Browne Auto Salvage in Sunset, Texas
I visited Browne Auto Salvage earlier in the month while in the area. The place was recommended by Ryan Richards, aka the Chrome Prospector of Texas. He is a man known for finding diamonds in the rough and lives like a reality TV car show. Think Richard Rawlings only (much) younger and without the crappy beer and douche-chill personality. The opportunity to hike around a salvage yard full of vehicles from the last century is one of my favorite ways to get in my daily cardio.
Browne Auto Salvage has been a family-run business since 1985. Its current location in Sunset, Texas, is a brief drive from Dallas. This is Browne’s fourth location in its history. In 2005, Browne transported around 300 cars to this final location. Think about that next time you dread needing to take a second trip unloading grocery bags. To get to Browne Auto Salvage, you need to cross a set of train tracks before entering the property. There you’ll see a scenic homestead with a beautiful patina late 1950’s Ford pickup truck. The door of the vintage truck doubles as advertising informing visitors that they are at the right place.
Junk and salvage yards harbor an eerie mixture of emotions. Quiet like a museum, somber as a cemetery. You walk around like a true-crime detective looking for clues to the kind of life the vehicle had before it ended up here. As a car fantatic you walk with a faint lump in your chest wishing you could save them all. I blame the film The Brave Little Toaster for that. Some cars have obvious clues, like a gutted Cadillac ambulance or crippled Chevy Monte Carlo wearing what remains of its extensive paint work. Vehicle remains burned extra crispy provoke thoughts of tragedy, while cars that look like they were unwrapped from a tree bring assumptions of no talent and booze.
Browne Auto Salvage is home to hundreds of vehicles now. It has the largest collection of salvaged Studebaker and Hudson cars I’ve seen in my life. After spending nearly three hours hiking against the wind on a sunny day in Northeast Texas, one thing came to mind. Glass will shatter, metal will rust, but chrome never dies. As cars from the 1940’s and 50’s push 70 years old as we enter the 2020’s it’s inspiring to see these cars in a derelict state with their chrome bumpers, grilles, and trim pieces still shinning in the sun – unbothered by time.