Vintage iron in Kentucky

Lyon's Vintage Junkyard - 300 old cars and trucks available for projects, parts

Story and photos by Leroy Drittler

Lined up behind the entrance sign to Lyon’s Vintage Junkyard are three project cars for sale: a 1949 Pontiac two-door sedan, a 1956 Ford Parklane station wagon and a 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III. The Pontiac and Parklane have sold since our visit.

In the rolling farm country of central Kentucky, there are at least a couple of historic attractions near Loretto. One is the world famous Maker’s Mark Distillery founded in the early 19th century. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. About five miles away is Lyon’s Vintage Junkyard, although it has not yet reached a level of prominence to gain national landmark status. Yet with an inventory of almost 300 mostly vintage vehicles, Lyon’s Vintage Junkyard is very important to old car fans and restorers.

David Lyon started collecting hubcaps when he was a kid, which fostered his interest in old cars. As an adult, he worked as a body man, repairing and restoring vehicles for 21 years until he switched his focus to his old car salvage business. Lyon still turns wrenches, but they are on the 1955 Chevrolet that he is restoring for himself.

The engine and transmission are gone from this 1965 Ford convertible. The hood looks good and has been removed and is on top of the car.

In 1990, Lyon bought the property upon which he started his old car salvage yard. He takes pride in keeping a very clean yard with no loose parts scattered around to trip over. Lyon regularly mows and periodically cuts the brush, vines and briars around the vehicles. Engines are also kept covered with hoods closed, and he keeps doors and trunk lids shut. Some folks have suggested Lyon change the name from “junk yard” to “salvage yard,” but he says he always called it a junk yard and that what locals call it, so he’s keeping the name.

There is an interesting assortment of old vehicles in the yard with the oldest being the remains of a 1931 Chevrolet. In the yard are several 1955-’57 “Tri-Five” Chevys and shoe-box Fords including a Crestliner, plus Chevelles and Firebirds. There are also some unusual and unique vehicles including a Lincoln Zephyr and an IHC four-door panel that looks like a Travelall, but with the rear windows covered.

This 1965 Cadillac is jacked up in the back so a buyer could check out the frame and undercarriage for rust. It has factory air and is for sale as a unit only.

Lyon has been able to keep his “junk yard” stocked by buying old parts vehicles at auctions. He also goes to swap meets where he buys and sells, and regularly checks Facebook Marketplace where he has found some good buys. Lyon says he’ll never crush an old vehicle.

Lyon has a Facebook page that he uses to show photos of some of his vehicles and he has customers all over the country. Recently he sold a ’59 Edsel two-door hardtop to a buyer in Australia. Several nicer project vehicles are parked in front of his shop; these are for sale as complete units only. A few restorable cars can be found in the yard and parts cannot be removed from them. Some of the vehicles in the yard have titles, but a lot of them do not and those are being parted out. Customers are not allowed to remove parts from vehicles in the yard, but Lyon or his son will remove them for you. The business is all family, and Lyon’s wife handles most of the office work. Since Lyon lives on the premises, he says he is usually open from eight to eight or until dark.

Lyon’s Vintage Junkyard
2605 Holy Cross Road
Loretto, KY 40037
(270) 865-2212

This 1966 Rambler Classic 770 four-door sedan still has its automatic transmission and engine. It also has a restorable swing-out Rambler accessory tissue holder under the dash.

Lyon has a couple of Corvettes in the yard with this 1985 being the best and most complete. It has a good rear window, and good wheels that were taken off and stored.

Lyon has accumulated a few old bicycles that are for sale. This lineup includes a couple of Schwinns and a Roadmaster.

The Patrician 400 sedan was the top dog in the Packard line-up in 1951. It came with the Ultramatic transmission as standard equipment. This one is mostly complete and fairly rare as only 9,001 were manufactured.

This 1963 Mercury Monterey Custom is for sale only as a complete unit. The Breezeway roof has a roll-down rear window that works.

This photo doesn’t show how rusty this 1953 Plymouth really is. Someone opened the right rear door and it fell completely off the hinges and to the ground.

The highest-priced Pontiac in 1964 was this Bonneville Safari wagon at $3,633 and only 5,844 were built.

Corvair station wagons were introduced in 1961, and were discontinued by the end of 1962. This 1961 model is a Lakewood 700.

There are several shoe-box Fords in the yard including this 1950 Crestliner that was introduced in mid-season.

The engine and interior are gone from this 1962 Buick Skylark.

At first glance, there seemed to be something a little bit odd about this ‘65 Pontiac Grand Prix. We think the original front fenders have been replaced with Catalina 2+2 fenders with the faux louvers behind the wheel openings.

A restorable swing-out Rambler accessory tissue holder.

Lots of good parts, including the grille, remain on this 1964 Valiant sedan.

This 1963 Olds Super 88 has a bent hood and is missing its grille, but has other good body parts available.

The interior is gone from this 1975 Malibu Classic. When Lyon acquired it, he was told its 350 engine was good.

To retrieve this long-parked 1966 Dodge 100 pickup out of the woods, Lyon had to cut a couple of big trees. One was growing through the bed, and another was between the bed and cab, bending both.

This 1950 Olds 88 runs and drives. It is a twenty-footer that needs some TLC.

Corvair made four-door hardtops from 1965 through 1967. This 1965 has a lot of good parts.

It is OK to remove parts from this complete-looking 1965 Buick Wildcat.

A 1983 Pontiac Trans Am still has its T-Tops.

A row of Volkswagens are in the back of the yard. The newest is a 1974 Bug, and the oldest one is a 1968 convertible.

This third-generation (and next-to-last) International Travelall is a panel. It appears the window openings for the rear doors and rear quarter panels were stamped at the factory, but were never cut out.

In 1972, the Polara was the base trim level for the full-size Dodge. This sedan has several factory options.

The Olds 98 body was significantly different from the 76 series and the 88 series in 1950.

The Corsair was the top trim level for Edsel in 1959. This one has good Corsair trim, a nice center grille and a decent driver-side grille panel.

The straight-eight engine has been removed and is loose under the hood on this 1948 Buick Sedanette.

This 1953 Lincoln Capri has a ’54 hood. It has many good parts including a nice three-piece back window.

Lyon identified this car as a 1941 Lincoln-Zephyr. Many parts have been removed including the engine.

One of the interesting cars in the yard is this 1946 Lincoln Club Coupe with factory power windows.

This ’37 Plymouth two-door looks to be a street rod project gone bad. It has late-model bucket seats and a chopped top that was cut and partially welded back.

David Lyon, owner of Lyon’s Vintage Junkyard, takes a break on a couch he constructed from the rear of a 1953 Chevrolet. It has a center arm rest, working tail lamps and backup lamps and a 1953 Kentucky license plate. On the wall behind him is his license plate collection. He was born in 1966, and has a plate of that year from every state.