This is a nostalgic-sympathetic post of a thirty-years-old Saturday stroll, heading into a junkyard with an aim to photograph specific classics. Oh, and accompanied by faithful Laish.
Well, besides being a synonymous word for a young lion and a Biblical name (Googling returns it’s a Benjaminite and the father of Paltiel, to whom Saul gave Michal, David’s wife), he was also my family’s German Shepherd. Actually, he was the last of several Laishes running (quite literally) in the family. He lived throughout 1983-1995, and right along my formative years. I still miss that dog like crazy.
Here he is in all his glory, albeit older. Big too.
A slight introduction to the matter at hand: This was at about 1987. Living in Israel, there was no automotive culture to speak of at the time- most cars were regular A to B, small capacity engines’ stuff. If sports-cars or any other interesting vehicles entered the country, they were imported privately and therefore very scarce. So perhaps because of all that, and with the influence of my older brother, at the age of sixteen I was about to enter more and more into this world of classic cars.
Back to this junkyard-stroll; The main railroad line between Haifa and Tel-Aviv ran about a mile from my house, in my hometown. Back then, there were no fences or anything- you could cross the tracks freely. and at some point beyond them were lumps of rust, previously known as “cars”. Having been there before, I remembered seeing interesting shapes among the piles of rubble, so one Saturday morning (in Israel it’s a day of rest. So no trains are running and everything is quiet), I picked up the point-and-shoot Canon we had, took Laish with me and off we went to seek photographs of the most interesting bits.
Now keep in mind; I was nowhere near as knowledgeable in classic cars as I am now, so I disregarded most of the wrecks- I probably didn’t even know what I was looking at. I should have taken more photos, hence the somewhat depleted collection. But still, some can be seen in the background of the main “stars”.
So after crossing the tracks and climbing down from the embankment, I found myself facing this lovely thing:
Laish was duly tied to the door handle, and this photo was taken. And who knows which car rests next to the 57?
Rounding the 57, yet more is revealed. Also, Laish poses much better in this photo.
Lets try to zoom in and break it into two. Can you spot and identify the other wrecks?
Note the 57’s roof holds water; this was during the winter, and its been raining a few days before. Still vivid in my mind is the memory of fresh air and the greenery all around.
Moving further into the junkyard, I spotted this:
Here it is from the front. Again 1960’s door handles prove to be useful if you have to tie a dog’s leash.
Zooming in further- see that sedan and the panel-van in the background.
Laish seemed content to carry on, so I left that junkyard and headed to this small area which also held some classic wrecks- these were in much better shape than the ones photographed earlier. I mean, just look at this:
That Skylark didn’t look bad at all, and note the D100 in the background. Israel was full of these D100s back in the 1960s and 1970s. today, none are left.
As a side note, I managed to obtain some details regarding that Buick from one Mr. Shen’ar who maintains this wonderful website and has some access to an old Israeli classic cars registrar- note the Skylark had a 6 Cyl. engine, was originally registered on May 6th 1969 with a different color (Cameo Cream), and its MOT license has not been renewed \ valid since 1987. This means that it was recently taken off the road, just about when I took those photographs. Make what you will of this…
But I think, the best find was this:
This one was not just laying around in open ground for all to mess about- as you can see, it was kept behind a fence and a locked gate. Someone obviously had future plans concerning it, although you could make a point that keeping it exposed to the elements was not the right way to preserve it properly.
Looking at its photos, it’s hard to imagine this car survived the years and got to be restored. However, a few years back I was informed by a “source” that that’s exactly what happened. I was even sent a photo (which, for the life of me, I cannot find!). It was indeed a yellow 1956 Chevy Panel-Van, parked in a discreet underground car-park. Of course, this does not mean it’s the same car, but I choose to believe that it was saved and is still “alive”.
At that point in time, both Laish and myself were getting hungry, so we left the wrecks behind and headed home. This was quite a successful day and I think, remembering it this vividly some thirty years later proves it. So I can tell you this: go to your cupboards, dressers, attics or any other storing places you might have- and start going over your old photos and slides. I guarantee you’ll be surprised by what you might find.
As for this junkyard; a fire consumed all these wrecks sometime in the Nineties and later, any leftovers were evacuated to make way for an industrial zone that was built next to the train tracks. The area where the Skylark and Chevy Panel-Van were resting, was also flattened and a used car lot was erected instead.
And Laish? Well, after various old-age illnesses he joined his forefathers somewhere in the great beyond. I’ll leave you with one of his last photos, resting his old body- much like those cars in the junkyard: