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Rust in peace: junked European classics on the outskirts of Salt Lake City

When I lived in Salt Lake City, I was constantly surprised by the rare, obscure cars I found sitting in the most random and unexpected places. An Alfetta GTV in a run-down garage a stone’s throw from downtown, a few 1960s Lancias out by the Great Salt Lake, a Renault Fuego in an Odgen junkyard, and so forth. One of the most memorable finds was uncovering over a dozen European classics hidden in a junkyard on the north end of town.

I took the photos you see below over a decade ago so I’m having a difficult time remembering exactly who told me about these cars. However, that person mentioned he used to buy parts for his Fiat 600 at the yard, and he pointed out that the place also had a few “old little French cars” laying around. Naturally, I drove over to investigate.

After checking in at the reception, I hurried towards where the cars were stored and soon found myself head-to-head with a gold mine. I couldn’t believe my eyes: a pair of Renault 4CVs, three Fiat 850s, a Beta, a Sonett, and an Austin A40 Somerset, just to name a few. They were all in pretty bad shape. I was looking for an 850 sedan at the time (still am, actually) and I considered buying the one in the yard, but a closer inspection revealed the body was too far gone.

The older cars were all parked on the far end of the lot. I mostly shot photos of the European classics, but there were also a handful of vintage American cars including a Crosley, a pair of Corvairs, and a few 1970s muscle cars. Of course, the junkyard was also home to about a hundred run-of-the-mill late-model cars.

All of the cars you see below disappeared about a year after I took the photos. It’s a shame; some — like the Beta — were good for the crusher, but others — such as the blue 4CV — would have made either good parts cars or projects for those brave enough to tackle them.

 

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