I don't let the cold stop me from visiting my favorite salvage yards, even if they're located in the upper Midwest. Recently, I hauled my brother and dad to French Lake Auto Parts (FLAP) in French Lake, Minn., to pick up some parts for mid-1950s Caddys and 1980s full-size Chevys. While I was there, I was shocked to see a giant, new cache of finned Mopars on hand!
FLAP is owned by car collectors (and longtime OCW subscribers), and they are constantly adding to the yard's old-car inventory. Much of that inventory comes from the southwest, and often includes project cars, as well as salvage vehicles. Many of these Mopars could be saved, so if you're looking for a De Soto project car, give Floyd at FLAP a call at 320-274-8497, or check 'em out at www.frenchlakeautoparts.com.
Sorry about the shadows, but the early bird gets the worm, and my visit was early!
Before we get to the MoPars, how about a 427-cid-powered 1968 Chevy Bel Air or Biscayne? I almost passed by this two-door sedan, and I like these coupes, regardless of powerplant. The rusty-mismatched front clip is deceptive for two reasons: first, the emblem on the front fender is for a 307-cid V-8, and it's rusty. The rest of the body is obviously from a dryer climate well south of Minnesota, and handwriting on the window reads "427 car." This diamond in the rough is available as a project.
Some of the new tin entering FLAP. Lots of mid-size GM muscle and other 1960s GM cars in this shot. Check out the cool poverty caps on the early-'70s Firebird...too cool!
While I passed by the 427 Chebby the first time, this 1937-38 Willys sedan stopped me dead in my tracks. It's for sale as a whole car for around $4,500, if memory serves.
Here's the finned MoPar sight that dropped my jaw. Lots of cool, restorable treats in this trove...
1962 Chrysler two-door hardtop was pretty solid...
There are two 1960 DeSoto Adventurer two-door hardtops at FLAP. Neither is very rusty, but they have been bumped around and have had their interiors somewhat thrashed. I do not believe either had an engine, either. But where else do you find a 1960 De Soto Adventurer?
Here's the front of both '60 Adventurers...
This 1957 De Soto almost came home with me. It still might...
She's real rough, but she's a 1960 Plymouth convertible. Ever seen one in a salvage yard?
More of the MoPar convertibles, this time a little before and a little after the finned era.
A brace of 1959 De Soto four-doors. The black '59 is a four-door hardtop, while the red car is a sedan.
How 'bout a rough 1957 Lincoln Premiere convertible?! I believe it's even in the highly coveted Wisteria color. Jane Mansfield had one, and you should, too.
I have friends with Ford products built with automatic transmissions in the era of this 1970 Mustang convertible, and they have had their vehicles slip out of "park" and into "reverse" while running, but never with results this terrible...
It only LOOKS like the Rambler is towing the Buick wagon, but either way, what a neat pair of long roofs. The Buick still has its aluminum drums up front.
I saved the best for last. FLAP has three Willys sedans on hand, and they were all new arrivals. They're from out west, but there's not much in the way of metal. I collected some trim for my future Willys project car from these cars while I could find it. That's a 1941 in the foreground, a 1939 in the middle and a 1940 at the rear.