The Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental road in the United States, doubles as Interstate 80 spanning east-to-west through southern Wyoming. Traveling on I-80 just east of Rock Springs, Wyo., Auto Recyclers salvage yard is a can’t-miss site on the south side of the highway, visible mainly due to its unique “beauty” fence fronting the yard.
Current and second-generation yard owner John Liggett took over managing Auto Recyclers from his now-retired father, William, who started the business in 1980. When William purchased the five-acre property more than four decades ago, it included a hotel and diner that catered to weary and hungry travelers passing by on the Lincoln Highway. He cleared the property and opened his salvage yard, seeded with 400 vehicles, according to John Liggett, who added, “It’s now [expanded to] 30 acres and 2,800 vehicles.”
Among the thousands of vehicles in inventory, Liggett estimates 30 percent are of pre-1975 vintage. He said a few 1920s and ’30s cars and trucks exist, but the vintage inventory is mostly 1950s to ’70s. “I have titles for most of them,” he added.
“I have an appreciation for everything. The history,” Liggett explained of his yard’s former ties to the Lincoln Highway. His sentiment for the past may also explain his approach to maintaining the yard’s inventory at a manageable level, admitting he recently scrapped 150 vehicles. “We only crush late-models.”
The aforementioned unique “beauty” fence fronting the property is also part of the yard’s history to be appreciated. It’s made entirely of steel rims welded together. Liggett explained that, years ago, his father wanted one of their cousins to gain experience as a welder. He put him to work constructing this art-like fence from scrap rims. According to Liggett, it took three years to finish.
Another interesting sight among the yard’s inventory is a long row of school buses staged side-by-side, giving the appearance of an auxiliary parking lot. Liggett explained that the local school district is part of a study to replace its diesel engine-powered buses with ones powered by “green” alternative fuels. Similar to the former Cash For Clunkers mandate, once the diesel buses arrived at Auto Recyclers, their frames had to be cut and their engines destroyed so they could never again be re-purposed for road use.
Just as the school buses are grouped together, the majority of vehicles in Auto Recyclers’ inventory are arranged together by manufacturer. Wide aisles and level terrain allow for easy viewing of vehicles, but Liggett cautioned that customers are only allowed in the yard by appointment. The yard is open year-round, and Liggett said he has proper equipment to load vehicles on customers’ trailers.
An additional part of the yard’s inventory, according to Liggett, is 70,000 parts, both vintage and late-model, stored on site that can be described and priced over the phone. Auto Recyclers is a worldwide parts shipper, moving approximately 2,000 parts annually. Liggett said for customer ease, he maintains a multi-faceted internet presence, accessed via www.autorecyclerswy.com.
The yard is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MST). Liggett added that car club tours can be arranged by appointment.
654 I-80 Service Road South
Rock Springs, WY 82901
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