The junkyard is a bittersweet place for car lovers. On one hand, it’s an almost never ending photo opportunity, and it’s like playing the license plate game on vacation: who can spot the next Edsel? On the other, it’s a painful reminder that you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time; there’s usually no saving an old car once it hits the yard (Dirty Dart excepted). Therefore, on my last trip to Hilliard’s in Vestaburg, MI, last fall, I made sure to take as many pictures as possible to commemorate the event, and some involve memorable oddballs.
One of the most fascinating cars in the yard is this Simca Ariane, probably a ’60 model. It’s one of the few cars in the yard I couldn’t immediately identify, so I spent a little extra time with it.
As evidenced by its badge, this one had a four-cylinder, labeled “Flash,” uh…something. But Simca had something else up its sleeve.
The Vedette V8 was a simultaneous offering, which I proved in a Simca advertisement I had found in an old magazine. This promotional video for the Vedette seems to showcase a driverless car long before Google could make that claim.
This one appears to be a Simca Elysee, perhaps a 1959 model. Is that an Opel sitting behind it?
It appears to be a wagon. Unfortunately, my wife and I didn’t get any more closeups of it, probably because I was hooked on Simcas at that moment.
Nearby was the unforgettable outline of a Ford Anglia, with its reverse angled rear window that influenced (or was influenced by) late 1950s Lincoln Continentals and later Mercury Breezeways. In England, and probably Canada, these would have been a very common sight, but in rural Michigan they’re a sight to behold. I think I’ve seen one other in my travels.
This one seems to have suffered from a collision with a solid object of some sort, or maybe just an American car. Either way, the smashed windshield gave me an uneasy feeling, which is another reason why wandering a junkyard is an emotional experience. You’re on hallowed ground for myriad reasons.
The Anglia’s engine, the well-known “Kent,” lived on in any number of Formula Fords in future decades, and it all started here, in the 1959 Anglia. If anybody can pin down a specific year for this one, feel free to leave a note in the comments. I have a few advertisements for British Fords in my collection, however, and the greatest push for American sales seemed to be for 1959 models, right before the Falcon was introduced. Therefore, the Anglia must have been a Beetle-fighting stopgap until reinforcements could arrive.
To end where I began, let us not fail to mention two American underdogs of the 1950s, the Packard and the Hudson. By the time of the “highpockets” Packard and the Step-Down Hudson, both companies were in dire straits, shadows of their former selves. In this company, however, they looked positively common. But it’s just another day in the junkyard.