Friday, December 2, 2022

Driven out of the junkyard: 1993 Calypso Green Mustang LX


Finding and driving your first car out of a junkyard! Yes! CJ Sanderson found a 1993 Calypso Green Mustang LX in a family-owned salvage yard comprised mostly of Ford products. The discarded Mustang didn’t run in "as found" condition. His father, Chris Sanderson, was eager to extract this rare horse with a chain and a trailer. However, 16-year-old CJ convinced his dad that they should try to get it running right where it sat, in the pony car retirement home, for the sake of a better story.

16 year old with project 1993 Mustang in Calypso Green.
CJ with his first car, and first project car Mustang, driven out of a junkyard.

Aerial of Mustang junkyard. Calypso Green Fox body is easy to spot.
Calypso Green stands out even in an aerial pic of the junkyard.
Disable Stable With three generations of Ford tough determination and knowledge, the Sanderson family, of Fultondale, Alabama, grabbed some wrenches, fresh gas, fresh battery and willed the 2.3 liter 4 cylinder to move under its own power. The Mustang cranked! CJ drove the horse out of the ‘Disable Stable’ and into the garage where the serious Pony car wrenching takes place. (Note to self: Cool name for a Mustang salvage yard)

1993 Mustang is stripped down for paint.
The gutted Fox body was taken apart in preparation for paint.

CJ and Darrell work on interior details of the 1993 Mustang.
CJ and his grandfather, Darrell, tackle many of the Mustang details together.

First car CJ Sanderson’s first car totally has a cool factor to make any car guy jealous. Let's meet the car. Behold! A rare 1993 Calypso Green Mustang LX! Although not born a factory 5.0, during the Pony’s re-birth a massive 351-V8 found a home between the fenders. More horses for the Horse Of Courses.* This 351 looks right at home in CJ’s car. Bigger cubes and fuel injection makes for a fun Fox. CJ and Chris didn’t stop there. A Ford Lightning lower intake and the Ford Explorer upper intake should blend the fuel and air quite well. Shaken and stirred.

CJ stands next to the 357-cubic inch V8 on the engine stand.
Bored to a 357-cubic inch V8, CJ is stoked about the Mustang's new engine. 

Engine has been installed and will be fired up soon.
The Mustang's engine bay is getting close to completion. 
More better! One thing Mustang enthusiasts point out is that in the final model year for the Fox body, Ford decided to go with hypereutectic (cast aluminum) pistons. Unlike the forged units that lived through a lot of nitrous between 1986 and 1992 model years. This didn’t bother CJ because his 351-cu. inch block is bored to a 357-cu. inch using forged pistons and balanced I-beam rods. This power plant has plenty of muscle-flexing action. Don’t spend much time worrying that a stock T-5 may not hold up to this massive power. CJ ditched the automatic that backed the original engine and opted for an indestructible ProMotion Powertrain. This T-5 is guaranteed to hold up to 600hp or one teenage car guy. Whichever comes first. For rolling stock he is currently running Weld Wheels, but plans to convert to five lug axles and run a rare set of Saleen rims. This kid never stops! That is also why a rear disc brake conversion is also in his near future!

CJ and his dad, Chris, (in front of the Fox body) discuss plans to enter the Calypso Green Mustang into the 2023 World of Wheels car show.

Envy? The paint and body work turned out sensational. What a stunning color. Calypso Green was used for just three years during the Fox body era, 1991-1993. Known to Mustang professors as Bright Calypso Green (Code PM). It was no beauty secret that the interior option was often paired with Opal Grey (Code 6). Ford did that very much on purpose because it was undeniably a beautiful color combination that let your eyes think they were at a party. A classy party. That was also the last year for the body style famously known as The Fox Body. So basically, an end of the run Fox Party! 

Interior pieces are new and make the car pop.
Progress on the 1993 Mustang interior is moving fast. Custom Gauges, Jegs high back sport seats were added up front and Corbeau seat covers in rear. Cup holders replace ash tray and a power point and USB charge plugs added to rear of console.

Ford Family Growing up in a car enthusiast family. CJ Sanderson never stood a chance of growing up to not be a car guy. Whatever path this sharp young man chooses, he will travel in style. That will never change the heredity-induced deep love of all cars–especially Fords. Destiny in CJ’s case was pretty obvious. When we came to visit this project one thing we loved was the three generations of Sandersons involved in this hobby. CJ is the son of Junkyard Life Brother Chris Sanderson who is known for his Mustangs and other creative Fords. Chris’s parents, Darrell and Teresa Sanderson (CJ’s grandparents), are lifelong Mustang collectors and passionate Ford enthusiasts. CJ’s little sister is named Shelby. Even the family dog is named Sally. Coincidence? No. This is a Ford family.

Calypso Green 1993 Mustang has a chin spoiler and cowl hood.
Chin spoiler and cowl hood ramp up the performance look.

Why we love this kid CJ is very grateful for the help and support that he has from his family. There is something special about one’s first car, even more so a Mustang. This one has a great story with three generations of Ford passion. CJ gets to enjoy being the king for a few more years until his little sister Shelby gets her 1990 LX 5.0 drop top on the road, but until then…CJ rocks the Calypso! Thank you for letting us be a part of this awesome story!

Ron Kidd — Junkyard Life

The Mustang LX has a bit of a stance. Lift blocks in rear may be coming out.

Junkyard Life’s Calypso (and CJ) Fun Facts:

  • Jacques Cousteau’s ship was named Calypso. 
  • Contrary to popular belief, CJ’s initials do not stand for “Cobra Jet” – they stand for “Christopher John.” That really is hard to believe in a family with a reputation of Ford inspired names.
  • The interior options were limited if you were lucky enough to score a Calypso car. Opal grey (6) or Black interior (variety of RPO codes) were the choices.
  • In Greek Mythology Calypso could mean “Concealing the knowledge.” That seems appropriate because you would not suspect a giant 351 was under the hood.
  • By 1993 the Fox body was in its 15th and final year.
  • Sources seem to agree that in 1993 there were 62,077 hatchback Mustangs rolling off the line. However, some sources say this color was rare on 5.0 GTs and 5.0 LXs.
  • Ford played with the name of this color before in history, but oddly before 1991 they never declared it to be anything green. 
  • Being the last of the famous Fox Body run from 1979 to 1993, Ford decided to sneak in hypereutectic pistons instead of the very solid forged ones used on the fuel injected cars. People love to remind 1993 owners of this. High doses of nitrous would turn the non-forged motors into a big rock. Not an issue on CJ’s car. Remind him all you like. 
  • Junkyard Life can’t stress enough how cool it is to want to DRIVE your Mustang out of the junkyard and over the horizon to a new life. Way to go, CJ!

Editor’s Note: “More horses for the horse of courses” is yet another reason that Ron is not allowed to watch TV while writing a car story. Our apologies to Mr. Ed.

CJ's Mustang has a factory sunroof.
That sunroof along with the Calypso color sold him on this Fox body.

This Mustang will have more downforce via the Steeda Aero Spoiler.

Up front is a Makers Garage LX chin spoiler.

The Hoosier slicks will give way to street rubber, Saleen rims, and 5-lug axles for daily duty.

This project Calypso LX has a few more weeks until completion and debut.

This Fox body build carries on a family tradition.
Wrenching, learning, and making memories. Father to son.

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
and Ron Kidd at

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Monday, October 24, 2022

FOR SALE: 1936 Packard Eight Sedan

1936 Packard Eight sedan grille and swan hood ornament

Can't hide money? We're helping out a seasoned hot rod buddy from Tennessee sell his 1936 Packard Eight Sedan. We hauled the 4,800-lb beast back to Alabama last week. She's solid, has original paint, and loads of new chrome. Handles, bumpers, headlights, tail lights, hood ornament/radiator cap, and running board trim all rechromed or replaced. Has all new tinted glass and window felt. It rolls on 17-inch wire wheels. Notice it has six wheels. Two spares are tucked into the sides of the sweeping front fenders. Our buddy, John, spent loads of money on it since he purchased and is ready to send it to a new owner.

Look at that!
All original. Black fenders and deep Packard Blue paint on the body is a sight to behold. The interior even has the original upholstery as well and is in great condition. Factory Motorola radio mounted under dash. Packard labeled these the 14th Series and this is a 1401 Club Sedan.

And... you get to work on it too
The 320 cubic-inch eight cylinder engine gets warm very quick. Previous owner replaced the radiator but the "overheating" issue remains. Has a n
ew air cleaner and filter. The three-speed floor shift synchromesh transmission shifts smooth. Out back the lower trunk access door needs wood frame to complete assembly and make functional. This is a beautiful car that needs just a little work to finish.

This Packard is a great place to hide you money. That's what our gear head mind tells us. Who knows what the economy will do but this rare classic will always look good in the garage, car show, or as a wedding event car. 
Come get it.

Price: $45,000 

Jody Potter
— Junkyard Life

Blue sky over the 1936 Packard

1936 Packard Eight hood ornament is a chrome swan

Hood panels raised on 1936 Packard Eight

Hood panels raised on 1936 Packard Eight wear decorative trim

1936 Packard Eight mohair tan interior

Spare tires in fenders make this a six wheel 1936 Packard

Left side of 1936 Packard.

Right side of 1936 Packard.

Bulging 1936 Packard fenders

1936 Packard grill is an unmistakable design.

Luggage rack on 1936 Packard

VIN plate on 1936 Packard

Wire wheels were optional on 1936 Packard

If these seats could talk, what would they tell us about the history of the 1936 Packard?

Back seat of 1936 Packard

1936 Packard 3-speed

Tan mohair interior of 1936 Packard

1936 Packard detail of headlight

Fancy 1936 Packard looks like money

Yellow wire wheels on 1936 Packard side view

Trunk mounted on back of 1936 Packard

Wire wheels and wide white walls on Blue 1936 Packard 1401 Sedan

Wide white walls on Blue 1936 Packard 1401 Sedan

Blue and black 1936 Packard 1401 Sedan

Straight Eight in a 1936 Packard 1401 Sedan

New air cleaner Straight Eight in a 1936 Packard 1401 Sedan

Straight Eight in a 1936 Packard 1401 Sedan

Six wheel 1936 Packard in blue and black original paint.

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

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 or Ron Kidd at

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 and we’re on the way!
Send emails to Jody Potter at
and Ron Kidd at