Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Barker's Ranch
Kimchi writes:
I often read online - guys asking about the cars in the Barker junk yard.

Why don't you do a guy's thread? I have a zillion pictures of the cars in the junk yard behind Barker's ranch that I took in February when we were there...

They can have fun trying to figure out what they are - the guys will go nuts...I have no idea if they were any of the stolen cars, family cars, etc., but they are in the junk yard right behind Barker Ranch about 100 yards south of the "Helter Skelter" truck that everyone talks about, not Bobby's truck at Ballarat, the "HS" truck.
 Farflung has identified this top vehicle, as a 1953 Pontiac Chieftain.
 I believe he's correct!  See for yourself below.  Thanks Farflung!
 Identified by Farflung as (likely) a 1933 Servel
Gas-Operated Refrigerator (See photo below)
 Thanks Kimchi!!  You ROCK!!!
"Click" Photos to Expand full-size!


LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Thanks Kimchi!

Great photos, and great idea!


johnnyseattle said...

wow, all those bullet holes in the cars makes me think it isn't "Barkers Ranch" but rather "Ma Barkers Ranch"

of course, Charlie and Creepy Karpis make a nice connection between the two...

MrPoirot said...

There's a lot of refridgerators there too. That tells me there were women up there with the men in the mining days after WW2 which is the period all those junkers are from. The refridgerators didn't wear out. They took gas/deisel to run the generators. It was too remote to carry fuel up there to run a fridge very long and too much trouble to bring back home a fridge that was too cumbersome to run in the real desert. Most of what I see are Dodges. Dunno who made the jeeps. Dodge must have had a rep for depenaability in the post war before 1960. I doubt much of those wrecks were Family derived.

Root cellars would be the way to store food up there. Can goods etc.Even if you had a generator to cool the fridge you couldn't sleep with a motor running all night.

When Paul Watkins came up to Crockett, Poston and Wildebush in early 69 on his motorbike he brought crackers/cookies that didnt need cold.
Crockett says he deprogrammed Poston with a baloney sandwich. Dunno how long baloney stores in room temps. Salted meats in a cellar last a while.

katie8753 said...

Thanks Kimchi! Do you know why there would be an "automobile graveyard" behind the Ranch? Seems like a remote place to haul junk.

Hi Johnny. Yeah, lots of stuff to shoot at. LOL.

Thanks Mr. P. Interesting info.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I don't know Poirot...

I think you're thinking way too far into this.

I don't know the first thing about food storage (or producing electricity) in the desert... next to nothing about mining... and only the very basics about classic car identification.

But... I will say this:

Most "backyard mechanics" don't work on "brand-new"... "fresh off the showroom" vehicles.

"Backyard mechanics" generally work on vehicles, which are roughly 7-15 years old.

In 1969...
That would be a vehicle built between 1954-1962.

Backyard mechanics often strip (and re-use) miscellaneous parts from vehicles even older... say 15-20 years old.
In this case 1949-1954.

I'm not an expert on antique vehicles by anyone's standards... (not even close)... but, I'm pretty sure the vehicles depicted in Kimchi's photos... were built (roughly) between 1949-1962.
That's exactly the vintage Manson and company would lkely be tinkering with, in 1969... no?
(I highly doubt, Manson was making "dune buggies" from 1968 vehilces.)

Bottom line:
I (personally) believe that... at least some of the junk still found behind Barker's, is "family derived".
I really do...

As I said...
I'm not an expert on cars by any stretcth... but, I simply think the dates add-up.

Didn't mining reach it's peak in this country, between like 1850--1940?
I don't know shit about mining... but, I'm pretty certain it hit it's peak, well before 1955.

The California Gold Rush happened between 1848–1855.
There's no way, those cars are THAT old.

Why am I talking about mining again? LOL

You're thinking way too far into this... and moreover... going way too far back, in time.

My two cents...


LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Going over some stuff last night... it struck me, that "Cease2" and "Wharf Rat", haven't been around in a dog's age.


"Wharf Rat has always been sparse... but, what of "Cease2"?
"Cease2" used to be on the blogs all the time... a major contributor!

"Cease2"... are you with us??? LOLOL


katie8753 said...

Lynyrd I like the new "look". LOL. :)

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...


: )

I get tired of looking at the same shit every day.
Change is good.
"Variety is the spice" as they say.
I changed women like socks for many years, as well! LOL
Think "Charlie" on "Two and a half men". LOL

It's supposed to be something of a "Reggae" theme... ya know... with the classic "third world" red, yellow, and green, color scheme.

I love Bob Marley music.

