Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to: Salvage Yard Manners for Junkyard Dogs

I hope the happy seat hacker dropped a cast iron intake on his foot!
What was the point? Not a fan of the color green maybe?
I have a complaint. Not just my usual one about unfair business practices at Walmart or how bikinis just aren’t small enough. This one is about etiquette. I don’t mean how we don’t always extend our pinky finger when drinking mid-day tea, I mean junkyard manners. They do exist. Or should, anyway.

  Being "The Earth Roaming Car Guy," I find myself in quite a few salvage yards. I love them. My complaint is not with them (although sometimes it can be frustrating to see a really cool junkyard and be denied access inside), it is actually with other salvage yard patrons. Let me explain.



Senseless crimes
  The other day I found a near perfect 1969 Ford LTD bench seat in green with no tears or rips. I return a day or two later and someone had placed (read “slam dunked”) an a/c compressor right there on the seat. I almost didn’t see the compressor due to it being buried in what seemed like two full buckets of transmission fluid soaked gravel. Why? A senseless crime. My buried treasure really was buried now. The seat survived with a 5-inch rip that it did not have before.

  The same day I struck up a conversation with a gentleman that seemed to be in love with a 1970 Lincoln Mark III. The car was super innovative for its time. Decked out with a unique dash and unmatched classic luxury styling, in its day the car was gorgeous. It would have been a great find for someone like him who appreciates things like this. It WOULD have been had someone not taken a razor blade to its original green leather seats. Again…..why? Did someone just have a vendetta against vintage green seats that day? I don’t think so. I say it's bad manners.

Trans Am travesty
  Once I found a complete 1978 Trans Am in a salvage yard with a complete running 400-cubic inch Pontiac engine. Only one problem, the entire side and rear of the car were smashed terribly. The attendant explained that it came in as a complete, driving, straight car that did not need to be in a junkyard. But, before anyone could rescue it, a teenage employee decided to do some donuts in the mud. He was unaware of its positive traction rear end and ended up smashing the sides and rear against something solid and round. I saw the remains. Take it from me, someone would have really given that car a good, deserving home. I suggested the electric chair for that employee, but unfortunately, we don’t live in Texas.
  Another poor Trans Am was spotted by a fellow car guy at a salvage yard the day it landed at the junkyard. It seemed like a super straight car. “You must come see this!” he said. By the time I got there (24-hours later), the unfortunate Pontiac seemed to have lost a battle with a fork lift. Trunk bent, rear spoilers broken beyond recognition, front fender hanging in a jagged painful position…..it hurts me just to think about it. Maybe the idea of a salvage business is not to sell things like I thought it was?

First, do no harm
  How many times have you located a parts car that had some really great things on it, only to find someone destroyed your needed parts and left them for dead, while not so carefully removing what they needed? It happens way too much. Just because they don’t need it, does not mean someone else will not either. Do onto others! I am convinced that each state needs to issue licensing to own a Sawzall. I once bought a front bumper cover that still had a few inches of the original fender attached to it. No anesthesia even. Shame.


  I have a feeling if your reading this, you probably feel the same way I do. Real car hobby people just don’t do things like that. It's like we have a code. We all have similar stories. Some may be worse than mine. I don’t want to know. Thanks for letting me vent. Happy hunting.

Ron Kidd, The Earth Roaming Car Guy


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