Thursday, May 31, 2018

Watch: Abandoned 1963 Chevy Impala SS 4-speed rescued from the woods

Watch this! We haul an abandoned 1963 Chevy Impala SS 4-speed out of the woods 40 years after it was left for dead. The Junkyard Life Rescue team, led by Keith Lively, hustled into action in the backwoods of Alabama. All it took to rescue the onetime gold Impala SS was a chainsaw, a monster Jeep and a tractor. The Impala SS was among a small hoard of mostly Chevrolet iron that was abandoned in the 1970s after their engines were snagged for roundy-round racing. The stash included a 1970 Chevelle, several Vegas, one Chevy II and a 1967 Bel Air 2-door post. All were hauled home and will begin a new life as parts cars or projects for us or someone else. 
  We’re super proud of the 1963 Impala rescue because it is a true SS with bucket seats and a 4-speed. Score! Keith worked all angles for a couple of years before connecting with the property owner to earn permission to retrieve the cars. But, he did it! And the Impala has tons of great parts and even a spare set of bucket seats in the trunk. We want to see this classic brought back to life! Stay tuned.

— Junkyard Life

Do you have a great classic or muscle car barn find story? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Jody Potter at & Ron Kidd at

Read about another car that was among the abandoned finds in the woods: A 1970 Chevelle!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Last-minute build, getting ready for Hot Rod Power Tour

Shot of truck in earlier build stage.

Thrash time! With the Hot Rod Power Tour, just two weeks away we all have a long list of things to check, fix, and build before we go on the week-long trip. With an estimated 5,000 participants already registered there is a lot of work being done in a short time. We at JYL are no different. Our 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser is still in the shop with a bad transmission and the all-wheel-drive 1966 Impala is just now finishing upgrades. Our editor-in-chief, Jody Potter, seems to be the only one who thinks he’s ready to make the trip (editors note: Doubtful!). 
  With so much still to do, we went to our friend Mike Ellison’s shop, Musclecar Outfitters, in Dodge City, Alabama for help to get our group ready. This is where the story gets good, at least for the reader. We walked in looking for help only to find the shop truck that is our back up parts and recovery rig still taken apart and sitting in the rear of the shop. This truck, a 1968 C-10 assembled from parts of a half dozen 1967-1972 Chevy C10 trucks, has made the last 10 Power Tours. We had to ask, what happen to the truck? 

Mike Ellison working to get ready the 1968 C10 for the 2018 Hot Rod Power Tour.


Junkyard Life: Mike, the truck was running great just a few months ago what happen to it ?
Musclecar OutfittersWe had some down time so we decided to upgrade the truck with a ton of new parts that had been sitting in the parts room for months. 
JYL: What upgrades are you making to the shop truck?
MCO: We built a new motor with a Sniper fuel injection, new Sniper fuel system, new exhaust, rims, and full interior. The rest we just left the same. 

Holley Sniper fuel injection installed.

JYL: Why wait until now to pull the truck in to the build bay?
MCO: Customers come first. When the dates for the tour were announced we had a huge rush of customer’s cars to get ready before we could start back on the truck. Plus, with the added new projects the truck just got pushed back. 
JYL: We would love to help get the truck ready. It’s just not the same without the shop truck with us. 
MCO: We are currently working on the truck starting at 5 am until we open and then back to it whatever time we finish our customers cars at night. There is 6 weeks of work to put into the truck in just a few hours a day with only two build weeks left. The truck hasn’t missed a Power Tour in 10 years and it will make this one also.  

More to come
Stay tuned to see how the truck makes the trip and what it took to finish it.  This is one project Junkyard Life is ready to take on and help however Mike lets us.

Keith Lively
— Junkyard Life

Ellison’s 1968 Chevy C-10 has seen several different looks and seems to be undergoing engine/parts swaps all the time.

Do you have a great classic or muscle car barn find story? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Jody Potter at & Ron Kidd at

Friday, May 18, 2018

Readers’ ride: 1985 Ford Mustang GT

White hatchback Stang was pulled out of a garage in stck condition.

Dang! It feels good to be a GT. “Grand Touring” has gotten lost in the world of acronyms. A wonderful descriptive adjective combined with a verb that we excited car guys turned into a noun. We borrowed this term from the British, whom take their driving very seriously. Back before the days of Ford’s “fox body” Mustang, the GT package disappeared for a while. That was okay with Mustang buyers of that era. If they couldn’t make the GT package exciting as it used to be, then don’t tease us. Well, they went and did it right. Motor Trend compared them to exquisite German engineering and indeed thought Ford had stolen BMW’s crumpets in the year of our garage find feature car. 1985 was a good year indeed.
  As they tested their toes with some 302 V8s throughout the 1970s and in the early 1980’s, Ford Fox buyers knew that something wicked this way comes. And now it is 1984. What is new for 1985 models in the otherwise yawn fest in automobile showrooms? The original owner of this 1985 Mustang GT saw a way out of the mundane. 

A dual-snorkel air cleaner, pure vintage muscle car tech, helps the 302-V8 breathe.