Peace Mon! LOL

Farflung said...

Regarding the last photograph.

Based upon the legs and wood framing I would place the fridge in the 30’s to 40’s. The mechanical box mounted on the bottom made me think of the old gas and kerosene refrigerators. Yep, you can cool stuff with flame. Before the REA was passed homes without any source of electricity was common. The solution was gas stoves, refrigerators and even lighting to some extent. One of the biggest manufacturers of these refrigerators was ‘Servel’ which is a contraction of the words Serving and Electric. Kinda weird considering this model used gas, but if another refrigerator can be named ‘Hotpoint’ why not have one named after electricity which runs off of gas? Who knew that appliance designers had such a flair for irony?

Below is an advertisement which appears to closely resemble the Barker Ranch junkyard find:

Last Picture ?

Now gas refrigerators are mainly used in RVs since they don’t require a noisy generator to operate along with the added complexity of a motor, generator, circuit box and wiring. I’m sure there’s an internet expert out there that knows the very date this thing was produced, along with the name of the guy that built it. This is simply my best estimate.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Hi Farflung.

Makes sense.
We have gas-powered hot water heaters, stoves, portable camping lights... why not refrigerators?
(Natural gas, that is)

No matter how you slice it... natural gas is a fuel source which generates energy
That energy, could in-turn, be converted into electrical current.
Modern-day "portable generators" of course, convert gasoline into electricity.
It's the same concept.
"Where there's a will, there's a way".

(I'm guessing here... but I would imagine, natural gas would be a much cleaner and quieter conversion to electricity than gasoline)

Farflung said:
"Yep, you can cool stuff with flame".

That statement reminds me of an old George Carlin skit.
Carlin says:
"Wouldn't a hot water heater, actually be a cold water heater?" LOLOL

So true!

I almost didn't post that refrigerator photo.
I didn't think anyone would be interested.
I'm glad I posted it.
It's getting more attention, than the cars! LOL


katie8753 said...

Thanks for the info Farflung. I really enjoy your posts. Mucho interesting.

I can't imagine cooling ANYTHING with fire. That concept is beyond my grasp.

I didn't even know that last picture was a refrigerator. I thought it was just a rusty box. LOL.

In fact, a lot of those pics just look like a 50-car pile up to me.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Check out Farflung's link.

It's actually a gas-operated refrigerator from 1933... and it has the same legs, as the one in the photo.

Since electricty is generally hard to find in the middle of the desert (or, in 1933)... I'd say, there's a good chance it's the same (or, a similar) appliance.

I'm pretty much sold!

Unless someone can find an electrical cord on that refrigerator... I'd say Farflung's assertion is likely accurate.

katie8753 said...

Yes I think it's the same refrigerator too. It has that little white box thingy at the top right, just like the advertisement.

sunset77 said...

My grandmother got a "Coldspot" fridge in 1947, she always referred to it as "the icebox". When she got a new "fancy" fridge in about 1980 we brought the Coldspot up here and plugged it in out in the garage. I guess it's ran continuously since 1947, that's over 60 years. It's still running fine, they don't make 'em like that anymore.

I don't remember hearing much about Manson family members using the dump as target practice, but it certainly looks like someone did. When I was a kid in the late 60's, I went with my dad to the various dumps every Saturday and shot holes in everything.

Farflung said...

Pictures 5 and 8.

So I’m feeling a little like pressing my luck with photo interpretation and automotive history. Based upon the embossed rib just below the window, and the less acute radius on the lower right corner of the same, I see a Model T Ford. Gee that narrows things down considering there were millions produced.

Model T Ford Tudor Sedan

Since it is a hardtop, this could make it one of the versions called a ‘Tudor Sedan’ which were produced in the 1920’s. Here’s a little video of the suspect vehicle:

1924 Tudor Sedan

The moniker of Tudor Sedan was used for a long time including this model of Fairlane:

Ford Fairlane

Now it has come full circle. Again, just my estimate and nothing more.

katie8753 said...

Hi Sunset. You've got that right! They just don't make them like they used to. My family has had lots of appliances for years and years with no trouble at all. Today if you buy a refrigerator or stove, you can only hope they last 10 years or so. And vacuum cleaners are strictly disposable now.

katie8753 said...

Farflung I'll take your word for it. Those pictures just look like mangled, twisted metal to me. LOL.

Farflung said...

Alright Katie8753, let’s take a look at picture 2 since this one is patently obvious to the most casual of observers. You WILL become an expert, I promise.

Notice the two tone paint scheme and seven distinct vertical grill slits in the center. Well that’s the hallmark of a Jeep. Just Google “jeep front” and behold this iconic design element in the images tab.

