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Friday, August 5, 2022

WATCH: 1958 Buick wrecker auction refugee


Finding a 1958 Buick Limited Riviera Sedan at my local Birmingham, Alabama wrecker auction is not a common occurrence. Only 5,571 were produced of the Buick in Model 750. These were the top-of-the-line four doors, loaded with a bevy of options, such as power seat, power windows and Buick’s smooth, seamless Flight Pitch Dynaflow transmission that did not have any step shifts and utilized multiple turbines. Big and beautiful At nearly 19-feet-long, there is no denying the yardage of stainless trim and 160-cubed grill grabs the attention, even when adorning a time-battered yard ornament. It was a shame to see this classic, rare Buick end up very close to being scrapped for pennies on the pound – but hope is alive. The rescued relic has found a new owner after landing at a Birmingham, Alabama wrecker auction. I hope the new owners make progress on preserving this treasure from the 1950s. Much design, history and automotive development went into making the 1950s American cars the most beloved decade of rolling art, and in this case, rotting beauty. Time will tell if this ’58 Buick will get a full restoration. We'll keep you posted as we discover the history of this particular Buick that led it to the wrecker auction or restoration info. Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life


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.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Cars in Yards: 1952 Mercury Monterey

 

Did we even have a 1952 in America? Surely, we did. And whoever just said, “Don’t call me Shirley” will get a Honeymooner’s style punch right in the kisser. 1952 was not a memorable year for car guys. The thirties were done. The streamlined design of the forties had turned to square. The enthusiastic car buyer would have to wait until 1953 for historical firsts, such as the iconic Chevrolet Corvette or the stealthy Thunderbird in 1955. So, what was 1952 like? To our forefathers, Mercury was a good way to spend more money for a Ford. But, Ford claimed this was not necessarily the case. Mercury produced beautiful cars and kept up with the space theme… like the B-52’s song said, “It’s a Cosmic Thing”.*

The 1952 question arose when we discovered this Mercury at a vintage speed shop in Kansas. Despite the Korean War, moneywise, the USA was doing rather well. Three-out-of-five families owned a vehicle. Things were definitely looking up. Maybe this Mercury Monterey was to be expected. This example must have led a charmed life, seeing how it has survived. Junkyard Life sadly surmises that most of the surrounding vehicles off the assembly line that day either turned into Pepsi cans or returned to the earth.


Hubcaps are a big deal to many enthusiast. They went from being highly desired, even often stolen, to not being desired at all. Now, we are back at being desired. Actually-Junkyard Life does have a resident hub cap nerd. Notice the Mercury on these caps doesn’t refer to the planet. It shows Mercury of Roman Mythology. In Roman belief, he was much like the God of Commerce. In Greek, he was the fast footed messenger of the Gods. With a car like this, no wonder he could deliver flowers so fast!**
Hubcaps are a big deal to many enthusiasts. They went from being highly desired, even often stolen, to not being desired at all. Now, hubcaps are back to being desired. Notice the Mercury on these caps doesn’t refer to the planet. It shows Mercury of Roman Mythology. In Roman belief, he was much like the God of Commerce. In Greek, he was the fast footed messenger of the Gods. With a car like this, no wonder he could deliver flowers so fast!**


Another Junkyard Life Space Race Lesson

Mercury Rising! This may have more trivial value than we thought! 1952 was the first year for the Monterey model. The whole world was caught up in the Great Space Race. Everywhere you looked, from furniture that looked like it was about to fly away, to cars that were named after planets and related space garb. Mercury. Think about what the name implied. It put in mind a different planet that was in our comic books and on NASA’s exploration to do list. Or would be in 1958 when they officially called themselves NASA.

This handsome Mercury was born a four-door sedan. Finished in a classy Lakewood Green, this was as nice of a family car that you could buy in 1952. Solid colors were standard and two-tone paint could be had at extra cost. Notice the dash controls are on levers on the top. This was to give an air craft like flavor to make for a great show off day with your new Mercury. Plus, having no control, it insured passengers to not cook their warm natured driver. Drivers don’t just give up temperature control willy nilly in this car. However, It could go all wrong for the passenger begging for cold air when hot air is all that emerged from the dash panels. “Hot air is better than no air at all.” Once reasoned a roasting passenger’s grandmother in June.

