by John Linhardt
Ex-member Don Gilbert and Myself have combed Junk-Yards from Augusta, Maine to Hayward California. The fever started when Don was going to school in Coral Gables, Florida and found a 1941 Buick “Super” convertible in a yard and got it running, and drove it to New York on his summer break. Together through the years, we owned three cars we resurrected out of junk-yards and restored, one to an AACA National prize winner coming out of a wrecking yard in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.
In our own back yard, Nassau County, there was the Denton Avenue junk yards. In Queens, many yards on Liberty Avenue, Jamaica, east of the Van Wyck Expressway. Again, Don found a 1953 Olds Convertible at Neils Wrecking, that he fixed and sold. Going West in Queens, on 101st Avenue, there were several more yards. Then on to Pennsylvania Avenue, Brooklyn, were acres and acres of wrecked cars and parts. Don found parts for his 1941 Buick there.
All boros had junk yards, even in upper NYC., but those cars were quickly “Cut-up” due to storage, but the popular auto parts were saved. Generator/Starter rebuild firms depended on these removed parts for stock rebuild, then they got your old parts (core) back to rebuild those again.
The most popular classic car salvage yard was at 635 S. Columbus Avenue, Mount Vernon, NY, Owned by Sam Adelman. He started in the Bronx, but ran out of room when other wrecking yards called him to take an old car. I wrote about Sam previously, but he was “One-of-a-kind”. His inventory of parts was in his head and only cars of the ’20’s, 30’s and early ’40’s. His specialty was Rolls Royce. Sam stored it all. Hood ornaments, motor meters, dash gauges, engines transmissions, rims, bumpers, headlights, tail lenses, etc. Sam knew what to buy, what sold, and parts to him were not “junk”, but some else’s treasures. He sold parts all over the world. I visited him often, but you must come early like his insistance “before the chickens got up”, and he was serious as he lived all alone in a home on 233rd Street in the Bronx. Sam was a real “Classic”