Junkyard Find, 1991: When 1960s Vans Still Hauled Parts On Half Price Day

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Nikita Nikita on Sep 02, 2011

    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.

  • Aaronx Aaronx on Sep 03, 2011

    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.

  • Scott What people want is the Jetson Car sound.This has come up before.
  • Joerg I just bought a Corolla Cross Hybrid SE a few weeks ago, and I regret it. But not for any of the reasons stated so far. It drives well enough for me, gas mileage is great for a car like that, the interior is fine, nothing to complain about for normal daily use. I bought this relatively small SUV thinking it is basically just a smaller version of the RAV4 (the RAV4 felt too big for me, drives like a tank, so I never really considered it). I also considered the AWD Prius, but storage capacity is just too small (my dog would not fit in the small and low cargo space).But there are a few things that I consider critical for me, and that I thought would be a given for any SUV (and therefore did not do my due diligence before the purchase): It can’t use snow chains per the manual, nor any other snow traction devices. Even with AWD, snow chains are sometimes required where I go, or just needed to get out of a stuck situation.The roof rack capacity is only a miniscule 75 lbs, so I can’t really load my roof top box with stuff for bigger trips.Ironically, the European version allows snow chains and roof rack capacity is 165 lbs. Same for the US Prius version. What was Toyota thinking?Lastly, I don’t like that there is no spare tire, but I knew that before the purchase. But it is ridiculous that this space is just filled up with a block of foam. At least it should be made available for additional storage. In hindsight, I should have bought a RAV4. The basic LE Hybrid version would have been just about 1k more.
  • MaintenanceCosts Looks like the best combination of capability, interior comfort, and subtle appearance can be achieved by taking a Laramie (crew cab, short bed, 4x4 of course) and equipping it with the Sport Appearance, Towing Technology, and Level 2 packages as well as a few standalone options. That's my pick.Rebel is too CRUSH THAT CAN BRO and Limited and up are too cowboy Cadillac.
  • Xidex easier to buy a mustang that already sounds like that. love the coyote growl
  • Oberkanone Shaker motor on an EV. No thanks.