But this wasn’t just any old Jeep. Nope, this was a design which maximized cargo capacity with a small wheel base called the Forward Control concept. Of course by maximizing the cargo bed that meant something else had to be sacrificed and that was crew comfort. Utterly surrounded by glass the driver had supreme visibility while conversely experiencing what life is like in a solarium. That is if solariums had an engine running inside them, with a thermal plume rising in the sun soaked cab. You see the engine was mounted just below and between driver and passenger. Here’s a blog about the FC150:

Jeep FC150

Talk about packed with features, well the FC150 would never be part of that conversation. First off you won’t have to sacrifice any time by digging around for a seat belt since they weren’t required yet. Plus the air conditioning was reliable since it consisted of two small vent windows which were manually operated, just like the transmission. The turn signals were mounted in the traditional location but weren’t self cancelling, so everyone had the ability to look like a senior citizen driving down the interstate. Plus with that 75 horse power engine, you’d be going slower than one also. The only instrumentation was a speedometer with a fuel and temp gauge combined in an easy to read bezel.

FC150 Luxurious Interior

Kinda cruel since the majority of the speedometer’s indices taunted the driver with speeds he would never see. Additionally with the engine hammering away right next to you, that temp indicator seems superfluous since an overheat condition would occur, long after the occupants fainted from the secondary symptoms of heat stroke. The lack of cup holders is actually a feature since the entire cab had to be tilted forward to check the engine oil, thus potentially spilling your double shot latte across the windshield.

Now after reading all this about the magnificent Jeep FC150, I’ll bet you don’t just see a bunch of mangled, twisted metal anymore…….. umm…. hold on…… OK, I probably selected the wrong vehicle to use as an example since the FC150 does pretty much look like what you described, when it was brand new. Never mind.

katie8753 said...

>>>Farflung said: Notice the two tone paint scheme and seven distinct vertical grill slits in the center. Well that’s the hallmark of a Jeep.>>>

FARFLUNG!!!! I've been a Jeep owner for over 11 years and I never noticed the 7 vertical grill slits on the front. I went out and counted them. There ARE 7!! WOW!! You really know your stuff!!

Why is that painted a yucky green color? It's not even an "army green", it's more like a lime green. Did it fade?

I have to admit, that picture looks like a Volkswagen to me. Maybe because it's upside down??

I followed your link to the FC150 and it looks like a weird kind of pickup. I never even heard of it until now.

Thanks for 'splaining. LOL.

katie8753 said...

Okay now I'm intrigued. Farflung identified the refrigerator as a cira 1930's Electrolux refrigerator, which looks like it was "top of the line" back then. A luxurious appliance.

I'm wondering who out in the desert could afford such a luxury? The cost was certainly prohibitive, not to mention the hauling charges probably from LA to way out in the middle of nowhere. I don't think Ms. Barker had a whole lot of money.

Were there ranches around Barker's with affluent owners, not unlike the Ewings, who spared no expense to equip their kitchens with the most modern gadgets? And who could afford a fleet of "power vehicles" to traverse the rough terrain of the desert?

And how in the world did this refrigerator, along with all these different junked out cars, end up at Barker's????

Inquiring minds really want to know.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...


This guy Farflung is both informative AND hilarious!

You better get in here, you've got competition! LOL

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I've heard of "all the bells and whistles"... but never "NO bells and whistles"! LOL

That FC150 is basically an oversized lawn tractor!

Solarium... LMAO!

Speaking of "Solarium"... does anyone remember the AMC Pacer???
Oh Gawd...

The "Pacer" was a huge glass bubble.
Drivers of the "Pacer", looked like they were sitting in a huge goldfish bowl! LOL
It was hands-down, one of the ugliest cars ever made.
You could actually order the "Pacer" in white, with RED interior!
They should have stamped a public service warning, right on those cars:
"Unless you are Robert Redford... you are guaranteed, to NEVER get laid with this vehicle"!

The "Pacer" was only rivaled in ugliness by yet another AMC offering... The GREMILN!
Oh Gawd... again!

Does anyone remember THAT freakin' thing?! LOL

At least the Gremiln could be "hot-rodded out" a little bit, though.
There were a few nice "suped-up" Gremilns floating around.
The Pacer... forget about it... you just had to live with it. LOL
It was hopeless.
No set of rims, was gonna do anything for a Pacer! LOLOL

katie8753 said...

I remember the Pacer. It WAS like a big fishbowl, waiting for a lure...to an used car graveyard.

But do you remember the Chevy Maverick and the Ford Pinto?

