Junkyard Cruising – East Texas Style


Not long ago I wrote an article about running across the 1964 Mercury that used to belong to my wife. I had found it in a junkyard that started at another location 2-3 years ago that had to move due to road construction. Their specialty had been complete cars. Shortly after the move they put security netting over the fence and closed the gates, but yesterday the gates were open for the first time in months. I knew I had to stop, but for some reason didn’t much feel like doing so.

There are people who like to visit old cemeteries. I don’t. Yesterday I felt a little like I was visiting a haunted house and a cemetery at the same time. I’m glad I did though, because I saw one car that I hadn’t seen for probably more than 30 years. Let me explain.

When I went inside the gate I was greeted by this old Pontiac and the house in the background.  I shouted but nobody answered. I saw this as a photo opportunity I might not get again, and so I went on. As I got closer to the house I noticed two things: The fireplace was burning (in July, in Texas), and a man was sitting, motionless, on the porch.

I had already begun noticing that the cars weren’t quite as complete as they used to be. Now that you could see through the fence, it was clear that things had certainly changed. Now the man was silently staring at me, which sort of startled me. I don’t know about you, but if you come to my  house I will greet you and ask how I can help you. I wasn’t seeing what I expected, but being an intrepid sort (only in my own mind) I approached him.

When I greeted him again he answered me in what sounded like an Eastern European accent. Now I couldn’t care less where a person’s from, but this voice would have fit in a Karloff film. I surely wasn’t expecting it, but it was better than silence–at least it confirmed he was alive. I thought that being European might explain his affinity for this German racing machine. I particularly liked  the Starsky and Hutch effect.

The man told me to take all the pictures I wanted and said it was OK to post them on the internet.  I knew that the business plan had been to sell complete cars to the public. It was obvious that there were projects available that wouldn’t take much to rebuild, but there were fewer now. This BMW is one that looks pretty clean, but who knows what lurks within?

I probably don’t share his vision, but I think picking up this old COE might not have been one of his better moments. On the other hand, it’s possible he intended to use it here. Or just maybe it was going to wind up restored and hauling someone’s race car. You can’t see the chassis for the weed,  but it’s long enough and the springs look strong.

There are actually two Rovers here. This one looks more complete than the one  in the background. In any case, I could have used one that worked, since over the past few days Houston has acted more like the Pacific Northwest. The day before I toured this yard we had perhaps five inches of rain, and the mud kept me from getting better pictures of some of these cars. Sometimes I’m not so intrepid.

This is a little bit different than most of the other cars but there seems to be enough left to restore.  Possibly someone in Indiana might like to restore it–very little tin worm damage.

Everyone needs some Sixties Mopar.

Not enough left to really do a positive ID on this 1952-1954 Ford. Grills and taillights are big identifying factors and they are missing here. I owned three of these (’53s) back when they were much newer. It seems history has overlooked them, but 52-54 Fords were really easy to work on and looked sharp. They sat near a Mopar from the same era. There is a small pond just to their right that limited my access to these two.

There is a luxury section but the mud kept me out. You can get close enough to tell that it contains some old Buicks and Caddies, but I didn’t want to swim to them.

There is a final (maybe) resting place here for old shoeboxes. When the yard opened, these were on the front row by the fence and were mostly complete. Possibly the others have since been sold–or maybe the market for shoebox parts is good.

The back row has more variety but still a couple of  shoeboxes. I think I knew that Corvair before it came here.

Lets hear it for some FoMoCo alternate brands. I really liked those Cougars when they first came out.  I understand the Lincoln is a pneumatic nightmare.  I do not lust.

For the working guys among us. Trucks don’t seem to be so plentiful in this yard.  This being Texas, trucks are very popular whether you need one or not. The most popular have probably been sold. You can see the smoke from the chimney in this picture, although it sure wasn’t cold.

The roommate of the wife’s 64 Mercury, or possibly its cousin.  I didn’t waste space on the Mercury as one was shown here recently. This one’s only difference is a flat tire.  The guy told one of our readers that it’s running, but it really doesn’t  look that way. If you’re interested, he wants to lease out the four acres in this picture, which would leave him with 20 to hold dinosaur bones.

Just saving the (probably) rarest for last. I know it’s a Bricklin SV1 (Safety Vehicle 1) but I don’t know whether this one is AMC- or Ford-powered. I remember seeing a new one at the New England drag strip in Connecticut. I recall that they went to the Ford 351 pretty quickly.

I’ve seen larger salvage yards and there is (or was) one in Southwest Kansas that I visited about five years ago. That one had considerably more vehicles (from the 20s through the 70s) that were in better shape.  However, this is today and this is Texas.  Hope you enjoyed the tour.