Parts from a long closed auto repair business

Posted by Andrew Lydecker on

I came across a bunch of parts for sale in Nashville, mostly name brand replacement parts, all still new and mostly in original boxes.  It amounted to a pickup and cargo trailer load with the back seat of my trusty F150 super crew full to the top along with the bed and a 4x6 trailer.  I recognized a few parts such as a head and copper gasket set from a Pontiac straight eight, which would have been 1930s most likely.  So I knew there were going to be some old parts.  That's the fun part about this job - digging in to the boxes of parts to find out what's there.


After loading about 7 pallets of parts into my truck, I took the time to chat with the seller.  He was a young guy, maybe early 30s, and was into building hotrods.  He had some nice stuff there, and was currently working on a slammed vintage Suburban.  Not my cup of tea when it comes to cars, but I appreciate good craftsmanship when I see it and this stuff was pretty well done.  The reason he was selling the parts, though, was he was losing his shop space and needed to get everything out ASAP.  The parts were just a side thing he happened upon and so he was happy to pass them along.


But the interesting part was where the parts had come from.  Down the street from his shop there had been an old warehouse/garage.  He had grown up in the area and it had been closed up for as long as he could remember.  From what he had heard, it had been an auto repair/customization business for many years, and when the owner decided it was time to retire, he simply closed the door and went home.


One day years later, he passed away.  I have no idea what his name was or the name of his business, or even when he retired or passed away.  But apparently, the people in charge of his estate decided to sell the property for redevelopment.  The old warehouse/garage was to be torn down.


But here's the kicker.  It was still full of everything from the old business.  My first instinct would be to call an auction company.  Plenty of people are looking for old parts and if well advertised in the right circles, a sale like that would bring decent money.


But apparently that isn't what most people, or at least the people in charge of getting the property ready for redevelopment, thought.  No, their focus was on getting the property ready for development as soon as possible, and evidently the piles of parts and old cars in the shop were just old junk to be gotten rid of as soon as possible.


So they called in the dumpsters and started hauling boxes of old, often new in the box, parts, straight to the dump.  This is tens of thousands of dollars worth, mind you.  In the midst of this, word got out and people started coming with trucks and trailers, hauling away as much as they could.  The seller of this particular load of parts said he had driven by and seen what basically amounted to a free for all, and ended up taking 7 pickup loads back to his shop.  He had sold some over the years, and this is what was left.


This illustrates the old adage that one man's trash is another man's treasure.  It's a shame that in the age of the internet, that a more lucrative method of disposal can't be achieved that gets these old parts to people who can use them. 


I'll be detailing parts from this lot as I dig into them and see what's there.

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