As I hit the edge of Lakeview, OR on the way to Tonopah, NV, the start of our overlanding trip, my eyes popped open at this sight: a superbly curated collection of Curbside Classics. I made a somewhat rude U-turn and pulled into Auto Haven. The garage side door was open and four people were sitting in a circle doing what folks used to do all the time on a hot afternoon, and still do in places like Lakeview: shooting the breeze.
I introduced myself to Jeff, the proprietor, who told me to help myself to all the free pictures I want, as long as I give him a little plug. Sounds like a deal.
Here’s the sign and the phone number. No, there’s no web site or any social media; strictly old school. Jeff told me that many of the cars were pulled out of a field out back and then cleaned up some. As you’ll see, there’s essentially no rust, thanks to the dry high desert climate, but plenty of sun-burn patina. And that sun hasn’t exactly been kind to many of the interiors, so that’s something to consider before you call up Jeff and make an offer.
But don’t let that get in the way of fulfilling your long held wish for a 1952 Ford Courier sedan delivery or such. Here’s a tour, starting with the front line.
First up is a splendid 1970 Mercury Marquis coupe. It’s a bit like a mule: a cross between an LTD and a Lincoln. And that’s not derogatory, as I hold mules in high regard—perhaps more so than Mercurys of this vintage. But don’t let that stop you.
I’m actually rather smitten by this one. Look at those big slab sides that manage to be so curvaceous too. It rather favors the Lincoln side of its parentage.
This one has a pretty solid interior. Is it the famous “panty cloth”?
Next up is perhaps the star attraction: a ’52 Ford Courier sedan delivery. With a surfboard on top, to add a bit of marketing pizazz. Here’s the chance to relive your youth, chasing the perfect wave without a care in the world.
Last new plate was back in 1956.
The seat’s not quite original, but at least there is one. The back is perfect for an old mattress. You’ll keep it warm, as this is a serious chick magnet.
Or is this the star attraction? A 1960 Lark VIII four door wagon, the first year for that body style. Not quite a chick magnet, but then that was rarely Studebaker’s claim to fame.
This one has a pretty solid interior too. An automatic backs the 259 V8.
The familiar and distinctive Studebaker back seat, which looks a bit more commodious than it is, due to the high floor that limits leg room some, due to riding on an old-school ladder frame. But there’s only a very small tunnel, as a partial compensation.
A pretty solid looking wagon.
Or is this 1981 Imperial the true star attraction? That rear license plate recess sure is horrendous. Criminal, actually. They should have dropped it down to the bumper, even if it did spoil that continuous light band. Looks like a baboon’s butt.
Oh, but such a lovely front end to make up for that rear end. Can we add a bit more overhang, please?
If you take a minute to read the ad on the dash you’ll get a sense of the place.
I need to stop, but it looks like someone took a Sawzall to that trunk lid. At least it takes the eyes away from the bustle back line on the side.
Oddly, it’s the passenger seat that’s shot. Maybe the seat cushions were swapped?
This is more like it. A 1962 Chrysler two-door hardtop wearing ’62 Galaxie wheel covers. Period-correct.
A plucked rooster if there ever was one.
That dash pad might be a wee bit hard to replace. Handy vanity mirror on the dash to check your lipstick or the state of your five o’clock shadow.
This ’65 Chevy has a fairly solid body, but it’s going to need a wee bit of TLC. At least the hole for the floor shifter is already there.
A 1947 Cadillac, and obviously a base Series 61 coupe. Is it missing its rear fender trim, or was there a “stripper” version without it? It’s riding a bit high in the front; has the massive flathead V8 been replaced by something lighter?
Those fans on the floor under the front seats caught my eye. That’s the heaters, the original bun warmers.
A Studebaker Champ sparkling in its metal flake paint job. Irresistible.
Quite the shifter knob. Not the original steering wheel.
It looks ready to haul.
This ’67 Chevy Impala wagon sports a 327 as well as the ubiquitous Rally wheels.
I’m running out of time tonight for pithy commentary on each car, so you’ll have to supply it from here on out, with some exceptions. You know what they are…
No less than two 1953 Ford hardtop coupes. Last year for the flathead V8.
I have a soft spot for the early Lark coupe.
