Friday, May 31, 2019

VIDEO: Project Cheap Truck Part I - 1976 Chevy C10 Scottsdale Sport stepside

We bought it from original owner and found panties, mardi gras beads and a hotel matchbook. No wonder the wife wanted to get rid of it so bad!

Squarebody score! This 1976 Chevy Scottsdale Sport Stepside in orange was picked up for next to nothing. The original owner's wife was ready for it to leave the yard after 43 years. But why? The secret may have been revealed in the glovebox. Red panties, a motel matchbook and mardi gras beads. Oh, and a bullet hole in the hood. This party animal wears orange. Check out the video below to see the evidence.

More than meets the eye
A really odd-optioned, 1976 Scottsdale Sport, one-owner refugee bought in Pell City, Alabama in 1976. Junkyard Life jumped at the opportunity to own this squarebody with the wild past because it was super cheap (wife actually gave it away but we couldn't take it that way) and we know these trucks are a hot item. C10s are easy to repair and maintain and seem to last forever. Chevy built millions of these full-size, boxy trucks between 1973 and 1987 so used parts should be plentiful.

Part 1 video provides the back story on what will be a series of fun adventures. (See the original write-up here) We plan to hit the highways and cars shows in Project Cheap Truck as we show you how to get the most for your money. Sweat and junkyard engineering go a long way for the average Joe who wants to ride in a classic but stay on a budget.

We will have our foot down pounding the 350 engine and hammering on the three-on-the-tree as we make good on the promise (to the original owner) to get this Tangier Orange Chevy truck back on the road. We told the original owner if we didn't get it running we would give it back to him. Ten minutes and a bungee-tied gas can on the bumper was all we needed to get it started. Brakes, a new fuel tank, tires and a string of cheapo fixer-upper repairs are where we stand now. Follow along as we make this truck haul some fun. 

Thanks for watching
More wrecks and wreckage to come. And as always, more rust recovery by the Junkyard Life Rusty Gold Rescue Team! We are always hunting old cars and stories from characters like you. 

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Buy Junkyard Life Tshirts, more

Buy Junkyard Life designs on Teespring at:

Wear Junkyard LifeIf old cars, junkyards and getting your hands dirty wrenching on projects is what you do, then you live a JUNKYARD LIFE! Grab a shirt. Wear what you love proudly. You can now buy official Junkyard Life gear at the Junkyard Life Store on Teespring. Father's Day is right around the corner.

Junkyard Life products on Teespring
A big thanks to all the Junkyard Life fans, more than 20,000 subscribers, and 2.7 million views and counting, on YouTube who have watched the Junkyard Life channel. Whether we're dragging old cars out of the woods or putting a torch to a 1960s school bus you've followed us. Your support allowed us the opportunity to sell shirts, hoodies, stickers and more. That support drives us as we continue to dig up more stories, find more colorful junkyard characters and travel the backroads of America.

Our new offerings feature the big Junkyard Life logo and "Classic 1955 in the Weeds" designs on our tshirts, hoodies and mugs. We've got lots of color choices and products for men, women, children and babies. 
  If you don't see what you want in our store, send us an email at and we'll try to find a way to get those items produced.

Thanks for your support!

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life

Buy Junkyard Life designs on Teespring at:

Buy Junkyard Life designs on Teespring at:

Buy Junkyard Life designs on Teespring at:
 Grab your Junkyard Life gear here! Choose from a truckload of colors in many styles.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Reader's ride: 1973 VW Thing

We spotted this original, 2-owner VW Thing in Birmingham, Alabama.

Wild Thing! You probably didn’t think we could find one of these, did you? I must admit that we didn’t either. It must have sounded like a combination of pirates and mad scientist when we discovered this Thing. We used words like, “Eureka!” and I think I actually said, “Shiver me timbers.” We were genuinely surprised. How could we not be? One of the most elusive of all of the V-Dubs right there in front of us? Less than 8,000 were imported for U.S. consumption during the 1973 model year.

