Last chance at a closed yard

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Clock is ticking to purchase Missouri yard’s project and parts cars

Story and photos BY Leroy Drittler

 The Fiat atop Theodosia’s old theater building lets visitors know they’ve found Ray Jackson’s yard.

The Fiat atop Theodosia’s old theater building lets visitors know they’ve found Ray Jackson’s yard.

As you enter the small community of Theodosia, Mo., from the west on State Highway 160, one of the first things you’ll notice is an old Fiat sedan sitting atop a building marking the location of Ray Jackson’s recycling and auto salvage business. The faded orange Fiat is lettered with the name of Jackson’s business, and if you ask him, he’ll reveals that it was hoisted to the top of the building using a front-end loader.

Jackson was born and raised in Texas. In 1965, he opened a used car lot, a recycling and salvage business with a portable crusher and a trucking business. After 16 years, he sold that multi-faceted business and in 1981, he bought some property just outside Theodosia and opened his current recycling and salvage business.

The five acres Jackson purchased contained several buildings including a theater that was being used by an auto repair business that worked on race cars. The 1940s theater still showed movies at the time of Jackson’s purchase, and it also had a stage where it hosted musical shows. Performers who played there before they became famous included The Carter Family, Johnny Cash and Porter Wagoner, who was born and raised about an hour away in West Plains, Mo. The concrete block façade of the building itself is an eye-catcher.

Another building had been added to the back of the theatre and was being used as a shop. Jackson has used the theater as an office and for parts storage.

Like most people in the salvage yard business, Jackson has a special car that he hides for himself. He keeps this mildly customized 1951 Chevrolet that he’s owned for 45 years under cover in a garage. The beautiful blue ’51 Chevy is a two-door sedan with a 261-cid truck engine equipped with dual carbs and twin exhausts. The interior of the Chevy has Naugahyde upholstery.

Jackson is now in his eighties and has retired. About six years ago, he shuttered the recycling business and crushed all of the yard’s newer inventory. He also sold his crusher, big loader and trucks. For the past several years, he has taken parts and cars to swap meets, but expects to discontinue those efforts. What remains in the yard is about 250-300 mostly American vehicles from the 1940s to the ’70s. There are a few imports including a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, a couple of VW Beetles, a VW window van and others. He would like to sell all of the vehicles in the yard as soon as possible as complete units only. Many of the remaining vehicles would make good projects while the others are strictly for parts. Jackson says he will not sell parts off of a vehicles unless it is almost completely parted out. And even then, the buyer would need to remove the part himself. Jackson said he does have a few loose Ford Model T parts ready to go.

Jackson will accept customers by appointment only. Un-escorted browsing is not allowed and is further discouraged by Jackson’s security detail of guard dogs.

If you need a parts car, or a new project, the clock is ticking to contact Jackson. He encourages interested people to contact him soon by email, phone or mail.

Ray Jackson
80 Jackson Road
Theodosia, MO 65761
rustycars75@yahoo.com.
417-273-4329

 This 1965 Ford Falcon Econoline Deluxe Club Wagon still has its engine. It is the top-of-the-line model with a bright, wide body-side molding and all-vinyl pleated upholstery.

This 1965 Ford Falcon Econoline Deluxe Club Wagon still has its engine. It is the top-of-the-line model with a bright, wide body-side molding and all-vinyl pleated upholstery.

 The best-selling Oldsmobile in 1953 was the Super 88 sedan with over 119,000 sold. The engine has been removed from this example of Oldsmobile’s best seller.

The best-selling Oldsmobile in 1953 was the Super 88 sedan with over 119,000 sold. The engine has been removed from this example of Oldsmobile’s best seller.

 Ford’s full-size LTD Country Squire station wagons changed very little from 1975-1977. They all had the vinyl bodyside paneling that were reminiscent of the old woodie wagons.

Ford’s full-size LTD Country Squire station wagons changed very little from 1975-1977. They all had the vinyl bodyside paneling that were reminiscent of the old woodie wagons.

 Many times, Jackson found that the cars he went to pick up were already stripped of their running gear, so he built this one-of-a-kind car hauler to hoist a vehicle on the back and haul it to the yard. The 1975 Ford truck body is mounted on a 1960 GMC frame and is powered by a Chevy engine.

Many times, Jackson found that the cars he went to pick up were already stripped of their running gear, so he built this one-of-a-kind car hauler to hoist a vehicle on the back and haul it to the yard. The 1975 Ford truck body is mounted on a 1960 GMC frame and is powered by a Chevy engine.

 This 1970 Plymouth Fury four-door hardtop has factory air conditioning and still has its 318-cid V-8 engine.

This 1970 Plymouth Fury four-door hardtop has factory air conditioning and still has its 318-cid V-8 engine.

 It seems that Packards are disappearing from salvage yards at high rate. So, if you have a ’55, this Clipper Super hardtop would make a great parts car. It still has its engine, but it also has rust issues.

It seems that Packards are disappearing from salvage yards at high rate. So, if you have a ’55, this Clipper Super hardtop would make a great parts car. It still has its engine, but it also has rust issues.

 It seems that Packards are disappearing from salvage yards at high rate. So, if you have a ’55, this Clipper Super hardtop would make a great parts car. It still has its engine, but it also has rust issues.

