QOTD: Mining That Junkyard Gold?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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qotd mining that junkyard gold

Every week, Murilee regales us with a selection of something notable from his junkyard travels. Whether it’s an Audi 100 with infernal inboard brakes or some oddball Camry, the man never fails to disappoint.

Surely, he’s not the only one to prowl the yards across America. What’s your best score taken from a machine in The Crusher’s waiting room?

For this author, pick-yer-part yards were non-existent in the communities of my formative years, except for the town dump where one could scavenge parts for free from battered and discarded automobiles. You were often competing with black bears looking for their supper, though, so caution was warranted. Murilee has no such concerns at his local U-Pik save for the sketchier customers eyeing his junkyard toolbox or crazed LeMons inmates competitors making a beeline for cheap GM superchargers.

Nowadays, the only outlet of the self-serve variety is a solid 75 minutes from my home — a distance which, combined with our foul winters, makes frequent visits a difficult undertaking. This is why I plan ahead when I’m bound for sunnier climes and reserve an afternoon for parts hunting at my destination. The rest of the family enjoys the beach; I enjoy rows of broken cars. I should probably seek help for that, eh?

Last year, I stumbled on a master class in depreciation — a VW Phaeton that had washed up in a Florida yard. It wasn’t a W12, but its speedometer was still good for supercar speed. Thanks to a flat price structure, I was able to walk out of the establishment with a 200 mph unit for the same price as one out of a base Corolla.

What’s your biggest score? It could be something you bought and resold for a relative fortune or simply a part you’ve been seeking for ages. Now, if you’ll pardon me, I need to plan my next trip.

[Image: ©2017 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Matthew johnson Matthew johnson on Jan 30, 2018

    Transfer case for wife's WJ Grand Cherokee. $250 AND it has 30000 miles fewer than hers did. Coupla hours underneath with jeep on the lift and Bob's your uncle. Now what to do with the old one?

  • Salguod Salguod on Feb 03, 2018

    Back in high school and college I spent many hours in the local junkyards around Toledo (Spuds was a favorite) looking for parts for my 1976 Camaro and then my 1980 Monza. I think I walked every yard looking for a passenger fender for that Camaro and never found a good one. One day I ran across the remains of one of 2 1975 Hurst Olds sold in Toledo (I had almost bought the other) and later, shopping for Monza parts, I found my old Camaro in one of Spuds' yards. Many years later, when my daughter wrecked her Protege, she said I spent a hot Saturday morning pulling the entire front end off of one here in Columbus. It was a half off weekend so we got everything (headlights, hood, fender, bumper, bumper beam, radiator, ac condenser and core support) for, I think, under $150.

  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.