Add air to the tires, and this 1955 Packard Clipper Super Panama hardtop appears nice enough to drive away. Only 7,016 Panama hardtops were produced in ’55, and just 14,633 over the three years (1954, ’55 and ’56) the model was offered.
By Ron Kowalke
Let’s play the name game. How many different ways can a business that buys and sells damaged and/or dilapidated automobiles and their parts be described? My list includes: salvage yard, automotive recycler or automotive dismantler, scrap yard and (the one that redlines my blood pressure) junk yard. All would seem appropriate to generally define the buying and selling of worn automobiles and being a supplier of donor-quality parts.
But, after spending the better part of an afternoon with Ronald Briscoe of Quapaw, Okla., owner of Briscoe Scrap in that far northeastern Oklahoma town, I’ve had to reconsider my thinking on this subject.
At first glance, Briscoe Scrap appears much like many salvage yards that cater to the collector vehicle enthusiast. Rows of restorable cars front the property and more are staged in an orderly manner within the business’ borders. But that’s where the similarity ends.
Stacks of cars — both vintage and modern — destined to be crushed and shredded to make new steel dot the landscape of Briscoe Scrap. While this is a common sight in many salvage yards, here those piles of cars have an extremely short lifespan, quickly reduced in size and stacked on trucks destined for the foundry, only to be replaced by similarly sized piles of different cars.
Another rare and restorable Packard in the Briscoe Scrap inventory of cars for sale includes this 1952 Mayfair hardtop from the 250 Series. Needing cosmetic care, the Mayfair is otherwise roadworthy. Only 4,068 were built.
Briscoe explained to Old Cars Weekly that the core of his business is metal recycling, not salvage. Being an old car enthusiast himself, Briscoe comes across many vintage vehicles in his day-to-day search for scrap metal to process that he understands have value to fellow hobbyists. He crushes those old cars and trucks that he deems are too far gone to restore or supply parts and finds a spot on his property to store those he wants to sell to old car hobbyists.
Being from the Midwest and seeing the ravages of winter road salt on the salvage cars in the north central states, it was a bit alarming to me to see some of the more solid southern cars that were deemed “unworthy” to save and relegated to the crush lot. But the examples that Briscoe has saved for resale are, for the most part, prime candidates for restoration based either on their good condition, rarity or both.
One of several piles of cars to be scrapped is visible behind this 1955 Studebaker Commander Deluxe sedan. While the Studebaker has some rust-through on its lower panels, the white Oldsmobile Toronado near the top of the crush pile was rust free and full of donor-quality parts.
“We mainly buy out [salvage] yards and crush the hulks and keep the whole cars,” Briscoe explained. He stressed to Old Cars Weekly that he will only sell whole cars, not parts. He added that he has titles for some of his vintage inventory and for those he doesn’t, Briscoe will sell on a bill of sale.
There is no computerized inventory of the hundreds of cars Briscoe has for sale, but seeing the collection in person is recommended. Old Cars Weekly asked Briscoe about customers possibly obtaining parts from the vintage vehicles that are stacked on any of the crush piles. While he cautioned that the piles are refreshed regularly and vehicles don’t hang around too long, he didn’t say “no.” As a courtesy, permission first is a must, and having a yard employee obtain the part(s) is recommended for safety reasons.
Briscoe’s personal collection of cars includes an original 1947 Studebaker convertible and a ’32 Ford hot rod. The latter elicits a painful memory from Briscoe: “I crushed a ’32 Ford once, but it was rough.”
Briscoe Scrap is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
To contact the business, call 918-674-3090 (or toll free: 888-674-3090), or use e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or use postal mailing address: Briscoe Scrap, 4631 S. 620 Rd., Quapaw, OK 74363.
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