It's no wonder they couldn't meet U.S. safety standards and ceased import after a 3-year run.
Metal everywhere you look inside the VW Thing. It's no wonder they couldn't meet U.S. safety standards and ceased import.

A 1973 Volkswagen Thing! 
  A Type 181 in Blizzard White paint to you Thing techies. This is the epitome of cool. That is right. We discovered cool. According to the dictionary a “thing” is hard to define.
  “An object that one need not, cannot, or does not wish to give a specific name to.” 
  This didn’t really apply to the German engineers that designed this vehicle. It had plenty of names (see Fun Facts).

1973 was only year that the VW Thing had louvers on the bodysides.

The Thing We Love About You
  We really more re-discovered cool. Junkyard Life friend Frank Hamby of Birmingham, Alabama owns this historic piece of cool. Hamby is the second owner and has been the keeper of the cool for more than twenty years. He bought this 1973 model from the original owner who used this Thing as a beach vehicle! This Thing lived the golden years in the early days when one could drive a capable vehicle on the beach. 
  According to the vintage ads we collected, he was only following proper Volkswagen Thing protocol. That is right, he used it as a beach vehicle during summers and basically whenever he could make it down to Seaside, Florida. The nimble off road capabilities afforded the Thing plenty of opportunity to fullfill its beach buggy destiny. Hamby recalls the original owner reporting he simply let a few pounds of pressure from the tires and the Thing was dune-cruise ready.

White with black convertible top and it's a 4-door.
Four doors, boring? This is a convertible, independent suspension, with a 4-speed, and it's rear-wheel drive. Only in a VW Thing.

My Thing-a-Ling
  The cool thing about the Thing (I have been waiting to say that) is that the Thing does several things! Versatility was a key word for engineering this Thing. Seemingly everything folds up. The top, the doors, the windshield and even the back seat all fold away.  Engine and transmission choices were very limited. Hamby's example has the original air-cooled flat-four, 1,600 cc dual port engine and a manual four speed. Utilizing all of the 46 horsepower this Thing has a top speed of 71 MPH according to VW in 1973.

Dash and manual steering is bare bones and simple in a 1973 VW Thing.

The Thing We Do For Love
  So parts are hard to find and can be a bit costly. That is the only downside to a Thing! They are unique and intriguing. They are a contrast of rock and roll and mellow peace. A lot of vehicles are either one, but few fit the bill for both. Hamby wins.  

Dash has a sticker, we're guessing a warning of some kind, on the dash.
Can you read German? The dash has a sticker, we're guessing a warning of some kind, on the dash.

One Last Thing
  The Thing runs now, but will run even better after a few minor repairs. When we say the car is unique, we here at Junkyard Life really don’t know anyone else that owns one. So when Hamby’s inner-hippie calls — the moonlight and the salty ocean breeze will harmonize with a mellow exhaust tone and (if I had my way) Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.” Lucky guy.

— Ron Kidd
Junkyard Life

VW's drum brakes have no problem slowing down a 2,000-pound Thing. 

Rear seats fold down flat to allow more cargo.

Design roots date back to WWII as the German "jeep" – a military multi-purpose combat vehicle.

The four doors are removable as is the top for open air cruising. Also, the windshield folds down.

VW Thing rides on 5-inch x 14-inch steel wheels.

Front view of boxy 1973 VW Thing in white.
Sticker price was $2,700 for a 1973 VW Thing.

Tail lights for Super Beetle will look at home on a VW Thing.

Let's hit the beach! A VW Thing needs to be driven to the ocean.

