Curbside Recycling: I Tripped Over A Hornet’s Nest At The Newest Land Of Milk And Honey And Parts

Colorado has an abundance of junkyards but in the great tradition of America, more is always better and less is never enough.  For the last couple of years the guys at my favorite self-service junkyard had been teasing me with news that they were planning to open another outlet after acquiring a different scrapyard that was getting out of the business.  The key part for me was that it was closer to my home, but as with everything, Covid got in the way and things were delayed for quite some time.  However, last week, I got the tip that the new place on the outskirts of Windsor, Colorado was opening to the public first thing on Tuesday morning!  So I planned ahead, woke up no earlier than usual and at precisely 9:41 a.m. on Tuesday I rolled into the parking lot…

There’s nothing like the smell of fresh asphalt in the morning.  And the sight of a new batch of wheelbarrows without oil and grease all over the handles.  And stretching far off into the distance the vista of a million or so lonely welded stands for the cars to all sit on as they are poked, prodded, pried apart, and for some of us, mostly delicately considered with an eye to the best photo angles to capture the naked form of the automotive body in its natural glory.  There is however, something obvious missing at this point on day one for me, the first visitor!

Ah yes, our subjects!  I looked at the sitemap on the way through the entrance.  This front section is reserved for the Ford Motor Company and all of its products, beyond that is the vast repository for GM products, and Chrysler is alotted the space beyond that. All the way at the bottom of the long slope that feels like you’re walking around the curvature of the earth, appropriately sit the products from a world away, aka The Imports.  Like Rome however, junkyards aren’t built in a day.  But like a baby’s nursery it is lovingly created in advance of its future occupant’s arrival and then over time fills up with all sorts of stuff to the point you can’t recall what it was like in the before times.  People will be dragging in all sorts of hulks over the rest of time, this’ll be filled in no time; most of the yards here turn over most of their entire inventory every 30 to 90 days.

Today we start off with two Ford products, both appropriately wearing the actual Blue Oval in row 1, spots 1 and 2.  The engine hoist right here I suppose is to get shoppers thinking of big purchases and will find its way all over the yard eventually.  Today it seems daunting to move it if you want a Chevy engine though.

It’s a bit odd seeing these two as the only two Fords in a junkyard, it looks more like a suburban driveway sight than anything else from this angle.  This generation of Explorer is now the most common in the self-service junkyards and the Taurus X or Freestyle behind it has been junkyard fodder for years as well.  There are richer pickings down the hill a bit though so let’s walk down there on the rich soil surface that currently looks more like the sandy shores of Malibu than the tar sands of Alberta that they’ll soon resemble like in most other junkyards.

Things are looking up in the GM section!  This is like the old days when GM still commanded most of the market share.  A chicken in every pot and a Chevy in every driveway.  Nothing too old here, I suppose the two S-10s, one with the “Extreme” body kit package might be of some appeal as was the Malibu Maxx to some owners back in the day.  The highlight in this lineup though is undoubtedly the “Bumblebee” 2010 Chevy Camaro SS that still had its four-piston Brembo brake calipers attached.  Well, attached until I realized I was randomly carrying a 19mm offset wrench in my backpack!

Fifteen minutes later they were in my bag to defray the costs of taking this day trip instead of doing other productive work.  A nice worm for this early bird.  The powertrain was long gone on this Camaro but there was no body damage unlike almost every other Camaro of this generation that makes it to the junkyard, perhaps a money shift gone bad?  Who knows, but it wasn’t stripped out otherwise either, just…junked.

Looking from the backside of this row there’s a Buick Park Avenue, a couple of early Oldsmobile Bravadas, I think an S-10 Blazer, a Cadillac, Pontiac Montana, a Chevy Equinox and a GMC Acadia.  All very representative of what rolled around up here back in the semi-recent day.  No fullsize pickups though although they’ll be here soon enough I’m sure.

Long lonely rows for the dead men walking…Or maybe they are gladiators and this is their Coliseum?  Fighting for the attention of the junkyard shopper with the parts that perhaps interchange among many models until the inevitable end.  Some get a reprieve if not sufficiently hacked apart to fight on for another day (or 30 to 90 depending on the yard)

A further long walk down this not quite auburn hill gets us to the Chrysler section, today sporting only a 300M, the apparently longest lived of the LH cars judged by the amounts of them I still see as compared to Intrepids and such along with one of the reborn Dodge Chargers that are starting to make way for the second generation LXs in the junkyards here.  Soon enough this section will be teeming with Dodge Caravans, Jeep Libertys, and all of the PT Cruisers that didn’t join their Great Migration to Phoeniz, AZ.

Yet further down the hill is a large concrete berm with a fence and walkways down to the lower section which will house the Imports.  As with my photo, it’s nebulous as to what exactly will be found down there, but undoubtedly eventually there’ll be almost as many marques and models as there are grains of sand and links in the chain of the accidentally remarkably in focus fence.  Hmm, now what?

