Lyon's Vintage Junkyard - 300 old cars and trucks available for projects, parts
Story and photos by Leroy Drittler
In the rolling farm country of central Kentucky, there are at least a couple of historic attractions near Loretto. One is the world famous Maker’s Mark Distillery founded in the early 19th century. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. About five miles away is Lyon’s Vintage Junkyard, although it has not yet reached a level of prominence to gain national landmark status. Yet with an inventory of almost 300 mostly vintage vehicles, Lyon’s Vintage Junkyard is very important to old car fans and restorers.
David Lyon started collecting hubcaps when he was a kid, which fostered his interest in old cars. As an adult, he worked as a body man, repairing and restoring vehicles for 21 years until he switched his focus to his old car salvage business. Lyon still turns wrenches, but they are on the 1955 Chevrolet that he is restoring for himself.
In 1990, Lyon bought the property upon which he started his old car salvage yard. He takes pride in keeping a very clean yard with no loose parts scattered around to trip over. Lyon regularly mows and periodically cuts the brush, vines and briars around the vehicles. Engines are also kept covered with hoods closed, and he keeps doors and trunk lids shut. Some folks have suggested Lyon change the name from “junk yard” to “salvage yard,” but he says he always called it a junk yard and that what locals call it, so he’s keeping the name.
There is an interesting assortment of old vehicles in the yard with the oldest being the remains of a 1931 Chevrolet. In the yard are several 1955-’57 “Tri-Five” Chevys and shoe-box Fords including a Crestliner, plus Chevelles and Firebirds. There are also some unusual and unique vehicles including a Lincoln Zephyr and an IHC four-door panel that looks like a Travelall, but with the rear windows covered.
Lyon has been able to keep his “junk yard” stocked by buying old parts vehicles at auctions. He also goes to swap meets where he buys and sells, and regularly checks Facebook Marketplace where he has found some good buys. Lyon says he’ll never crush an old vehicle.
Lyon has a Facebook page that he uses to show photos of some of his vehicles and he has customers all over the country. Recently he sold a ’59 Edsel two-door hardtop to a buyer in Australia. Several nicer project vehicles are parked in front of his shop; these are for sale as complete units only. A few restorable cars can be found in the yard and parts cannot be removed from them. Some of the vehicles in the yard have titles, but a lot of them do not and those are being parted out. Customers are not allowed to remove parts from vehicles in the yard, but Lyon or his son will remove them for you. The business is all family, and Lyon’s wife handles most of the office work. Since Lyon lives on the premises, he says he is usually open from eight to eight or until dark.