Also noted…a trailer hitch. Could this family car have towed a camper? Perhaps a boat? The 255 cubic inch power plant may have had a job to do! See? The history is always worth telling. In our JYL eyes, this Mercury was in great shape. Sporting the incredible hood ornament and all matching original hub caps. There was no one around to tell the story of this Monterey, but when there is…we bet it will be full of love and history. The important thing is…it is still here!


Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life


Primitive, but means business bumper hitch is a clue that this car has done something other than school and the market. 




Rocket speed lines or poetry in motion?



The hood ornament is a testimony to class. It was also rather common to have an ornamental announcement to the presence of your chariot!

The hood ornament is a testimony to class. An ornamental announcement to the presence of your chariot!




The 1952 taillights were all business with a little distinction tossed in. Taillights were often regarded as a signature of the car itself. Fans of this era can relate.




Welch Bros. dealer emblem. Was this a Kansas car dealership?



Editor’s Notes:
* After warnings from the Law Department, Ron has been reduced to only one pop culture reference per story. Our apologies to the B-52s. 

** Even more apologies to the FTD Florist people. He loves hub caps and means well. Ron really does know about florist delivery — that is why he is alive today.



Do you have a car story? Send us details!  Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com & Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net




Tuesday, April 19, 2022

WATCH: Hunting junkyards, classic cars in Puerto Rico



What did you think? 
Have some junkyard travel advice? Drop us a comment below or on our YouTube channel.

Thanks for watching and commenting!

Saturday, March 26, 2022

1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme: A One Hit Wonder



“One Supreme, Please!” That sounds like something one might say at a food truck or certain restaurants. However, that appears to be what a frugal buyer said in late 1973 or into 1974 upon walking into Royal Oldsmobile in Birmingham, Alabama. Let's take a closer look at this smashed Supreme still tucked away in a back lot in Birmingham.

“Supreme” may a bit of a stretch on this 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. They really didn’t spring for much. Outside of the slightly extra cost Supreme package, this Zodiac Blue example didn’t partake in any tempting luxuries other than air conditioning and top of the line Super Stock wheels. 

Cooler vinyl seat interior color? Nope. Not possible.


I Must Have Music
I grant thee a stereo. Really, that is a stretch. Radio is a better description of the music choice made here. This “FM” thing will never catch on, so a good old fashioned AM radio is what you get. You’re welcome. You should be able to hear it rather well on the bench seat if you are sitting in the middle. Don’t scoff at a bench seat. Drivers of the era made good use of them on date night. If the evening plans were going well, the date would sit right beside the driver in the middle. Not only could the center dash speaker be heard a little better, but the seating location also made a statement about the status of the relationship. Bucket seats were cool looking and cost more, but lost all romance.*

1974 Olds Cutlass Supreme view from driver's seat at gauges and dash.

Options
Power steering is about the only time the Olds assisted the operator. Manual windows, locks, and seats are found here. Junkyard Life thinks that the Landau top was part of the Supreme package. Although we all seem to want cars sans the vinyl top** because they survived at a better rate. So…conundrum? 

V-top roof from wreck or forklift? Share your thoughts in comments.


Running Red Light Guy – 1, Forklift – 1, Cutlass – 0
Our feature car seems to have lost a battle with a forklift. Also at some point there was a dispute over who had the right of way. Neither helped the Cutlass to a better place than it is in now. So now lets’ look at the real salmon and potatoes. That somehow means “let us look at the bright side” — all the engine hardware and linkage you could ever need is present! Except for cruise control. That is for rich folks.

15-inch Super Stock wheels

It does have a complete set of 15-inch Super Stock wheels! If you only knew the perils and pit falls of the journey Junkyard Life endured to get those same-sized wheels that are on our Olds wagon. That would be a much bigger deal to you. Most wheels of Super Stock design are 14-inch. Plus, there will always be a following of these round eyed Colonnades. So is there more? Could have been.



