Junkyards, Gearheads, and Rust: Salvaging the Automotive Past

Junkyards, Gearheads, and Rust: Salvaging the Automotive Past

by David N. Lucsko


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What happens to automobiles after they are retired but before they are processed as scrap? In this fascinating history, David N. Lucsko takes readers on a tour of salvage yards and wrecked or otherwise out-of-service cars in the United States from the point of view of gearheads—the hot rodders, restoration hobbyists, street rodders, and classic car devotees who reuse, repurpose, and restore junked cars.

Junkyards, Gearheads, and Rust is a nuanced exploration of the business of dismantling wrecks and selling second-hand parts. It examines the reinterpretation of these cars and parts by artists as well as their restoration by enthusiasts. It also surveys the origin and evolution of gearhead-oriented yards that specialize in specific types of automobiles; dissects the material and emotional appeal of the salvage yard and its contents among enthusiasts; and examines how zoning and nuisance ordinances have affected both salvage businesses and hobbyists.

Lucsko concludes with an analysis of efforts during the last twenty-five years to hasten vehicular obsolescence at the expense of salvage yards, mechanics, and enthusiasts. By examining how cars are salvaged, repurposed, and restored, this book demonstrates that the history of the automobile is much more than a running catalog of showroom novelties.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421419428
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 05/15/2016
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David N. Lucsko is an associate professor of history at Auburn University. He is the author of The Business of Speed: The Hot Rod Industry in America, 1915–1990.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

1 The Automotive Salvage Business in America, 1900-2010: An Overview 14

2 Parts, Parts Cars, and Car Enthusiasts: The Art and Practice of Direct Recycling 38

3 Arizona Gold: Enthusiast-Specialty Salvage Yards, 1920S-2000S 74

4 Junkyard Jamboree: Hunting for Treasure in the Automotive Past, 1950-2010 98

5 Not in My Neighbor's Backyard, Either: Zoning and Eyesore Ordinances, 1965-2010 133

6 Of Clunkers and Camaros: Policy Makers, Enthusiasts, and Old-Car Scrappage, 1990-2009 159

Coda: Something Old, Something New 188

Notes 193

Essay on Sources 249

Index 255

What People are Saying About This

Carl A. Zimring

In this engaging book, Lucsko vividly articulates the culture of yard owners and users. The resulting book is a major work in discard studies and a valuable contribution to our understanding of automobiles as objects with histories informing their present and future value.

Robert C. Post

David Lucsko addresses a topic that is utterly fresh and does so with insight, grace,and authority. In the literature of technology and culture, automobility is a leading narrative. With Junkyards, Gearheads, and Rust, Lucsko spotlights the corresponding importance of what Tom McCarthy calls 'the automotive afterlife.'

Customer Reviews