Vintage 40′s & 50′s NOS: Trash Or Treasure?
By Scott Strenzel, aka Scooter from Scooter’s Garage
Harvey the Basset wasn’t even remotely thought of back in 1963 or 1964! But hey, old Scooter was making a whopping $1.10 an hour as lot boy at the local Chevrolet dealership where dear old dad was the salesman and general manager.
Sometime in 1963 or 1964 Chevrolet Motor Division came up with a new system for the vast accumulating amount of older NOS (new old stock), Chevrolet parts that had been setting at dealerships across the USA since back when Chevrolet’s first came out. Back then a dealership could keep older auto parts they had paid for a few years. And once they figured those parts had been setting too many years? They could simply have the factory parts truck haul them back to the parts depot and get a decent credit for them. At that time there was no year or model time limit as to the year of part that a dealership had to have on hand to service older Chevrolet’s. Plus as a bunch of you don’t realize, back in the 40′s and 50′s the cars did not last as long as the ones of today. Anyway, each dealership was given notice that as of such and such date (already passed) the factory no longer would accept older parts for partial refunds. So the boss man Henry asked me if I could drum up a few of my buddies to help “throw this junk in the trash!” You also have to realize that back then there was not the big hobby of restoring old cars as it is today.
This job as teenagers was fun. We got to grab various parts and pieces off the shelves and floor of the parts department and the out back parts barn, and get paid by the hour to be tossing it all in a big pile out behind the gas pump in the alley. A trash hauler was to come by a day or so later on and gather all of the NOS parts up and take them to the local land fill or dump as we called it.
Ok, take a heart pill or grab a beer, here’s the short list of the stuff that I happen to recall that got tossed. I’m sure many other Chevy dealerships that didn’t have the room tossed a bunch of parts also. You have to take note here that this dealership, although it was a smaller one, Old Henry had a large parts department.
Ok, like Doug and I had a mini contest to see who could throw late 30′s and early 40′s fenders from the furthest away from the pile and still get them on the top of it. Steel ’55, ’56 & ’57 outside sun visors in boxes made nice fat spears. A guy could really get them to the pile from the other side of the alley. As kids will be kids, when we found 1957 3-bar spinner hubcaps in their factory boxes, we’d rip them out of the box and use them as discs and actually take a walk away from the pile down the alley and give them a much longer scraping denting toss at the pile. Then the box they came in was just stomped on and laid towards the bottom of the pile. After all as a teenager, tossing cardboard was no real fun. More off the list: mesh tri-Chevy bug bras, those chrome and glass bottled vacuum ash trays, factory GM crest 6 and 12 volt chrome spotlights, both kinds, the real in the body/fender ones and the plug in to the lighter ones. I even remember factory 6 volt electric plug in shavers with the Chevrolet crest/bowtie on them. A case of 12 that had never been opened!
Are you still with me? Call for de-fib or at-least 911! Unless you are a MoPar man, then this may be real fun.
Moving on . . . Trim rings in 16″, stainless gas door guards, floor mats, compasses, all kinds of Guide chrome out side mirrors, finders for the visors, bags of factory tire chains, every possible front fender stone shield style and model fit, in their boxes. If you have never came across old Chevy NOS stuff. The factory boxes were mainly printed in green and sometimes some red lettering. Later on they had white with black printing labels on the boxes. Seat covers, we’re talking boxes and boxes of the old clear and vinyl plaid ones, along with rubber 30′s and 40′s floor mats. Not the kind most of us think of. But the kind that were basically wall-to-wall. Some Chevrolet models had no carpeting, just the factory black rubber floor mat. Since old Scooter had a 1958 Vette, I made a mental note of the two or three sets of nine fin aluminum Corvette valve covers that wouldn’t fit my 283 as I tossed them on the growing pile out back! Of course there was a large number of engine parts that none of us kids knew what they were for. I do remember Delco spiral shocks were fun to toss, and so were the cartridge oil filters. Have I made you winch at-least a little?
Then we went in the sales offices and began to do a supervised toss of that old crap such as the dealership show room sales books/finger tip facts books etc. Next up to grace the Big Pile was all of the left over factory literature from as far back as day one for Henry’s dealership! He and my dad opened it up in 1933! Next up, I got to toss a couple antique film projectors along with their little steel cans that contained plastic “film strips full of pre-1960′s Chevy information. I should mention that not all of this was what we old car people consider collectable stuff. There was a separate smaller pile inside, near the wash rack that was mainly the small stuff. Like carb kits, wheel cylinder kits, fuel & brake lines, brakes shoes and basic needed parts and pieces. But they don’t have any shock value for a Scooters Garage article. So I won’t dwell on them. Got ya’ didn’t I? Oh, I almost forgot, we tossed a bunch of paint, and a few sets of fender skirts, and locking gas caps and of course tail light lenses and bezels and grills. You know, any and all of the stuff we now pay big money for.
I still think I know just where the old town dump is, maybe? If I buy that piece of land and have it dug up carefully……$$$$$$
I’m going out and kiss my 1948 Chevy NOS bumper guard!
Originally posted on Friday, December 2nd, 2011 at 12:55 pm
Category: Auto Round-Up News