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Question of the Week: What are the best parts you have snagged from a junkyard?

When I first bought my 1967 Mustang coupe I started hitting the junk yards for original parts as my Mustang was an original car paint and all and I showed it in the unrestored class.
One day when entering my favorite yard I spotted a 67 Mustang coupe just like mine white with the red interior that had just come in and was being prepared to put out in the yard.
I asked the lot boy if I could look it over and if there were any parts I might desire could I take them off before you started demantiling the car.
He said sure and I looked inside and there was a floor console that looked brand new.
I quickly went out to my car and got my tools and gently removed the console and the shifter that goes with it, plus the steering wheel.
When I took it down tom the office to pay for it the counter said that will be $35,00. I said no problem and I was grinning from ear to ear as I left.
Surprisingly I have never installed the console because I haven’t had the nerve to disturb the prestin original condition of the interior.
I just wrapped the console in plastic and have stored it all these years in the garage attic.
I take it out every once in awhile to see if its ok and then rewrapp it.
Over the years I have collected many parts for several of my classics, but it’s getting more difficult these days as the parts are scarce and the prices are over the top.
Oh for those good old Days.

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Found a Volvo V70 IPD aftermarket strut tower stiffening brace at a Pick-N-Pull. Paid the “large bracket” price of $15.

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A few decades ago I bought a MB 190SL. The tachometer wasn’t working and I didn’t bother to check out why before I wrote my check. (Such are the follies of one’s youth.) I assumed it would need to replace the tachometer cable. As it turned out, the drive that bolts to the side of the engine (to which you attach the cable) was missing. I found a complete engine in a Georgia junkyard. Convincing the owner to part with just the cable drive was pretty difficult. In the end, I convinced him and paid about $25 for it. Saved me mucho bucks I would have paid the dealer.

This is going back about 30 years however I found a mint black interior for my 71 Skylark at a local auto wreckers. I asked the counterman how much? he said “You removing it?”. When I told him I was he said “75 bucks”. I got pretty much every interior piece that I could unbolt! About 6 months later while scrounging in a school bus full of parts in the same wreckers I found a complete ram air cleaner from a big block Buick GS! I paid $20 for it!

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Recently snagged 1961 Jaguar MK II 3.8 4speed w/overdrive wire wheels,4 wheel disc brakes, Factory air ,pwr brakes pwr steering great vinyl seats fairly good wood . Floors good. rust around lwr rockers… $800.oo bucks engine not stuck . Got it at local Pull A Part in OKlahoma

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I was in a junkyard18 years ago carrying an armfull of mgb parts, the temp was past 95 f and i was exhausted from removing parts and a long walk in front of me to get to where i paid. I noticed a nice light blue vw rabbit just sitting alone. A walk round showed no damage. I dumped my parts and got in just for a sit down. As i gazed around i noticed the interior was like new with a plastic trash bag hanging from the dash… Thats when i noticed the keys were in it, so why not, i turned the key, it started and ran quietly. I noticed that it had a/c fitted and again , why not, turned it on then sat there in the ice cold a/c for about 15 mins and feeling refreshed grabbed my parts and once again put it in d and drove it all the way back up front, paid for my parts and asked about the vw. They said a local lady had bought it new and used it to drive a little over a mile into town for groceries twice a week. It had 12,000 miles and a bit showing she just got tired of it, drove it to the junkyard and someone used a forklift to put it out there . I asked can i buy it, they said sure $200 and they had the title. I gave them the money drove home in my car and a few hours later delivered it on a flat bed. I gave it to my wife for a present, two weeks later a truck stopped quickly in front of her in the village and she got rammed behind. Car totalled.!! A month later found a saab 9000 turbo that started and in nice condition at the same yard but when i put it in D nothing happened, engine just revved up. Looked under the hood. Found a cable under the battery that connected the trans to the shifter had come off because of battery acid.I paid them $800, they delivered it that afternoon. I cleaned the battery acid off reconnected the cable ( ten mins ) and two days later a friend and i drove it nonstop from cols ohio to tampa florida to visit his mom, a week later drove it home nonstop.A Year later sold it to my sons high school friend. Never had to do a thing to it.

