By on September 1, 2011

More than two decades before I owned a Dodge A100, I admired the boxy mid-engined cargo haulers and enjoyed photographing them. Here’s a shot from the parking lot of a now-defunct self-service junkyard in Hayward, California, circa 1991; this is Half Price Day and these are customers’ vehicles. Yes, it’s a Dodge A100 and an early front-engine Ford Econoline.
20 years later, you might see battered vans of this vintage hauling greasy engines, but not today; most of them were eaten by the Crusher quite a while back. I took these shots while shopping for Impala Hell Project parts with my friend Chunky Deth; he was picking up some bits and pieces for his band’s Dodge Sportsman gig rig.
I found this strip of negatives loose in the bottom of my file cabinet, so equipment-fetishist Photography Jihadis should feel free to take a break from tedious discussions of barrel distortion and let fly their sharpest barbs against both my choice of grainy news-photographer film and the dust and scratches that my 1997-vintage version of Photoshop (gasp!) can’t remove.
You can’t have too many Quadrajet intakes!

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11 Comments on “Junkyard Find, 1991: When 1960s Vans Still Hauled Parts On Half Price Day...”

  • avatar

    Don’t worry about the imperfections in the photos! It adds character, and emphasizes the age/vintage of the image.

    I’m a photog, and I rarely, if ever retouch, an image.

  • avatar

    Yeah, yeah…what we really want to know is whether you had tacos or a torta from the roach coach in the background.
    Amazing how (once again) something from the plebian working slob class (the roach coach) has now morphed into something with cache.

  • avatar


    I learned Photoshop using 5.5 with Image Ready 2.0 for a while and now I use CS4 Master Suite on a rip roarin’ Dell Core i7 PC. :-)

    I was working a temp gig at software company down at the Howard Hughes Center (the Promenade) that’s just across the La Cienega and the Slauson Overpass by the 405 and was there to help clean out and consolidate floors as they were under hard times and in a cabinet, they had 3 boxes of PS 5.5 – all said no discs inside, but thankfully I checked before tossing and ended up scoring a copy with the books!

    Then an online buddy’s hubby sent me a copy of Premier Elements with PS Elements and later, bought a copy of the business licensed copy of PS CS4 (with a copy of one of the spare licenses) via Craig’s List in 2009 and have not looked back.

    I don’t do a lot of heavy processing, unless I’m deliberately doing something arty where I need to, or simply converting the color photo to B&W or when I need to use layers and use PS to restore the occasional photo that needs it.

    I like what you were trying to do back then and its fun seeing these today as an archive of a time and place, having lived in LA for 6 months and drove all over in the 1988 Honda Accord I had at the time so know some of the area down there so it’s fun to see photos of the areas I know.

    • 0 avatar

      I learned Photoshop on version 2.5, on a 386 with 4MB RAM. I recall it took about 15 minutes to save a TIFF file. In ’95 I got a job that required me to do layout in RageMaker and image processing on Photoshop for Mac v3.0. That was a Quadra 610 with a whopping 20MB of RAM. It still took forever to do stuff like merge layers, but quite an improvement over the 386. I use v5.0 for Windows now because I own a legit license for it and it does everything I need to do. I’ve used versions up through CS4 at jobs, but I was a low-complexity darkroom user and I remain a low-complexity Photoshop user- the combination of Photoshop 5.0 and Irfanview (for batch resizing/cropping) works fine for me.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh my, I had a 386 SX back around 1994, a hand me down from my Dad that got replaced by a 486DX box, also from my Dad, I’ve bought the rest of my PC’s since then. My first scanner was a U-Max flaatbed unit that ran from the parallel port and passed on through the printer commands. Worked pretty well and came with a I think the more or less FULL copy of Omnipage,the OCR software that was wonderful for scanning text based stuff such as old newspaper articles to Word.

        My how times have changed!

        I forgot to mention that I was in LA/Culver City for 6 months in 2002.

      • 0 avatar

        You might want to give GIMP a try. It’s actually quite powerful, and utterly FREE.

  • avatar

    I like the article and think that 60s era vans are one of the few remaining frontiers left for restorers/restomod conversions to do cheap and be different. I am doing a chevy Corvan right now.

    Are the scratches just dust/hair on the scanner or negatives? I like you, only upgrade if I am gaining major functionality I can’t be without…usually not the case.

  • avatar

    That top picture is a two-fer for me. I have owned both a 1966 A-100 and 1974 E-100, but the Ford was the one with the slotted “mag” wheels, and the Dodge had the giant big-rig mirrors.

  • avatar

    For the record: 1991, Photoshop 2, Mac IIsi w/17 megs of RAM.

    Guy who sold me the Mac didn’t believe that I wanted 17 megs and shipped it with 9 (he’d never heard of Photoshop). Took a while to sort that out.

    Thomas Knoll wrote Photoshop — and still lives in — Ann Arbor, my home town.

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