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SouthFirst Bank Adult Lecture Series: “Junkyards and the Automotive Past”


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Dr. David Lucsko will speak about the technological and cultural history of salvage yards at this week’s SouthFirst Bank Adult Lecture Series on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at the B.B. Comer Memorial Library.

Dr. David Lucsko admits to having been a “junkyard junkie” while growing up, confessing that since he was a five year old with a view from his bedroom window of the cranes and piles of cars at a salvage yard, these graveyards for cars have never been far from his mind.

Later as a college student, Lucsko’s studies at Georgia Tech and M.I.T. on the automotive aftermarket and the practices of reuse and repurposing led him to examine the love/hate relationship that Americans have long had with these graveyards for cars.

Some call junkyards “treasure troves” of obsolete car parts offering the opportunity for the rescue of vintage cars.  Others find them hazardous and offensive, dubbing them as “eye-sores” which are worthy of scorn and viable targets of regulatory action by beautification and environmental agencies at the state and federal levels.

In his talk, Lucsko will touch on a number of telling episodes from more than 100 years of salvage-yard history, highlighting the cultural and technological importance of these businesses. He challenges everyone to think more broadly about the material reality of automobile recycling.

David Lucsko, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Auburn University, authored The Business of Speed: The Hot Rod Industry in America, 1915-1990, examining how cars are salvaged, repurposed, and restored, as well as Junkyards, Gearheads and Rust: Salvaging the Automotive Past, looking at the history and technology of America’s car culture.

“You Must Remember This,” the SouthFirst Bank Adult Brown Bag Lecture Series, is supported by volunteers and the Hickory Street Café. Refreshments begin at 11:00 a.m., with the the program beginning at noon in the Harry I. Brown Auditorium. For information, call (256) 249-0961 or visit

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