Boy howdy. Talk about waiting for the 60 seconds for the Mission Impossible fuse to ignite. Those cars weren't on the market long enough to sneeze.


katie8753 said...

And how about the Chevy Corvair....

Back in the 60's the muscle cars were mostly Dodges and Plymouths, much like Mr. P. said. Dodges & Plymouths have been the same thing for a long time. Much like Chevys and Pontiacs.

Chargers, Roadrunners, Super Bee's, Darts, Barracudas, Ford had the once done Talladega, Chevy and Pontiac did the twins Camaro, Z-28, Firebird & Trans Am.

I lived thru the 60's and I know those cars. LOL.

Pontiac did the GTO and Olds did the 442. Ford Fairlaine, Chevy Impala. Muscle cars.

Anonymous said...

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...
"Cease2"... are you with us??? LOLOL

Hi Lynyrd my friend (& Katie !!! et al). Have no fear, I'm still reading the blogs.

I decided to cease(!) commenting for a while, but maybe I'll come back and squeak at ya again...Or I would if I wasn't in your timezone lock-out (you mean bastard! LOL).

Luv n Peace

sunset77 said...

I remember the AMC Pacer, my uncle had one, he used to call it "the pisser". You would have had to seen under the hood of that thing to believe it, talk about a jumbled up mess. I think one time a spark plug threads got stripped, there was a lot of cussing for a long time. He bought it because of all the glass, made it easy to see out of for my aunt to drive.

I also remember those Ford Pinto's that blew up because of the gas tank. A high school buddy had one. We used to laugh every morning before class about trying to back up in the parking lot without stalling. Neither of us could drive a straight stick very well, I had a '68 Torino.

katie8753 said...

CEASE!!!! Good to see you!!

Sunset, my sister had a Pacer way back when and it was a piece of junk.

The Pinto was a disaster! Back in the 60's and 70's, we decided that FORD was an acronym for "Fix Or Repair Daily". LOL.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Nah Katie...

Everyone knows "FORD" means "found on road dead". LOL

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...


I gotta say though... it's just not the same, without the Squeaky avatar.

It just loses something... LOL

Anonymous said...

I can't hold these phones forever, you know.

Dilligaf said...

"sunset77 said...
My grandmother got a "Coldspot" fridge in 1947, she always referred to it as "the icebox"."

What do you know? My grandmother had what she called a "Hotspot", but perhaps that was why she was so popular on Lodge Night...

leary7 said...

No can do, Lynyrd. I'm not a car guy. My kid brother got all the car and mechanical genes. Plus I've never fired a gun in my life so I can't even comment on the picturesque bullet holes.
And lastly, I can't tie Farflung's or Kimchi's shoes (or many others) when it comes to solid info. As you know by now, I am mostly an Irish bullshiter.
I do wonder why folk like Cease and Saint and others decide to stop posting. It always makes me wonder if they were offended or bored or just tired.
I've so little to occupy my mind since the BoSox became irrelevant. COme on hockey season.

leary7 said...

though I do have to admit...discussing the Spice Girls and then classic refrigerators is not what I expected when I joined a Manson blog.
Just kidding, it's all good.

Unknown said...

Its almost Tukka time leary!

Zarathustra said...

Hello everyone!
Very good points on the cars Farflung, Jeep FC, CJ3, Chevy Corvair first gen, Ford T model, 60-66 GMC pick up... I still don't recognice the first one?

leary7 said...

Can't wait Matt. Tukka time, yeah. Though I still think Pete C overrates several of his guys and needed to do more this summer.
Looks like I might be in St Paul a bit longer than I thought so I am trying to get a feel for the North Stars. But without the black and gold it is tough.

katie8753 said...

Hi Zara!!

Cease & Dill...you guys crack me up!!! HA HA.

Hi Leary & Matt!! :)

MrPoirot said...

Still on the subject of desert wrecks: why did the Powerwagon get left up in Death Valley? Did the arrests cause it just to be abandoned? That was Bobby's powerwagon wasn't it?

I think the other powerwagon in Ballarat got stuck in the muck so Tex just chucked it but I can't remember why the other powerwgon was left at Barkers.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...


Your joke reminds me of that infamous "Squeezebox" song... by "The Who"! LOL

"Momma's got a squeezebox, she wears on her chest...
When daddy get's home, he never gets no rest...
'Cuz she playing all night.
and the music's alright...
Yeah, Momma's got a squeezebox, daddy never sleeps at night"

If there's any doubt as to the hidden insinuation... Roger Daltrey clears that up, with:
"She goes in and out... and in and out... and in and out... and in and out".

