Friday, October 9, 2009

Junkyard dreaming with a 1955 Chevrolet station wagon

Hoping to discover a mythical junkyard overflowing with hundreds 1950s and 1960s automobiles? Rumor had it that an old junkyard in north Alabama was full of tri-five Chevys - 1955, 1956, 1957 models. I knew the possibility existed, so it was worth investigating. My directions were sketchy but I found the dead end road that led to what I hoped was junkyard utopia. At the end of that road was a house. Just passed it, a closed gate. Behind the gate sat a 1948-ish Chevrolet truck, crafted into a home built wrecker. It was parked parallel to the gate, possibly to protect the bounty of old cars from being scavenged, I thought. I walked back to the house to knock on the door. As I stood there waiting for someone to answer, I looked across the road. There sat a 1955 Chevy station wagon covered by privet bushes. Virtually invisible to an untrained junkyard scavengers eye. This was confirmation that Tri-Five Chevrolets could be everywhere behind the gate. I waited and knocked again. No one answered the door at the house.

Finding out what was in my junkyard utopia had been delayed,
so I crossed the road and tip-toed around the '55 relic. I inched around the station wagon and spotted its original 235 cubic inch, inline six cylinder engine. The 1-barrel carburetor was in place but missing its air cleaner. For 54 years the Blue Flame engine has survived virtually unmolested. Judging by the depth the rocker panels have sunk into the earth, this old Chevy has been sitting in this spot for decades The blue paint remaining on the pitted, rusty shell looks original, as does what's left of the interior. The tailgate and rear bumper are missing along with the dash gauges. I’m guessing the 4-door station wagon was the signpost to locate the
junkyard at one time. With no one to answer my questions or let me in to roam the junkyard, my trip was done. I’ll definitely return.

How long before all the 1960s and older vehicles disappear from junkyards? You can see the value of vintage parts rise with each passing year. Today’s rusty 1955 Chevrolet station wagon may get scrapped and recycled into a washing machine. Get out and save some cars and parts or at least take some photos to show your kids. These old cars are part of our country’s history. I plan to go back and find the junkyard owner and post more photos from his place soon. Unless it disappears.

Do you have photos of old cars in the weeds or junkyards? Send them to me at with your story and I will post them here.


Mr. Natural said...

And SO, did you get back to score your dream tri-5 Chevy?

Junkyard Life said...

This Tri-Five wagon is still planted in the same spot. The owner sold it decades ago to a fellow from out-of-state. He says it will remain in this spot until it is picked up by the distant owner. A deal is a deal but it is a shame to see a potential project car being wasted.