Wastelands of Suburbia

A place where the cast-off ephemera of the last four generations comes to rest, and is discussed fondly....Like junk, or the injection-molded minutiae of history? Welcome home...Junkyards, yard sales, roadside oddities, thrift stores and more-your memories are deep inside the box, so keep shaking.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

One Man Junkyards....

(A nice selection of Mopars in The Elysian Fields I hope to go to when I die.)

A few miles down the road from my house, in nearby Portland, PA sits a travesty. A 1957 Chevrolet BelAir 2-door hardtop in red and white-the classic, quintessential, iconic Fifties car, sits, slowly rotting into the ground. Down to it's axles on disintegrated whitewalls, a crude, crumbling, hand painted sign says, through a cloudy windshield, "NOT FOR SALE". Countless Northeastern Pennsylvania and Northwestern New Jersey males have seen this grave injustice played out over the last nearly 40 years. Probably longer-as my Dad can attest to the fact it has sat there as long as he can remember. What possesses a person, presumably a car enthusiast (based on their taste in lawn decor), to entertain not even the highest offer on potential purchase of a seemingly (for now)useless vehicle? One might say, "why, you simple jackass, he's obviously going to restore it himself". OK, I'd buy that if he had started work like, uh, twenty years ago. When I was in high school, a much thinner, mullet-bearing, pimply version of the sexy Evil Genius I have become, The story was more than one Shop Kid had knocked on the door of the house, ignoring THE SIGN that should have told them better, and inquired about the car. Stories ranged from being chased by a shotgun-bearing codger off the property, to a sad story about a son killed in Vietnam, to a ranting lunatic smelling of feces and Beech-Nut chew. At least one rogue claimed it Stephen King's inspiration for "Christine" (which, in it's core principle at least, may have been true).

What possesses a person to, not only hoard such a precious piece of automotive history in disrepair, but to deny the enterprising enthusiast the right to do the same? One can understand packratting-GOD KNOWS I can. But, with the budding Boyd Coddingtons of the world running about waving handfuls of hundreds anymore, I can't imagine not being TEMPTED to let go of the keys and title. I mean, if some fast-talking Vo-Techer (an oxymoron?) came to separate me from Greta with the right amount of Benjamins, I would not squeal too loudly-there are a million yard ornaments out there with my name on them, thanks much.

It is in this spirit that, a few years ago, a guy came up with the website www.carsinbarns.com . I'd show you some pics but he's got them all protected-fair enough. Go there, it's worth it if only to make grown men cry-hundreds of cars, organized by marque, sitting in barns, garages, side yards, junkyards and in front of run-down motels all across this great land. When possible, he has a story for each one. I have not seen so may Superbirds in one place, not even Mopars at Carlisle! Sadly, they all sit, like my youth's beloved '57 BelAir, sinking into the ground. In the end, the nasty old bastard who holds the title on that beauty will die, and it will be sold at auction with nothing the prick can do about it. Will it be worth it? To someone it will, even after 40 years of rot.


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