Fun Thing Facts

  • Seaside, Florida where our feature car once zoomed the dunes, was also where the Jim Carrey movie “The Truman Show” was filmed.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Thing was not the result of the automaker taking advantage of America’s love for dune buggies. They already practically owned the entire dune buggy craze other than manufacturing the funky cute aftermarket bodies. Most buggies were VW-powered.
  • The founder of Seaside, Florida was from Birmingham, Alabama. We thought for a second it could have been his VW. It wasn’t. However, from the timeline, they very well could have known each other.
  • The Thing was originally made for the West German Army.
  • Due to strict safety standards, VW stopped U.S sales of 1975 models. Other countries continued to sell them to the public until 1980. Did Ralph Nader know about this?
  • Volkswagen gave us here in the states the simple name –“The Thing.” In Mexico, it would have the “The Safari” name. In Italy, it would have been “The Pescaccia.” 
  • The Thing was one of the few four-door convertibles ever produced. 
  • A little over 7,800 of these were made in 1973. Doing the math, it is not probable that we will see many of these Things. 
  • Maybe Junkyard Life needs to do a follow-up and make sure this Thing can still negotiate the dunes. You can still do that with a permit in Augusta, Florida. I mean, we wouldn’t want to let the readers down. Fine. I will.

This 1973 VW Thing is owned by Frank Hamby of Birmingham, Alabama.

Share your car story? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Jody Potter at & Ron Kidd at

Saturday, April 20, 2019

VIDEO: Wrecked 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody looks like an organ donor

Up for grabs at a no reserve auction to the highest bidder.

Stolen and crashed. This wrecked 2018 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody landed in my sights at a Birmingham, Alabama wrecker auction.
I don't see many nearly new, $70,000 muscle machines at this no-reserve auction. This crashed cat, 1-of-1,876 Widebody Hellcat Challengers built in 2018, and 1-of-only 491 in the Pitch Black paint option, looked like a total loss. But I was hoping this modern muscle car still had a heartbeat. 

I lifted a blood-stained airbag on the driver's side to take a closer look at the damage inflicted by the wheel and tire that were shoved behind the door hinges and through the floor pan. This appeared to be a major front end collision. When a 4,500-plus vehicle collides with an object at speed it hammers the "hell"-cat out of itself. I hope whoever was driving survived and takes heed the next time they sit behind the wheel of a 707-horsepower beast. 

Airbags blown out everywhere inside the wrecked 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody.

Thick and thin
For what it's worth, the Widebody option adds 69-pounds and is a $6,000 markup over a standard slab sided 2018 Challenger Hellcat. By our calculations, that's $87 per pound of Widebody goodness. Is it worth it? The fender flares don't fare well in demolition duty. But, if looks could kill, we'd say this Hellcat died trying. 

The powerful 6.2 liter engine took the brunt of the crash on this 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody.

Beast underneath
That supercharged 707-hp engine is the only reason we're looking this thing over. Hellcats in stock trim are capable of 0-60 in 3.4 seconds. They can cover the quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds at 126 mph and can touch 200 mph at top speed. Yikes! That's a real speed demon.

Can you have too much horsepower? Me? No. But some people can't handle the responsibility. Horns start growing out of their head when the engine revs.

How fast can you afford to go? 
Mother Mopar will sell you the Hellcat crate engine for $18,000 out-the-door with a 3-year warranty. Also, popular wrecking yards sell low-mile Hellcat engines and 8-speed automatic transmission combos for around $25,000. That's a lot of cash! So, any would-be junkyard dog with a few bucks can seize the opportunity to bid and make some easy money flipping the drivetrain or build their own Hellcat hot rod. That's just what we were planning to do until the wrecker company yanked the car from the auction list. They said the Hellcat had been stolen. Some details with insurance and the owner would need to be dealt with before it could be sold. Doh!

I later found out that around 10 of these Hellcats have passed through this Alabama wrecker company since they were introduced for the 2015 model year. That's a low number, about 2 per year on average.

Thanks for watching
More wrecks and wreckage to come. And as always, more rust recovery by the Junkyard Life Rusty Gold Rescue Team! We are always hunting old cars and stories from characters like you. 

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust

Nose is hanging off and right rear wheel and tire are ripped away from body.
Wrecked, black 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody has meaty fender flares. At least on the parts that were't destroyed.

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

1976 Chevy C-10 Scottsdale Stepside Sport: Orange party-time pickup with a secret

The original owner's wife was ready for it to leave the yard after 43 years.

