Sam Adelman's N.Y. Full Classic Junkyard

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23 Nov 2010 03:15 #18512 by silverghost
silverghost created the topic: Sam Adelman's N.Y. Full Classic Junkyard
I am just a new forum member here ~
But have been around Classics all my life.
My 92 y/o Father long before me !

In the mid 1950s-early 1960s my father and I made many trips to Sam Adelman's all Classic Junkyard/Scrapyard in NY just outside New York City.
The very first time we went there to buy a Westinghouse Generator for my Grandmother's Springfield Rolls~Royce Phantom I which had been sitting in her carriage house unused since the mid 1930s
The Westinghouse generator had developed "legs" and had "walked away" over the yesrs from this very complete and low miles Classic.
Dad & I wished to get this grand Classic running and on the road again.
Dad had heard about Sam Adelman's scrapyard from Henry Austin "Austie" Clark who dad knew very well. We would often visit "Austie's" Long Island Museum on weekends.

Sam Adelman had a very unusual scrapyard full of only Full Classics.
For a young kid it was just like going to a Classic car show.
There were thirty or more Classics lined up in his fenced-in yard.
Sam had an unusual tow-truck.
It was a converted Springfield Rolls~Royce Phantom I ironhead with the aft section of it's towncar coachwork cut-off !
Sam's pet rooster, his "Watch-Dog", lived in this tow truck !

Sam was a very colorful fellow who always had a cheap White Owl cigar in his mouth and always offered many words of wisdom about the Classics and about life !

The many old Cassics in Sam's yard seemed almost unbelievable to me as a young car crazy kid.
I simply could not believe that anyone would not want to keep these great cars; and would want to scrap them. These were the sort of cars I had only seen before in Ralph Stein's many great early car books !
Here at least 30 of the great Classics were lined-up before my very eyes in his fenced-in yard !
It soon became quite clear that Sam loved these Classics as much, or MORE than Dad and I .
Sam was known all over NY, PA, CT, NJ, for his great cars & rare parts.
He advertised in Hemmings Motor News~
Then a two or three page mimeographed newsletter !

These once-great cars seemed to find Sam.
He had "Pickers" at all the North-Eastern US Junkyards and advertised in NY papers for cars. Many he would get for FREE !
He was always on the lookout for Classics with great custom coachwork lines to add to his collection.
He would scrap an "Ugly Girl" & sedans, while at the very same time always trying to find new home for his "Real Beauty's" with new collectors. There were some cars that he flatly refused to part-out !
Early collectors, and owners, would seek-out parts for their great autos from Sam.
New Car Dealers would also be Sam's customers.
He would often be found in his dark and damp & dank office sitting at his old oak desk talking on the telephone.
He only had one small wattage drop bulb for light. The pot-bellied stove was always fired-up for heat. Sam did not believe in high-overhead costs !

ACD forum member Bob Roller mentioned in one of my other earlier posts on Duesenberg Owner, and my great uncle William "Wild Bill" Hunter, that Sam stated that he was "Going to Florida" which actually ment that he was going inside to his old stove !
Sam used many funny expressions like this !

Sam was a small stockey but strong man with an Eastern European accent~ Possibly Russian?.

When talking on the phone about a great old classic Sam would often ask "Is she beautyful with graceful body lines" when speaking to a picker about a possible new addition to his "collection".

Sam was an early CCCA, & AACA member.
I believe today there are several Sam Adelman award trophys in his honor given at NY car shows to this very day !
He also had a real car collection of his own.

Sam told us that he had once worked at a great Classic Dealership in New York City when he was younger. I cannot remember the car brand today ?
He started cleaning & washing and delivering new cars and later became a mechanic.

When you walked into his office and "inside Storage" building you were immediately hit with the strong smell of cheap cigar smoke, wood & coal smoke, along with paper cardboard trash smoke from the cast-iron stove ,and the smell of 90W rear-end and transmssion lube !
One could hardly get in the door as Sam had piles and Shelves of spare parts all over the place.
Sam could immediately get his hands on anything you needed.
He knew his entire parts inventory from memory !
The parts were fairly cheap in this day~
I remember the Westinghouse generator was under $20 !
Sam always asked for your old part in exchange ~ If you indeed had one to trade-in !

