Arrow Auto Salvage would be a completely normal junkyard if the year were 1982. Located near Bonners Ferry, Idaho, this old-school junkyard is very unlike most of the rather sanitary high turnover operations currently in business.
There is no apparent layout or specialty at Arrow Auto Salvage. Cars are simply strewn about the hills and trees in vague rows as if they had fallen out of the sky one day. Let’s have a look, shall we?
Immediately, it’s the vastness that captures you. The rows of cars peeking out from the weeds seem to wind up all the way to the horizon. Some cars look like they could be resuscitated by the mere addition of a fresh battery while others are bare, cannibalized hulks awaiting death.
The ‘office’ is adorned with various items of junkyard kitsch and looks more like the front of an antique store than a salvage yard. Various corrugated metal annexes sprout from the humble log structure.
The salvage yard keeps a rotating assortment of odd and interesting cars near the front gate. On prominent display during the day of my visit was a sunburned, yet savable Fiat 850 Spider and an engine-less Karmann Ghia. The little Fiat was remarkably rust free and pulled on my heartstrings like a puppy in need of a home. Other notable residents included two-stroke SAAB’s, a pair of Lancia Scorpions and a few inter-war work trucks.
To contrast Arrow Auto Salvage with an average modern salvage yard, we need to think of these two as a neatly organized library and that crazy book shop run out of some guys house.
The modern salvage yard, like the library, has a refined catalog of their inventory making it easy to extract only what you want in an efficient manner. This junkyard, however, is more like the eccentric used book store with novels piled floor to ceiling; its stock might be eclectic and scattered about, but it’s a much more interesting place to browse and waste time in.
It’s almost hard to imagine anyone actually coming here for parts. (How many people near Bonners Ferry, Idaho need to pull parts for their Lancia Scorpion?) But most car enthusiasts are hardly interested in these operations for their utility in finding parts. These yards are waning in number and remain great sources of wonder for those of us who like to browse rows of junked vintage cars and dream of adopting one for our very own garage.