Tangerine Two Step. It seems we here at Junkyard Life have gone a bit C-10 crazy. That is only because they are so cool and represent an era we love. Prepare thyself, O’ Junkyard Life truck fans! We love this truck — a 1976 Scottsdale Sport. A really odd-optioned, one-owner refugee from the best (our opinion) era ever!

C10 has its door open and bed full of leaves and debris.
1976 Chevy Sport stepside in orange was picked up for cheap. The original owner's wife was ready for it to leave the yard after 43 years.

Step Lively!

  Junkyard Life staffer Keith Lively is that nice guy you know who makes friends with ease. Keith has had dibs on this one-owner Stepside since he spotted it parked in a yard several years ago. Things seem to work out for Keith because he treats people respectfully and often goes out of his way to do things for people in need. Dibs often come through for people like Keith. He finally got the call to come make an offer on the truck. 
  It had been sitting for several years. Despite the Stepside Chevy’s inoperable state of being, the owners still renewed the tag and carried insurance on it. One day the wife wanted it gone. 
  Is there a story here? Oh, yes. Yes, there is. 
  “Call Keith Lively!” she said. 
  The owners tried to give Keith the truck and he tried to pay them. Neither budged and eventually the original owner reluctantly took a little money for it.  
  This must be how they negotiate in the Bizzaro World. The deal included one stipulation — the owner (husband) wanted to see it run again. The wife wanted it gone. Wait for the Fun facts!
1976 Chevy Sport stepside has rust in usual places but is solid overall. This is how it looked in original owner's driveway.

Through With the Two Step
  So, what did Keith bring home? More than he thought. This is by definition a 1976 Chevrolet Scottsdale, short wheel base, stepside dressed in Tangier Orange and accented with a sporty white stripe package. Oddly it is optioned with a Quadra-jet topped 350, a manual three-speed transmission, manual brakes, no air conditioning and a 3.42 gear in the single traction rear end. That doesn’t sound unusual so far, does it? Now factor in the set of Rally wheels, power steering and analog gauges to go with that eye popping exterior. 
  The Scottsdale interior is a perfect Saddle tone. Very appropriately named and absolutely perfect for a truck called Scottsdale. It has an equestrian theme hidden right there under and all around you!

Heater only, no air, manual brakes.
350-V8 topped with an Quadra-jet carb just as it appeared from the factory. Heat only, no air, manual brakes. Bare bones but sporty.

The Step Pre-Lively
  The truck was not special ordered* as far as we can tell. But we would have thought it was considering the odd combination of options. The original owner reported that the truck sat on the 
lot of Sutherlin Chevrolet in Pell City, Alabama for six months. Somehow it missed finding a new home. If that is true, Junkyard Life surmises that they must have had a terrible sales team in the truck department. 
  We couldn’t sell water to a fish, yet I am confident we could have sold this sporty truck. It fit into the tie dye world of bold colors and trends of 1976. 
  After six months in dealership purgatory, the new, orange truck began a colorful life with owners who would hold onto it for 43 years. Boy, was it colorful! Trust us, read the Fun Facts. These may be the funnest of all the fun facting we have ever done! 

Perfect landing spot for the rescued C10. Let's get to work!

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
  Junkyard Life staffer Keith Lively hauled the treasure truck home. Remember the inoperable status and how the original owner just wanted to see it run again? Well, fifteen minutes after being unloaded, it was running again. Keith found a fuel delivery issue and to test his theory, he gave it a Junkyard Life solution. He strapped a small fuel jug to the grill, routed the fuel pump lines, checked fluids (looked great), added a hot battery and cranked that baby right up!

Junkyard engineering. The old external fuel tank trick used to bypass clogged fuel lines and trash that may be in gas tank that has been sitting for decades.

Say what?
  Sometimes things just work right. This 350-V8 starts easily, doesn’t smoke or leak oil. It doesn’t even have an exhaust leak. It runs quiet and appears as balanced today as it did in 1976. For a vehicle that has battled nature, where sitting dormant only exacerbates every issue, this one seems to have beaten the laws of physics. It does have the expected rust issues, but mechanically is rather sound.

