Future for recently closed yard remains uncertain
Story and Photos by Ron Kowalke
Golden Sands Salvage, a long-standing and popular vintage vehicle and parts source in Boscobel, Wis., closed on July 27. Keith Swenson, who has operated the southwestern Wisconsin salvage yard for approximately 30 years, is seeking a buyer for the business. What will happen to the yard’s inventory of more than 400 vehicles, most ranging from the 1930s to ’80s, if a buyer isn’t found, has yet to be determined.
The yard hosted a “last chance” sale on Friday and Saturday, July 26-27, during which several vintage cars and trucks were purchased for restoration projects. Buyers also snapped up donor parts and shop tools/supplies from the on-site mechanic’s garage. What remains on the 18-acre property in addition to vehicles are several dilapidated mobile homes and old cargo truck boxes filled with loose items such as drivetrain parts, trim, wheels and interior parts from cars and trucks going back several decades. The yard also contains a large selection of vintage boats and snowmobiles as well as farm implements.
In summer months, the yard gets overwhelmed with brush and trees in full bloom. Many vehicles on the property’s outer edges are either partially or totally obscured by foliage. Interesting vehicles that remain visible in the tangle of growth include a 1962 Pontiac Amblewagon station wagon, a trio of Edsel sedans, “bullet nose” Studebaker, ’58 Chevrolet Apache 38 minibus that served the Boscobel Area Public School system, ’54 Chevy 5700 COE tanker, ’56 Lincoln Capri hardtop and ’77 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon with porthole rear-quarter windows.
With word relayed on social media of the yard’s closing, it brought buyers from near and far for a chance to acquire needed vehicles or parts. Andy and Gail Howard of Fond du Lac, Wis., scored interior parts for their Pontiac Firebird. Raymon Alt of Ironton, Wis., purchased a 1936 Nash 400 Deluxe sedan that long ago had been converted to a hot rod with a modern Chevy drivetrain and aftermarket wheels. Alt said he plans to keep the Nash as a period hot rod, but will definitely change its modified interior. The previous owner installed orange-and-white shag carpet on the floor, inner door panels and headliner. It was an “unusual” choice when installed decades ago, and that’s using a polite “u” word!
Traveling from out of state were Luke Goedert and his girlfriend Holly Hayes of Cherry Valley Auto in Millville, Iowa. They rescued a 1948 Oldsmobile Dynamic sedan that Hayes said will be used for a rat rod build. It was a struggle to get the Olds on Goedert’s trailer as the car’s transmission brace was rotted away and the low-hanging tranny was catching on the end of the hauler as the car was being pulled aboard via a chain.
Todd Sletten of Ferryville, Wis., said he’s been a longtime customer of Golden Sands Salvage and has frequented the yard to obtain parts to maintain his collection of vintage Fords. He and his brother Loren wrestled a weathered 1928 Ford Model A Tudor from the brush and stated he’ll use most of the car’s bodywork for a hot rod build. He added that the yard’s closing was a sad occasion. “There’s not much else in this area for the old stuff.”
Updates on the status of Golden Sands Salvage inventory can be obtained by calling Keith Swenson at 608-375-0625 (no morning calls), or Al at 608-391-1069.