A matching set of ’57 Cadillacs; a coupe and a limo no less.
The Mercury version of the hardtop coupe.
OMG, how did this little furrin’ car sneak in here?
1955 Clipper (by Packard), missing those wonderful tail lights.
A 1965 Grand Prix.
A Dodge “van” that’s been lifted a wee bit.
This ’64 Olds Starfire caught my attention. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one.
1938 Zephyr. or is it a 1939?
The Chevy logo and nickle-plated radiator shell have held up better than the rest of the car.
The V8 showdown: Ford flathead and Chevy small block.
This fine Mark III is the end of the row. And the end of the tour. Give Jeff a call, and tell him that weird tall guy wearing above the knee pink flamingo shorts and driving that even weirder little box of a car sent you. He’ll remember me; they’re probably still talking about me in the garage.
I’m kinda tempted by the ’70 Merc, but I think I’d ultimately take the Lark wagon. V8 Larks are fairly entertaining to drive; would be even more so with 3 speed/OD rather than the 2nd gear start Blight-O-Matic. They may not be a full on chick magnet, but are definitely leaning that direction (because they’re kinda “cute”). Also helpful is that there’s no real stigma attached to Studebaker with anyone age ~45 or younger.
The 2dr hardtop looks a bit too knackered for me to take on… bummer. and the Champ is likewise sporting enough little tweaks away from the direction I like to go with my stuff. It is cool to see that there’s still places like this out there.
I like the Ventura and Grand Prix
Blame it on the record setting heat out here. Brain melt, in other words. Fixed now.
thanks for showing you’re human
The Studebaker Champ, hands down. But I’d also take the 67-68 Eldorado.
Wow, if you had to limit yourself to just one of these cars, and you had an unlimited budget you couldn’t easily chose A car.
In my case, it would be one of the Ford Motor products…the Mark III, followed in a tie by the Marquis 2 door and the coral 55? Mercury hardtop lurking in the background of one of the pictures. But wait, I would also be interested in that Courier.
Glad I am thousands of miles away.
I suddenly need to include this place on my next road trip.
Surprised the Mark III still has has the hubcaps. They may be worth more than the rest of the car 🚗
My heart skipped a beat when I say the Ghia. Learned to drive a 4 speed manual on such a beast. If its still got the engine and minimal rust, I could be persuaded to bring a trailer. One hell of a project car.
Any part of any of these is worth more than the rest of the car.
Strange. Google maps lists the place as permanently closed. Nonetheless, I like that 65 Grand Prix.
Maybe it’s like Brigadoon; the place only appears open if someone with a suitably passionate love of old cars happens by.
And driving something sufficiently interesting.
Wow, that Lark wagon is a sweetheart. As is that Mercury Marquis hardtop at the beginning.
The 47 Cadillac looks really odd in that extra-light gray. Or is that just sun-bleached primer? It’s hard to tell.
And yes, the longer I look at the tail end of the 81 Imperial, the worse it gets.
After viewing the photo of the old Chevy next to a Ford tractor, product planners came up with a brilliant new product category. Presenting the Edscavator. . . .
You come across the strangest things on road trips. This concoction in Santa Rosa, NM.
They all look like more of a project than I want to deal with, but the ’62 Chrysler is tempting.
My guess is that the 300 letter car used the same dash pad, so they are probably being reproduced. Just open your wallet really wide!
Agree.but its pretty roached. Beautiful design.Wonder if it runs
The Mercury Marquis, always loved the 1969-70 Marquis’s a lot, shame you rarely see them around.
The champ. But the Imperial is tempting just because I’m not sure I have ever seen one in person, and it would make a hell of conversation piece.
The N Series Ford tractor bucket tractor for me. Most of these are parts cars.
The 1955 Packard Clipper is not worth much, but it IS a very rare car due to the front door trim, the very early cars like this had a straight horizontal line chrome strip on the front door, but this was quickly switched to the downwards curving strip found on the Panama 2-door hardtop.
Quite the blast from the past, the mixture of vehicles and state of decay is almost exactly as I remember wandering around junkyards/dealerships as a kid in the eighties. Many of them seem to have reached some sort of stasis where further decrepitude is dramatically slowed.
The Lark VIII is the winner.
It could be a wonderful and practical ride.
