By on September 30, 2019

Alvis CVR(T) in Southern California wrecking yard - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsFrom 1962 through 2016, one of the continent’s most amazing junkyards operated in the Sun Valley neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles: Aadlen Brothers Auto Wrecking, also known as U-Pick Parts. Plenty of scenes for movies, TV shows, and music videos were filmed there, in addition to providing some great Junkyard Finds (not to mention parts for my personal cars, when I lived in Southern California in the late 1980s).

I snapped a couple of shots of an armored vehicle of some kind there, back in 2014, and now it’s time to share them.

Junkyard in Sun Valley, California - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAs well as I can tell, this is a much-picked-over example of an Alvis Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked), built in the UK in 1970 and sold to military organizations all over the world. I can’t tell if we’re looking at a Sultan, Scimitar, or Sturgeon here, but — because of all the other funky movie vehicles and props scattered around the U-Pick yard — chances are that it had a role in a film or video production at some point.

Junkyard in Sun Valley, California - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe CVR(T) was in the IMPORTS section, naturally, near some pretty impressive vintage inventory. Yes, the Nash Metropolitan is an import, assembled by Austin in England.

Junkyard in Sun Valley, California - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsHere’s the truck from Universal Soldier, providing that extra bit of junkyard ambience. I would visit this yard whenever I hit Southern California on junkyard-photography expeditions, and now it’s gone forever. You’d think it would have made the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, at the very least.

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16 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1970 Alvis Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked)...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “From 1962 through 2016, one of the continent’s most amazing junkyards operated in the Sun Valley neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles: Aadlen Brothers Auto Wrecking, also known as U-Pick Parts.”

    Pouring out a quart of ATF for Aadlen Brothers. RIP.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I hope some of these cars were rescued, like the Multipla and the N600, both of which have been going up in value.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Given the “quality” of many of the drivers out there – and the preponderance of cell phone usage while driving – a combat vehicle may be just the ticket for modern streets.

    “Say hello to my little friend!”

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Went to AADLEN/U Pick Parts many times. Saved a lot of money for my customers and myself in the days Before Internet. Found a fuel tank to replace a rusted one. $20 from U-Pick as opposed to the only other source at the time, the dealer, almost $500.
    Saw a lot of weird stuff there. Once there was the guy with a very tense expression on his face smashing windshields. As I went around the yard that day finding the pieces I needed, I saw him smash a least 3 windows. Never could figure out why and did not want to ask.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I would be interested to understand the economics of the auto wrecking industry. How have they changed in the past 20 years? Where are the profit centers on junk cars, and are they different than the profit centers of 20 years ago?

    On the site of the old Aadlen operation now resides a ubiquitous LKQ yard. My trip there a year or so ago illustrated how LKQ, a national concern, had already removed the vast majority of key rebuiuldable components from the cars…before they were put on out on the yard. Looking for a a Tremec T5 gearbox for you Mustang? Forget it…every single one was gone before the car was put out…most alternators were gone, as were the A/C compressors. Seems like the useful remaining parts are non-mechanical things like body panels or interior parts.

    I know that LKQ does a substantial online business in used/refurbed parts, which I imagine is transforming the wrecking business into a largely online biz now. Are we in danger of losing U-Pick yards?

    No bias against LKQ…infact I recently purchased a complete used engine from their online site, and found it to be a great buy—delivered to my door on time in good condition. It ran very well once installed. I found this option far superior to the old method of trying to get an engine started/tested in a yard, and then having to spend a day pulling it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      If LKQ is simply going to strip every useful part from the wrecked examples then they should simply be crushing them instead of operating a “u-pull-it” where there are no parts to be had.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        This is the issue I want to understand.

        Have the economics of online parts sales changed the industry enough to essentially eliminate most the economic viability of public yards?

        Are online sales one of the factors that has driven industry consolidation? I don’t recall national auto wrecking firms like LKQ before the web…..

