All The Curbside Classics of Harrington, WA – A Complete Survey Of One Small Rural Town

My van sojourns in the West take me through many small towns and hamlets invariably populated by a very high percentage of curbside classics. I’ve shot and shown many examples here over the years, but for some time I’ve been wanting to stop and document a whole town’s worth. Last week a perfect opportunity arose, and the results follow: every older car and truck that was visible from driving the streets of Harrington (pop. 424), situated among the endless wheat fields of Eastern Washington.

And what brought me here?

In my search of solitude, hiking and unspoiled scenery, I decided to spend a couple of days exploring the Channeled Scablands of east-central Washington before I headed to the Seattle area to visit my brother. I found both there in abundance.

I was totally alone at Twin Lakes, where I camped next to the babbling brook that connects the two lakes.

The scablands were formed by the incalculably powerful and repeated glacial floods unleashed by Glacial Lake Missoula during the Ice Age. These floods scoured the soil and exposed the underlying basalt, creating bluffs, channels, craters, dry falls and depressions, some of which are now lakes.

Springtime turns the usually dry and mostly barren soil bright green. One can hike anywhere for miles without trails. This is exactly the kind of place I am increasingly drawn to; not necessarily spectacular at first sight, but that just means it’s not popular. On the morning I needed to head to Seattle, I consulted my trusty paper atlas for a suitable route. I noticed that the town of Harrington also had a notation “The Studebaker Garage”. Although Harrington was to the east and out of my way, I decided to check it out.

image from the web

The endless wheat fields of eastern Washington are amazing. They go on and on, without a farm house or building to be seen for miles. Not surprisingly, Harrington and all the other little rural towns out here are along the railroad tracks, and exist solely to service the fields and store the wheat in their elevators until the rail cars haul it away.

Before starting my drive through town, I pulled over on the main street to take in the few vintage brick buildings from the time when Harrington and all these towns were more prosperous and had hotels and other significant businesses.

There’s a palpable effort to honor Harrington’s history and its buildings. This hotel is supposedly being renovated and will reopen as a boutique hotel and events facility in the future.

I headed down this way, looking for the Studebaker Garage.

After the town’s last barber died his shop was turned into an exhibit.

A former implement dealer.

A couple of vintage John Deere tractors were in the showroom.

These looks to be a crawler conversion of a JD Model A.

The town’s only grocery store has a rather limited selection, but it’s still going.

Beyond that, I saw the sign for the Studebaker Garage. Would it be filled with Studebakers?

It was closed, but a look through the garage door showed a ’63 Ford and some other less interesting cars. Bummer.

The former showroom is now filled with all sorts of memorabilia.

I did a bit of Googling, and it turns out this was actually a former Ford dealer. The Studebaker Garage is an impostor!

This side of the building still has sports the blue oval, and there’s the original faded “Ford” above that. And there’s a Chevy “box” truck, the first of many. I didn’t actually count, but my guess is that Chevy pickups were the most common CC to be seen in Harrington.

So is this old Ford pickup resting in front of the former Chevy dealer?

Let’s start the driving tour…

Starting off with another box Chevy, and an old Subaru wagon just past the Dakota.

Just to clarify: I did not shoot the newer cars in town, like these behind the Bronco II in the teachers’ parking lot at the elementary school. Unlike these, the rest were overwhelmingly newer pickups and big SUVs.

I’m not going to comment on all of the following ones.

A gen1 Kia Sportage

Saturn L Series

Every town has to have one Corvette

A gen1 Camry next to a BMW

Ford Escort GT and a Mitsubishi or Dodge Ram pickup

This is a fairly common sight: a collection of old trucks in the back.

Mazda Pickup

Another side/backyard collection of trucks. Can’t bear to get rid of them. But then where would one get rid of them? The nearest scrapyard is probably quite a distance away. Easier to just set them out back.

A nice grouping showing the changing taste in cars over the decades.

That’s a sweet old International 4×4 pickup and the outboard is a very early 75 hp Johnson OMC V4. Looks to be from 1959, as best as I can tell. That’s also the approximate vintage of the International. Coincidence?

An old Dodge bus. It looks ex-military to me, due to the tall roof. Kids didn’t get that luxury. If the color is original, it might well be an Air Force bus.

The box body is clearly a former U-haul unit, but the cab looks awfully nice for that.

This was one of the better finds, an Eagle SX/4, parked right below some parked hopper cars. And there’s a shrine of sorts in front.

A B&W version of my truck and what I think might be an old Dodge.

No less than an Isuzu Amigo along with other toys.

Is it a Montego or a Sable?

The only VW in town is a late-model air-cooled Beetle.

And the sole Mercedes, a very fine W124 300T wagon with a Chevy Caprice behind it. A Mercury Cougar is in the distance.

Here’s the tail end of the Cougar and a Ranger keeping an eye on it.

The former City Hall, with some of the grain elevators by the railroad tracks. Due to steady population loss, a much smaller City Hall office is now in one of the other buildings.


More storage silos and more old pickups. The two main commodities of Harrington.

The best find of the town: a gen2 Barracuda coupe. Now I regret not getting out to take more pictures as I’ve never written one up.

The BNSF trains rumble through town regularly, with loads of goods from China in this case.

On the edge of town by the highway, I had noticed some old pickups lined up as if for sale. As I was looping through town, I came to the same compound of buildings and vehicles.

Just as I got out to start shooting some fine old farm trucks like this International Loadstar, the proprietor drove up. It seems that he’s trying to make some sort of living from picking these up cheap and selling them. He asked if we sold cars on this site. I said we’re not a sales site, but if anyone is interested, I’d tell them where to find him. He told me to help myself and walk through his collection out back.

The sun has turned this formerly red tractor pink. I thought it might be a Cockshutt, but it looks to be something else.

This vintage International has become rather rare.

I immediately thought of Jason Shafer.

An International tow truck.

A Ford F850 Super Duty, back when that name meant something. I’ll be writing this one up in more detail.

Let’s finish up the loop through town.

A fairly rare one-year ’66 Ranchero.

The city’s old Elgin sweeper is in retirement.

That’s it. I passed through several similar little towns on the way there and on the way to Seattle, and each of them also had scads of old trucks and cars. Maybe next time?