Sunday, April 22, 2012

How to sell a 1972 Chevrolet C10 on Craigslist

Sell your old car or truck online. I sold my 1972 Chevrolet C10, using the internet, to a buyer in Pennsylvania. Call me a skeptic, but it sounded odd that someone 800 miles away would buy my old truck without seeing it in person. I placed an ad on craigslist and in The Birmingham News classifieds. Part of the News' package included placing my ad on It was just my luck that a lady in Pennsylvania called me up wanting photos of the truck. She was surfing the web for a good deal on a 1972 C10 to buy for her husband. This prospective buyer was eager and willing to go the extra mile to purchase the truck. My scam-alert went off. She offered to mail a credit card check right away. I worried that I could be arrested for cashing this possible bogus check. 

Medium Green 1972 Chevy C10 truck LWB. (Long wheelbase)

What to do?
I asked friends and family for advice. They reassured me PayPal was the answer. For novices like myself, PayPal is owned by Ebay, the online auction giant. Setting up a PayPal account lets any individual or business with an email address to securely, easily and quickly send and receive payments online. My buyer said 'no, problem, I can do PayPal'. Whew, after several days, the PayPal money is in my bank! PayPal transactions can take 3-5 business days before they are cleared and moved to your bank account. Be ready to deal with this delay. You don't want to mail a title out to a buyer until their money has cleared.

Almost sold
A dozen emails and a few letters containing the Bill of Sale and miscellaneous paperwork were mailed and returned. All that was left to do now, was wait for a transport company to pick up the truck.

Dan Stephens with Quality Transport readies truck for haul to Pennsylvania.

Going, going, gone
Delay number one - Trucking company lost the key to the back door of their truck, would not make it out that day. Delay number two - same trucking company got lost the next day, then their truck broke down on the way to my house. A different transport company was called to take the job. A friendly, pierced and tattooed fellow with Quality Transport and Leasing arrived to usher the green truck to Pennsylvania. So long, Chevy. I miss you already.

Chevy orange paint dressed up the 307-cu. inch V8 engine.

Why did I sell it?
I'm a car guy. I love to buy older vehicles, work on them and and make them run better. Trouble is, I just had vehicle number eight towed home recently. Something had to go. I had spent a little time and money rehabbing the somewhat tired old truck. A new gas tank and a carburetor rebuild joined my growing tab of C-10 expenses. New spark plugs, wires, points and condenser and the 307 engine purred like a sewing machine. 

  The trouble was actually driving the '72 Chevy because it had the road manners of the S.S. Minnow. Constantly correcting the direction I steered the truck as it wallowed down the road with 40-year-old manual steering and brake components. The old truck's shortcomings outweighed the dollar amount I deemed worthy to fix them.

A good wash and the '72 Chevy looks slick, even without the camper top.

Basic green on green, 3-speed column shift, C10 Chevy truck.

No local buyers
It was a love it or hate it thing for buyers who responded locally to the ad. They loved the look of the '72, but wanted the short-wheelbase variety. Luckily for me the internet opened up my truck to a world of possible buyers. The buyer was a woman who wanted to surprise her husband with a gift.

An 800-mile trip from Alabama to Pennsylvania awaits the 1972 Chevy C10.

Buyer, seller beware!
My story ended successfully but that doesn't mean I should let my guard down. There are plenty scam artist waiting to take your money or your car. Be very careful, do your research and expect the unexpected. 

  Go the extra step to make sure your not being scammed. It is best to keep the conversation ongoing with the buyer or seller. Ask too many questions. Do you have their home phone number and address? A face-to-face meeting on skype may bring the trust level up for both parties. Also, do not rush a payment out just to get a good deal. 

My mother-in-law offered to buy lunch if my online buyer turned out to be legit. I'm hungry.

– Jody Potter,

Know of a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a car or junkyard?  Send emails to

105k showing on the 1972 Chevy's odometer.

No luck locally selling the '72 Chevy on the highway.

1967-72 Chevy trucks have a huge following. I may have to find another one soon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cars in Yards: 1956 Chevrolet 210, a poison ivy covered project car abandoned in field since 1971

Itching for a 1956 Chevy project? This Pinecrest Green Chevrolet 210 was found buried in a poison ivy patch in Minnesota. Risking an itchy rash, Joe Marano, of Ham Lake, Minn., hauled the complete but rusty, two-door Tri-Five off the original owner's property last summer. The green machine endured 40 years of Minnesota’s brutally cold, snowy winters without shelter. Marano rescued the '56 Chevy and your green with envy. Am I right?

This 1956 Chevy had been parked in a field in Minnesota since 1971.

History - how the 1956 Chevy got there
Marano learned from one of the original owner's sons that the car was purchased new in 1956. "His son told me his dad bought it off the factory line in 1956," Marano said. The Chevy was equipped with an inline 6 cylinder and manual three-speed transmission. The 2-door Chevrolet served duty for 15 years as the family car and was handed down for his sons to drive. "In 1971, the brother of the guy I bought it from, drove it out into a field," said Marano, "and just turned off the key." The very spot where Marano found it covered in poison ivy. "What a time capsule! To bad they didn't park it in the barn instead of the field," Marano said. 

Tri-Five Chevys are notorious for rust around the headlight eyebrow.

Restoration started?
Marano traded the 1956 Chevy to a friend for a 1976 Dodge D100 pick-up truck and a scrap truck. "My friend is going to build a rat rod or restore it," Marano said. "So, it's not going to get crushed." 

Original Chevy 235 cubic-inch inline six cylinder engine rest under the ’56's hood.

Steering wheel and horn ring intact on this three-on-the-tree Chevy.

More than 200,000 Series 210 2-door post Chevys were built for 1956.

Joe Marano rescued this weathered, original ’56 Chevy.

More from Minnesota
Joe Marano has loaded me up with junkyard photos. So, expect more from this gear head, car crafter who found his own barn find 1969 Dodge Charger. Marano is chasing his dream, combining a business with his passion for old cars in Minnesota. If you need his services at Junkers Towed by Joe, you can reach him at

– Jody Potter,

Know of a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a car or junkyard?
 Send emails to

Original ’56 Pinecrest Green paint clings to the poison ivy covered Chevy.

Fuel filler cap is hidden behind driver's side tail light on ’56 models.

Marano took these winter photos 2 years before he bought the '56 Chevy.

What you find on a typical 5-degree hike in the woods of Minnesota.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Junkyard find: 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ 455, 1974 Model J 400 hit end of road as parts cars

Not-so-grand exit for two of Pontiacs finest, 1973-1974 Grand Prixs. Foley, Alabama's Brian B. stumbled upon these soon-to-be recycled Pontiac Grand Prixs at Pull-A-Part in Montomery. Looking more demolition derby, rather than the mix of luxury and performance that was a staple of the Grand Prix line-up. Restyled 1973 GPs rolled off the assembly line with stylish sheetmetal, an angled cockpit appointed with real African crossfire mahogany and the largest engine Pontiac ever produced. The ability to withstand nearly four decades as a battering ram was never a selling point. It no doubt would have boosted the impressive total of 153,899 Grand Prixs built in 1973. Of those 133,150 were standard Model Js with the 400 four-barrel. Only 9,812 savvy buyers opted for the rare SJ model. Let's dig deeper.  

Smaller but larger?
The '73 Grand Prixs decreased their wheelbase to 112-inches from 116-inches but gained 3 inches in overall length to 216.6-inches. Try parallel parking one of these beast downtown. No wonder the body panels were beat to heck. Did I just crush a hybrid?

1973 Pontiac SJ "455 cu. in." engine, see top left corner of emission decal.

Junkyard 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix. Note the distinctive '73 tail lights. 

Pull it before its gone
Grab your tools and run if you see Grand Prix parts you need. These two Grand Prixs are still on the yard in Montgomery as I write this. 1973-1977 models are difficult to find. Many of these colonnade-style GM models have already been scrapped over the years because of the 4,400-pound curb weight on some loaded examples. High gas prices will continue to send many more of these to the car crusher. That's a double edge sword for Grand Prix fans. These cars and parts will be more expensive in years to come. Good news if you have a GP in decent shape, bad news if you want to buy or restore one. 

Junkyard 1974 Pontiac Grand Prix Model J. One-of-99,817 total GPs built in '74.

1974 Grand Prixs had simulated woodgrain decals on the dash. Wraparound cockpit is too cool.

– Jody Potter,

Know of a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a junkyard or cool car? Send emails to

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Junkyard tour: Gibbs Salvage in Ridgeville, Alabama a family-owned junkyard for 40 years

Bo Gibbs’ place. Forty years ago a junkyard was built on the rugged, hardscrabble hills of northeast Alabama. Bo Gibbs returned from the Vietnam War and found a business in old cars. “Bo started working on cars in 1969 after he got out of the service,” said his daughter, Raquel. “He bought his first parts car for $35. He received so many requests for parts off that one car that he decided he needed to start a business.” 
  In 1972, Bo opened what would one of the largest African-American owned junkyards in the Southeastern United States, Gibbs Brothers Salvage, with his brothers Charles and Kenny.  

Entance to Gibbs Salvage in Ridgeville, Alabama.

