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BangShift Question of the Day: Have You Ever Saved a Car or Truck From the Crusher?


BangShift Question of the Day: Have You Ever Saved a Car or Truck From the Crusher?

Hearing about old cars and trucks getting crushed always causes us to grit our teeth, but knowing one is headed for certain destruction and having the chance to save it is a totally different deal. One member of the BangShift fleet, my 1968 Chevy C50 wrecker was one or two days away from sure death before I swooped in, saved it and drove 600 miles home….at 58mph.

There have been more than a couple famous or infamous junkyard refugees over the years, probably topped by Hot Rod Magazine’s Crusher Camaro that has worn many looks, been stuffed full of many different engines, transmissions and axles and just as many suspensions. That car was saved from a crushing program that rewarded Californians for bringing their old cars in to be destroyed. Evil stuff!

Seeing that handsome old wrecker and knowing that the meter was literally running forced my hand. We’ve often been mystified by people on television addicted to adopting animals and stuff, but here we were in the same mindset looking at an old tow truck! We feel great that the truck has lived on in our less than capable hands.

How ’bout you. Have you ever saved a car or truck that was going to be crushed or otherwise destroyed?

Our new 1968 C50 wrecker


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12 thoughts on “BangShift Question of the Day: Have You Ever Saved a Car or Truck From the Crusher?

  1. Beagle

    I think the easier question for my junk is “Do you have any cars that shouldn’t be crushed”

    1. hoosierl98gta

      Yeah . I like the 77-90 Caprice. I went to get rid of some scrap metal one day and saw a 89 Caprice Brougham.I paid 200 for it without wheels. Big loader sat it on my flatbed . He told me that the motor was junk. It was after al in the shreader lot. I always have chevy engines so I thought no big deal.That and I had just bught a totaled one just like it only with a 4.3 just for the drivetrain and other bits. Well I get the thing home and put a alternator and a battery in it and it fires up and runs great. I couldn’t stop laughing.The 305 was way better than that 4.3 would ever be!

  2. Robert M.

    To the contrary,
    I have been responsible for a few cars going to the crusher, which would be quite valuable (&rare) today.
    My shame and embarrassment prevents me from elaborating.
    Anyway, that was a long time ago…we just didn’t know better back then.

  3. Greg Rourke

    A 1971 AMC Ambassador. A guy who was a big AMC fan bought one each of every AMC model in 1971, he was worried that year would be the last for AMC. He drove them each a bit over the years, and died in 2005. His family sold the cars, the AMX and Gremlin went right away. But the 60,000 mile 4 door Ambassador didn’t go. A neighbor told me about it, I got it for scrap value the night before the crusher was coming to take it away.

  4. Troy P

    Yes, I used to own a 1970 Datsun 521 that I sold to a neighbor down the street for $500 and several months later I looked out the window to see him dragging it down the street. Went down to ask him what his plans for the truck were and he said he was going to take it to the scrap yard. I asked how much he would get for it and he said about $100 so I offered him $100 for it and told him it would save him a 50 mile trip, he agreed and I got my truck back with a $400 profit.

  5. Jay

    http://nuclearwasteland.com/ this is my car. I still have it but it looks much different now.

    I saved a bunch of them over the ten years a friend (at the time) owned a small town wrecking yard. The one most loved by me is a 78 Mercury Cougar Brougham four door. I wanted a mad max style car to putt around town in and that fit the bill. It was huge and kinda evil looking and a quirky model (They made a four door cougar wagon that year as well, it’s just an LTDII with mercury trimmings).

    Early on they hadn’t wised up about selling things so I bought the car for $130. They had a crush going on and that car was in the row to go in the jaws. It survived the first days round of crushing but was car two for the next days row.

    When it had come in it was perfectly straight other than the trashed vinyl top and a missing trunk lock. I figured “Neat, but I bet it won’t start, bad motor probably” put a battery in it, dumped gas down the carb and it fired right up. “Crap, well I bet the transmission is bad….” put it in gear, drove it out of the crusher line towards the gate. “Crap again…I guess I’m buying this car today.”

    It ran surprisingly good, even off the 10 year old gas that was in it so I figured it couldn’t take much to get it going. That 351W is a good engine. The next day I put some junk roller tires on it and drove it home, gave it a bath, and then began building a set of 50 cal machine guns for it. The car now had battle scars from the wrecking yard where it was pushed into the crush line by a bulldozer. Three lower body dents on the rocker on one side and the front and rear lower fenders. I stripped the top, wire brushed it and then painted it an offensively bright pink with some old housepaint I had. The guns went on the front fenders, then it got a police car push bar, painted on whitewalls on the brand new set of tires, and a tune up.

    I was planning on driving to California from Oregon the next week and decided that was going to be my daily driver for that trip. It didn’t stop very well due to only a single wheel braking. The rear end brakes did not work at all and the front right brake was leaking so bad it wouldn’t grab. On went new brakes all around.

    A tune up, new brakes, new tires, and it was back on the road. The cruise control and 8track player and AC even still worked. I’ve now owned it for 9 years. A few summers ago it became a convertible. The two side doors were welded together and the center post cut out so when you open the rear door handle the entire double door super long door swings open like a freakishly sized two door.

    I’ve driven it bumper to landing gear with a 747, parked it next to the huge model of the oil tanker from WaterWorld, had lunches sitting on the roof, entered it in car shows, run over things and forded unexpected flooded road rivers in it…man…lots of history with that car. I saved it from the crusher but it’s time is nearing I think. Have to clean up my parents farm so they can sell it and it’s currently parked in the weeds behind the barn. It starts up every single time and runs fine. It drives fine. It stops fine. The AC and cruise still work. The body is destroyed and starting to rust out from being topless for a few years….but it will still start and drive anywhere I want it to.

    I don’t *want* to scrap it and it will be the last car I do that to of the fleet of 20 or so I’ve ended up with…but it may come to that. If someone is going to pull the trigger on that steed it’s going to be me. It’s a personal thing.

    Also it’s a known good drivetrain and my 69 galaxie 500 country sedan station wagon needs another engine due to the mechanic that vanished and stole the heads he was supposed to be rebuilding.

    I have a *LOT* of interesting pictures of this car. This is one of my favorites. http://i.imgur.com/bJZMq.jpg

  6. Scott Liggett

    Both my cars were saved by me. The Caprice I actually bought at Pick Your Part in Monrovia, CA. They had it in their car lot for months were about to part out the car. They wanted $3000 and I offered them $2000. They gave me a battery, hood hinges, and shifter rod. I had the guy in parking lot make me keys, and I drove it home. The master cylinder was mushy.

    The Impala I saved from a worse fate. Hydraulics. I bought it from a kid who had dreams of building two lowriders. He was neck deep into a ’64 Impala lowrider project and needed to sell it to finish the other car. I paid him $1200 and drove it home. It had a junkyard special 350/th350 power that barely ran and only went into reverse when it felt like it.

  7. Nofear57

    My 57 Chevy was dragged out to pasture on its roof and left for dead back in the 70’s. It was nailed so hard on the passenger side that part of the fire wall needed replacing and was rear ended leaving the rear fender fins bent inwards. Today its an all steel blown black pro street thats tubbed out!

  8. 75Duster

    I saved my 1975 Duster from the crusher when I was stationed in Hawaii, rebuilt it at Hickam AFB, and I continue to own and enjoy it today.

  9. richard walllendal

    just this year—a ’61 Renault Caravelle. Zero rust. Plan to use a VW transaxle and use an EVO Harley motor when I build it. It is a little 2+2 convertible with a removable hardtop

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