We certainly understand the need to scrap older vehicles. Not only is it impractical to preserve every car that's ever been built, but why would you want to? That said, decisions to destroy old cars, whether under the auspices of a government program like Cash For Clunkers or by profit motive at an automotive recycler, should be made by informed individuals. That way, vehicles that may have potential as collectibles don't unnecessarily vanish.

That's why we find this story so frustrating. According to the Tampa Bay Times, one of the foremost "VW graveyards," Sunray Bugs of Dade City, FL, is headed the way of the Type 4. The giant, 10-acre Volkswagen salvage yard lost its legal battle over zoning with Pasco County, and officials have nearly completed cleanup of the site. Hundreds of cars have been crushed, though the octogenarian owner, "Corky" Yager, may have saved most of what was truly valuable, according to this long thread on TheSamba.com.

While the situation is certainly a complex one that's caused quite a few VW enthusiasts to take to their keyboards to voice their opinions – the aforementioned thread runs to eight pages – the bottom line is that some potentially useful old cars are no longer with us.

Click through the jump to see some video of Sunray Bugs before the zoning incident, including an interview with Corky.


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  • 21 Comments
      Elmo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've met Corky at a few local car meets down here, and he is one of the nicest guys I have ever met in the Florida car culture. It's sad to see this place go. I never built a VW in my life, but I've walked through this place just to take a look around. The place was massive and the cars there were sometimes more than salvageable. I really hope those said cars aren't the ones that were crushed. I'm not a real huge fan of the way Pasco County is ran, so this didn't surprise me one bit. I really hope to see Corky come out of this ok. It would really suck to see another small business owner fail because of some BS government decision.
      Drew510
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looking through the thread and reading personal experiences, it sounds like this guy was a pretty big hoarder. There were many telling experiences, but one that stood out was a guy that dug a piece of a Thing out of the bushes and asked what the price was and the owner's response was something along the lines of, "Well, I might have a use for that in the future so I better not sell it." Even according to a rep from the company, he didn't have a license to be a salvage yard, but a repair shop. Regardless, it is a sad situation all around.
        waetherman
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Drew510
        Yeah, it definitely seems that way. And I can certainly understand the issue of not having a licensed salvage yard, but from a zoning perspective it really doesn't seem like a big deal; it's not like his business was out of character for that area which is a pretty industrial, bleak stretch of highway. Aside from the (poorly placed) residential development across the street, he might have been the best thing on the block. Too bad they weren't able to work soemthing out.
        Varick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Drew510
        And Corky did end up using that item. As a matter of fact, He recently told me that very item just went out of the shop on a repair job/restoration that the shop performed for a Thing owner a couple of weeks ago... A repair job that would have never happened or would have resulted in the shop being in a bind and having to scour other junk yards for that very rare part had they sold it. Corky knew what he had and what it was worth to the right buyer when to the casual observer, it was scrap or "overpriced". This was his business that supported him and a staff of several employees for over 25 years.
          Drew510
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Varick
          But how does that take away from the guy who wanted it for HIS restoration? Now HE is left without a part he needed. He didn't lowball the owner - just asked what the price is and the answer was "not for sale." Pretty sad considering that guy did all the work getting it out of there.
      WhoMeWhere
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is horribly sad! I wish I knew about this place before. I would have gone and gotten some old bug parts. Sadly, locally 2 yards have done the same with all their old vw and porsche stock. One was solely dedicated to old air cooled porsche and vw too
      donnieorama
      • 2 Years Ago
      Geeze--does Corky ever remind me of my grandfather...totally laid back and just brimming with useful information.
      PTFunk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sad that many of these couldn't be sold/transferred to another salvage yard. Would transport be too expensive for the value of most of these cars?
      lorenzo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder if there are any Notchbacks in that heap
        Elmo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lorenzo
        There WERE plenty. But from what I remember, all of them were just parts car and none of them ever seemed like they could have been restored.
      Xedicon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sadly most people just don't care about cars at all. It doesn't matter new or old, cars are an appliance at best and annoying when it comes to where to put them or how to get rid of them. Keeping an old beast running can be expensive, let alone restoring an old car - I've restored one car so far, and believe me, you'll "lose" money in the process (but for us car fans it's totally worth it). I'm just glad some of these classics found their way out and hopefully will find good homes.
      Azazel
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is why car people cannot afford to not be involved in politics. The "green" movement combined with the increasing authoritarianism within our governmet will spell the end recreational driving and car collecting.
        Drew510
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Azazel
        I'd argue that hundreds of rusting hulks does not equate to "recreational" car collecting. Most folks who "collect" cars keep them under cover and/or out of the elements, not rusting away in blackberry bushes.
          jeepwillyscj2a
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Drew510
          but where do the parts come from top repair the collector vehicles....
      Brian
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think that there is nothing more interesting that walking around an old auto salvage yard. There aren't many where you can anymore however I can almost guarantee that Corky's place is a place you would have been able to. This story makes me so angry. I live about 30 or so minutes south of Dade City, FL and I can tell you there are plenty of issues that are much bigger in the area than a piece of land with a few old VWs parked on it. This is such a shame, I sure wish I would have known about this place and had the opportunity to visit it before the VWs were destroyed.
      Heather Richards-Bla
      • 2 Years Ago
      mean while he has been there for years........
      Jeff Evony
      • 2 Years Ago
      well.... i stumbled across the samba thread but they locked it with the true story no where in it. corky started putting cars there 22 years ago. the problem is that it was not his land. he was evicted years ago and has drug feet and the court gave him extension after extension. he lost a third of the property and all the cars on it. when the next section of land to be cleaned came up he waited till 3 days before the dead line to call a crusher so he would at least get scrap value for the cars. I hauled many loads of crushed cars from there. I tried to buy a bug from him and was told he was going to restore it... i hauled it out on the load i was picking up that day.... crushed. so dont be mad at the city, dont be mad at the land owner who just wanted to use his own land, be mad at the man who would not sell anything and thought he could not be thrown off of someone elses property.
      screwamammoth93
      • 2 Years Ago
      great job florida government, keep hurting your own citizens/economy, its working out GREAT!!!!! --morons
        bujinshnitz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @screwamammoth93
        You obviously didn't read all the links provided. The fault for these lost cars is COMPLETELY on the owner of the "junkyard," which was just some old hoarder putting VW's on a lot.
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