It doesn’t run, or does it? For quite some time I had assumed that just about every car in a junkyard could not, would not start. It just made sense to my naive self. After taking out a ridiculous student loan and pledging my income for the next 10 years to mechanic’s school I learned that simply wasn’t true. I also learned how to get those crap-heaps running and how to keep them that way.
Auto museums are old and rare and one of a kind and fast and fun and art and innovation. Car museums are great places to learn about cars and tech you didn’t know about. They’re like immersive pop-up books. You normally pay just a bit and you’ve earned you tuition to some of the coolest day-classes you can take on automobilia. Junkyards are better, though.
Junkyards aren’t just a place for cheap parts and a place to take your car long after its dead. Junkyards are full of unique and interesting models that you won’t necessarily find out on the road. Many of the best and unique cars to come out of the 20th century won’t ever make it into a nice air-conditioned museum. Many of those cars weren’t built well and aren’t reliable enough to stay running on the roads. Many of the best cars ever made (I’m looking at you Volvo 240) are sitting in some muddy yard somewhere ready to be explored.
I used to head over to the nearest junkyard to practice on a forgotten beater before I would tear into my own at home. If I had to do a job on my Sentra or Datsun that I hadn’t done before and wasn’t confident about being able to do it in the driveway, I’d just call up LKQ, see if they had a model in their yard and then go to town!
Here’s the first start of a Mercedes-Benz 407D in 12years. It takes some cranking and some innovation to get the old girl fired up again, but she eventually gets going around the 9min mark.