1993: Visiting the Arizona Auto Salvage Yards

In 1993, with seven years at Volvo Corporate under my belt, I had done my share of domestic and international business travel. Volvo generously allowed employees to keep and use their own earned frequent flyer points. In April of that year, with some of my points about to expire, I burned a bunch of them by taking a long weekend trip to Phoenix AZ.

Now, Phoenix was not exactly my first choice as a vacation hot spot. Of course, there was an ulterior motive: I had heard about the auto salvage yards in the area, mainly filled with ‘50s-‘60s Detroit iron (as rust was not an issue in the Southwest). My 1967 Dodge Dart was in need of a few components not available in the aftermarket. Telling this to my buddy John M, who owned a 1963 Buick, resulted in being given a shopping list for his car. (I sold the Dart several years after this trip was taken; John still owns that ’63 Wildcat convertible today.)

Packing little more than a weekend bag, my camera, and some cash, I was off to Phoenix. Expecting warm weather, I didn’t bother with sweaters or coats. Good thing, too, because Phoenix was having a heat wave. Temperatures reached 114 degrees F during my stay, making me very glad that my hotel’s swimming pool was open.

Finding the salvage yards was easy. I brought the Yellow Pages from my hotel room with me, and armed with a map I picked up in the airport, off I went in the rental car. While I did find my parts, the real treat was being able to stroll through these yards at my leisure. The staff was more than willing to let me wander, scrounging for parts, admiring the cars, taking photos, and generally acting like the East Coast tourist I was.

I’ve long forgotten what I purchased for the Dart and Wildcat (John, do you recall?). However, the sights of the 4 or 5 yards I visited were captured on color film, and looking at them brings me back to that busy (if blazing hot) weekend. Here is a small selection of those photographs.

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A stack of ’60s Buicks
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Another stack of Buicks, with a ’63 on top

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The evolution of the Cadillac tail fin

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1962 Chrysler 300- that’s a good quarter panel!
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Junkyard dog admires Imperial styling
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A pair of ’61-’63 ‘Jet Age’ T-Birds
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What a great instrument cluster; does anyone know the year and make of this MoPar?
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More Buicks! Was this a Buick-only yard?
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These Nash Metropolitans were among the few imports I saw
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1957 Buick with AZ mountains as backdrop
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2nd gen Plymouth Barracuda; pebbles & weeds indicate she’s been under water
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Not much left to pick off this ’58 Caddy carcass
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’65 Chevy Impala looks like it could be brought back
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Let’s not forget we’re in the (former/still) Wild West

Photos were taken with my Nikon EM camera; film info not recorded, but likely Kodak Gold, either 100 or 200 ISO. Prints scanned with Epson V500 photo scanner.

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

2 thoughts on “1993: Visiting the Arizona Auto Salvage Yards

  1. The instrument cluster is a Chrysler “Astra-Dome” (!). The non-ribbed crash pad indicates that the car is a ‘60 model year example. (‘61s and ‘62s had a series of vertical “ribs” extending along its full width).

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    • How did I know that you would be the first to respond? Well done, my friend. Must admit I never heard of the “Astra-Dome”; fits right in with all those other nifty space-age names which were being used.

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