Thursday, March 17, 2005

Parts Hunt

Ah, remember when?

You got your first car, and being a used model, it needed just a bit of work to be perfect. So the hunt begins.

When I got my first car -- a Datsun 1200 -- it was missing the back seat. Instead it had a carpeted area in the back, which I thought was cool. But the next summer my buddies from out of town were coming to visit. I couldn't ask them to sit on the carpet! So the hunt began. Cutting it close, my plan was to drive the usual 3 hours to the Portland, Oregon airport to pick them up. The plan was to leave a few extra hours early, swing by the wrecking yards and buy a nice rear seat in time for the arriving flight.

Back in those days (the early 80s), there were a lot of early 70s cars in the yards, ready to donate parts. But the Datsun 1200 didn't sell in huge numbers like the domestic cars did, so I had to visit quite a few yards. I traveled down Columbia Boulevard, along the mighty Columbia River where are the scrap yards, industrial equipment lots and used-auto-parts lots were. There was a hint of dampness in the fresh sunny air, summer in Oregon. Walking through the dirt lanes between rows of classic and not-so-classic cars. Wow!

Anyways, I did find a seat in time, in the yard closest to the airport: John's Import Auto Wrecking. This also happened to be the most advanced yard at that time: concrete lanes, cars "stacked" three high on outdoor giant-sized shelves, and very clean cars. I purchased a like-new-condition rear seat and stuck it in my car.

Columbia River, 1984

My friends never knew ... we traveled back along the Columbia River in that little Datsun out to the Pacific Ocean. We visisted Mount St. Helens. We drove everywhere -- and got 38 miles per gallon.


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