As seen in the July 5, 2018 issue of Old Cars Weekly
Bud’s Auto Salvage
Story and photos by Phil “Doc Boneyard” Skinner
If you like exploring vintage tin off the beaten path, then a trip to the tiny community of Aline, Okla., should be on your list of destinations.
Bud’s Auto Salvage was established around 1955 by Bud Anthony who, with his wife Cordelia, has a close-knit family of three sons. Bud had a very good job working for the railroad, but being able to spend time with his family was more important and so using his mechanical skills, he opened a repair shop in which he built a stellar reputation. As a result of his efforts, a number of old cars began to show up at his shop, many of which were donated or traded for services. Bud soon found there was a need for parts from these vintage cars and began a side business. In short order, the parts side of his business exceeded the repair work. By the mid 1960s, Bud’s little operation had outgrown his in-town operation, so a parcel of land off Oklahoma Route 8, just outside the city limits of Aline, was established under the name Bud’s Auto Salvage. A couple of landmarks were created to identify the business, the most striking being a 1964 Cadillac Coupe deVille mounted high atop two metal posts.
Around 1982, Bud decided to pursue other interests and opened a small motorcycle shop in town. He turned over operation of the parts yard to his son Rocky. Other members of the family began to help out at the yard and through the years, Rocky’s wife, Vicki, came to work at the yard, as did his Rocky’s son Kyle, to make this a three-generation operation.
Sadly, the world lost Bud at the age of 88 last January. Rocky is looking forward to retirement as Kyle, along with his wife, Rockel, are managing to keep the doors open. However, according to Vicki, that is becoming harder to do.
“We are just about in the middle of nowhere,” Vicki said. “We ship parts all over the world, but it costs a little extra due to the distance we have to travel to get to a shipping center. It has also become a lot harder finding new ‘old cars’ to fill up the place.”
As we entered the fields to look for treasure, we found there was plenty of old gold. To keep our bearings, we looked to the giant statue of Raul Bunyan, Paul’s cousin, standing watch from atop a hill where he can be seen from any place in the yard. Today, there are around 3,500 cars and trucks available for parts, as well as another 400 cars that are available as complete vehicles. Most of the vehicles appeared to be from the early 1950s to the late 1970s, but we found treasures as far back as the 1930s and a few examples from the 1980s.
For the most part, sheet metal was solid with a light patina of surface rust, and the clean air of this part of the Sooner State has helped to preserve the chrome and other bright metal trim pieces. Those cars that are designated for parts are grouped together along neatly aligned rows organized by make and, as much as possible, in groups of similar year models.
“Over the years, we have probably had 10,000 or more cars here,” Kyle said. “We did send some cars to the crusher a few years ago, but we salvaged nearly everything we could before they went away.”
Today, Bud’s Auto Salvage has several large storage facilities filled with everything from sheet metal to glass, mechanical components to soft-trim interior items and much more. For the rarity of the items handled, we found the prices to be in line with market values and, in some cases, there were interesting bargains to be found.
Bud’s Auto Salvage is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. According to Kyle, if a customer calls ahead and wants to come to the yard on a Saturday, they will open on special occasions. However, the yard is not open on Sundays, a day dedicated to family — another tradition the late Bud Anthony started.