Classic patina at Cooks Auto Parts

You can see them from the road, parked nose-to-tail atop a berm in what appears to be a very large automobile salvage yard.

Crashes and classics at Cooks Auto Parts in Harrison, Michigan | Larry Edsall photos

Crashes and classics at Cooks Auto Parts in Harrison, Michigan | Larry Edsall photos

You can see them from the road — a two-lane rural highway in northern Michigan — parked nose-to-tail atop a berm in what appears to be a very large automobile salvage yard. I’ve been seeing these rust-colored classic car bodies sitting there for the past five years and finally made a point to stop and ask if I could take a closer look.

“Help yourself,” the fellow at the counter of Cooks Auto Parts told me. So I did.

Camera in hand, and being careful where I stepped and what I grabbed as I climbed the thick, tall weed-covered berm, and then made my way back and forth along the edge of the cars on a ridge barely wider than the cars themselves. Fortunately, I encountered no snakes, tried not to bother the bees and brushed aside a couple of spider webs to get as close of a view as possible — or at least the best camera angle I could achieve in such t0pography.

Cooks inventory includes “repairable vehicles, used and aftermarket auto/truck parts.” It appears that much of the business involves salvaging what can be used from cars that have been involved in collisions.

As I walked through the rest of the acreage to see what else was there, I couldn’t help but think that before getting a learner’s permit, every teenager should have to visit such a place to see the aftermath — quite literally, the impact — of making bad decisions behind the wheel.

Actually, in this age of so many electronic infotainment gadgets in our vehicles, it’s a reminder every driver would be wise to consider.

Photos by Larry Edsall

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