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I found a Buick Skyhawk with the sport steering wheel.
While taking it off the wrench slipped and I punched the windshield. At the counter I asked if the guy had a bandage. He said boy your gonna need stitches. I said how much for the wheel he said take it. So it only cost me 3 stitches.

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Back when I was building my 69 Camaro, (when it was just a used car with terrible Consumer Reports, not the collectible of today) I would wander junkyards for ideas. I found Triumph Spitfire side hood (bonnet) latches for $5, and a VW Rabbit inside hood release for about the same. Both vehicles sported a reversed/clamshell hood.
These two items were vital for a clean hood holding system for the one-piece fiberglass tilt front end, as I was tired of the four hood pins to keep it in place each time I checked fluids. Just because I’m a farm boy doesn’t mean I wanted it rednecked, and these were the finishing touch to make a usable setup.
It still works today, I just adjusted the hinge pins and checked the alignment of the Spitfire clamps to the Camaro landing area. The use of OEM parts was/is core to hotrodding, before the advent of readily available billet/tubular/CNC parts we see today.

When I was in the Navy and stationed in BainbridgeMD, a friend of mine and I did a lot of work on cars. One friend of ours had a ‘66 GTO that jhad a very tired engine. In a junkyard on US-40;in Havre De Grace we spotted a Pontiac short block and heads. The crank was scored from a couple of failed rod bearings.n Because o the valve sizes, we thought it might be a Super Duty 421. When we checked the numbers on the block, it turned out th be a Ram Air IV 400. We rebuilt it with a new crank, harmonic damper, bearings, rings and freeze plugs. We gave the heads a bowl port job, port matching wit the intake, a multi angle valve job and a slight milling. Our friend with the GTO really liked the addition horsepower.

Back in 77 right after I bought my 71 Monte Carlo SS it was dark green with a dark green top and the light green interior . I was in a local junk yard looking for parts for my 72 3/4 ton Chevy 4/4 when i see them towing in a gold 71 Monte Carlo that was hit in the rear end . I went over to look at it as they were unloading it It had black interior and was loaded tilt wheel , power windows and locks , gauges (whitch mine already had and power windows ) and 42,000 miles on it . So I went in and asked how much for the whole interior . Knowing the counter guy he said 75 dollars I repeated the whole interior and he said yes . So I got busy getting the buckets seats out door panels with all the power lock wiring and hard ware , headliner, tilt wheel , carpet ,then the dash with the wiring when he came out and said I see you meant the whole interior then laughed and said he wanted another 75 dollars for the AM/FM 8 Track radio so I removed it from the dash and gave it back to him . At the time ( I was 23 ) I didn’t realize the rarity of the car and at the time black interiors wrer cool . So as I show the car today I still tell them it is all original .

Fullsize 1971 ford police car with the P code engine. back in the day hardly anyone realized that these were actually same engine 100% as the 429 cobra jet. the engines could be purchased for a song, and the C6 had the cast iron tailshaft same as cobra jet 429.

Bought a mid 70’s Chevrolet pickup with a broken Diesel engine
For $100.00
Yes GM’s BAD Diesel Engine
The truck looked good
Off to the wrecking yard bought a Olds 350 engine for $350.00
Got $50.00 for the broken engine at the scrap yard
Daughter and I R R the engine
Our daughter had a nice looking pickup she drove to school for three years and used for her 4H steer project
Net cost about $500.00
Sold it for $1500 when the state of California got wise and wanted to SMOG the truck

I had a '66 Coronet in the early 80’s that needed a power steering box. What a pain changing the box. It took 3 boxes from a local yard until I got one that didn’t snap roll the steering wheel when I fired the car. Of more interest to me is that most if not all these accounts are from decades ago. All of the local yards only have cars and parts from the last 10 years. Lately I’ve had to source parts from the Southwest yards.

