Saturday, July 13, 2019

WATCH: Crushing Junk Cars in Alabama

Big orange EZ Crusher has hydraulic cylinders that pull from top down to crush cars and trucks.

Crunch time! Cars get bashed and tossed around as a mobile car crusher tackles a storage lot full of junk cars in Alabama. The local "I Buy Junk Cars" guy was liquidating his inventory. A big, orange E-Z Crusher was helping him make money every time it flattened a car.






Metal money
Steve Argo, owner of the junk cars, was turning metal into money. Flattening cars means more mashed metal will fit onto a flatbed trailer. Packed trailers hauling more metal to the recycler means more money per load.
Metal prices fluctuate throughout the year. When metal prices are up, the junk car buyers are out hauling in junk to recycle and the crusher stays busy. When prices are down the storage lot stays filled with junk cars. The crusher is silent and grandma's junk car doesn't get hauled away.

I want a deal
Also, when prices are down it is a good time for your average Joe to score some cheap junk out of somebody's yard. Whether it's because the person is violating a city ordinance, by having an inoperable vehicle in the road or yard, or the family finally decides to let go of dad's old, rusty Chevelle, Firebird, Mustang, etc. The junk car buyers don't offer much when scrap prices are down. Grandma will gladly take your $300 instead of the junk man's $150 offer.
Argo crushed the majority of the lot (on this day several years ago) but saved a 1972 Chevelle, a late 1970s Corvette, and a couple of Firebirds to sell as whole cars.

I bought it for $800, non-running condition.
1980 Pontiac Trans Am in storage lot at "I Buy Junk Cars." I worked out a deal and had the non-running Bird delivered to my house.

I got a deal
I bought the primer-colored 1980 Pontiac Trans Am for $800. It was not running and I had to follow-up with a previous owner to track down the title. It all worked out for me. I got the battered Trans Am running and sent it to another home. It needed more work than I was willing to give. Too much Bondo and decades of abuse plus. In hindsight, I shoulda kept it.
At least I can say that I saved the car from the carnage of the crusher.
Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust


This red 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle with black vinyl top was not crushed. How it ended up in the hands of "I Buy Junk Cars" is anyone's guess? 

The round tail lights on the 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle are my favorite. A 1970 Chevelle front end looks great with these. Makes you wonder what happened at GM? Four round tail lights seem like a perfect match with the four headlights.

1992 Firebird waiting high in the air for its turn in the crusher.

Black third generation Corvette was also found on the "I Buy Junk Cars" storage lot. It was not crushed.

Side view of Black third generation Corvette on the "I Buy Junk Cars" storage lot. It was saved from the crusher.

Flattened cars are stacked and wrapped in netting to keep loose parts from flying off during transport on a flatbed trailer.

I'm guessing the car crusher was rented. Workers moved quickly to crush as many cars as possible.

A fresh stack of crushed cars is ready to wrap and get hauled to the recycler for money.




Have you saved a classic or muscle car from the car crusher Send us details!  Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com or Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Cars in Yards: 1974 Corvette, the family car fairy tale with a 4-speed

A 4-speed was the ticket for this Harley-Davisdson owner.


Family car Corvette. Imagine the ultimate Corvette fairy tale. One where dad decides to bring home a hot rod instead of a grocery getter. We all wish our dads would have done something like this! Kent Roberts pulled off the all-time best excuse to buy a 4-speed Vette. 
  Some guys are really good at math. Division is a great skill to have when you have real life math problems, such as Roberts' growing family transportation problem. He had a wife and a daughter and was about to have another. This sounds like a very common occurrence. The ‘I need a family car-thing’ has happened to many of us car guys. The only problem was, Roberts' main mode of transportation was a motorcycle. 
  Now that TWO girls would be occupying the back seat, his wife was rather insistent. 
  “You must get rid of the motorcycle and get a car!”
  When will wives and girlfriends learn that, with car guys, you must be specific? She wasn’t. That was where she went wrong. Roberts got a car all right. Oh, did he ever — a 1974 Corvette complete with an L82 and a 4-speed! So, with the motorcycle already (technically) having two seats... he was only a little more ergonomic.


Roberts bought a 4-speed Vette because his wife told him it was time to get rid of his motorcycle.