Before going back to:
"'Cuz she playing all night.
and the music's alright...
Yeah, Momma's got a squeezebox, daddy never sleeps at night".


LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...






Mary said...

My sister had a red Pinto...that sat in our yard rotting because it never worked. I used to get in it and pretend like I was driving and playing all grown up (I was no more than 7)...until spiders moved in...finally my daddy had it towed away (which is so unlike our redneck ways).

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I'm with ya Leary...

I'm not really a "car guy".

I know all the makes and models (by sight) from around 1975-1995.

Before that... I was too young (and broke) to take notice of cars... after that, I was too old to care! LOLOL

'75-'95... I guess, is my by butter zone.
Young enough to still dream... and old enough to actually afford a few of them. LOL

After I hit a certain age... I adopted the notion, that no one really gives a f#ck what I'm driving anyway... LOL!

I can't say i ever hit the "midlife crisis" thing.
I just kinda breezed right by it.
There's nothing worse, than seeing a "George Costanza" look-alike in a canary yellow muscle car. LOL
Who are these blokes kidding, anyway??!!

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Wow Mary...

A real-life professional tow job??

I'm impressed! LOLOL

My cousin "Ronnie" had a Ford Pinto.
True story...

It was yellow, with white interior... if, I recollect. LOL
I think Ford went outta there way, to make those cars as ugly as possible.
It's almost like the designers were f#cking around, as a goof. LOL

"Ronnie" was newly married with a couple screaming kids.
He was like eighteen! LOL
"Economy car", dontcha know. LOL

He drove it for a couple years... and then totaled it.
Some crashes are a blessing. LOLOL

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I agree Leary...

Hockey, football, basketball... heck, more women's beach volleyball... anything but baseball.

Baseball is as boring as watching paint peel.
I've only watched the post-season with the Redsox for years.

katie8753 said...

Hi Mary!!! I'm glad you avoided the spiders. LOL.

katie8753 said...

Well the muscle cars of the late 60's, early 70's were very distinctive. You could recognize a Charger or a Chevelle SS for example without even being close to it. I don't know about vehicles before the 60's. Maybe they were distinctive too. But nowadays, every car looks the same to me.

Except for JEEPS!! I know, I know. You either love them or hate them. I happen to love them.

"Jeep...There's Only One!" HA HA.

katie8753 said...

Mr. P., good question on the Power Wagon. Maybe Kimchi can answer it. She knows a lot about the Power Wagons.

TomG said...

My favorite Olympic memory was the USA women's soccer team beating Japan for the gold medal.

My favorite moment was Hope Solo making a crucial save in the final moments.

katie8753 said...

Hi Tommy!!! :)

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...


Speaking of AMC vehicles.. I just remembered... they also made the "Hornet"! LOL

The folks in that AMC office, either had a great sense of humor, or they were completely nuts! LOL

My buddy Ray, had a Hornet... and oddly enough, it was actually GREEN. LOL

As in... "The Green Hornet", of course.
We busted his balls about that all the time... and he finally conceded it was pretty funny.
He started cracking jokes about it himself, after a while.

The "Hornet" had a spot in the back seat, which was rusted completely through... just above that "wheel well" curve, in the corner.
Crazy teenagers... we'd discard our "empties" through the hole! LOL

Ah... mispent youth.

I had another buddy named "Ray" (a closer friend) who drove a Plymouth Volare' station wagon. LOL
We had a huge "VH" spray painted on the hood... as in, Van Halen!
All our initials were also carved into it.
Now THAT was a f#ckin' party wagon! LOL
And Ray the driver, was literally crazy.
I mean... not kinda crazy... but bonkers crazy.

There was a cooler permanently affixed in the back area.
One of the large rear windows had no glass... and, he had a CB radio!

True stuff man!

I'd have to open a seperate blog, to relate everything that happened in that station wagon!
MANY mis-adventures to say the least...

It's amazing we're all still alive.

Kimchi said...

Damn, I can't seem to get home before the blog closes and I leave before it opens...LOL

When I visited Barker before the fire, there was a Servel refrigerator in it... I thought it ran off propane but I could be wrong...

Regarding the Power Wagon, the guys in Ballaret said the one sitting in front was the one they pulled out of the dry lake bed..it has stars painted on the ceiling of the cab, someone sent a photo to Bobby and he said it was his truck...

There is bits and pieces of power wagons all over those canyons.. they were very popular with the miners.. I wouldn't even begin to guess which one(s) were used by the Family.

