Winter weather doesn’t mean salvage yarding should come to an end for the season. Many salvage yards keep the gates open through the snowy season, and one of the best yards in the upper Midwest –if not anywhere – is French Lake Auto Parts (FLAP). The Annandale, Minnesota, salvage yard is heaven on earth for car lovers, and it welcomes parts pullers year-round.
Floyd and Skip Nolan of FLAP love old metal, and they know where to dig it up — especially the rare goods. In the 30 years I’ve been going to FLAP, they’ve had some incredible cars come through the yard. A mid-‘30s Pontiac carved-side hearse, 1958 Impala hardtop, a complete 1955 Ford Crown Victoria, 1957-'60 Lincoln convertibles, a ca.-1936 Pierce-Arrow sedan and early Chrysler 300s are just a few of the treats I’ve found at FLAP. Although these rarities were gone by my recent visit, there was still plenty to scout.
A January thaw was just one of the triggers that put us behind the wheel with the hood ornament pointed to Annandale on Jan. 24. It’s been almost two years since our last visit and FLAP has since organized its inventory of cars and trucks into rows not only sorted by make, but often by year — a huge undertaking for a yard of any size, let alone one that occupies more than 100 acres as FLAP does. This recent reorganization of the yard made it incredibly easy to find specific vehicles in the yard.
Cars and parts filling buildings date back to the early 1900s, but the under-the-sun inventory in the yard during our recent visit is mostly 1940s and newer with a heavy dose of 1950s and ��60s iron. Here are some scenes from our most recent visit. As you'll see, FLAP's tradition of rare and desirable iron continues.