Thus, my declaration of dibs was really where I went wrong. Because, obviously, the owner didn’t understand the concept of “dibs.” He sold the wagons to someone clearing land behind his property. 
  I still remember the heartbreaking call from Jones. It ended with me still trying to reason this out. 
  “But, I had dibs.”

The 1955, 1956 Pontiac Safari shared the same roof, windshield, windows, doors, tailgate, and seats as the Chevy Nomad.
The 1955, 1956 Pontiac Safari shared the same roof, windshield, windows, doors, tailgate, and seats as the Chevy Nomad.

Seen any 1955-56 Pontiac Safaris?
  I wish I had more pictures. Really, I didn’t realize I had the ones I’m sharing here. Maybe I was trying to forget the whole thing. It was no big deal. It was just a station wagon, right? A soccer mom, grocery hauling, vacation machine, right?
  No, No, No. You couldn’t be more wrong. But thanks for humoring me.
This was a special wagon. This was a two-door wagon. Wow! The Pontiac Safari shared the roof and glass with the Chevrolet Nomad Wagon. It appears the same, but the Pontiac has seven more inches of wheel base. Chevrolet had some major success making their Nomad the most expensive model on the line, other than the Corvette. That being said, Pontiac’s wagon was even more expensive, but was being outsold, left and right, by the Nomad. 

  Fast forward to now, and it is easy to reason why there are even fewer Pontiac Safaris, than Nomads on the planet. How many have you seen? This one should have been mine. Rats.  

Two rare, 1955-1956 Pontiac Safari, two-door, wagons were located in the Alabama woods.
This 1955 Pontiac Safari was one-of-3,760 built. All were two door wagons. Check out the wide white walls and original hub caps.

Better than a Nomad
  1955 was the year Pontiac introduced their 287 cubic inch-V8 to the masses. They referred to it as a “Strato-Streak V8”. I trusted that the engine was still in the blue and white ’55 Safari, but if it was or wasn’t, I had plans. I would have dropped in a Pontiac 400 engine with an overdrive trans. I also would have shed the white walls and opted for a red line tire or even a black wall BFG. Factory colors and interior would have been fine. Although, I would have splurged for aftermarket air conditioning. 


This 1956 Pontiac Safari, two-door, wagon was a bit rusty but still a rare piece of automotive history.
The rusty, 1956 Pontiac Safari was one-of-4,042 built. This was the final year that two-door wagons wore the exclusive “Safari” name. All wagons, including the four-door models, received the Safari name in 1957.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda
  I know not of the current whereabouts of this fab, fifties, wagon, but if I see it, perhaps, I can just explain to the current owner that I had the original “dibs,” and he would understand. He would probably apologize profusely and insist that I immediately take ownership of the 1955 Safari. 
  I’m a reasonable guy. I would accept his apology and ride off into the sunset in the Pontiac that should have been.

Ron Kidd
– Junkyard Life




1955 Pontiac Safari ad highlights the forward slant of the roofline of the 2-door wagon and decorative flash of the tailgate trim.
1955 Pontiac Safari ad highlights the forward slant of the roof line of the 2-door wagon and decorative flash of the tailgate trim. I almost had one!



Know a junkyard that we need to visit? Got a car story?  
Send emails to Jody at junkyardbull@gmail.com or Ron at Kidd403@bellsouth.net.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Barn Find: 1970 Boss 302 Mustang in Sweden

1970 Boss 302 sold in Sweden after 30 years of storage.

Boss 302 barn find. Sweden’s Thomas Rosenborg, whose automotive exploits have been documented on Junkyard Life previously (1971 Pontiac Trans Am, 1972 Pontiac Trans Am), shared evidence of more vintage, American, muscle cars in his homeland. This 1970 Boss 302 Mustang, equipped with a 4-speed, was recently found and purchased by a fellow, Swedish gearhead.


Sweden is home to many American muscle cars. This rare, Boss 302 Mustang has been in storage for 30 years.
1970 Boss 302 Mustang hits the highway, albeit on a trailer, after lengthy hibernation.

Fastback fun
  This Competition Yellow 1970 Boss 302 Mustang arrived in Sweden during the 1970s and had been in storage since the mid-1980s.
  The Boss appears mostly complete. Rear window louvers, or Sport Slats, are still in place, but both, front and rear, bumpers are missing. Even without the optional Shaker Hood Scoop, this fastback Ford commands attention. 
  Designer Larry Shinoda’s flashy, reflective stripes, "Boss" name, and functional styling cues were the perfect compliment to the high-winding, 290-hp 302-V8 engine.
  Great design never goes out of style. I hope this classic returns to the street soon.

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life



Competition Yellow Boss 302 were the most popular color choice for 1970 Boss 302 but that still means less than 1,500 were built like this one.
Ford built just over 7,000 Boss 302 Mustangs in 1970.


Know of a car or a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a barn find, car or junkyard?  
Send emails to junkyardbull@gmail.com.