Holley Be Thy Name
  Who would have thought a legendary Holley carb would be feeding anything other than speed store patrons in that era? It was quite the surprise for Mustang buyers underneath that awesome duel snorkel air cleaner. More good news under that! The 302 V8 was back and a little angry. 210 horsepower angry. A roller style camshaft and roller lifters were present. Tie this to the available 5-speed manual transmission and this became an enthusiast car in the era of otherwise disposable transportation. Hold on, American streetlights… this could start another horsepower war. Which it did and left almost everyone wanting to leave their legacy under someone’s right foot.

A Holley carb feeds the 210-hp engine the Go-Go juice.

Optioned with options
  Junkyard Life’s friends Jason and Deidra Trammell recently rescued this white hot example of 1985 Pony Car Prestige. This car was a very well optioned GT from the beginning and was treated accordingly along the way. How could someone resist a crisp autumn night with the t-tops out (t-tops are a Mustang thing too!) and the musical symphony of sorts provided by the tuned exhaust? Somehow, the original owner did resist and eventually the Trammells scored a high option, low-mile fun machine that’s a little on the rare side. 
  We love the halo-style seats and the integrated spoiler. The Trammell’s car is finished in Oxford White with a very classy Charcoal interior. Every power option seemingly known to Ford was checked, except the shifting. You must do that yourself, but who are we kidding? We would love to! Fresh out of the barn and into their extensive collection, this pony has a good new home. They plan to keep it as original as possible. 
  Junkyard Life intends to be there for the initial cranking. Jason and Deidra are going through the usual motions taking care of things that have been dormant for several years before that happens. “GT”? As far as we know, it stands for “Good Times.”

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life

Halo headrests in the Mustang 5.0.

5.0 Fun facts: 

  • The famous 5.0 liter displacement mathematically is actual 4.9 liters. 
  • In 1982 the GT name came back after a 13 year absence. The slogan? “The Boss is Back.” 
  • 5-0 (pronounced “five oh”) was slang for the police in urban areas.
  • “Hawaii Five-0” a television series about law enforcement from the 1970’s is widely credited for the nickname. The show however, was actually named because Hawaii was America’s 50th state. 
  • Ford further fed the stereotype (so to speak) when they produced 5.0 liter Mustangs for law enforcement, hence 5.0 was forever associated with police.
  • The LX based (Code SSP “Special Service Package” ) police cars were very powerful, but unfortunately did not handle very well in inclement weather. They are very collectable today and usually come with a story wrought with adventure. 
  • The 1993 5.0 suffered the curse of a hypereutectic pistons, thus not allowing the high doses of nitrous oxide that the 1985-1992 Mustangs could handle.  
  • In 1986 the 5.0 Mustangs got their first fuel injection. Despite the power rating being lower than the 1985 model (210 hp vs 200 hp) However, the fuel injection and a few tricks to free up more power made the 1986 model perform a little better. Time taught us they still had much up their sleeves.
  • Robert Van Winkle (Vanilla Ice) converted from an IROC Camaro to a Mustang GT drop top in white and let us all know he was rolling in his 5.0
  • Adam Sandler revived Vanilla Ice and his 5.0 for a great scene in his movie That’s My Boy. Sharp eyes may spot that the movie car is an automatic. The original ’Stang that Vanilla Ice drove was a five-speed. 
  • In a recent interview with Vanilla Ice by The Car Connection, he told them he wishes he did still have that 5.0.

Spotting the 5.0 emblem on a Fox body gave instant cred. 

View from behind the wheel of a 1985 Mustang GT.

Subtle GT decals spelled doom for would-be racers driving Third Gen Camaros.

Fog lights on your LX?

1985 Mustang GT ready to be unloaded. 

Power windows and locks on this heavily-optioned 1985 Mustang GT.

Wimbledon White Mustang GT hatchback. 

Stereo controls and command center for fuel gauge and lights.

Tach baby! And 80,000 miles on the odometer.

T-tops in a Mustang GT? Yes!

you have a great classic or muscle car barn find story? Send us details and we’re on the way!  
Send emails 
to Jody Potter at & Ron Kidd at

Friday, May 11, 2018

How to Build a Cheap Custom Intake

Smooth out the ugly on the cheap. Our LS intake on the 1966 Impala AWD never looked better.

Build it! Can’t afford a high dollar looking intake. Is your budget tight ? No problem, it just takes a little time and a junkyard intake.  Here’s how’s it done: 

Go to your local junkyard and pick out an intake to match the one on your project vehicle.  

Shave off all the extra plastic but save the sensors mounts they will be needed later. 

Use the plastic you cut off and a soldering iron to plastic weld (melt) the holes until filled. Install the sensors mounts in the rear of the intake out of site. 

Sand and finish the top with a little body filler. 

Pick a color and tell you buddies you ordered a custom intake.

Keith Lively
— Junkyard Life

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Keith Lively’s 1966 Chevy Impala is an LS-powered, 6.0, all-wheel-drive monster that he built during a thrash to make it on the Hot Rod Power Tour several years ago. Yes, he finished just in time. Now it has a cool custom intake too!

The big, AWD Impala handles much better than anyone expects. Take a look at the ride-along video below.