Kober's Salvage, Washington Twp NJ

Discussion in 'Station Wagon Lounge' started by 81X11, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. 81X11

    81X11 Well-Known Member

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    This was about my favorite playground growing up in New Jersey in the late 1980's. Kober's was a good hour's drive from our home. You had to go up a tiny 2-lane road, over a mountain, and then curve around until you came to the yard itself. It was HUGE, and not in the way the Pick-N-Pull yards are....it was WILD, stuff stacked everywhere, hidden under brush, in trees, just amazing to explore.

    Kober's went into business as best I can tell in the 1930's-40's. The original salvage yard was in a valley, but went out of business at some point and was left alone for years. It was re-opened in the 70's and the side of the mountain above the valley was cleared off for the new yard. So when going here, you would find cars in the open area on the side of the hill from the early 80's down to the late 60's, but walk down into the woods and you found a yard full of cars from the 1950's all the way back to the 1920's.

    Now keeping in mind this was New Jersey, the cars in the old section were pretty well overgrown rusty hulks, sunk into the ground and rotten, but the sheer amount of cars was staggering, and the models were amazing. 55-57 Chevy's, Packards, Hudsons, Plymouths, Lincolns, even a couple 59 Caddys. There were GTO's, Mustangs, and I swear it a Superbird missing the beak and spoiler, but with the big Plymouth script on the 1/4 panels, all hidden in there. There were also lots of 60's and 70's hearses and ambulances. We loved those old Pontiac and Olds and Cadillac service cars. They were so HUGE.

    My father and I spent many weekends exploring this yard together, and once I got my license I went there with many friends.
    My friend's father, who taught history at Drew University and had no interest in cars, drove us out one time, and was so amazed by the old cars that he would volunteer to drive us out there after that just so he could take artistic pics of the classics in the woods.

    I still have a 68 Charger tail light assembly and a Hudson hubcap from Kobers. I scavenged tons of parts from there over the years, fixing up my 69 Lemans GTO-clone, my 68 Skylark Custom, and my 79 Bonneville and goofy Citation beaters with parts from Kobers. Also saw my first Playboy magazine in the trunk of a Mustang II Ghia there....ah to be 14 again. Hahaha

    Anyway I moved to Texas in 1991 and never got back to Kobers. Always wanted to, and figured something that had been there that long would always be there.

    I was wrong.

    When it rained, and being NJ that was often, the water would flow down the side of that mountain in gushing streams and then would pool in the woods where the really old cars were. In the winter it was like a skating rink in parts of the old yard, and in the summer it was a swamp. Well it seems that the EPA showed up in 2000 and tested the groundwater in the yard. They told the yard to clean the mess or close....and sadly, the yard closed.

    It's amazing to think of them pulling all those OLD cars out of the woods. Some were sunk up to their roofs....have no idea how they got them out. It would have been both fascinating and hearbreaking to see I'm sure.
    Anyway, was goofing around and found this link and the pics below. Really sad to see this yard gone.
    https://plus.google.com/photos/1020...043414493156232244/albums/5148867730912141937
    Pic from 1991. You can see how massive this yard was. Finding parts was like a great scavenger hunt. Just had to remember to check yourself for ticks afterwards....and watch out for snakes and spiders.
    [​IMG]
    Pic from 2002, look how many cars are gone! Yard closed in 2000 and they began crushing all the cars.
    [​IMG]
    Pic from 2010. There are a few trucks in the north yard still there, but all the cars are gone, even the old ones in the trees. :(
    [​IMG]

    Sad stuff. For a car nut kid like me that place was heaven. It's a real shame kids today won't get to experience it with their Dads.
    -Mike
     
  2. MikeT1961

    MikeT1961 Well-Known Member

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    This is happening too often. Prince Edward County, Ontario, changed the zoning, and several very old yards had to close. Simply heart breaking. The one was a one man operation. He would buy multiples of a given model and combine them into one truly gorgeous example, and sell off the remaining good parts. What went to the crusher was literally the rusted remains that had nothing of any value left. The real shame, though, was Minaker's Auto Parts. They had acres of cars, none stacked, and all in open fields. I didn't know they were about to close, or I would have found some way to save the 1961 Dodge Polara wagon they had. It was complete, although the floors were gone. I'm glad I didn't see those cars going off to be crushed. I would have cried! they didn't even have a problem with ground water contamination, since they made sure that any cars that ran were kept intact, carefully draining the necessary fluids when a part was removed, or draining everything from a car that had no hope of driving under its own power again, such as if the engine were seized. They also had cars from all eras, right back to the 1920s/
     
  3. 81X11

    81X11 Well-Known Member

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    470 Montana Road, Washington, NJ 07882
    Pulled it up on Google Earth and zoomed in. There are still old cars in the woods, where the really old cars were. :D I couldn't imagine they could have pulled out the ones that were really sunk in. You zoom in and you can see them.
     
  4. 81X11

    81X11 Well-Known Member

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    There was another really big yard in Scranton PA that Dad and I used to go visit. It was all along the side of a couple hills and could be seen from the highway there. I understand it's gone now too. Sad!

    -Mike
     
  5. classicfan1

    classicfan1 Active Member

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    This is why the EPA has to go. Just think, those classics got crushed on OUR TAB! WE THE TAX PAYERS PAID FOR THAT MASSACRE!
     
