Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Junkyard Sightings

Junkyard hopping offers the ideal Saturday diversion for when I don't necessarily want to break the wrenches out in my own driveway but would rather just search for future project fodder. In the case of this weekend, I was casually hunting a Ford Explorer 8.8 rear end for the Roo Chaser and some Shadow/Sundance interior parts for the Shelby. I found almost everything I needed but I got a bit distracted from the cause...

To give my fingertips a break from pulling sharp plastic interior parts, I went on a bit of a walkabout. First of all, a remarkably solid baby blue Volvo 145 had recently arrived. The interior was in great shape but it had clearly been sitting for a long, long time. A perfect parts car but perhaps too rough to save given the number of running 145s still out there.

Unfortunately, I didn't grab any pictures of a horribly ratty 1963 Ford Ranchero painted yellow with red flames but I swear it exists. A '69 Falcon was also added to the collection as well as a CJ-7 Renegade and  a Mitsubishi Mirage that hit the gravel lot for about 5 minutes before going directly to the crusher. Too bad as I knew a guy once who had a 4G63 swapped Colt Turbo and it would run a high 11 second quarter.

However, the most interesting part of the trip came when I got a bit too curious. You see, there was this very questionable rat rod that was cobbled together completely of found parts and square tubing, even down to the mismatched DUB wheels, that was parked in the area where the cars hit the lot before being sorted. This isn't an off limits area, it's just where loyal, quick-on-the-draw regulars are allowed to find Honda engines, LS motors, Mustang T5 swaps, and other junkyard platinum before the hulks are given assigned seats. I will admit that normally these cars do generally have the wheels removed and a stock number, which I may have failed to pick up on. That being said, the rat rod was a piece of shit parked in a row of parts cars. Who can blame me? Who knows what kind of failed project these guys pick up at auction?

I head over to the thing and immediately notice the 302W with GT40 heads, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, and Holley with mechanical secondaries. Even though only the carburetor might be remotely useful to me I start by taking pictures of the part numbers and doing some eBay research and cross checking to the salvage yard's online price list. Things were looking up so looked in my wallet to see that I only had enough to either strip the rat rod or get the 8.8 rear. Citing opportunity, I pulled the air cleaner off and started to go to town on the baseplate nuts. Meanwhile, salvage yard crew are watching me work my magic and not really thinking anything about it it. Then I hear "Aw, yo dawg, you can't be serious right now, that's my dream, dawg, you better not be pullin' parts off my ride, mothafucker"! as a figure comes charging from behind the checkout counter. Laughing may not have been the best course of action but at this stage I was thinking it was a joke; who parks their 'dream' in a row of cars to be parted out by the public and crushed? I brought this point to his attention, however, he didn't think it was as funny as I did. At that point my smile faded, mainly because I then realized that this situation fell into the category of too good to be true. I apologized for messing with his rat rod and we shook hands on good terms. I bolted that air cleaner back on, grabbed my tools, and walked back toward the K-cars.

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