Scrap yards are filthy dirty places, full of dangers and populated by big brawny men in grease soaked clothing, dudes you give lots of room. They roam around in “road warrior” service trucks, hammers, wrenches and cutting torches at the ready. This is where old vehicles, machinery and anything that’s cast, alloyed, rolled or forged goes to die, to be recycled, chopped up or parted out. It’s a treasure chest. Turn a corner and it’s something rare or unusual, other times it the everyday and mundane, leftover bits of of steel, copper and aluminum from whatever. You never know. For Team BIGDoer…it’s heaven.
This particular yard, the county where it’s located in the title of the post, is well spread out, bigger than most and stuffed full of goodies to inspire any photographer. It’s not just cars and trucks, although there’s no shortage of either, most of them vintage, but a sampling of everything you could possibly imagine that is or could be made of metal. It’s amazing and endless. While looking completely chaotic, there’s a strange order to things. It might only make complete sense to those who work here, but it’s an order none the less.
This will be a two-parter, the second to follow in a few weeks or so. Still, there was enough in this yard to fill three or four good sized postings, no, maybe even more. We simply ran out of time this visit. The place is pretty big and varied so there was no way to avoid it. Perhaps we’ll return some day to continue the series. They’ve given us a open invitation…
But enough talk, let’s see the collection…
1) An early 1960s Ford F700 that once worked for the scrap yard. These guys have been at it for a looong time. A big and burly work truck, you’ve got to love that grill. Mad Max approved!
2) Fargo Trucks were sold at Plymouth dealers in Canada and were not available in the US. Because of this the marque is pretty rare overall, especially for the larger trucks in the line, like this one. They were simply re-badged Dodges. This is an LCF (Low Cab Forward) model outfitted with a grain box (this is rural Alberta you know). The trim on this one tells us it’s a 1960-1968 model. The last year for Fargos here was 1972. The last year for the LCF overall was the mid-1970s.
3) An International Loadstar. This model was produced over a long period of time, 1962-1979, in huge numbers. We see so many of them in farm country, we rarely give them a second glance. This one was a grain hauler (like that’s a surprise?). Lots of big tanks, like on the left, scattered about this yard.
4) Farmer’s are cheap-ass buggers. Proof? Just look at this wagon modified with rubber wheels. They simply cut down the wood spokes and bolted them to an old car rim. Not sure how strong it’d be, but clearly it’s straight out of the Frugal Farmer’s handbook. We heard there were kits for this, but this one looks more home made.
5) The thing seen is essentially a huge fire extinguisher on wheels. More of them in behind too. You got to wonder where they came from? You might find them in a factory or some such place.
6) I dare say, the most common pickup truck of it’s era (late ’40s/early ’50s). This is a Chevrolet “Advance Design”. GMC versions were near identical. Hate to admit, but we usually don’t pay these models much mind (but should, I guess).
7) One of the more odd things found, playground equipment. As we wandered about, it came to us, this scrap yard had at least one of everything made of metal. Case in point here. In fact there were a couple swing sets here. Remember as a kid, you’d go so high one of the legs would come out of the ground, your mother looking on in horror? Of course you do!
8) Some workers filling a bin in back – they make their money selling metal here after all – their beaten-into-submission Chevrolet yard truck in the foreground. It’s a 1970s model. Pretty certain it won’t pass inspection. These men grumble under their breath, making hard to judge if they’re pissed off or if that’s just their normal everyday selves. Strong, and dirty from head to toe, not ill mannered but still very hard to read, at best, it seems they tolerate us guys with the cameras. Accompanying them is a “junk yard dog”. Stereotypes here, right out of a movie…
9) From another chapter in the “handbook”, this home made tractor. Love how farmers can take what ever is lying about and make something useful and productive out of them. They’re heroes!
10) A HUGE pile of cans. Food cans – Chef Boyardee Beefaroni, peas, baked beans, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, that wonderful canned gravy stuff (LOVE!), Fancy Feast Catfood, evaporated milk (BARF!) – it’s ALL so strange. How did they ever collect that many?
11) Scrap yard camping! Lots of old motorhomes and RVs in the yard. This is a 1990s era Pace Arrow…we think. The fellow in front has lost his head. But don’t we all at times?
12) Damn, cars were boxy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I mean, zero curves, all flats and angles. This is a ’79-’82 Ford LTD. This was the biggest car Ford made in the era, and typically the most luxurious.
13) The Seaman Company made tractors, not ones used on the farm, but for industrial use. Pulling road building machinery was one application. We’ve never actually seen one before, in fact never even heard of the company, so this was a first for us. There was a second one here too. The company seemed most active in the 1950s, so we’ll venture to guess the one seen documented here is from that era.
14) Old cars! Ahh, there’s our fix. Now we’re getting somewhere. Two early 1950s GMs, one a Pontiac (Chieftain?) the other a Chevrolet (a Bel-Air, we think). Nice old metal! In case you wonder about the “?”, even after all these years, and a gazillion vehicles seen, we still can’t ID a car to save our lives.
15) A ’49-’52 Chevrolet (Deluxe?) and peeking out behind it is a 1960s Chevy Pickup.
16) The aggressive grill of an early 1950s Ford Pickup. It MEANS business. Post WW2 pickups are quite common to find in rural Alberta. This was a boom period.