        • 0 avatar
          Land Ark

          I am so far from an expert I really shouldn’t say anything, but it’s the internet so here we go.

          I think LKQ strips everything they can turn enough profit on to justify and then leaves smaller ticket items for pickers. I know that I would be unwilling to buy a lot of the replacement trim and smaller parts because after shipping it would be too expensive to justify. I think there are a lot of parts that just aren’t worth stripping that makes it make sense to keep the yards open.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    My first thought was that this was used for target practice. We used to fire mortars and rockets at old armored vehicles for practice. Probably no bases around this vehicle’s final resting place though.

  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    The Alvis CVR. Death squads alone won’t keep the Generalissimo on the throne.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Over the years that I went to AADLEN/Pick UR Part, I witnessed many changes. In the 1970s the ground was gravel and there were some 55 gallon drums around to drain fluids into. Later the surface got covered with concrete. Somewhere in the links in the OP there is a video of how AADLEN,in later years, processed the cars before they were set out for parts pulling. All fluids were drained into separate containers. If there was no drain plug, common on many automatics and rear drive axles, a hole was made to drain. That made the pans and diff covers useless for most people.
    Also many of the easy to remove, higher price items were removed before the public got access. In certain models and years there would never be and instrument cluster or certain FI parts.
    Some wrecking yards closed, starting in the 1980s because of the increased cost of complying with the regulations.
    That’s probably one of the reasons that LKQ has their business model. It is very tough to survive as an old style wrecking yard today.

  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    Scrap is at an all time low when considered for inflation. With Environmental regulations for fluid containment and rain water run off requirements it’s a tough business to turn a profit. I do not blame LKQ for wrenching off the good parts before hand, you got to do what you need to do to survive.

    China ain’t buyin’ and it’s worse if you are not close to a major steel producing region.

    Here in Colorado we have Evraz making Seamless Rail in Pueblo. How is that high speed rail project going in California? No takers, so scrap is worthless.

    • 0 avatar
      pwrwrench

      Yep, Have watched the prices for more than 40 years. After a few trips to the scrap yards and finding 2 cents a pound for steel did not bother anymore. The guys with the 25-30 year old trucks would come by and take it away.
      Aluminum, copper, and brass are worth much more. Prices go up and down, but usually about $1 a pound.
      What I heard is that most of the steel in California goes into making rebar.
      Also cast iron, brake rotors, engine blocks, is worth about double the price of steel. Even so, unless you have a lot of it there is not enough to buy the gasoline to take it to the scrap yard.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I miss this old yard and am well pleased to see some one took pictures ans is sharing them .

    They also had a home made ‘Stoll’ Coupe (VW derivative) that was pretty crude and as mentioned, lots and lots of TV / movie cars ~ before they closed up I got parts fro my 1908 Cadillac S & S Victoria hearse there, two of them used in a shoot were summarily dumped after the job .

    For a long time they had Motocycles in there too .

    Too bad you didn’t take photos of the 1958 Cadillac four door sedan with the roof cut off and filled with mannekins up on a pole ~ someone drove by and unloaded a few deer slugs into it late one night….

    Memories, lots and lots of them there .

    Adlen Bros. dated back to the 1960’s and rented out space to independent import self service yard operators before turning it into “Dos Pendejos” P-A-P .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      karonetwentyc

      I miss Aadlen’s as well. They were one of the three junkyards of the Sun Valley Unholy Car Parts Trinity, the other two being the name-I-can’t-remember next door to them and the ‘El Pulpo’ Pick-A-Part a little further down on Glenoaks.

      In addition to the Fiat Multipla up on the wall, the one vehicle I can clearly remember also being up there was a Citroen SM. Oh, and the shark in the trees by the office, which apparently was made from the moulds used to make the original prop from the movie ‘Jaws’.

      They (along with the others) kept a ridiculous number of my Peugeots, Renaults, Fiats, Alfas, and others running over the years. Shame that they’re gone.


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