The most useful part I ever bought at a junk yard has to be the Drivers front spindle I bought at a junk yard in Decatur, Ill for my 1968 Chevy Panel truck. I was working there and driving back and forth from Michigan when on the way down a trucker waved me down and told me my front wheel was coming off. Seems the wheel bearing failed and the hub and spindle were being torn up. Luckly I was able to find the parts and after a little work I had my truck bcak on hte road.

Seats are what I’ve scored the most. Just take some measurements and go looking for the right color/style for a “restomod” where you’re not real particular about originality. I guess the best score I had was a 86 Jag IRS for my 63 Rambler wagon. I was looking for a rear axle to swap and spotted the Jag in the corner of a then local pick-n-pull yard. Took some measurements and it would fit! That’s a heavy load for one man and a wheel barrow, but I got it out and up to the office. At first the guy said that it wasn’t a rear axle assembly (they had flat-rate pricing), it was half shafts, bearing ends, disc brakes… Well, I said that wasn’t quite fair, brakes and all came with any other axle! So he called the boss and explained both views, and boss gave a price for everything, about half again what a standard live axle was (I think $125 for a standard, and he said $200 for the Jag). Sold!! But it cost another $500 or so to replace all the bearings, seals, brakes and universals in that 100K mile plus IRS – with the grease plug missing from one of the hub carriers (water and dirt in!). Expensive way to go for an axle swap, but it rides and handles great! Only four wheel independent suspension/disc brake Rambler in the country that still looks like a Rambler (there is the “Ferrambo” which has a Ferrari engine and transaxle in the back…)

Too numerous to mention…some highlights:

*Entire XLT interior from a Bronco to put in my base F150 including power locks and windows for $100.
*While building a '75 Pinto street racer, I found a Mustang II Ghia model that I got the 4 speed transmission, 8" rear end and front and rear sway bars for, again, $100.
*Ford 9" rear end from a Lincoln Versailles complete with rear disc brakes for $50
*An entire rust free '76 Dodge Aspen two door with a slant 6 and a A833 four speed manual that only had bad brakes and less than 80k for $75

Not sure this counts. My daughter had a 2000 Z-28 convertible with the LS-1 and 6-speed stick. She was rear ended and the insurance company totaled the car. I bought the entire car back for $350. The engine and transmission is going in my '56 Nomad. Then the DRL module in my wife’s WS-6 went bad. Yep, the Camaro module is the same part number. A new module is almost $300. I figure I got an LS-6 and 6-seed with 26,000 miles for $50.

I found many great parts finds but the best pick was a Gulf Dealer sign dated 1956. It was in the yard with the cars and I kick myself because there was two of them, one smaller than the one I purchased. It has been on the side of my garage 20 years now.
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Dash pads on the early fourth generation Camaros tend to become brittle and crack and replacements are tending to become harder to source and more expensive. At our go to scrap yard off I94 near Sturtevant Wisconsin my son has been able to remove two dash pads intact before and after he carefully pried them off. They are now carefully stored down the basement for future use on our 93 Z28.

In my youth, I had an uncle who owned/ran his own junkyard. At 17, I bought a '57 210 2-door post off of another uncle, who was in dire straits financially, for $35. The Chevy had a 6-cylinder with Powerglide. The uncle with the yard had a junked '57 Bel Air with a 283 4-barrel, and separately a set of double-bump heads, a 30-30 cam, a complete balanced crank and high-comp piston set, and a 4-speed (the trans was out of a '64 Impala). Gathered it all up for nothing (just had to give him the original engine and trans in trade) and rebuilt the 283 then put it all in the 210. Drove it for a year, and then had to sell it, because Uncle Sam decided that he wanted me to move away from home for awhile.