Give us an old scrap yard to explore and we’re happy campers. Dirty, full of dangers, it’s hardly a place one would think fun, but to aficionados of the decrepit and all things damned, Team BIGDoer, it’s a giant amusement park. All the cast-away things found there, they’re not shiny and new, but ancient, worn out, forgotten and in pieces and absolutely full of character. It’s the last stop for these old cars and anything made metal, once useful, of value, now unwanted and plain old worthless junk. It’s where they go to die, later to be recycled.
This is the Stettler County Collection, a huge yard, so big it took two separate articles to cover it all (scroll down for link to the first). This place is different than many yards we’ve visited and is not as chaotic – in fact, in places there’s a strange order – nor is it congested as some. It’s well spread out. All manner of metal can be found here and among them all is the stuff we come for, old cars, trucks and farm machinery and other cast offs that speak of the human experience. Bent I-beams and shredded aluminum won’t cut it here.
Let’s dive in…
1) A 1958-1960 era Edsel. The car was poorly received by the general public, the costs of bringing it to market, hundreds of millions of dollars, almost crippling the Ford Motor Company. Only some hundred and twenty thousand were made with less than ten thousand being produced at Ford’s Canadian Plant. This makes them pretty rare. Not sure if I like the “puckered” lip grill. For that alone, I can see why it was a slow seller. UGLY! Edsel was a division of Ford, much like Mercury and Lincoln and not just a model within the firm.
2) A 1953 Buick (Super?). Quite the aggressive grill! Portholes on the fenders were sure fire Buick spotting feature. We don’t see many old cars from this make.
3) Straight of out the 1990s, an Arctic Cat Tigershark personal water craft. There’s not many lakes here on the vast plains of Alberta, and few deep enough or suitable enough to use such craft, so it seems a bit out of place. This make is less common than others (Sea-doo, Yamaha).
4) Out front, a 1970s Ford Maverick. This model was pretty blah, a cheap, simple car, uninspiring in every way (the V8 ones could be spirited), the target market, budget minded car buyers (so us if we lived then). They were produced in huge numbers. In back, an old trailer formerly belonging to the Calgary Stampede Ranch. You gotta wonder how it got up here.
5) This International is from the mid-1960s. This make was once quite common on the Canadian Prairies – we still see lots of them. The company quit producing pickups in the 1970s.
6) The interior of an old camping trailer found on the property. In addition to lots of vintage cars, trucks and tractors, there was a good number old RVs kicking around. This one was the best of them!
7) A White 3000. The model was made from the 1940s into the 1960s with minimal change, so dating one to a specific year is difficult and beyond our abilities. Plus we’re lazy. This was the first of this model Team BIGDoer has seen in person. Given their pleasing lines, these are highly sought after by collectors. Quite a stylish truck. The “S” seen on the windshield and those of other old vehicles seen, means save, so don’t scrap. Not sure what the long term plans are.
8) An early 1950s Plymouth. A high percentage of vehicles the yard seem to be from this era.
9) This International Pickup is from the, ding, ding, ding, yes, you guessed it, the early 1950s. It looks complete (most in the yard weren’t), almost like you could drive it away. Where’s the jumper cables? This is an L series.
10) Two International Medium Duty Trucks. Out behind it’s a 1960s/1970s era Loadstar. Love the baby blue! This model was once a popular farm truck and we see them all the time, most in retirement, but every now and then the occasional one still hard at work and being driven. In the foreground, a Cargostar. These were made from the 1960s-1980s, although the grill tells us this is an earlier one, say pre-1973-ish. These were made in pretty good numbers too.
11) The interior of a 1967 Dodge Polara. That’s the type of dash I remember as a kid.
12) A 1970s era Dodge Van. You’re thinking Red Green here, aren’t you? These were once common and could be outfitted as a mini-bus of sorts to haul people around, to carry stuff needing protection from the weather, done up as a tradesman’s mobile shop, or outfitted as a “Boogie Van”. Dodge made LOTS of them and from time to time, we still see the odd one out on the road today. The old house seen is one of a couple on the property. Sorted metal in front.
13) An old grain truck dumped into a marshy area and well sunk into the mud. Got wet getting this close!
14) Horrible at IDing 1920s cars. We think this one is a 1930 Plymouth – please chime in if we’re wrong. That firm, an arm of the Chrysler Corporation, made cars from 1928-2001. If we’re right about what make it is, it’s the oldest Plymouth we’ve ever seen.
