Seems a guy who was either a salesman or the sales manager at a local MoPar dealership owned a farm on Tollgate Road in Williamsburg. He used the 'farm' as a used car dead zone beginning in the late fifties. The cars back(ed) this up. Rows of '57, '58, '59 Furys, Belvederes, Polaras and the like. There were several 1962 Darts (two of which I tried unsuccessfully to save), '62 Dart 330's, on and on. The place was a cornucopia of MoPar parts cars. Parked in the grass for years, over 95% of them were 'toast', but trim, glass, bumpers, grilles and some interior parts were aplenty, most in near-mint unmolested shape. Why?
Ah, here lies our tale. Seems the salesman (who died in 1988) at some point years ago hired a caretaker to run the salvage yard. This never happened. The guy was an ornery alcoholic kook, a hermit who chased people away, lived in disgusting squalor (no heat, no Hydro, no running water) and was one drunken, demented hermit, Kermit. This alcoholic automotive ascetic would at times, if the brew was right, permit interlopers on yon field of MoPar dreams. Other times he would ask $600 for a speedo. On some occasions he made for the Remington 12 gauge.
Anyway,seems the family of the deceased MoPar guy had been trying to dislodge ye olde coot since 1988 - or part of the family had. The day before Stewball LeGoon and I travelled up, one fella on one side of the clan (Klan?) tried to run down a cousin or something. Being a normal guy, this gent took affront to this effronterrible attempt at vehicular manslaughter, reaching in the driver's window to throttle the bozo, only to get his lights punched out, shortly after which five cruisers of our beloved Ontario Provincial Police made the scene, you dig. So the driver gets carted off and charged, the squatter-hermit (who in his dementia claims he now owns the property and maybe even believes it) is moved over a rural route or road or acre or something.
Let me describe this place: totally overgrown, it was like finding cars in the Canadian equivalent of the Amazon jungle. The crusher was doing 30 cars per day when we hit town on day three of the 'event'. No panic yet - there were still almost 1,200 cars to go!!! Stew and I went loco, hither and thither, freaking over Hemi cars (331, 354, 392) and the plethora of Pentastars, which far outnumbered all other makes combined. I bought a '69 Sport Satellite for parts, but not before we had a tour by Dougie Lebreton (hubby of Senator Marjorie Lebreton) of the awful-ness of the living quarters of the Hazzard Pukes who once ruled this infernal auto graveyard.
Beer bottles everywhere (most of them 'stubbies'), huge piles of disgusting clothing (was the guy kinky, a 'laundry-napper'?) all over, spilling from cars. Once upon a time a pack of wild dogs numbering about a dozen had had the run of the acreage as well. There were fridges full of old, dirty, scrotey watches. FULL of them! Seems the kook would go down to the dump and 'liberate' the personal effects others had consigned to burial. Inside the hellhouse, PILES of clothes over five feet high (!) obscured even the bed of this unfortunate creature, whose son wouldn't live with him, preferring a lean-to next to the house or even the cars.
The guy kept his own stool. Yeah, you read that right, he saved his poopoo. You know those big pails restaurants get pickles and things in? There were dozens of them all over, and ripe, too. Many guys got the royal tour from Doug and all of them seemed to wind through the pails of putrid poo (early July and temp's in the low 90's). As Doug, Stew and I were lovingly checking out a 1958 Polara, "D" stomped several yellowjackets. I saw them first, yelling "Look out Dougie! Wasps! Ruuuuuun!" Half a dozen spun madly around his feet and dozens swarmed out a trim hole in the quarter panel. Stewart bolted, mowing down saplings and small trees like an angry bull elephant. Doug thought this was hilarious even as he was being stung, you could hear him laughing and yelling 'ouch' alternately. I flew out of there, especially after two stingers in the left leg. We escaped relatively unscathed and only slightly shaken, still enthralled by our discoveries. I went back and stripped a 1962 Windsor - because it was there - of all its external trim ($50 takes it all) and waited for Roger of RV Towing to arrive. Rog' did a great job getting the Satellite out of its resting place, which it had occupied probably since 1981, and I wondered at all the car nuts I had seen there in the last two days: there were close to twenty guys I knew or recognized.
Later the crushing claimed over 60 cars a day, wiping out treasures untold, what a shame! Word was that a guy from les Etats offered $80,000 for the lot, then $100,000 according to another source, only to be turned down by the family both times. At $75 a car at Bakermet, they'd come up short of both offers, especially if one wag's estimate of $35/car because of the cost of transporting the crusher and cars was accurate.
Jasper was a favourite of Stew's and mine. Outside of Merrickville, the drive from Ottawa or Manotick is a pretty one and invariably leads to spotting several intersting Mo-beauties like the '66 Sport Fury we saw last visit. We had heard there was crushing going on but were not prepared for the devastation which confronted us. Once hundreds of cars, dating back to the late 'teens (as in 1918,1919 - yes, that's no typo) tickled our fancies and fantasies. Then along came a fellow who specializes in buying out old codgers like Mr. MacDougall of Jasper and he crushed it all. The guy's notorious in Northern Ontario for having wiped out many of the oldest junkyards in the province. He crushes everything before 1980 and bulldozes the entire acreage, putting up huge Saddam-like berm-walls around the entire place, modernizing the operation and wiping out our automotive heritage. If it isn't selling or making money though, such an outdoor 'museum' is on the endangered list unless a rich U.S. uncle bails it out for posterity. I walked around, in shock, the terrain completely unrecognizable. The landscape was ghostly, dead, where grass and treasures had stood for over sixty years, there was now bedrock, mud and Hyundais. Long live modernization.
(c.) Tony McLean, Aug. 1995 FSN
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