There's an interesting wreck in that car graveyard though, I don't think Lynyrd posted the picture... it's a customized Karman Ghia...fancy radiator and all..

Better go before this place closes...LOL

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...


The Pacer, the Gremlin, and the Hornet.


No wonder they went out of business...

Kimchi said...

I should have said "front grill" instead of radiator, I'm not sure Karman Ghia's have radiators..anyway, it was weird looking.

Lynn said...

My dad had a Chevy Impala- loved the logo on the back truck...would run my fingers over it as a kid. My grandpa drove an El Camino- he called it a gentleman's cadillac. The first time I went car shopping on my own (not my first car though)...the salesman tried to sell me a Dodge Neon- red with red/white gingham picnic basket seats. I looked at him and said "would you be caught dead in that car?: he replied "no" to which I replied "what makes you think I would?" he ended up selling me something else.

leary- St. Paul. Not St. Paul, MN? If so, North Stars are long gone. It's the MN Wild now and Zach Parise (JP's kid)

Farflung said...

The first picture eluded me with that gull winged trunk emblem which made me think of a Roadmaster which had tons of extra chrome, and faux exhaust stacks which would out ‘bling’ anything on the road today.

It was the eleventh photo with that odd set of chromed stripes that blew the dust of my memory which recalls Pontiac using that design element. It was in the early 50’s when cars were approaching their most distinctive styling period with saturated colors, basted with several hundred pounds of chrome plated flash; which paid homage to the jet-age, with tail lights resembling a rocket’s exhaust plume welcoming the space age. We had such high hopes as a nation with the future looking bright and boundless indeed.

Look at us now, we pay four bucks a gallon to fuel the likes of a Prius, which possesses all the appeal of a sticky bathroom doorknob and, no doubt, has Harley Earl doing a boney, double facepalm. Then in a fit to prove it could be much, much worse; some friendless software geeks, who have never known the touch of a beautiful woman, actually produced some abomination called the ‘Segway’ to represent the apex of twenty first century transportation.

I think the automobile in those images is a 1953 Pontiac Chieftain. Take a look at the video below and see if it looks like a match.

Check (2:18-2:24) to see that distinctive trunk emblem and center molding:

1953 Pontiac Chieftain

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Hi Farflung.

A 1953 Pontiac Chieftain.

I'd say you're correct!

Let me "super-impose" (LOL) a photo of the Chieftain, just under the Barker's photo...

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Yup... that's definitely the car.

Check it out folks!

Thanks Farflung!!

MrPoirot said...

I had two el caminos. They had less ground clearance than a Pontiac Chieftan so I doubt I'd take an El Camino to Barkers. I doubt i could get mu elcaminos up Golar Wash, Cars in the 50s had more ground clearance. As our roads became all paved our cars no longer needed a lot of ground clearance like the Pontiac Chieftan had. Model Ts had even more ground clearance since few roads were paved back then. it would be easier to get a model T up Golar Wash than a 77 El Camino.

BTW the El Camino was called the Cowboys Cadillac.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

As I already stated... I've never been a "car guy".

In my lifetime, there's only been four vehicles which really grabbed me.
Four vehicles, which I said:
"I'd really love to have one of those"!.

The first... was an El Camino!
I loved them freakin' things.
Half car... half truck! LOL
Ballsy, yet comfortable enough for a date. : )
What's not to love??!! hahaha
Yeah... I guess I really am a redneck.
Truth be told... I'd drive one today, if I found a nice one.

I freakin' loved the late 80's Mercury Cougar!
It was big...it was luxurious... and it was sporty.
The slogan should have read:
"Luxury, meets ballsy".
For some stupid reason, I just couldn't get over that rear window.
It was a completely flat pane of glass in the back.
A tiny feature... but, it just grabbed me, as the coolest thing.
I REALLY loved those cars.
The late 80's Mercury Cougar folks... a great freakin' car!
Definitely, my all-time favorite vehicle.

Next-up... and Third:
From 1986-1992 Jeep made a pick-up truck called "The Comanche".
I always wanted one.

Fourth, and honorable mention:
I'm completely ashamed to say, but the "Subaru Brat". LOL!
Remember that thing?
It was basically a bite-size, 4- wheel drive El Camino! AHahahaha
What always grabbed me, was those two plastic seats, which came stock in the bed area... facing backward!!!
Seriously... engineers would NEVER get that idea past "safety standards" now-a-days.
I think the reason that vehicle grabbed me, was becuase it seemed to serve no earthly reason... other than to look fun.
It just "looked fun"... that's all I can say, about that embarrissingly small vehicle... which yes... I wanted. LOL

Those are really the only vehicles, in my entire life, which intrigued me on a large level... which I really wanted.

