The difference between gem and junk is in the eye of the beholder. That beat up old truck the guy down the street is willing to sell for $50 may well be a gold mine. To the hobbyist or serious hot rodder there is value there.
List of Things to Make from Scrap Metal Car Parts; From Knives to Trailers
Want to try knife making? If that older truck was built before 1963, the springs are high carbon steel. The springs are made from good steel and are usually inexpensive material for making some quality blades. Truck beds make great trailers, the frame rails are shaped like channel steel, the box part is pre-mounted and comes with its own axle. If you remove the body, and cut the frame just behind the front wheel risers you can bend them and add a trailer coupler and jack. All you need is a piece of channel or more frame to put in a cross member ahead of the box just behind the hitch bend. It’s already wired. A coat of paint to match your pickup or SUV and you’re in business.
Scrap Iron & Sheet Metal Recycling from Junk Automobiles
If you are into blacksmithing you have a lot of potential in the other metal parts of an old truck. Old trucks had solid front axles. There is a lot of iron in those axles and suspension components of newer pickups. Consider all of the sheet metal available. Beginning blacksmiths can experiment by building a forge out of an old break drum. Drive lines are strong, and by cutting the ends off you could use them for a bird feeder-bath or mailbox pole. If you do metal art there are all kinds of things you can make from sheet metal. If you need sheet metal for an odd project or two, invest in a power sheer or a power nibbler and cut to your heart’s content. Keep a metal cutting power saw or cut off grinder for the odd spot welded bracket or two. Of course a cutting torch will work too, just keep a fire extinguisher handy.
Selling Used Engines & Transmissions
Lest we forget the engine and transmissions, those are valuable as well. Building a street rod? Truck engines tend to be heavy duty models sharing many features with a company’s high performance engines, at least in many cases. A three or four speed transmission can be sold. A flour shift kit can convert a three speed for a street rod. Many trucks came with an automatic transmission and are ideal for hot rodding.
Re-purposing Auto Glass, Bench Seats & Other Car Components
The flat glass in rear and side windows can be removed and incorporated into a cabinet door or other similar uses.
There other projects to consider. A porch swing made from an old bench seat. Remember to consider the value of some parts. Those that restore older vehicles need fenders, doors and bumpers. Cars have similar value as well.
The only caveat in considering cars is that most of them are unibody construction with no actual frame. Frame extensions for the suspension are attached to the front and rear the body its self is constructed so as to serve as the center frame member.