1958 Mercury Medalist has been at Gibbs Salvage for years.

Family matters
In 1986, Bo changed the name to Gibbs Salvage when his children were old enough to work at the yard. Bo's daughter, Raquel, and four sons, Kevin, Rodney, Jamie and Alan have all worked at the yard throughout the years. Bo continued to build the salvage yard near Attalla into a successful, family business while holding down a job at Gulf State Steel. Bo continued to work at the salvage yard until he passed away on January 2, 2007. 

Bring your hiking shoes and a lunch if your going to Gibbs Salvage in Alabama.

Future of Gibbs Salvage?
Bo Gibbs’ family struggles to keep their father’s legacy alive. Health issues and money woes make operating the large salvage yard almost impossible without Bo's expertise. A recent run-in with a rogue, scrap dealer did not help matters. The scrapper brought a mobile car crusher onto the Gibbs' property. Dozens of cars were crushed and hauled away and sold for scrap but the Gibbs’ were not paid their part of the money. Losing cars is like losing money and there is not enough to go aroundTheir advertising budget is nonexistent. Most customers find the place by word of mouth. Gibbs' hard-earned reputation may be their saving grace. Bo Gibbs’ place is known all across the South as a good place to find older, hard-to-find parts. 

Who: Gibbs Salvage in Ridgeville, Alabama. Located near Attalla in Northeast Alabama.

What: A junkyard started by James “Bo” Gibbs after he returned from service in the Vietnam War.  

Notable: Known as the largest junkyard in Northeast Alabama at one time. Visitors from neighboring states can be found searching for older, classic car parts on any given day. If you mention an African-American-owned junkyard in Northeast Alabama, chances are someone will say, “You mean Bo Gibbs place?”

Gibbs Salvage is 75-acres of junkyard treasure.

Where: 104 Gibbs Drive, Ridgeville, Alabama 35954
Located off Highway 431 turn East on Duck Springs Rd. Turn Left onto Gibbs Drive. A small trailer serves as the office. It is located on the right as you make your way along Gibbs Drive.

Contact: 256-538-8326

Hours: Monday - Friday 
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

1972 Plymouth Gold Duster sits on top of a 1967 Ford Falcon.

What I saw: I scanned the jagged hillside and rut-filled, red clay roads that meander throughout 75 acres of land at Gibbs Salvage in northeast Alabama. My goal on a cool, damp February day was to find some usable seats for my junkyard dog 1980 Trans Am. I stopped by the office, located in a small trailer, and asked for a general direction to start searching for 1970s Firebirds and Camaros. “Have a look around,” said Kevin Gibbs. Most yards with older inventory are not as friendly and open to customers picking their own parts. Ask one of the employees at Gibbs what your looking for and a price. There is a chance they might now where to look. Once you find the part, you pay on your way out. Kevin mentioned that the yard has a few cameras stationed around the unfenced property to deter theft.
The hunt: My adventure began as I hiked, climbed and crawled around a large portion of the yard with junkyardlifers Ron Kidd and Anthony Powell. We didn’t have any luck on the seats for my car. Anthony spotted a couple of interesting late 1960s and early 1970s Buick Rivieras. 

Difficult driving: It must have been 6 or 7 years ago when I made my first trip to Bo Gibbs Salvage yard in northeast Alabama. Even then, when Bo was alive, the salvage yard was a challenge to navigate. The hilly, dirt roads have deteriorated and overall the place is a shadow of its former self. New inventory is nonexistent and many of the older cars have been damaged as they’ve been moved about the yard.  

What to take if you go: If your not in shape to climb the hills, a four-wheel drive truck would be best. Tools, possibly a machete may be needed to cut away brush. Patience. Cars are scattered across the land in no particular order. You will have to search the yard for what you are looking for. This may take a large chunk of your day.

Cars stacked like this 1969 Buick Riviera are not uncommon at Gibbs.

Careful out there: There are some good parts waiting for the right buyer to find them. The trick is finding what your looking for. It could be under a stack of cars 2 or 3 deep or buried in a hillside. It won’t be an easy picking day.

– Jody Potter,

Know of a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a junkyard or cool car? Send emails to

1963 Olds Super 88 interior is mostly complete. Note the a/c vents on dash. 

1967 Pontiac Catalina 2+2

1970 Buick Riviera

1967 Ford Ranchero. Looks tired.

1970-1972 Chevy El Camino parts are mashed between trees and the roof of a van.

1960 Chevy Impala 4-door.

Beefy ’58 Mercury emblem found at Gibbs Salvage.

In 1960 GM stylists designed a wrap-around rear window for many of their full-size cars.

1953 Chevy was customized into a camper.

Know of a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a junkyard or cool car? Send emails to