The stepside is getting a fresh coat of paint on the wheels and some new tires.

Next step?
  This C-10 project can take many directions — 70’s street machine, pro touring, “as is” fun truck, rock stock or modify? What is a Keith Lively to do? While we order parts and rack our brains, read the fun facts of this truck and the rock and roll decadent life it led prior to being parked. Oh, the facts are fun.

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life

*The truck potentially could have been special ordered and then simply not picked up. Deals fall through. It happens. Maybe the “three-on-the-tree” scared away prospective buyers?

Before the cleanup began this was a down and dirty truck. But wait, what did we find in the glovebox?...

1976 Chevy Sport truck stepside had an interesting history.
Red panties, Mardi Gras beads and a hotel matchbook. More than enough evidence to convict this as the party truck. Oh, and don't forget the bullet hole in the hood. Maybe, that's why the wife wanted to get rid of the old truck?

Scottsdale Party Wagon PG-13 Fun Facts
  1. The dealer was desperate to move this truck off the lot. According to the original owner, he traded a 1968 Chevelle for it and not a lot (if any) money. That must have been one nice Chevelle!
  2. The original owner claims the gun rack was already in the truck when he bought it new.
  3. The truck was not equipped with air conditioning. An aftermarket under dash unit from Sears was installed during the truck’s party years.
  4. There is a bullet hole in the hood with a strange entry point. It appears it was shot from a higher point. It happened at a bar is all we were told. See Fun Fact #5
  5. The original owner was a party guy. See Fun Fact # 7
  6. The RPO codes on a Chevrolet truck were in the glove compartment.
  7. While looking for the RPO codes, we found (really, we did) proof positive of the sultry night life this truck led — Mardi Gras beads, a hotel matchbook and a pair of red panties. 
  8. Why the husband was more attached to it than the wife all made sense to us after Fun Fact #4, #5 and #7 brought it all together for us.
  9. We previously associated Porsches, Corvettes and Trans Ams with this salacious lifestyle, but we were wrong. All you need is a really cool truck and maybe the right cologne. 
  10. Jody, Keith and Ron wondered if this guy was a former member of Van Halen or Motley Crue?

Editor’s Note: Ron’s statement “All you really need is a cool truck and maybe the right cologne” should not be used as a mantra or any kind of words to live by.

Goodies found in glovebox include red panties, mardi gras beads and a motel matchbook.

Three-on-the-tree 1976 C10.

350 emblem in the grill of the 1976 Chevy Scottsdale Sport stepside.

Wood still holding up strong in the bed of the stepside. Most of these beds rot out when left outside.

1976 Chevy Sport Stepside
Keith Lively attacked the side of the orange truck with everything in his toolbox to get the orange paint to shine again.

Before shot of dull, dirty paint on the ’76 C10 Sport.

The orange bed shines after layers of surface rust and grime are removed.
Amazing what some soap, elbow grease and determination can do to a junky ride. The orange bed shines after layers of surface rust and grime are removed.

Wheels are getting a makeover. New paint and some trim rings are on the parts list.

A bullet hole in the hood of the ’76 Chevy stepside. Could it be related to the long term parking and the red panties? We can only image it's a great story.

Square body trucks have been a hot item of late.

Gun rack was installed in the truck since new in 1976.

Nothing to brag about here. A heater and a fan.

Chevy orange valve covers look red next to the truck's orange paint.

Keith Lively ready to install a new tank in the Chevy Scottsdale.

1976 was first year for Chevy Sport.

Scottsdale was a trim level above the base model Chevy trucks.

Getting some respectable rubber under those fat rear fenders is a top priority.

Stripes all around even on the tailgate of the 1976 Chevy Sport truck.

Stripes that once appeared over the tops of the front and rear fenders have disappeared. 

Stay tuned as we make progress on the new Junkyard Life parts hauler.

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