  6. Junk

    Junk Well-Known Member

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    that yard has been gone for over 10 years now. Every time that I drove to the swap meet in Carlisle, I kept saying that someday, I would stop there. Never did, and now it is too late. With the price of scrap steel so high, all the yards are cashing in and crushing everything. All of our raw materials are going to China. I don't know what China is going to do when there is no more scrap left in the US.
     
  7. classicfan1

    classicfan1 Active Member

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    We have given them our metal, our manufacturing, our ideas, and we are in debt to them. $16.6 trillion and counting!

    This country used to be respected in the world, we used to build our own stuff, dig up our own materials, we were self sustaining. We were strong, we were powerful and our presidents would shake hands, not bow to others and apologize. This used to be a place where being successful and owning a business was a proud and wonderful thing, it was the result of hardwork. Now it means more taxes, more regulation, and no matter how hard you work, you "didn't build it". What happened?
     
  8. silverfox

    silverfox New Member

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    Couldn't have said any better myself in a few short sentences, classic. (y)
     
  9. Fat Tedy

    Fat Tedy Island Red Neck

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    And some wonder why the newer generation don't bother with old iron... it's all gone and whats left of the rare....where ya gona find parts?

    Seen this exact change as Mike pictured happen here. Seen some wreakers go for "progress" yet the good ones with the old iron stayed. Then I was out of comition for a few years just before joining the forum, even more wreakers were gone and being sqweezed out. The ones that remained had no choice other than to scrap the older iron.

    Yesterday I visited a old timer friend "the Man of the Mountain" and his private real old school collection in the hills. Been a couple years since I've been there, yet see him often...and he never mentioned a thing. The development in his rual area is even sqweezing him out and you can't even see his stuff from the trees that hide his property. It was sad, to visit my old friend, still smiling, still happy but hiding behind his eyes. You could tell it was ripping his heart out having to get rid of the cars...he has no choice:cry:. In a much smaller scale, I would say his property and the loss in 2 years is comparable too the first 2 pics Mike posted.
     
  10. yellerspirit

    yellerspirit Well-Known Member

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  11. silverfox

    silverfox New Member

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  12. ModelT1

    ModelT1 Still Lost in the 50's

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    I wish now I hadn't looked at this post. I'm wondering at what age are the members who remember junk yards of the past. I'm sure most people in their 30's, maybe even 40's, have no idea what we are talking and writing about. Yes, some of you younger members had family and friends who took you to the old time junkyards. But many places have been gone for years.
    In my area, central Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana, I remember those large sprawling early yards with cars from their teens and up which appear to have been just driven or towed to rot away. Many having simple mechanical things wrong yet not worth the time or money back then to repair. Cars parked so long that shrubs and trees were growing from inside the bodies and engine compartments.
    We blame the government but at the same time many junkyard owners drained fuel, oil, antifreeze directly into the streams and soil and didn't try to hide their cars from public view. I remember batteries and gas tanks, upside down and leaking into the ground. Then rains carrying the bluish purple mess into drains and nearby creeks. Junk yards along the Illinois river and Mississippi River banks with old cars in the rivers, fluids running into the water. Remember walking thru gooey oil saturated sand to look at old cars and get parts to make ours run.
    Cities moving farther into the country, homes surrounding those once remote yards. Prices of scrap, greed, and other things, brought many changes and the end to the familiar junk yards we grew up wandering thru.
    I can see why the old time junk yards are gone. Yet it's still sad to know we can not go junkyard hunting again.
     
  13. Krash Kadillak

    Krash Kadillak Well-Known Member

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    Seems to me that 'junkyards are still viable in the 21st century, but a lot of them aren't keeping up with technology, other than utilizing internet-based locator software. There are some yards I know that have a computerized inventory of every vehicle and part they have, but others it's "I might have one of those out back somewhere....". Most of the people here would enjoy a day scrounging a yard, but for a lot of people, they simply want somebody to hand them the part.

    I went to a local 'Pick-A-Part' here in Eugene a few weeks ago looking for a headlamp assembly for the daughter's Focus we're talking millions of them out there, folks....) No 'searching' in the yard allowed, and the only help they could offer was ordering an aftermarket unit. Same deal at a second yard I went to......
     
  14. ModelT1

    ModelT1 Still Lost in the 50's

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    I understand that the rules have changed. Insurance and lawyers are now part of the picture that we didn't have to worry about years back.
    To me looking for and possibly finding that Focus headlight assembly would be half the fun.
     
  15. 81X11

    81X11 Well-Known Member

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    One of the main reasons I love Texas so much is that there are still fantastic salvage yards here. Plus it's amazing to go pull a part off a 20+ year old car and not need Liquid Wrench and a breaker bar... :dancing:

    Posted pics here of John's Salvage in Seguin Texas. This is a fantastic yard. http://www.stationwagonforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13611&highlight=john%27s+salvage

    Plus check out CTC in North Texas. http://www.ctcautoranch.com/index.html Look at the virtual tour and parts cars. Neat place! I need to get up there with my camera soon!

    And I also enjoy the huge U-Pull-It, Pick-N-Pull and Wrench-A-Part yards we have. Cheap! Cheap!

    But that being said it do miss the huge overgrown yards from my teen years in New Jersey. It was like a big scavenger hunt, and some of trhe cars sunk into the ground or with trees growing through them looked like art more than junk. There were still a lot in NJ and PA back in the late 80's when I was running around. I understand PA still has some good ones.

    -Mike
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013

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