Building FrankenSaturn

By Karen

My 10-year-old silver Saturn is aging gracefully, but the driver-side visor made itself an embarrassment by dry-rotting. It’s just cardboard covered with cloth, but I knew the Saturn dealer or a body shop would want a small fortune to replace it.

Then I read about a nearby salvage yard and got an idea. When I enlisted my father as my screwdriver man, he peed on my parade on our way to the yard, asking if I’d settle for a vinyl visor in a different color.

I knew what he was already thinking: Grab the first visor and run. “No, I’m not building FrankenSaturn,” I said. “Saturns exactly like mine are on the road everywhere.”

“Well, if they’re still on the road, you can’t have their visors.”


But this yard was organized. Their database gave us the exact row and position of 3 likely candidates but, boy, was I unprepared for what I saw.

When we stepped out into the yard in the blazing sun, it sprawled before us like that epic scene in Gone With The Wind where Scarlett picks her way through the wounded soldiers to fetch the doctor to deliver Melanie’s baby — but instead of soldiers, we saw wrecked vehicles. The only thing missing was the tattered Confederate flag.

All were stripped of tires (to prevent escape?) and sitting on rims, in various stages of disembowelment. You could tell which ones had been in horrific accidents. Their crushed roofs, shattered windshields, and crumpled bodies had probably made the news before being towed here. Airbags hung limp from many a steering wheel. I didn’t see any blood, but it wouldn’t have surprised me. It was a ghost hunter’s paradise, and you couldn’t get me there at night on a bet.

We took a good visor from a derelict maroon Saturn with a gray interior for $5. It fits perfectly in my car. I just hope its previous owner never stops by to check on it.


5 Responses to Building FrankenSaturn

  1. Joanaroo says:

    That reminds me of back in the day when on the hills behind my Uncle Ralph’s house and his mother’s house, (his father had died relatively young), a huge junkyard was there that was run by a wrecker company. All the major Downingtown-area wrecks went to Sanner’s Junkyard, with a horrible history of some violent accidents in the cars. Back then East Brandywine Township had an open pit trash dump too, but then people got wise to pollution and contaminated wells, and I believe both became Superfund sites. All the wrecks were removed off the hills and Sanner has a garage and body shop there now.

  2. Joanaroo says:

    Just a side note, in the township’s version of an urban legend, in elementary school, it was rumored that the ghost of a woman killed in one of the wrecks was going around looking for her head! I guess in order for a ghost to haunt a car, said car has to be inoperable. Unless the fast food 24/7 drive-thrus get alot of ghost traffic!

  3. MorganLF says:

    I once saw a car on the Parkway completely covered in multicolor squares of shag carpet. Inset on the door was a panel representing the Virgin Mary. Not a FrankenSaturn but a franken Chevy.

  4. Zappa says:

    Karen,you are a genius!

    Zappa’s mom

  5. catsworking says:

    Zappa’s mom, I have just become a bit more savvy when it comes to getting soaked on over-priced auto parts. My Saturn was rear-ended a few years ago by a woman on a cell phone while we were STOPPED at a red light. On the surface, the damage appeared minimal — until I found out the next day I couldn’t get the trunk open. Ended up having the whole back end of the car replaced to the tune of $2,500 (which insurance covered, thank goodness). But a Saturn is basically made of PLASTIC.

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