I like pretty much everything there, but you can’t beat the Imperial as a great example of a malaise era ride, especially if it still runs.
If I came upon this place while on vacation, I could easily set back the day’s itinerary an hour or two—thanks for taking time out to photograph all these, and then do the writeup.
As a Ford guy, the 1970 Mercury and 1952 Ford Courier speak to me, and I can see why they’re out in the front row. But then my first car was a 1967 Chevy, and it’d be fun to see if I can still do a tune-up or carburetor rebuild, 40-ish years later.
Thanks a bunch for this one, Paul—a nice start to my (Midwestern) day. As I write, I’m thinking about the Western heat wave presently…
[p.s. The ‘Brigadoon’ reference by ‘Paul’ was terrific!]
Studebaker Champ pickup is number one for me.
For me the Lark wagon, even over the Mark III or any of the Eldorados. The mid-50’s Caddys aren’t far back in the running though.
The Dodge panel truck (Loose Gravel sign). I think it might be a ’42.
I’m shocked to the core if that Imperial is still fuel-injected and still running.
And I’m a bit dubious that it’s really the case. I’ll call him and ask.
I just talked to Jeff. He says it’s for real: it’s an updated system Chrysler retrofitted as part of a recall program, including a new manifold and throttle body. Sounds to me like that’s maybe a whole new TBI system. Weren’t these port injection systems?
They were originally a very complex and problem-prone TBI system. The factory recall involved scraping it all off and installing a carburetor and a whole hell of a lot of other parts—this cost Chrysler a bloody fortune. CC with links here.
That’s exactly what I remember: a carb replacement. Hmmm. I shoulda’ popped the hood.
Among those not mentioned, the Chevy wagon as long as that’s grayish-white paint not primer. Paint the rocker panels to match the rest of the car, give it a good polish, flip the Rallys and put some original Chevy “deluxe full wheelcovers” and white stripes on it…
What a place! I always wanted to do business with a repair shop whose motto is “We will not fix your car!”
As for the cars, vaguely reminds me of this: (Starts at 4:17)
My head says the primer red ’69-’70 Chevy C-10, my heart is with the Chevy wagon. Took my driving test in a ’65 and had many family adventures in it.
I like the ’67 Impala wagon also. it appears to be more or less complete, no rust visible, and it has the 327.
Somehow, that Imperial calls me….I know it shouldn’t, I don’t know why but I feel the Ghost of Iacocca on my shoulder…
Without question that 1969 Satellite hardtop!
Thanx Poindexter ! I saw that Disney short once a long time ago and always wondered what the hell it was all about .
Hard to choose one of those jalopies prolly the ’62 Chrysler .
The Champ and the Impala wagon speak to me, but my next road trip is in the opposite direction from Lake County.
I’ll take the 1949 Chev (green and rust) as it will let me relive my youth. Or, do I really want to do that again? LOL
The ’56 and ’57 Cadillacs speak to me as well as the ’73 Riviera. The only car I’d really consider is the ’62 Chrysler, that’s just a great looking car. I’d stay away from the back rows, though if their pricing is as reasonable with the others as with the Imperial, than a good project may be found there. I’m getting too old for long range projects myself.
I don’t know, maybe it is the heat affecting my brain but nothing really jumps out at me as something I’d want.
The ambulance is a bit of a double CC effect going on. Several weeks an early 70’s Ambulance showed up in the front yard of a house I drive by on occasion with a for sale sign on it, but no price. It has a similar roof on it. I figured it would be go quick but it didn’t. A couple of weeks later one of about the same vintage as today’s subject showed up along side of it. Both were still there on Saturday and the newer one now has a $1200 price on it. Both are pretty rusty and probably not worth saving.
It’s a good thing I’m too far from there or I’d have an 83 Imperial that I don’t have the time for clogging the driveway right now.
You noticed that one ’57 is a 75? That has to be a rare piece. Probably the most obscure item on the lot.
You noticed that one ’57 is a 75?
Well, I did call it a limo, and since only 75s were limos, logic suggests that I did notice that.
I meant to reply to Jose Delgadillo.
But no, I didn’t notice the caption.
Apologies, I don’t read every word of every entry.
So that’s two goof in one post… I’m getting better. lol
Perhaps the boat-tail Riviera…