No. 119: Hail to the Tri-Fives!

It was running when I parked it, No. 118: Hail to the Tri-Fives!

In a previous post I mentioned the debut of a line of Chevys known as the Tri-Fives. You are looking at the middle child of that remarkable trio, which said hello to an excited public in 1955 and lasted through 1957. Six decades have passed since then, but no matter: The Tri-Fives are as cool now (and a hell of a lot more expensive) as they were then.

This is a 210, four-door hardtop. It came with a 265 V8 and plenty of torque. Imagine a family of four heading toward Panama City Beach, windows down. ‘How much longer, daddy?”

Headland, Ala., 130 miles southwest of Atlanta.

No. 118: Look! In That Arizona Sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s ….

…a 1948 Chevy Fleetline. See the fancy chrome strips along that absurdly long front fender? The four doors? Those details identify this as the Sportmaster, Chevrolet’s top-of-the-line family sedan. Powered by an inline six, with three on the column, the Fleetline series was an interstate mainstay until 1955. That’s when the Tri-Five line of cars debuted, and a topic for another time.

This ponderous machine once prowled the pavement in Minnesota. It’s now rolled to a stop at Knutson’s Auto Sales/Towing & Recovery. Gila Bend, Ariz., 1,850 miles west of Atlanta.

(Photos by Senior Junkyard Correspondent Harold “Tex” Colson)

No. 117: Rust Never Sleeps

Most everything you need to get this ’65 Ford Fairlane running — carb, various wires and a tremendous air filter, among other things — is stacked atop a massive bench seat inside this coupe. The only thing missing is a mechanic. This would-be road-burner is losing the race against rust just outside McRae, Ga., 168 miles southeast of Atlanta.

No. 116: Truckin’ Like a Willys

A 1948 Willys CJ2 for a 2003 Davis. Will we finish restoring it in time for his 16th birthday? Only time will tell …

No. 115: Forgotten Ford

No. 114: Fixer Upper

He had good intentions. Whoever hauled this car into the shop, slapped on Bondo and primer, surely meant to put this erstwhile hot rod back on the road. Didn’t happen.

Instead, this ’63 Ford Fairlane is settling into the sand between an antique emporium and a battered storefront selling bait and tackle.

Carrabelle, Fla., 325 miles south of Atlanta

No. 113: Abandoned in Apalachicola

Who bought this one-ton hauler from the Chevy dealer 65 years ago? When did its stake bed vanish? What sort of work did it do? Did it travel the slight rolls of north Florida from field to dock?

Surely, somewhere along the line, this ’52 Chevrolet 3600 trucked oysters.

Apalachicola, Fla., 345 miles south of Atlanta.

Agrarian Edition No. 9: Allis’s Restaurant

When it had dragged its last plow; pulled from the earth its final stump; and towed its last car from an icy ditch, this late ’40s Allis Chalmers took on a new job.

These days, this 20-hp tractor pulls travelers off the road to a family-owned restaurant where employees make syrup in steam-filled rooms.

Hadley, Mass., 1,030 miles northeast of Atlanta

No. 112: Dowdy But Dependable

The lowly Dodge. It always ran a few paces behind the flashier Fords and GMs of the post-war models crowding those fancy new highways, the interstates. It was reliable, yes, but …

… but it never seemed as fancy.

This 1948 Dodge D 24 turns a plain face to passersby in Glenwood, Ore., 2,610 miles west of Atlanta.

(Photo by Senior Junkyard Correspondent Harold “Tex” Colson)

No. 111: Not a Good House, Not a Good Boat

In 1957, Ford Motor Co. unveiled the Ranchero, a half-truck, half-car that could take a family to church on Sunday and a farmer to the market on Monday. Chevrolet responded two years later with the El Camino.
The El Camino, depending on your point of view, was a marvelous machine or a failed effort. As one critic noted, the car/truck – a trar? A cruck? – was like a houseboat: Not a good house, and not a good boat. Still, the El Camino was OK for drive-ins, for heading to the beach, for tossing a keg or two in the back for extended mischief.
The El Camino line lasted until 1987. This rusted hauler, an El Camino Sport, was built in 1974.
Grant Park, two miles east of downtown Atlanta.