Simple math
  How does four divide into two? Despite not having an engineering degree, somehow for Roberts, it did. We figure that he must have had experience in Chinese jigsaw, because it worked for him. A wife, two kids and a really cool set of wheels. Mr. Roberts — you are a king.
  Let's go a little deeper into this family car scenario. Roberts knew he wanted a 4-speed. 
“Quadragear me!,” he declared. 
  Although, when Roberts was set to search for a suitable replacement for the motorcycle, he wasn’t necessarily focused on a Corvette. But when he found this 1974 example, it did indeed have proper criteria — the 4-speed. This was it. This was his car. Sold!


1974 was the first year for the body-colored rear bumper cover on the Corvette.

“What? I did get a car”

  The Vette was equipped with the higher horse L82-350 engine. It was a cool power plant indeed. Making 250 grocery-getting horsepower, it could get to softball practice in a hurry. It was the lack of a commodious back seat or trunk that was the problem. Roberts could indeed pick up the child, but the glove and bat would have to wait for the next bus. Imagine the negotiating skills this man must possess.


An L82 option 250hp/350-V8 is tucked beneath the fiberglass body.

Digging deeper 
  1974 was a series of first and lasts (see Fun Facts) and this Corvette was special enough for Roberts to hold onto for 38 years. The Vette was quick, fun and in retrospect, really didn’t use too much fuel. Gearing was perfect! Nothing less than a 3:08 gear ratio was available on this car. This was impressive for 1974, but Roberts knew the potential potency of the small block Chevrolet. He wanted more!
  A new set of aluminum heads found their way to the top of the L82, bumping the 9-to-1 compression up significantly. The cam was already lifting those valves high enough, so Roberts right foot was about to have a party.


Weathered emblem on nose of 1974 Corvette.

Color me brown
  We thought from a distance that this car was another color but this ’74 Vette was repainted at some milestone along the way. We (Ron) mistakenly thought it was the color we can’t pronounce easily. Don’t make us say it, but if we goof up the name Mille Miglia Red, forgive us, for we now know this example was born code 968 Dark Brown. Whew! We can pronounce that one!
  Chevrolet allowed GM to have their way with the interior colors. A handsome saddle hue in leather was the choice of the original owner. Chevrolet let you pick the exterior color, but the interior was only slightly negotiable. Only four colors were available to accent your favorite Corvette flavor. That narrowed it down a lot. Sometimes they offered five choices, but for the most part Chevrolet dictated that four was plenty enough. Whomever picked this combination did an exquisite job and had impeccable taste.



Only 6,690 L82-equipped Corvettes were produced among the 37,502 total in 1974.

Do you want to?
  Roberts has shared the life adventure with this car long enough for it to become part of the family. He cranks it regularly and has no intention of parting with it anytime soon. (Editor’s Note: This did not stop Ron from shamelessly handing Roberts a list of potential buyers, which was nothing more than a piece of paper with Ron’s name on it.) We here at Junkyard Life understand. 
  Thank you, Mr. Roberts for showing us a really cool car with an even better story!

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust



Brown velour seats in the 1974 Corvette.

Tachometer was replaced from a vehicle with electronic ignition when Roberts swapped ignition system from points and condenser.

Front and rear bumper covers were replaced after Roberts bought to Vette around 1981.

1974 was the last year you could buy a Corvette without a catalytic converter.

Saddle interior components complement the 4-speed stick inside Roberts' 1974 Corvette Stingray.

Unmistakeable profile on these third-generation Vettes.

The L82 350-V8 pumped out 250hp.
The Corvette shift plate alerts all to the horsepower under the right foot. The L82 350-V8 pumped out 250hp and 285-ft lbs of torque.

Stingray emblem is long gone but not forgotten.

A base sport coupe Vette cost around $6,000 in 1974. Looks like any "old" Corvette will eventually be worth more than MSRP. 