17) Another early ’50s Pontiac. Nature’s got the upper hand here. It’s being swallowed up! This make was once very popular. Considered a step up above a Chevrolet in trim and options, they went out of business not all that long ago.
18 and 20) A (very) baby blue 1961 Plymouth Fury. In design, it really stood out as unique when compared to it contemporaries, but perhaps was a bit too radical for many buyers as sales were modest at best. Not everyone was taken by that “furrowed” brow look. Next model year, things would be toned down a bit. In our world, unconventional rules so we love it! It appears complete mechanically. Thinking out loud….hmmm…project car.
19) Tail fins! Big fans of them, the taller and sharper and more pronounced, the better. This 1958 Dodge (Royal or Custom Royal) does pretty well with them. Nice looking car, very “futuristic”! Fins, just like a space rocket! It also looks complete and is a nice break from all the GM stuff we’ve seen so far.
21) A Ford C Series. This truck was produced over a long period with minimal change, 1957-1990, and was a volume seller. Suitable for all kind of yeoman work – here it’s outfitted as a bucket truck – we still see a lot of them around, some even still on the job. The cab tilts as you can see, which allows access to the drive train for maintenance and the like.
22) Lame artsy photo attempt!
23) A “Ram” logo seen on a mid-1950s Dodge truck. Note the 73 license plate. Over fifteen years a driver, I’d say the owner did okay. The logo and what it represented was so important to Dodge that in recent times they renamed the line to Ram Trucks.
24) Another early ’50s Chevy. Tried to read the mangled license plate, but it was too far gone.
25) Two old International (IHC) Pickups. Was wondering when we’d see some – they were always common in farming areas like this. The one facing is a ’72 or ’73 model, the one beside it, from the 1950s. IHC would quit making pickups in the mid-1970s, and by 1980 ditto for it’s “SUV” line, the “Scout”. I heard these things were near bullet proof.
26) Some strange stuff in this yard, including this collection of helmets. What the…what’s the deal with the numbers? Clearly they all came from the same place. Bloody curious to know.
27) This early 1950s Plymouth was last plated in 1961.
28) Here we go! Good stuff! A 1950s era Studebaker – hoping we’d find a less common model – and beside it, in front, a late 1930s Dodge or Plymouth. We looked all over it for an identification mark but found none. Every time I see a ’30s era car, I can’t help think gangster. Seen too many movies I guess.
29) A work of art if you ask us (and no one ever does), a 1949-1963 White 3000. Look at that design! This is the first we’ve seen in person. They were not all that common, here at least. It’s done up with a grain box. The keys were inside – just drive it away! Okay, here come the calls – “I want to buy it!”
30) An REO from the early to mid-1950s. This make was never all that common in Canada, so it’s a real treat to find. They lasted until the 1970s. By then they were Diamond-REO.
31) A very common, 1948-1950 era, Ford Pickup. In case you’ve wondered what’s up with those big “S” letters seen on many of the vehicles documented…it means save, don’t scrap. Every now and then, they “clean” up the yard, sending off the junkiest of things the most mangled metal to get recycled. And when I say clean up, before or after, it’s still a junk yard. By nature they’re always a mess no matter what. Not sure if they sell parts off these old vehicles, our just simply collect them. Could never get a straight answer. I suspect, like anything, it’s for sale if the “price is right”. Come on down…
32) Another White 3000. Wooo-hooo, the second we’ve seen. These were made with little change over the span of production. More calls expected…
33) A “Belarus” tractor from the Minsk Tractor Works in Belarus (formerly of the USSR). We think this is a 7xxx series from the 1980s. The sticker that tells that info was too faded to see. We see this make from time to time. Good socialist tractor, strong like ox. The firm is still in business.
34) A 1957-1967 era Allis Chalmers D17 taking refuge in the shade. A pretty unremarkable, work-a-day, farm tractor. The make was not as common as others around here, but still not all that unusual.
35) There was a time when all good Buicks had “portholes” similar to this. If there were three it was a lower model, and if four, higher. This beast is from the early 1950s. Nice car, with an impressive grill, which will be seen in part two of this post.
36) An engine-in-the-trunk second generation (so 1965-1969) Chevrolet Corvair, GM’s answer to the VW Beetle. The car was sullied with a bad reputation early on – mostly fixed by the time this one was made – which doomed the model. The second generation was the last.
37) On the way home, taking back roads as we always do, we see this range rider’s cabin as twilight falls. The tall tree was no doubt a sapling when they built a structure. The stories the place could tell. That same thought enters our mind each time we see an old or abandoned dwelling.
38) Not far away – a Cat with wet toes. This old D7 (1960s or 1970s model, we think) in quiet retirement, its last job done, likely to never move again. So peaceful. Then that cheeze-fest 1970s film Killdozer comes to mind…and I give it a wide berth. Hmmm…it looks waiting to pounce.
There we have it, part one, in the can. Stay tuned the second instalment, it’ll come soon enough. Wasn’t this fun?
If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: October, 2016.
Location: Stettler County, AB.
Article references and thanks: Scrap Yard Guys, Henry and Mac, the other fellow who I was scared to talk to, Film Photographer Rob Pohl who was hanging with us this adventures, all, a big thanks.
This yard is private property. BIGDoer.com visited with permission.