Alternative to "Salting" the Junkyard : LUSENET : Junkyard Wars : One Thread

It's clear that some "salting" of the junkyard has to occur to keep the show moving and to build interesting things (not everything can be found in a scrap heap). But, a number of challenges are so obvious that it hurts the fantasy that it's all junk. Some challanges simply presented the required item(s)and that was that. That produced, in my opinion, a better program.

For example: the steam engines and rocket motors were obvious plants. Looking for them in the yard served little purpose and distracted from the thrust of the show. A goog example of maintaining the show's thrust was the coffee-grinding windmill. The grinders were given to the teams, without a big production, and the show went on with the illusion of only real junk being gathered from the yard. The cannons were the same. The charges were given to the teams, and that was that. Compare this with the rocket engine easter egg hunt distraction. What if the teams had just been given the engines? They were simply given the altimeters. Why not hide those too and really botch things up?

The "Alternative" is simple. Give the teams items that would clearly have to be "salted." Items that could reasonably be found as scrape or junk can be "salted" if need be. If two different items are used to maintain the teams on two different paths (like two sizes of steam engines), flip a coin for who gets which one and then turn the teams loose.

-- Devin T. Ross (, February 02, 2001


That's a good idea, and would free up some valuable time for the rest of the show. The only drawback that I can see with this idea is that sometimes, the way is is now,the "critical" part may not turn up, forcing the team to work out an alternative solution. With the parts supplied straight out, would it tend to make the teams build around what is presented to them? I agree though, hunting obviously planted parts does make it a lot like an Easter egg hunt, and takes a lot of time that would be better spent building more exciting machines.

-- Waddy Thompson (, February 02, 2001.

I think Waddy is right. While providing teams with the "salt" items would save time and remove the weird delusion that we're finding everything we need in a scrap heap!, I think it would definitely create a sort of "creativity cap." Why try to think up Plan B if you have the parts for Plan A? It's the difference between "create a painting" and "paint by numbers."

Salting is slightly problematic, but I think that losing the creativity and mad-scientist aspect of the show would be far far worse. Just my .02.

-- Susan G (, February 02, 2001.

- "Salting is slightly problematic, but I think that losing the creativity and mad-scientist aspect of the show would be far far worse. Just my .02."

For sure. Now, being honest and up-front about salting with the viewers would probably be the best way of ensuring that the credibility of the show isn't jeopardized.

"Okay, because you're never gonna find new rocket engines in any junkyard *I've* ever been in, we planted these. We value the limbs of our contestants too much to let them try to build their own explosives."

Funny, to the point, and no credibily problem.

As for the salts, just scatter them, but not hidden too badly. One team is going to stumble down a given aisle before the other team; just like one team is gonna find the car with the good engine before the other one. Lawrence

-- Crazy Larry (, February 02, 2001.

Cathy stated on the rocket show that the engines were planted and that it would be to dangerous to build. I do think you have a good idea, just hand them the parts and stifle the creative edge others mentioned at working around the problems incurred by not finding exactly what you need lying on the bench.

-- b dudley (, February 02, 2001.

or, how about this... demand only things that can be built out of materials on hand, [like on the amphibious assault show]. i didn't see any thing there that was planted. by the way, that IS the most well stocked junkyard on the planet - i guess the economy in london is very strong (to see a bmw with a working engine lying around = or was that planted?)... love the show ! