Gunners Garage

Crush Them (But Save the Saveable Parts)

Recently, Old Cars Weekly did an issue about vintage junkyard cars that are being crushed. It was full of laments about the increase in this practice. I have been collecting cars for 35 years and I have spent very little money in junkyards. And a lot of the money I did spend in junkyards was wasted. There is very little good stuff on rusty hulks that have been sitting in mud or sand for 30-40 years or more. Body parts that are rusty, dented and twisted are virtually useless. Soft trim like seats, carpets and door panels always deteriorate and just make it harder to get at the few good parts that remain. Would you want to drive down the highway at 60 mph on junkyard tires? The things that stay good on these cars are the glass (if it doesn’t break of discolor), dashboard parts, small items like nuts, bolts and clips, wheels and that’s really about it. Sometimes the grille and bumper parts can be rescued and rechromed, but not very often. I am far from an environmentalist, but I think it is silly to lament the crushing of useless hulks that no one serious about collecting real collector cars is going to want anyway. No serious collectors even want to put junk car parts on their pristine original or restored cars. However, I do think that an economic feasibility study could be done to prove that those parts that usually survive in good shape are worth removing from hulks before the crusher is brought in. Hey, if you show someone a sure way to make good money, someone is going to start a company to strip these parts and make money selling them. Maybe a trade organization like SEMA (www.sema.org) could conduct such a study and see if there is a cost-effective way to save the saveable parts. 

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