When I was married, one day I was driving my wife’s car down a narrow road near our home. Something distracted my attention and in the half second I looked away from the road the car drifted slightly to the right and a utility pole at pavement’s edge violently removed the passenger-side mirror. Her little sporty car’s bright red finish had dulled after more than a decade of service, so it didn’t make sense to buy a shiny new mirror. I called around to junkyards looking for a donor car, and only Wrecks, Inc., had one. When I got there, a gruff man behind a counter looked up the part in a book and grunted a price at me. When I accepted, a small, scruffy fellow appeared and led me to a beat-up little truck with no doors. “Get in,” he said, and we sped off. As the truck bounced its way through the yard, I clutched the dashboard just trying to stay inside the truck. Finally he found the car. He couldn’t figure out how to remove the mirror, but since I had just removed what was left of the one on my wife’s car I took his tools and did it myself. Then it was back to holding on for dear life as we drove back to the counter, where I paid for my prize.
Wrecks, Inc., went out of business several years ago, but its great sign still stands. It’s kind of a local landmark on old US 52 just northwest of Indianapolis. It used to light up at night in red and green neon, but today the tubes inside are broken and hanging loose. I’m sure it’s a matter of time before the sign is removed. With any luck it will find its way into a private sign collection or perhaps to the American Sign Museum.
Dig neon? Check out the great theater sign I found in Crossville, Tennessee, and the neon along the Michigan Road in Logansport, Indiana.