Junkyard Life’s 1974 Corvette Fun Facts 
  • 1974 was the last year for the optional LS4 454 engine. It was advertised at only 20 more HP (270) but admitted to a tire shredding 380 ft-lbs of torque at only 2800 RPM. 
  • 1974 was the first year with two non-chrome bumpers. This gave us an idea of what the Corvette had in store for us aesthetically in the coming years of the 1970’s. 
  • 1974 was supposed to be the last year for the ultra cool and dare we say sexy finned wheel covers-but it wasn’t! They stopped offering them in 1973. Boo. We do love the Corvette specific 15x8 Rally Wheel. Okay, fine. They are enticing as well.
  • Junkyard Life was wrong about the initial color of this car by a long shot. How could we mistake Mille Miglia Red for Dark Brown? This was not the "Little Red Corvette" that Prince told us about. 
  • Roberts entertained the idea of painting the Vette a pearl white. He even started some of the color change process. Then he experienced some degree of sticker shock when he found out how ridiculously expensive the pearl-based paint is. 
  • For drag racers, a Corvette was a sure path to the famed “4-bolt main” engines. This means there were four bolts on the main caps holding the crankshaft down instead of two. More insurance your motor will not fly apart at high RPMs.
  • Corvette’s name was defined as a highly maneuverable warship used as an escort. The association was not lost on American Airmen, as the Corvette proved to be very popular with pilots.
  • There is an irony to the origin of the (Ron’s mistaken color) Mille Miglia. This is a reference to an Italian endurance race that covers one thousand miles. The race began in 1927 and when it was resurrected, it limited the cars entered to be produced no later than 1957. The irony is that the 1974 Corvette would be too “new.” (Editor’s Note: Ron got the color so wrong, we made him look up the origin of the name
  • During the space race, there was a time when astronauts were presented with a new Corvette.


Share your car story? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com & Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net


Stick shift Corvettes command our attention no matter the vintage.


Monday, June 24, 2019

Behind the scenes of a "Roadkill" show episode at the 2019 Hot Rod Power Tour

Freiburger sits on the roof of a 1972 Ford Maverick while Mike Finnegan attempts a head stand on the fender of the beater car.

Roadkilling it! Junkyard Life buckled into a modified, all-wheel-drive 1966 Chevy Impala and ran into some greasy-handed celebrities on this year’s 25th edition of the Hot Rod Power Tour. 
  During our 2,500-mile road trip we stumbled across the Roadkill crew in the parking lot outside Bristol Motor Speedway. A small film crew wearing black Roadkill t-shirts, armed with camera gear and umbrellas, fought a big downpour as they hustled around a minivan wearing Tennessee plates. Their sights were set on a toasty-looking 1972 Ford Maverick. 
  We gravitated toward that car, which was covered in all shades of ugly. A State of California automobile title was on the dash of the Maverick, tucked inside a plastic sleeve with “paid cash $2800” scribbled in black ink. 


We saw it at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee.
A 1972 Ford Maverick was Roadkill's beater brought to kick-off their daily title-swap plan during the 2019 Hot Rod Power Tour.

Who wants it?
  The four-door Maverick would soon be part of a new episode of David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan’s latest Roadkill storyline. Their goal was to trade titles and drive a different car every day that they were a part of the Hot Rod Power Tour. They reached out on social media for Roadkill fans to bring a ratty car and their title to the Hot Rod Power Tour. Would-be traders also needed to bring lots of nerve if they were willing to trade their vehicle for whatever junk Roadkill would be driving and trading that day. The deals and ownership would be final.


Price paid was $2800.
A State of California title sat on the dash of the Maverick. "Paid cash $2800" and "RK 87" scribbled in black ink on the title's plastic sleeve.

Look over there!
  As luck would have it, we were parked near the Maverick, taking shelter from the rain under a tent beside the Junkyard Life, all-wheel-drive 1966 Chevy Impala. It was close enough to jump up and watch the fun when the cameras began rolling.


Cameras, light poles, and rain slick asphalt surrounded the duo.
David Freiburger, left, and Mike Finnegan work on a segment for a Roadkill episode at Bristol Motor Speedway during the 2019 Hot Rod Power Tour. Cameras, light poles, fans and rain washed asphalt surrounded the duo.

Lights, camera, action! And repeat that, louder
  Freiburger and Finnegan made quick work of their hot rod hi-jinx while loud exhaust rumbled past and fans and gawkers gathered around the spectacle. At one point Freiburger climbed up onto the hood and sat on the roof of the Maverick while Finnegan attempted a headstand on the driver’s side fender. It was all in fun to accentuate the craziness of their proposition. The crowd was loved it. 


Freiburger and Finnegan laugh it up with the next owner of the 1972 Ford Maverick.

