Junk Yard Tours
Svigel Auto Parts, Englewood, Colorado.
Svigel auto parts specializes in supplying new reproduction and used parts for antique and classic cars, from the 1930's thru the 1970's. They're located at 4393 Santa Fe drive in Englewood Colorado, just south of Denver. You take Interstate-25/route 85 south from downtown Denver. Route 85 or Sante Fe drive splits off to the south as you head from downtown Denver. They've been at this location since 1964 where you can call them at (303) 781-4307.
Svigel Auto Parts specialties...
They are more of a true parts business than a junk yard, although they have enough classic cars in the yard to qualify. When they get something in, it gets stripped of everything and the parts get filed away. Anyone who wants a part usually doesn't have to wait long because the parts are already off the car.
Parts rebuilding is a big part of their business. They rebuild parts like starters, generators, brake shoes and clutches in house while other parts are sent out to other rebuilders. Svigel's is a good resource for someone who needs a unique part rebuilt like a 58 Cadillac water pump or a starter for a 43 Chevy. These are just examples. I don't think there are many automotive components they can't rebuild or get rebuilt. You definitely need Svigel Auto Parts in your rolodex since most modern parts stores only stock the parts they need to meet the demand for modern parts.
This isn't your standard classic Chevy reproduction parts place. They specialize in a wide range of American antique and classic car parts. They still carry the classic Chevy stuff though, don't get me wrong.
A family classic car and antique auto parts business.
Svigel Auto Parts is an 80 year old family business that started out of Joe Svigel Sr. doing repairs on cars in the late 1920's. He ran the business with his wife Julia. It was originally a road side diner with small cottages for travelers to spend the night. Joe Svigel was being resourceful when he started working on Model A's and model T's during the depression. The parts business grew out of his resourcefulness.
Originally they were located about a mile further north on Sante Fe but had to move in 1959 when the municipality condemned the land they were on and took it using imminent domain. I'm sure it all boils down to tax dollars. The parts business was likely not producing enough sales tax revenue for the land it occupied, and the local gov't wanted to place a retail operation there. There's a target store on a shopping center lot there now.
Today the business is run by Joe Jr, Chad, Wayne, and George. They're enthusiastic about serving their customers and are excited to talk to anyone about their history here. Wayne told me stories about how he and Joe Jr were working the parts counter as kids in the 70's, and how they had to stand on boxes behind the parts counter to be at eye level with the customers. Apparently the customers didn't take them seriously, at 5 years of age, until they could look the customer square in the eye. They wouldn't trade that kind of experience for anything.
A wonderland of automotive nostalgia.
The parts counter at Svigel auto parts is an automotive wonderland and most certainly a thrill to see for the nostalgic old car enthusiast. It's literally a shrine to all kinds of automotive related memorabilia. You'll see showcases of hood ornaments, and just about every can of oil ever made. The walls are stuffed to the ceiling with dies cast cars and trucks from decades past, license plates along the walls, automotive signs, shifter knobs, tail light lenses in the original displays, and countless other automotive related things.
This paints a picture in my mind of a museum in a parts store. In fact Wayne Svigel created a showcase of promotional materials and trinkets that Svigel has used for marketing at some point in the past. He pulled out an old calendar pinup girl he calls his girlfriend. I think the calendar was from the late 40's or early 50's judging by her hairstyle. This was not the scantily clad calendar girl you'd see today though.
The shop section of Svigel's is just as much of an automotive wonderland. Parts are hanging from every inch of rafters and bins and shelving line every isle. It's hard to imagine there isn't an old car part they don't have. There is a second floor as well which Jim Jr tells me is full of the older radiators going back to the model A's.
Antique and classic car parts galore!
The antique and classic car parts in the yard will make your drop your jaw when you see them. There is such a concentration of old car parts on shelving made out of 45 gallon drums you'll gaze at it in amazement. The investment in time to remove and stock all these parts is incredible. This yard is truly a lifetime's accumulation of old car parts.
There are a few rows of cars, and it's amazing how rust free they are. When you hear about the Denver area getting snow, you don't associate the Denver area with rust free cars and parts, but they just don't get the kind of humidity that rusts old cars and parts into oblivion. Since I live on the east coast I can see why our classic cars crumble to bits sitting in junk yards with perpetually damp rich dark soil under them. It's the humidity from heavy rains and salty air, we get more than enough all year round.
This is definitely a treat to see the chrome on these cars that looks as clean and shiny as some of the nicest bumpers on the east coast, and these are sitting in a junk yard! This window crank handle is a good example. Do you believe this is an original vent window crank handle that is almost 50 years old?
Svigel Auto Parts has a lot to offer, especially if you are in the market for rust free parts. I know they'll be on my list of places to call when I'm looking for rust free parts for my 64 Impala. Anyone with a car older than mine really needs to check them out.
You can visit their website at Svigel Auto Parts.
November 24th 2008