Other than that... I always figured: "A car's, a car"

Farflung said...

There was a much maligned vehicle from the late 50’s which has become synonymous with failure and abject homeliness, named the Edsel. Hard though it may be to imagine, there was an Edsel which stood out for being especially gruesome, with incoherent features which thankfully has never been repeated.

I’m of course referring to the…… 1958 Edsel Roundup. That’s right, the nation which would put men on the moon began by producing a TWO door, SIX passenger, station wagon which resembled a hearse. Convenient since you would wish you were dead while driving the thing. The view coming at you was one only a mother could love, and the inexplicably designed rear turn signal lenses made a counter-intuitive pointer at night, for motorists behind you:

Which Way?

But it did have that neat ‘Speed Racer’ transmission selector in the center of the steering wheel:

Check (0:08) seconds for Edsel inspired design

Here’s the real deal:

See it at (0:37)

I think that’s about a bad as automotive design could get:

Almost forgot this Creampuff

katie8753 said...

I liked the way the T-Bird & Cougar tail lights blinked...1, 2, 3...1,2,3...

Sooo cool. LOL.

katie8753 said...

Farflung, Holiday Road by Lindsey Buckingham.

Right on. A woody station wagon. LOL.

This is all I could find to supplement:


katie8753 said...

Some say it was Kenny Loggins, which is untrue....

Farflung said...

You nailed the song Katie8753, but that iconic vehicle (which never existed) was not a Woody, but the feature laden ‘Wagon Queen Family Truckster’. Here it is with that same Lindsey Buckingham song for some accompaniment:

The Wagon Queen Family Truckster

Safety and utility were central to the Wagon Queen which sported four, full length, tail lights, two tailgate release handles, a ‘surface of the sun bright’ collection of eight headlamps and a fuel filler mounted on the front right fender. But that didn’t mean the Wagon Queen would be solely focused on safety. Tastefully appointed with a coat of ‘Metallic Pea’ paint and thoroughly festooned with faux wood paneling, which uniquely also covered the hood, thus allowing the occupants to drink in its splendor.

The other vehicle in the beginning of the video is a real station wagon called the AMC Hornet. Just one of the many creations from the ‘Kenosha House of Horrors’ which went so far as to offer the Hornet Station Wagon SST in a Gucci version. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig. This apparently was created to sooth the occupants with a stylish Italian interior, which would offset the humiliation of owning an AMC Hornet. And who was responsible for allowing a Gucci designed station wagon to see the light of day? Here’s a hint: His son is running for president.

Zarathustra said...

Excellent again Farflung, 53 Chieftain! Now the smashed grille in the 9th photo? mid 1930's?

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Farflung... I have to ask:

Are you telling me, that the "family truckster" station wagon, which the "Griswald's" drove to "Wallyworld" in the famous "Vacation" movie, is actually a real car???

I mean... really??? LOLOL

I always assumed that station wagon was just a mock-up vehicle, that the producers made specifically for the movie... just to get a few laughs.

Are you saying that the "family" truckster" actually exists... and was actually marketed at some point??
Dayum... Chevy Chase's vehicle had TWO full sets of headlights in the front.

Naah... it can't be.


LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Seriously... Farflung has to be just joking... or, I misunderstood him.


Farflung said:
"The other vehicle in the beginning of the video is a real station wagon called the AMC Hornet".

OK... it seems he was just joking.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

My Bad...

Farflung said...

Good eye Zarathustra on the smashed grill (assume 11th (?) photo now).

This took a little longer to figure out and I may be dead wrong. The broad ‘apron’ between the large front fenders narrows things a bit (Cord, Studebaker, etc.), but that emblem slightly obscured behind the ‘LSB3’ watermark looks like the art deco inspired Dodge Brothers logo from the late 30”s. The ‘pinched nose’ look began around 1933 (‘little deuce coup’ had the flat front radiator) and was largely designed away by the start of WWII. Here’s my best guess at what the smashed grill on Barker’s Ranch was in happier times:

1938 Dodge Coupe

It takes a bit of imagination to see the similarities and a big leap of faith, but what say folks?

By the way LynyrdSkynyrdBand, I was totally joking about the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, but it was the ultimate lampoon of the American love affair with the station wagon.

katie8753 said...

Farflung, do you think that 1933 Gas Refrigerator you found is the one that was at Barker's when the family lived there? I've seen pics of the kitchen and the refrigerator in those pics looks different. It seems more rounded at the top.

Maybe a 50's-ish Hotpoint? Have you seen that pic?

