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Reviving Vehicles: Annandale Junkyard Rescues Thousands for a Second Life

ANNANDALE, Minnesota — As the temperature rises, the anticipation of classic car enthusiasts grows, signaling the imminent arrival of the classic car season. If you’ve ever undertaken the restoration of a vintage vehicle, chances are you’ve made a pilgrimage to an auto salvage yard in Annandale.

Every summer, the renowned “Back to the 50s” car exhibition in Minnesota attracts throngs of visitors from various states like New York, Texas, and California. For many attendees, this event serves as a nostalgic detour down memory lane.

According to Randy Reinert, “People drive their beloved classics all the way to Minneapolis for the ‘Back to the 50s’ event, and then they make a stop here to spend the day.”

The site, once an expansive 88-acre pasture near Annandale, underwent a transformation decades ago when cars supplanted cows, giving rise to French Lake Auto Parts.


Tabitha Reinert expressed, “While junkyards may carry a negative connotation, we take pride in our collection. We don’t limit ourselves to specific eras; we cherish all things vintage.”

Remarkably, some vehicles present today have stood the test of time since Tabitha’s ancestors established the facility in 1956. Presently, enthusiasts spanning from baby boomers to younger generations sift through the vast inventory to locate elusive components essential for their restoration projects.


Randy mentioned, “Our inventory includes relics from the late 1920s onwards, catering to a wide range of classic car enthusiasts. We don’t focus solely on a particular make or model; our selection is diverse.”

With approximately 1,500 classic cars occupying the premises, the Reinerts have implemented a systematic approach to organization, assigning specific areas for different makes and models, ensuring a structured layout within the salvage yard.

“We have established designated pathways and grouped similar vehicles together, enabling us to locate specific cars efficiently,” Randy explained.

Witnessing the gratification of a collector finding the precise part they require after traveling a considerable distance is immensely rewarding for the Reinerts, whether it pertains to a Thunderbird, Mustang, Chevrolet, or Cadillac.

Randy gestured towards a ‘65 Buick Skylark convertible, stating, “As you can observe, various components such as seats, interior, engine, transmission, and hood have already been sold.”

While the times have evolved, the Reinerts have adapted accordingly. In addition to operating a scrap metal recycling facility, they remain steadfast in their commitment to preserving the classic cars, steering clear of scrapping any vintage vehicles. Their ethos revolves around honoring the essence of bygone eras.


Tabitha reflected, “It’s all about nostalgia. Cars serve as a gateway to cherished memories from the past. They evoke sentiments of days spent with loved ones, like Saturdays with my grandfather.”

Apart from their on-site operations, French Lake Auto Parts engages in the buying and selling of classic car parts through online platforms like eBay. The reputation of the Reinerts as custodians of vintage automobiles has spread through word of mouth, attracting collectors and vendors who trust in their commitment to preserving and restoring classic car components.

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