Down On The Junkyard: Time Stops At Ancient Colorado Yard

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
down on the junkyard time stops at ancient colorado yard

Most of my junkyard-prowling experience has taken place at the modern-day self-service yards, where the inventory turns over fast, prices are standardized, and 90% of the cars on the yard tend to be 15 to 20 years old. Now that I’m in a constant search for parts for a 45-year-old Dodge van, I’ve been venturing out to the more traditional wrecking yards, where you haggle for every part and the inventory sits for decades while each and every salable part gets picked. A couple weeks back, I went on a quest for A100 parts at a breathtakingly vintage junkyard located about halfway between Denver and Cheyenne.

This is the first REO I’ve ever seen in a junkyard. Sadly, it’s not an REO Speed Wagon; I believe this is an late-30s REO 19AS.

You know the inventory has been sitting for a while when the junked work trucks have four- and five-digit phone numbers painted on the doors.

The searing high-altitude sun in Colorado has a way of stripping paint down to bare metal over the decades. In the case of this truck, the sun has exposed layers of old business names.

This much-bleached “Goddess of the Rockies” emblem is painted on the door of a 1940s dairy truck.

I was tempted to buy the Goddess of the Rockies truck door, to hang on my garage wall… but then I saw this. Flames, a Viking ship, and a berserker. I may have to steal this design for my van’s paint job.

There’s something sad about an abandoned flathead V8 sitting in the dirt for 50 years.

Looking for parts for your 1955 Nash Statesman project? This one seems just about totally complete.

Just like the MGB-GT and Ferrari 308, the Statesman featured Pininfarina design.

And a “Double Strength” unit body.

Not to mention Weather Eye climate control.

Let’s jump forward a decade to a later AMC product.

Shift Command!

IHC Scouts galore here, including this one that was victimized by a shotgun.

I’ve always loved the old Plymouth sailing-ship hood ornaments, ever since I fell in love with this semi-rat-rodded ’47.

No A100s here, but I know where to go if I ever get a Corvair Greenbrier.

I could spend all day just photographing patina-with-emblem-ghosts.

In fact, I believe I’ll return and do just that. These shots are just scratching the surface.

Even though I left empty-handed (other than these photographs), my friends scored some parts for their 40s Ford pickup projects, off a ’43 military Ford truck with all sorts of cool war-wagon-only goodies, inlcuding a super-rare flip-up windshield.

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2 of 19 comments
  • Bryce Bryce on Jun 13, 2011

    Love old yards like these Theres a wrecking yard locally that has a 38 Chevvy just inside the fence a good place to find old car parts They actually have a Hillman pile I got a good brake mastercyl for my project cheap THere was a 46 Chevvy on the hoist getting an exhaust I was told it had been there 20 years but was going back on the road it looked very tidy from what I could see.

  • CougarXR7 CougarXR7 on Jun 13, 2011

    Despite the missing bits that Javelin looks salvageable. If I had the room and the $$$ I'd purchase all three of them and piece together one good car. What that blue and white car next to the Nash? Is that an Ambassador?

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.