Farflung said...


I have not seen that photo, but here’s my ‘guess’.

Any gas appliance has the advantage of being useful at a remote location like Barker’s. Looking at the photos of the dump, I didn’t see any kerosene (white gas/ Coleman fuel) cans which could have been used also. This leaves natural gas and propane as possibilities since a person typically keeps the bottles to refill and use for any number of appliances and tools. Look at how many vehicles were abandoned in favor of driving them out to sell.

So I would think that any gas refrigerator would work fine and would imagine that a later model would have been in use by the 60’s. A major strong point of the gas fridge is how simple they are; therefore reliable and long lasting. Using electric has a few disadvantages in complexity and noise (generator) along with the failure of the generator causing all the downstream appliances to fail as well.

I would consider the artifact in the dump as a good indicator of what was likely used later (gas). I was struck by the absence of light switches, electrical outlets and conduit in the ranch house. We are so accustomed to them in modern life that they have become a sort of mental Escher drawing where our brains don’t recognize the difference. So if the Family did have a generator, they would need to string electrical line to power whatever device they needed. A gas stove, fridge along with the classic camping lantern would supply more than enough lighting and be much cheaper, simpler and quieter than having some vintage generator knocking away day and night. Again, this is just a guess.

katie8753 said...

Thanks Farflung. I agree with you, I think that life at Barker's was extremely simplistic. I can't imagine them having any modern convenience. Much like life back in the 1800's I would imagine. The only appliances that I've seen are a stove and refrigerator. The stove may have been wood burning, I don't know.

leary7 said...

holy crap, Lynn, you got me. What a brain fart. And I've been to a dozen North Stars games in Dallas. I blame old age, mixing meds, blueballs and the rest of my ailments real and imagined on such a moronic gaffe.
Yes, the Wild are my new team.

Kimchi said...

Here's a little trivia for you...the Family traded Juanita's van to a Hancock gas station located on the outskirts of Las Vegas near the Hacienda casino hotel...they traded for a 4x4 - the mans name that owned the gas station was "Bill Nelson" - not the same infamous Bill Nelson...however, he happened to be my husband's uncle...how many degrees of separation is that?

katie8753 said...

Kimchi what did your husband's Uncle do with the van?

Kimchi said...

Katie - I wish I could tell ya... he died a long time ago before I got into this "thing"... Auntie is still alive but is whacked... have to ask the cousins, they were all there..LOL...husband worked at that gas station from 65-68...every 115 degree summer...

Kimchi said...

"Uncle Bill" was a crook in his own right...he had the last gas station going out of Vegas and people would trade him stuff for gas...husband got a pellet pistol just like the one in the picture of the Spahn raid, but he got it in 1967 so it couldn't have been related..

katie8753 said...

Wow Kimchi. Did your husband ever meet any of the family that he can think of back when he worked at that station?

Maybe Charlene Cafritz???

Kimchi said...

He was a teenager then... he said nothing stands out...he doesn't remember any hippies coming in there...just a lot of bugs...he remembers a guy with a souped up GTO that used to take him back to Orange County and the guy talked about going to Tiajuana and screwing girls... OMG - the 60's...

Kimchi said...

My sister graduated in 1967 and worked in West Hollywood for an attorney in 68-69... she had an encounter with the Family...she picked them up hitch-hiking..not by intention I should add...

katie8753 said...

Kimchi I remember you saying that you went with your sister to the Justice Center and you saw the girls on the sidewalk....is that right?

In California you had Tijuana...in Texas we have Juarez. Right outside El Paso. It's the same thing.

I actually went to Juarez back in 1972. It was sooooo gross. I think that's why I hate the Manson digs so much.

In Juarez, back then, when you crossed the bridge, you were bombarded by little boys trying to sell their sisters for sex. Or sell cigarettes for 10 cents/pack.

The restrooms were filthy and awful. In the men's room there was just a trough to pee in. In the women's room, there was blood and spit everywhere. It was soooo gross!!! I spent one evening there and never went back. Yaaahhhh...

Cuntry Trash said...

There have been cars in the area since the early prospecting days. All of the mining camps in the area have their ow collection of cars. A lot of these cars pre-date Manson... some are from him, of course... but some are also post-Manson.

Cuntry Trash said...

also, here is a link to that yellow jeep when it was in use. Apparently, these guys in the photo took the jeep from the Mansons... the jeep had part of a Corvair welded to the top of it. The tail end that was cut off of this Corvair is in that junk heap- I saw it. The Jeep is there now, too. The jeep still has marks where the Corvair was welded to it. Cool, huh?