Sam Adelman was one in a million~
He was a rough & tough man but was great with kids.
He had a heart of gold !

He truly loved these great old Classic machines.
He had no time for the then "Modern Cars"
"They have no personality or Soul" he would often say !

Over the years Sam Adelman saved many great Classics from the crusher~
He supplied countless parts for others~
He would ofen say~
"Some must die~~~~So that the others may live and survive for the future !"

So what's the Auburn Cord Duesenberg connection to Sam Adelman you may ask ???
Well Jim Hoe, & Jerry Gebby pulled several Deusenberg Model "J"s out of Sam's salvage yard along with several engines, and parts !
One of Jim Hoe's Hill-climb racers came from Sam's Salvage yard too !

We have no doubt that others got Cords and Auburns from old Sam also !

There are many great Classics alive today and still living in great collections because of the efforts of Sam Adelman.

Do you know any cars from Sam's NY Scrapyard that are living today ?
Where & what are they ?

Does anyone, other than Bob Roller & myself, remember Sam and his ALL CLASSICS NY Scrapyard/junkyard. ?

I only wish I had a time machine so Dad & I could make just one more visit to Sam Adelman's Classic Scrapyard !

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. BRAD HUNTER Huntingdon Valley Pa/Ocean City NJ 215 947 4676 Engineer & RE Developer Brass & Classic Auto, Antique Boat, Mechanical Automatic Music Machine, & Jukebox Collector

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23 Nov 2010 04:46 #18515 by silverghost
silverghost replied the topic: Atlantic City Hotel "Red Carpet" Classics.
Just feeling very sad & very depressed because of the death of my 92 y/o Father and I am going down"Memory Lane" tonight~~~~

We have many a great story about our many visits to Sam Adelman's Classic Scrapyard/ Classic Junkyard.

As Sam saw that Dad & I were both very interested in these great Classics he one told us a very interesting & true story~

After the great Depression hit the country very hard it became no longer prudent for the still wealthy car owners to be seen riding in a car like a $16,000.00 Springfield Rolls~Royce.
Sam said that folks would often throw rocks at these great cars during this time period.
Owners did not wish to flaunt their wealth while average folks were out of work and standing in soup lines.
These high-end status cars were put away in carriage houses or garages to wait-out the poor economic conditions.
As luck would not be kind a turn-around did not rapidly appear and these once great Classics became almost worthless overnight~
Times had changed indeed ~
And times & styles had marched-on~

Sam stated that many once grand Classics were often found abandoned on the streets of New York.
Others were left to rot-away on great estates .

Sam would often get the call to tow them away.

Sam told us that for some reason the then High-End Summer Shore resort city of Atlantic City NJ seemed almost immune to the nationwide depresson.
Life in Atlantic City went-on as usual with the wealthy from NY, Phila, and Ct.

The grand tourist Hotels in Atlantic City NJ started buying-up these great low milage High-End Classics in very large numbers for very little money !

The large fancy Hotels would use these great Classics to pick-up customers arriving in Atlantic City NJ at the train station.

Their wealthy customers were given the true
"Red Carpet Treatment" by the hotel's drivers.
Each car was equipped with a red carpet runner for the driver to roll out !
Some carpets had the hotel name and logo woven in this red carpet runner !
The customers were thrilled to have been picked-up in a Rolls~Royce Springfield Silver Ghost or Phantom I or similar great expensive car !

Not only did the hotels pick-up these customers at the train station~
They would also make the grand cars & uniformed drivers available to their customers for rides, dinner trips, or day-trips to the surrounding South Jersey resort islands.
The hotels would have large fleets of these grand autos !

As a result of this practice Sam had supplied many fine Classics autos~ and spare repair parts for those cars to these AC resort hotel's motorpools.
They were in fact at one time his best customers !