Trade time
  A fellow with a long beard showed up holding the keys to his 1979 Jeep J10 4x4 truck. The first “victim” of the even swap shenanigans had arrived. 
  I asked the Jeep owner if he thought the J10 would make it to the end of the Hot Rod Power Tour road trip.
  “I dunno, we’ll see?” 
  The look on his face seemed a bit unsure but he was decked out in a Finnegan Speed & Marine baseball cap and Roadkill t-shirt. He wouldn’t trade them a bum steer, would he?


Roadkill stars chatting up the first title trader in Bristol, Tennessee.

Good fun
  During and after, the short, 30-minutes-or-so of filming, Freiburger and Finnegan posed for photos and signed autographs for fans young and old. They were friendly and charmed the crowd. All the while staying focused on the job at hand and smiling despite interruptions while they worked on scenes for the first trade segment. 
  Easy work for the guys who put the "fun" in malfunction and have perfected the genre of junkyard engineering fueled by wild ideas during the last seven years and counting.  
  The duo tries to keep the Roadkill ideas fresh while negotiating self-inflicted automotive nightmares that many gear heads have experienced. They build dream cars from the scrap heap and create cheapo solutions while burning rubber in the name of automotive fun. 


The Roadkill guys happily pose for pics and sign autographs for fans.
Junkyard Life meets Roadkill. Jody Potter jumps at the chance to meet Freiburger and Finnegan. 

Trade details
  • Trade 1: Bristol Motor Speedway - 1972 Ford Maverick for 1979 Jeep J10 4x4 truck.



  • Trade 2: Kentucky Speedway - 1979 Jeep J10 4x4 truck for 1987 Pontiac Fiero "Guy Fiero" or also known as the Baja Fiero.



  • Trade 3: Lucas Oil Raceway Indianapolis, IN - 1987 Pontiac Fiero "Guy Fiero"  for 1963 Plymouth Belvedere.



  • Trade 4: War Memorial Coliseum in Ft Wayne, IN - 1963 Plymouth Belvedere for Fox Body Mustang notchback. 


Swapping titles
  The Roadkill guys managed to pull off four trades during their title-swapping road trip. When they landed at the final stop of the 2019 Hot Rod Power Tour in Norwalk, Ohio they held the keys to a Fox Body Mustang. They spun the tires on the Mustang even after limping it to the track on less than all cylinders. 
  “We ended up giving the Fox back to the guy we got it from,” said Freiburger. “So he got the Plymouth AND his Mustang back!”
  Call it a goodwill gesture or part of the Roadkill master plan. They avoided the cost of avoid hauling a car home by giving the Fox Body back to the guy who traded it for the ’63 Plymouth (we spotted it on a rollback). That earns huge respect from fans and adds to the number of people willing to trade, should their be a next time. 

More roads ahead
  For those two people who don’t know about RoadkillIt's a streaming MotorTrend Channel show, that brings in tons of viewers. Before it went subscription-based, the first 82 free episodes have earned more than 40 million views on YouTube of as of June 2019. New Roadkill episodes, produced after October 1, 2018, became available on the MotorTrendOnDemand subscription service. 
  Freiburger and Finnegan continue to grow their brand of old school know-how and junkyard projects in the modern age via smart phones, computers and smart TVs. Ironic, yes? The success is unquestionable.  

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life: The Story Beneath the Rust
   



Junkyard Life crew crammed into a modified all-wheel-drive 1966 Chevy Impala to become a long hauler on the 25th Hot Rod Power Tour.


Freiburger and Finnegan chat with the first "victim" of the Roadkill title swap.

A 1979 Jeep J10 4x4 made the cut as the first trade. The ’72 Ford Maverick found a new owner (bearded man).


Bristol Motor Speedway, the home of short-track NASCAR racing, was the backdrop for Day 3 of the 2019 HRPT.


Freiburger (flip flops) and Finnegan (flat bill cap) at it again in their standard Roadkill black t-shirts.

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 junkyardbull@gmail.com











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 junkyardbull@gmail.com or Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Buy Junkyard Life Tshirts, more

Buy Junkyard Life designs on Teespring at: teespring.com/stores/junkyard-life-store

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.


Feedback
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 junkyardbull@gmail.com 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: teespring.com/stores/junkyard-life-store

Buy Junkyard Life designs on Teespring at: teespring.com/stores/junkyard-life-store

Buy Junkyard Life designs on Teespring at: teespring.com/stores/junkyard-life-store
 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 junkyardbull@gmail.com & Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net