I Could Have Had a V8!
Actually you did have a V-8. The famous Oldsmobile Rocket. In this example, it was a 350 c.i.d. Now for the fun stuff…what you could have had! In 1974 a 455 cubic inch power plant was available. Here are some more optional packages:

  • In the “Salon” model, Mr. Cool gets bucket seats and a floor-shifted console. 
  • In the “S” model, you could get bucket seats that swivel! How cool is that? 
  • In the Hurst Edition, you could get all those goodies as well as swivel seats that had reversible cushions. If you didn’t like the color today….well, you had two choices.  
  • For some reason unknown to us, they didn’t promote the sporty 442 as much as you would have thought they would. However, it was there. 




The End?
Usually, we wrap up a story with hope for the future. In this case, the Automotive Grim Reaper seems to be driving. Outside of the parts we mentioned (mainly on the front of the Cutlass) this one is done. We do hope something good comes from the parts. We can hope.

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life


Instead of Cutlass Fun Facts…
wait for it…

1974 Car Buying Fun!

Let's buy a new 1974 model! We here at Junkyard Life come from the era of “hand me down” vehicles. Cars of this vintage were a realistic option for us driving to high school in the 1980s. We also love, nay, adore the Colonnade body style introduced in 1973. Back then, our parents and grandparents drove these cars by force because they were new and not that treasured by “us” car nerds. However, we all have family that swears there was not a “real” car made after 1972. That school of thinking is rooted in post-1972 government standards were more stringent and other factors such as safety and fuel economy were trying to all but kill anything fun from Detroit. So they got slower and heavier. We see it a different way. What would you do if it was 1974 and you were going to buy a mid-sized vehicle? It would be hard to go wrong. Several beautiful choices were available…Notice how we put our choices first. 

1. 1974 Pontiac Grand Am (Jody’s choice-he'd probable hold onto his 1973 GA)
        2. 1974 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ (Ron's choice)
        3. 1974 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with a big block and swivel seats (Keith’s choice)

        4. 1974 Pontiac Le Mans
        5. 1974 Chevrolet Malibu or Laguna (a popular race fan favorite)

   6. 1974 Hurst Olds Cutlass

7. 1974 Olds Cutlass 442

8. 1974 Buick Regal in it’s second year of production

9. 1974 Mercury Montego

10. 1974 Dodge Charger is heavenly in red with a black top

11. 1974 Plymouth Cuda

12. 1974 Dodge Challenger 

13. 1974 Ford Torino-always a beauty


See? The choices would be hard for many enthusiast. We know what we would pick, other than all of them, if money and storage were no object. Though seen as dark years for the American automobile, maybe it wasn’t as bad as we thought?


Editor’s Notes:

*Ron is not allowed to give relationship advice after that whole lawsuit thing.

** This may be historically the first time Ron has ever spoken against vinyl. 



A huge impact to the side of the Cutlass was enough to take it off the road, but I'm betting it was still drivable (a short distance), despite the damage.



Do you have a car story? Send us details!  Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com & Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net





Friday, March 11, 2022

1963 Chevrolet C10 SWB Fleetside: Son holds onto a truck full of memories

 James LeCroy stands beside his 1963 C10 truck that once belonged to his dad.

Holding on to dad's truck. James LeCroy has owned this 1963 Chevrolet C10 fleetside of the short-wheelbase variety for the better part of three decades. He made the mistake of letting it go once but has decided to keep it in his possession from now until forever. LeCroy holds firm to his commitment of never selling despite his wife, Joy's, lack of enthusiasm for the old truck.
  "My dream is to fill the bed with dirt and turn it into a flower bed,” said Joy. Her idea is not shared by the many people who drive by their house and stop with offers to buy it.


Tail gate view of rusty 1963 C10 that holds many fond memories.
Chevrolet sold over 425,000 trucks of all styles and weight classes during the 1963 model year.


Backstory
LeCroy's dad, Papa LeCroy, was the second-owner of the C10 when the truck was still wearing factory fresh blue and white paint. Papa LeCroy kept the wheels rolling on the C10 ferrying little old ladies back-and-forth 
from hair appointments and to the Piggly Wiggly grocery story in downtown Oneonta, Alabama. Papa LeCroy's shuttling days and “to-do” list items soon slowed down. That's when the son acquired the C10 from his dad in the late-1960s to use as a daily driver and to handle his own Saturday grunt work. Years went by and the truck was relegated to part-time use and a spot at the side of the driveway.
  Opportunity, or as LeCroy would surmise, the truck slipped away. 
During the 1980s, another family vehicle needed repair. The mechanic, who was working on the other vehicle, suggested a trade. The C10 would be payment instead of a repair bill for automotive work. It seemed like a good way to handle the unexpected expense but LeCroy soon regretted the decision when his dad's old truck disappeared from the driveway. 


Rusty 1963 Chevy C10 front bumper view shows decades of outdoor parking character marks.
The vent windows on the 1963 Chevrolet C10 were the last to feature wider glass at the top.


The return
Regret can leave a lump in your throat. A bruise on your eye. Or just the burden of undoing a wrong. LeCroy spurned regret in 1992. The mechanic who bought the C10 decided it was time to find a new home for the worn truck. His first call was to LeCroy and he jumped at the chance to buy back the second vehicle his dad ever owned. The 
truck, now 30 years old, did not disappoint in making lasting memories on LeCroy's long drive home.


James LeCroy knocks the dirt dauber nest off the engine of his 1963 Chevy C10.
LeCroy under the hood checking out the 230 cubic-inch inline six cylinder engine,


Smoked
Feeling the clutch engage and rowing through the column shift was no trouble. However, the view in the rear view mirror told another story. "It looked like I was spraying for mosquitos,” said LeCroy. “The engine smoked bad.”
  The years are seldom kind to throwaway, part-time vehicles. They get the short end of the stick when it comes to regular maintenance, even when owned by a shade tree mechanic. Based on the evidence, it could be possible that a lack of regular oil changes may have sent the piston rings to an early retirement. LeCroy discovered that power was down on the engine and the truck just didn't have "it" anymore. The truck found "home" again but seldom moved.


Dash and steering wheel look nearly perfect on 1963 C10.
Three-on-the-tree column shift transmission.


Rust-color
Parked for two decades outside has been brutal on the exterior condition of the C10. The body shows pinhole rust spots on top of the cab and everywhere below the belt line. The metal on all the C10's body panels has to be worn thinner, even on this era of tough, thick metal trucks. Two bright spots are the interior and
the 230-cubic inch six cylinder engine under the hood. The engine bay looks better than expected. But we know that smoking problem needs a rebuild. A sheet of steel replaced the wood floor bed years ago and helps hold the truck together. 


What next?
The potential and parts are available to restore the truck but it would be a long, expensive trip back to making this old Chevy a beauty again. To some, including me, the beauty in the truck is just as it sits.
  LeCroy is keeping it. Each time he walks outside, the truck takes him on another trip down memory lane. I believe that is the best trip that money can't buy.


Jody Potter
– Junkyard Life



Dirt daubers made several nests under the hood.
140-horsepower inline six cylinder engine has 230 cubic-inches.



Side view of rusty short-wheelbase 1963 Chevy C10.
Short wheelbase C10s are more popular and bring more money.




White front bumper revealed under the layers of decay.
1963 was a good year for Chevrolet trucks.




Large hood points skyward and shows the large opening these clam shell hoods offered.
Large hood will swallow you up for easy access to any mechanic issues. 




Original dog dish hub caps on passenger side of truck.
Originally painted blue with a white spear and roof.




Side view show last year for the forward slant cab design on the 1963 model C10.
Last year of the C10 with the forward-sloping roofline.




Truck was originally blue with white roof and spear, now rust is only color.
Hubcaps and big mirrors, ready to get the job done. No modern frills here.




Short wheelbase fleetside C10 sits by the road in front of the house.
Call me crazy but I don't think these trucks will never go out of style.





Do you have a car story? Send us details!  Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com & Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net



Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The Perils of a Turbo Coupe Fan in Serious Denial

1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe in black paint and original, used, worn condition.

I don’t want this car. Circumstances dictated my presence in a neighboring county, which yielded this 1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. The circumstances brought me there again where I had no choice but to stop and find it behind a TV repair place. I mean they left it right there behind the store for me to drive two blocks off the main road to see. It couldn’t be avoided. 


Go jump in the creek, circumstance. If, that is your real name? I don’t want this car. This beautiful black T-Bird does not beckon and I shan’t concede to these desires. Wait, I didn’t mean “desire.” Remember? I don’t want this car.


Who then? It seems that a member of the Junkyard Life staff does indeed have a thing for these boosted SVO Coupes. Is it Jody? Yes, it would make sense. This is a rare, classy vehicle WITH a manual 5-speed shifter between the seats. That would have him written all over it. However, it is not Jody. Then, it must be Keith! Yeah, that guy loves turbos and would probably go for this! Truthfully, no. It isn’t Keith. He would love the turbo but would arrivederci when he counts the cylinders and they don’t add up to eight. Or even six. So who does that leave that wants a 1980’s Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe with power everything, other than the super fun shift-it-yourself option? Oh. I see. You think it is me?


Turbo Coupe emblem detail shot of emblem on door of 1988 Thunderbird.
Turbo Coupe emblem detail shot of emblem on door of 1988 Thunderbird. Run for your life! Just kidding.


Clues A quick Junkyard Life website search would probably sway you into THINKING it is me. Just because I have written three or more articles about these cars doesn’t mean anything. That could have been anybody, with my name, and great haircut. I admit this looks suspicious, but alas, no. I don’t want this car. This beautiful car. You can’t prove it!


Console with manual transmission in 1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.
Console with manual transmission in 1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.


Look it over This example rolled off the line finished in Ford’s gleaming, sinister black exterior with a 2.3 turbo and a five-speed (did I mention that?) making a low-rated 190 horsepower and boosted at 15 psi. The car offered an interesting alternative to the Fox body Mustang, who was also enjoying a turbo 2.3 option. All of this turbo fun courtesy of Ford’s SVO program. SVO built mean rides. Need a positive-traction rear end? Yes, you do. You got it. Rear sway bar? Goes without saying. Options? A plenty, to say the least. The dash would light up like Chicago at night and made you wonder—is there anyone cooler than you at that very moment. Can you hear Gary Numan’s earlier hit song “Cars” in your head, or is it just in mine? This Thunderbird moved with authority and confidently made you, MADE YOU, I say, go just a few more RPMs before the shift. Why? Because it could. Imagine what other drivers thought when they looked in the mirror and the indigenous Turbo Coupe hood scoops came into view. The mere sight of that hood threatened to take you to the woodshed for a spanking right there on the street. You just bought cool. 


Sleek body of a 1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe sitting at stop sign still looks fast.
Sleek body of a 1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe sitting at stop sign still looks fast.


Come to a stop occasionally with your 4-wheel disc brakes. The Mustang guys wanted them, but couldn’t have them. Some say the car would do 145 MPH on the top end. Others claimed it to exceed 150 MPH. Way too fast for a 4 cylinder. But you see…that was the idea. Some claim European inspiration, but it was all-American. Like apple pie and whatever that game is where people run in a triangle and throw things at each other. (Ron, get it together. Baseball diamond.)


It’s a good thing I don’t want this great example of a beautiful black Turbo Coupe. It appears to be in relatively good shape despite a missing driver's window. It seems to have been garage kept most of its life, however, I noticed clues that indicated it had been in that spot for a while. Another interesting note…it had a brand new tire on the rear while the other tires seemed to be melting down. Alabama had a recent cold snap, and that tends to rob pressure from our tires. It is a good thing that I don't want this Turbo Coupe for several reasons. While true that the Junkyard Life garages are full of other fun toys, I am not going to contact the business where it sits and inquire about my chances of obtaining it. I am not going to leave my contact information. I am not going to, because I already did.

Ron Kidd — Junkyard Life



The big Ford headlights were "the" look across the showroom in the late 1980s.
The big Ford headlights were "the" look across the showroom in the late 1980s.



Turbo Coupes looks faster than regular Thunderbirds because the beak was unadorned with chrome or a grill.
Turbo Coupes looks faster than regular Thunderbirds because the beak was unadorned with chrome and it had no grill. Air was pulled from under the bumper into the engine bay.



Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupes featured NACA scoops on the hood.
Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupes featured NACA scoops on the hood.



This one, spotted in a parking lot behind a building is missing the door glass on driver's side.
This one, spotted in a parking lot behind a building is missing the door glass on driver's side.



16-inch alloy wheels on Thunderbird. This one wears one new tire.
16-inch alloy wheels on Thunderbird. This one wears one new tire.



No leaks?
No leaks under here?


The alloy wheels on the 1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe looked sporty.
The alloy wheels on the 1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe looked sporty. 



Do you have a car story? Send us details!  Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com & Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net