Spinning on our heels, we look back up and contemplate the slog back, still holding a bag with increasingly heavy brake calipers as we foolishly skipped the shiny new wheelbarrows.  Ah, let’s look toward the processing sheds, there may be something “on deck” that act like the Coming Attactions posters in the lobby of a movie theater to me.

Aha, paydirt!  On the other side of yet more fencing is the shed where the cars are hoisted up and drained of fluids, spare change, and ideally their former owner’s personal documents.  That looks like a Kia Forte Koup awaiting its fate and on the left a few other lucky candidates including, what is that, a Pontiac or Oldsmobile in Light Butter Creme with matching frosting, er, vinyl top?

To the right of the shed are (finally) a number of imports, including an Outback on the shiny new Volvo car-mover,  a white VW Passat and joy of joys, the tail of a silver Jaguar XJ8 peeking out from behind the gold Murano!  Lots of precious metals here.  Also another S-10 Blazer or close relation thereof and of course the predicted PT Cruiser.

As the cashier was on the phone with the IT department to figure out how to get the register to charge me for my finds, I gazed out the window to note what everyone is talking about that all cars are just shades of gray.  In fact pretty much the same shade of gray between my car and the three others that I suppose belong to various employees, all of mid 2000s vintage if I’m not mistaken.  At least the wide variety of body styles makes up for that a bit, it could have been four gray CR-Vs.  But wait, what of that Hornet’s nest I tripped over that I alluded to in the headline?  There it is, to the right, just out of frame, something big in the weeds near the entrance gate, I’ll check it out while they figure out the register.

Yes, it is a little nest comprised of two Hudson Hornets, a close friend, and a foreign exchange student in the back.

We’ll start in the back with the rapidly assimilating foreigner, an early ’80s Mitsubishi pickup truck wearing All-American Dodge D-50 nameplate garb and stripes.  These four were all I believe remnants of the old yard and were marked to keep.  I suppose it must be hard to be an owner of a junkyard and interested in cars, I can’t imagine the self-control required to keep from amassing a “collection” rather than just “inventory”.  I suppose self-control would need to be directly proportional to business sense.

The D-50 was always a pretty good looking little truck and a bit less common than its competition.  It’ll be good if Dodge or RAM releases another new little truck as they are rumored to be considering, but I’m sure it won’t be called the D-50.  Probably not Sheep or Little Bo Peep either although both would go with the RAM name.  Maybe the Li’l Wooly?

Rust, schmust, that’s just character.  The D-50 doesn’t actually look that much smaller than the big American iron behind it.

I know, you want me to get to the main event.  Well, I’m going to use every picture I slavishly took.  This trucklet even has tools in it, I had to step back to make sure it had flat tires, for a minute I thought maybe it was still being used.  Maybe it will be again, that tank on the back looks like a weed sprayer.  But there needs to be more plaid in car interiors again, that accent on the door panel is doing a lot of work all by itself and successfully too.

I believe this is a 1955 Hudson Hornet, and the fender clearly calls it out as a Hollywood version at that, although I wasn’t aware that was offered in a four door, I thought the Hollywood by definition denoted a two-door hardtop.

To paraphrase Shakira here, “(front) hips don’t lie” so I don’t know.  There were 10,010 Hornet four door sedans and 3,324 Hollywood Hardtops built for 1955.  And this thing.  Maybe it was added or there was a front end graft but the paint and trim all seem to match up.  Or maybe I’m just missing something, I’m no expert on this (or these).

The badge is cool, and the grille is large if perhaps striking me as a bit derivative.  The later models (’56, ’57) have a more strikingly designed grille, although in that case striking may be a little too much of a good thing, it’s pretty brash.

Underhood the Hudson 308 inline-six.  Also a 5.0, so if it was a ragtop and Vanilla Ice was twenty years older, then maybe he could have been…ah, never mind.

And here’s la derriere of the same car, coyly hiding behind the fauna.

Of course this is the most famous Hudson, the Hornet of 1951 through 1954, here as a four door sedan.

It appears to be a 1954 with the one piece windshield, sadly most of the grille is gone although I believe the hood scoop is actually functional.  I didn’t peer into there for some reason, maybe I was afraid of a real nest.

I do wonder how long this (or these) have been here.  I’m sure they’ll get moved somewhere a little more secure soon enough though.

And lastly, where all my boyz from South Bend at?  I gots a little sumthin for you too…per my Living Car-Google Search Engine Friend Paul Niedermeyer who responded to my text query in 0.14 seconds with the result that would have taken me hours to find the old way, here’s a 1956 Studebaker President in a genuinely bright and lovely yellow color.

The inside of it provided me with no good hints either…I just knew it wasn’t a regular Ford or GM or Chrysler product.  I’ll never be one to spec a white interior though, not back then, not now, not ever.

And with the rear view, I bid you all a fond farewell for today.  My first trip to this new junkyard was surprisingly successful, it will not be my last.  I’m looking forward to hopefully stumbling across all kinds of treasures out there.