Sam stated that at one point in time before the outbreak of WW II there were more fine Classics registered in Atlantic City NJ, especially Springfield Rolls~Royce Ghosts & Phantoms, than anywhere in the entire USA !

When WW II broke out~
Atlantic City NJ all but died !
Wealthy tourists no longer came~
The Grand Hotels became Hospitals, and rest homes for the US Military.

The once-grand hotels were low on funds and did not maintain their buildings.
The military was also very rough on these once fancy buildings.
They were run into the ground !
The hotels then entered a long period of sad decline over decades that they sadly never recovered from !
Until the mid 1970s and Casino Gambling !

The great Classic autos were put into storage for the war's duration or sadly many were scrapped at government order for much needed steel and aluminum coachwork for the war effort!

Sam said he then started a scrapyard near Atlantic City NJ at this time ~

This was In addition to his New York Scrapyard/ auto junkyard operations~

He saved as many once great Classics as was possible at this time !
This was very hard to do with government watchdogs looking over his shoulders~
He did not save as many as he would have liked !!!

That's my second Sam Adelman story !
I hope you find it interesting ?

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. BRAD HUNTER Huntingdon Valley Pa/Ocean City NJ 215 947 4676 Engineer & RE Developer Brass & Classic Auto, Antique Boat, Mechanical Automatic Music Machine, & Jukebox Collector

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23 Nov 2010 19:21 #18523 by Josh Malks
Josh Malks replied the topic:
I grew up in The Bronx from the '30s to the '50s. Bought my first Cord in 1953, and met Sam Adelman shortly thereafter. We shared a bit of heritage -- Sam himself and my father had both been Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe. Maybe that's why he was willing to talk to a wet-behind-the-ears kid. He never did think much of my Westchester -- not grand enough, I think.

Many people and many places are today rather loosely referred to as "one of a kind". But Sam Adelman and his place of business truly qualify for that designation.

I was one of the lucky ones.

Josh B. Malks
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24 Nov 2010 03:52 #18528 by silverghost
silverghost replied the topic:
Josh:& others~

Dad and I visited Sam at his scrapyard at least two dozen times ; well into the late 1960s.

Do you have any idea the aprox. year Sam's Scrapyard finally closed down operations?

I seem to remmber the late John W. DeCampi ( Rolls~Royce in America) and Frank Cooke(restoration shop owner) telling my Father that they and, some of their R~R friends, bought all of Sam's Springfield Rolls~Royce parts and project cars at the scrapyard's closing. Some of those parts are still sitting around on shelves today !

Did Sam have a closing auction ?

I do hope most of the great project cars & parts in his scrapyard were saved ! ?

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. BRAD HUNTER Huntingdon Valley Pa/Ocean City NJ 215 947 4676 Engineer & RE Developer Brass & Classic Auto, Antique Boat, Mechanical Automatic Music Machine, & Jukebox Collector

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24 Nov 2010 04:58 #18529 by Josh Malks
Josh Malks replied the topic:
I last visited Sam in 1958. I remember because that was the year I left New York. (Driving my Cord, of course. It was my only transportation. Ran most of the time.)

With new job, then marriage and military service I did not get back for over a decade. By the time I saw Mount Vernon again Sam and "Auto Wrecking In All Its Branches" were gone. If there was an auction, I never heard of it.

Seems to me that I read something about Sam and his yard some years ago. May have been in [i:1y4b9dkw]Skinned Knuckles[/i:1y4b9dkw].

Josh B. Malks
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24 Nov 2010 21:23 #18533 by Chris Summers
Chris Summers replied the topic:
The 1954 "True's Automobile Yearbook" has a feature article, "Sam Adelman - Unrestored Classic" beginning on p. 58. There are several photos of Mr. Adelman and the cars in his lot. I don't have a scanner or I would post the article here. I assume that copies of the magazine can be found online.

Running the former address (635 S. Columbus Avenue, Mount Vernon, NY) through Google Maps shows the lot apparently occupied by a gravel business but otherwise not much changed. In fact, Adelman's original building, shown partially in the "True's" article, seems to be intact in the background.

Chris Summers
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So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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