There’s something about a scrap yard that draws me in. It’s the promise of scrambling about in mud and grime on the hunt for oily automotive treasure, or it could be because I’m a tightwad, I’m not sure.

They are few and far between these days, which is a sad thing. The environmental health Stasi issue such punitive measures and regulations that they have largely disappeared from the landscape, replaced by soulless, sanitised recycling yards that offer parts without the need for a tetanus jab. So it’s a bittersweet experience to visit a proper scrappies here in the UK, only to find out that it too, will not be with us much longer.

Lakes Autos is not far from the Black Cat roundabout off the A1. It’s dealt in Volvo spares for decades. You can bring a spanner and pick the parts yourself. It’s a legend in the Volvo community for older spares. The bad news is a lot of the older stock has gone as they clear up and make plans to close down. Out front there’s a mix of potential project cars. Out in the field, there’s still enough murdered Swedes for a Nordic noir crime thriller.

There are also a few classic interlopers that are unlikely to see tarmac again, including a knackered 1972 Mercedes 280SE. It still has some usable chrome trim up for offers, even if the rest of it is gently melding into the landscape.

There’s a flaky Landy, a pranged Spitfire and a crumbling Commer Camper for entertainment. This one got my pulse racing. For a second I thought it was packed with valuable vintage oilcans. Hoping for Shell, I found Dulux. Meh! It’s all part of the chase on a scrap yard treasure hunt.

The owners are looking at selling off the fourteen acre site for development in the next twelve months. My offer to take over as a willing apprentice Steptoe was politely declined. So if you need something for your venerable Volvo estate and want to save a few quid, get down to Lakes before it closes up for good, because like they say, when it’s gone it’s gone. I might be the only one, but I will miss it.

Thanks to
Lakes Autos 143-149 Great Northern road
MK44 3AH

About The Author

Steve Swanson

Steve turns any opportunity to write about cars into a roadtrip. It's seen him ride shotgun in a Bentley Blower with Clive Cussler, and cross paths with automotive YouTubers in Canada and the US. His work has been published in Magneto, Classic Cars, Classic American and some magazines that no MotorPunk reader has ever heard of. When he's not writing or driving you can find him kicking tyres at seedy auctions and hawking junk optimistically described as Automobilia

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