15) Crazy ’bout a Mercury. This is a 1949-1951 model which is quite popular with the hot-rodding fraternity. Look online and see. Notice the suicide doors. And that aggressive grill. I can see why they’re so sought after. Nice lines, with tons of attitude.
16) A strange homemade piece of farm machinery. Some kind of sprayer perhaps? Hard to make out what the intentions were of the fellow who built it. The bottom half of the beast is made from a chopped down GMC Kurb-side Van (1950s/1960s era?), the top the cab off another piece of farm equipment. Add some angle iron and tubing and viola, a vehicle fitting of a Mad Max Movie. Got to love cheap-ass farmers! Necessity IS the mother of invention!
17) Someone had some time on their hands!
18) A 1946-1948 Ford. Looks complete and in fairly good shape. Not a stand out, design wise, but not bad looking either.
19) A 1951 Chevrolet. Like the Ford above, another every-man’s car. There were a number of ’51 Chevys in the yard.
20) A 1940s/1950s era Case Tractor, a Model D, we think. Every tractor firm had their own company colours, and for Case it was (at the time) this orange shade. Note the hand crank start. Case still makes farm machinery to this day.
21) This Cockshutt Tractor appears to be a 1950s era Model 20. This firm was the only large scale tractor maker that was Canadian owned. Their distinctive round nose grill made them a real stand out. The last true Cockshutts were in the early 1960s. We still see a lot of these tractors out in the wild, most like this one, disused and thrown out back.
22) Also from the Cockshutt firm, a poop spreader. I think this model was called “The Politician”.
23) We got a thing for tail fins! The bigger, the more pronounced or exaggerated, the better. These belong to a 1958 Dodge. Not Cadillac big, but still impressive in size.
24) A ’61 Plymouth Belevdere. To see more of it, check out instalment one (link below). It’s a blue beauty!
25) This Plymouth is from 1950. The licence plate seen in front is from ’52.
26) A 1967 Dodge Polara, a giant land barge built at a time when size alone was all that mattered, things like fuel economy be damned. One of Dodge’s “premier” cars, the model was in production from 1960—1974 over four generations.
27) The trees have the upper hand here. Seen being gobbled up, a vintage ’50’s era school bus.
28) A second generation (1965-1969) Chevrolet Corvair. This was the only mass produced car in North America to have an air-cooled engine. It was in the trunk and I guess the model could be seen as GM’s take on the VW Beetle, which was hugely popular at the time. The General wanted a piece of that pie. The first generation Corvair (1960-1964) had a bad reputation for poor handling and other safety issues. The car made Ralph Nader famous. Google it.
29) Seems a lot of cars in the yard are from the early 1950s. This Chrysler is no exception, and is a ’51. Nice!
30) Up close and personal with a 1980s era Belarus Tractor from the then Soviet Union. Seems odd to find something made in a hardcore socialist country here in equally radical capitalist-minded Alberta. A Russian sympathizer…eh comrade? This one is about as big as they get. Check out part to see more of this beast (scroll down for link).
31) What were they thinking?
32) A unique angle – the Case tractor seen earlier.
33) Watching Rob Pohl, who joined us this trip, setting up his crazy view camera. It takes these giant sheets of film and each photo requires a long and drawn out set up procedure. Doing it old school really slooooooows things down. Film is making a comeback. Rob’s never stopped. We sometimes shoot our 35mm, but not nearly often enough. There’s that Corvair we looked at earlier and yours truly, with my trademark “adventure” yellow jacket, doing my best to be a distraction.
34) “Honey, I washed the truck!” “Memo to self…don’t forget to set the parking brake.” “Ice fishing gone wrong.” We’re here all week folks. No matter how it happened, it’s a head turner. Seen on the drive home, a 1970s/1980s era Chevrolet or GMC pickup in the middle of a pond.
35) Also seen on the trip back to Calgary, just as the last light faded, this old car in retirement, the highway home, seen in back, and our adventure near its end. Always hate this part. It’s when we realize the fun, for the day, is done. Well, until next time.
Another one in the can. Damn this was fun. If you have a scrap yard, own some vintage cars, or machinery, unrestored, fixed up fine or anything in between, you think we should see and document, please send us a message or call. We’d love to hear from you. Have camera, will travel.
The first instalment…
Stettler County Collection – Part 1.
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: Henry and Mac, the other fellow at the yard, Robert Pohl who was hanging with us this adventures, all, a big thanks.
This yard is private property. BIGDoer.com visited with permission.