Wednesday, May 5, 2010

All You Can Carry Salvage Yard Event

If you're a car geek (and if you're not, you're reading the wrong blog), this is one of the coolest things you can do. I'm not kidding.

15 years ago, these were common events everywhere. In the summer there used to be 3 or 4 each month in Massachusetts alone. I'd attend them all.

The deal is this... You arrive at the salvage yard and pay an "entry fee" (in this case it's $65.00). That gets you into the salvage yard. You're then allowed to remove and keep any parts you take off of any car. There's a catch, though...

You need to physically carry those parts a certain distance (in this case 10 yards). You can't pull them, push them or have someone help you; you have to carry them yourself. There are usually no rules as to how you get those parts to the final area, but for the last 10 yards you need to carry them.

All of the yards that I went to didn't allow you to look first and see what inventory they had. I assume it's the same everywhere. If you're looking for a specific part for a specific car, you may be out of luck. You pay your money and you take your chances.

Still, for many reasons, this is a great way to spend an afternoon and $65.00. First of all, there is some huge entertainment value here. Until you've seen it, you have no idea how creative people can be when they need to carry 20 or 30 parts 10 yards. Watching a 5' 9", 160lb person (I used that as an example as that's around my height / weight) carry 300lbs of car parts 10 yards is like watching some sort of weird Olympic event. They take a deep breath, do a couple of deep knee bends, look at their find, look at the "finish line" and then go for it. Blood vessels bulge, faces turn Ferrari Rosso Corsa, knees buckle, sweat pours out by the gallon, yet somehow they make it. It's truly a sight to behold.

Secondly, it can be educational. This was one of the big reasons I'd go to these events. You get to take apart a car.You get to see how everything was put together. You get experience. Best of all, if you screw up and break something, the car's already in the junkyard. It's already a few days away from being crushed and sent to China. No harm, no foul. It's a lot better to break something on a junk car than it is on your own car.

Thirdly, it can be profitable. Find a fairly obscure car and strip it of commonly replaced, easy to carry, parts. Bring them home, clean them up and list them on eBay or Craigslist. You'll make your $65.00 back in no time and probably turn a small profit. I once found and stripped a Lancia Beta Zagato. The next day I sold the tail lights for $150.00 and the canvass top and frame for $50.00. (I still have the roof panel somewhere, if anyone is interested...)

These events are few and far between these days. Part of that has to do with the EPA and, really, that's a good thing. Many salvage yards didn't drain the cars of their fluids. When faced with a time limit, most people would just cut brake lines, transmission lines, steering hoses, whatever, and allow the fluids to run into the ground. No one wants tap water with a head on it, so I understand why the EPA frowned on these events.

But idiots were the biggest reason these events stopped happening. People got hurt. They got hurt because of their own stupidity. Lifting a car on an ancient scissor jack you found in the trunk and then getting under the car and yanking with all your might to pull off an exhaust system is a really, really good way of getting hurt. Yet people did it. Yes, you sign a liability waiver when you pay your entry fee, but that didn't stop some people from suing. Many salvage yards were facing the possibility of losing their insurance.

This event is happening May 8th at a place called Carolina Salvage in Rock Hill, S.C. You can find the Craigslist ad they placed here. Below is their TV ad.

As always, if you receive JaCG by e-mail, you'll have to click here to see the video.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, on March 30, I closed my business after 28 years. I planned on taking time off and had a list of things I wanted to do before I became a productive member of society again. Places I wanted to visit, things I wanted to do, people I wanted to see, stuff like that. I have to give myself credit, I did most of it. The two things I haven't done yet are quit smoking (the world's dumbest habit and the toughest to break) and take a 3 or 4 day "drive to nowhere". Maybe this weekend my "drive to nowhere" will turn out to be a "drive to somewhere"; a salvage yard in South Carolina. (I heard that cigarettes are pretty cheap in South Carolina, too.)


Singleton Mosby said...

These events just sound like a blast. Wish one would take place on a salvage yard filled with old Citroens over here in Europe.

Good luck hunting parts!

Bill said...

We still have U Pullit yards in eastern Pennsylvania, some with cool inventory, and one near Bangor that is organized by type of vehicle. Come check them out!

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James said...

Salvage yards are some of the coolest places to hangout in. I have a junk yard in Orlando and some of the junk cars and autos I get are amazing. You have a neat blog, keep up the great work.

We buy junk cars