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Take a Tour Through Our Favorite SoCal Junkyard

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 2021-03-02 John McGann
a truck is parked on the side of a road: 001-socal-pick-your-part-junkyard-gallery © Hot Rod Network Staff 001-socal-pick-your-part-junkyard-gallery

There has been a definite decline in usable interesting parts in the local self-service junkyards that I've been frequenting for the better part of the last 15 years. I can remember regularly seeing cars from the '60s in almost every visit when I first started going. Cars from the '70s and '80s were commonplace, and usable parts were abundant, because the cars were mostly surrendered, rather than being total loss crashes from the insurance companies. Now, it's mostly a sea of crashed cars that are less than 10 years old. It's still worth the trip to our local Pick Your Part in Wilmington, California, because we usually find something interesting there. Check out this pair of U.S. Postal Service Jeeps.

map © Hot Rod Network Staff

We messaged resident Jeep expert David Freiburger about them; he says the hood is about the only useful parts on these right-hand-drive oddballs. The underside of this one seems to have a maintenance log written on it.

the engine of a car © Hot Rod Network Staff text © Hot Rod Network Staff

Both Jeeps still had their 232-ci AMC-sourced inline-six engines. Over the years, these delivery Jeeps also had engines from Willys, GM's Iron Duke four-cylinder, and an AMC inline-four.

a bicycle parked in front of a mirror posing for the camera © Hot Rod Network Staff © Hot Rod Network Staff

Although the body tags say these were built in 1975, the interior looks like it came straight from a WW2 battlefield.

the engine of a car © Hot Rod Network Staff

Although the car section of the junkyard is largely useless, there is still stuff to be had in the truck section. Small-block Chevys are still abundant. Here's a TBI 350 from a van.

a close up of a motorcycle engine © Hot Rod Network Staff

We also found plenty of 5.3L engines in newer Silverados and Suburbans. Grab one, slap some turbos on it, and drop it in the muscle car of your choice. The LS swap is almost too easy these days.

a car parked in front of a truck © Hot Rod Network Staff

Here's a 1964 F250. It was largely picked over, and it's too bad the grille is so trashed, but the hood and fenders looked usable.

a car engine © Hot Rod Network Staff

There was also an FE engine under the hood. We're guessing this is a 352. That could see new life powering a Galaxie or Fairlane. Give Survival Motorsports a call for advice on how to build this right.

a close up of an engine © Hot Rod Network Staff

We spotted this 318 (5.2L) Dodge in a rank-smelling van. Give it a new home in a Valiant or early Dart.

a close up of an engine © Hot Rod Network Staff

Need a 351 Windsor engine? Grab it from this early-'90s era F250. A top-end kit from Trick Flow Specialties would really wake it up.

a close up of an engine © Hot Rod Network Staff text © Hot Rod Network Staff

This is an 8.5-inch 10-bolt rear axle under a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice police car. We're surprised it was still intact, because according to the RPO sticker in the trunk, it has a limited-slip differential—code G80. You can also see 9C1, the RPO code for the police package.

© Hot Rod Network Staff

Take some time to scroll through the rest of the gallery and imagine what you could do with some of the engines we saw. Don't forget that smaller parts like fluid coolers and fans can be a cheap but just as functional option to help get your project on the road and under budget.

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