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Classic patina at Cooks Auto Parts


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

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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