It seems that Packards are disappearing from salvage yards at high rate. So, if you have a ’55, this Clipper Super hardtop would make a great parts car. It still has its engine, but it also has rust issues.

 Jackson related that he had sold this ’70 Buick Electra 225 convertible over 30 years ago to a gentleman from St. Louis. He gave the buyer the title and hasn’t seen him since. Since the buyer doesn’t seem to want the car, it is for sale again.

Jackson related that he had sold this ’70 Buick Electra 225 convertible over 30 years ago to a gentleman from St. Louis. He gave the buyer the title and hasn’t seen him since. Since the buyer doesn’t seem to want the car, it is for sale again.

 The best-selling Rambler wagon in 1964 was this Classic Cross Country 660. This example still has its V-8 engine.

The best-selling Rambler wagon in 1964 was this Classic Cross Country 660. This example still has its V-8 engine.

 Someone has installed a Chevy small-block V-8 engine in this Willys pickup truck.

Someone has installed a Chevy small-block V-8 engine in this Willys pickup truck.

 The engine block is still under the hood of this hard-to-find mid-1970s Honda Civic. It has body rust issues, but does have trim parts available.

The engine block is still under the hood of this hard-to-find mid-1970s Honda Civic. It has body rust issues, but does have trim parts available.

 The best-selling Plymouth wagon in 1954 was this Plaza Suburban. It was also the most expensive Plaza, selling at $2,044. The flathead six engine is gone, but the transmission is still there.

The best-selling Plymouth wagon in 1954 was this Plaza Suburban. It was also the most expensive Plaza, selling at $2,044. The flathead six engine is gone, but the transmission is still there.

 This 1964 Buick Wildcat was equipped from the factory with air conditioning. It has the engine under the hood and good trim parts available.

This 1964 Buick Wildcat was equipped from the factory with air conditioning. It has the engine under the hood and good trim parts available.

 Someone has used this ’73 Dodge Charger for target practice. The are several bullet holes in the driver’s door and front fender. The hood is off, but is nearby the car and also loaded with bullet holes. The engine is gone, but it was equipped with a 400-cid V-8 engine with a 2-barrel carburetor. The car has a factory sunroof, which set the original buyer back $286.

Someone has used this ’73 Dodge Charger for target practice. The are several bullet holes in the driver’s door and front fender. The hood is off, but is nearby the car and also loaded with bullet holes. The engine is gone, but it was equipped with a 400-cid V-8 engine with a 2-barrel carburetor. The car has a factory sunroof, which set the original buyer back $286.

 The standard painted grille appears to be the best thing remaining on this ’57 Chevy truck.

The standard painted grille appears to be the best thing remaining on this ’57 Chevy truck.

 Jackson is hoping someone will buy this ’66 Ford Galaxie 500 hardtop and build it. It has been hit in the rear, damaging the rear fenders and trunk lid.

Jackson is hoping someone will buy this ’66 Ford Galaxie 500 hardtop and build it. It has been hit in the rear, damaging the rear fenders and trunk lid.

 The engine and transmission are gone, but there are body parts available on this 1961 Falcon Ranch Wagon. Ford ads proclaimed the ’61 Falcon as “The World’s Most Successful New Car.”

The engine and transmission are gone, but there are body parts available on this 1961 Falcon Ranch Wagon. Ford ads proclaimed the ’61 Falcon as “The World’s Most Successful New Car.”

 This 1975 AMC Matador coupe would make an excellent parts car or restoration project.

This 1975 AMC Matador coupe would make an excellent parts car or restoration project.

 One of four versions of Nash four-door sedans in 1951, this Statesman Custom has a good windshield and other parts.

One of four versions of Nash four-door sedans in 1951, this Statesman Custom has a good windshield and other parts.

 This 1974 Dodge Dart is equipped with factory air conditioning and still has its 318-cid V-8 engine.

This 1974 Dodge Dart is equipped with factory air conditioning and still has its 318-cid V-8 engine.

 This 1948 Studebaker sedan would make someone a great parts car.

This 1948 Studebaker sedan would make someone a great parts car.

 Jackson has three of these Fleetline fastback ’49 Chevrolets. One is a four-door, and the other two are two-doors.

Jackson has three of these Fleetline fastback ’49 Chevrolets. One is a four-door, and the other two are two-doors.

 The engine is gone from this 1965 Mercury Parklane Breezeway sedan, but it still has its desirable slanted and retractable rear window.

The engine is gone from this 1965 Mercury Parklane Breezeway sedan, but it still has its desirable slanted and retractable rear window.

 How about this 1947 Pontiac sedan? We always see plenty of Chevrolets sedans such as this in salvage yards, but Pontiacs, not so much.

How about this 1947 Pontiac sedan? We always see plenty of Chevrolets sedans such as this in salvage yards, but Pontiacs, not so much.

 This 1963 Corvair 95 Commercial Panel Van is restorable and would be a great way to advertise a business.

This 1963 Corvair 95 Commercial Panel Van is restorable and would be a great way to advertise a business.

 A 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 sedan is complete with engine and would make a great parts car or possibly a restoration project.

A 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 sedan is complete with engine and would make a great parts car or possibly a restoration project.

 Someone has started work on this 1951 Ford two-door sedan body, but there is a lot left to do.

Someone has started work on this 1951 Ford two-door sedan body, but there is a lot left to do.

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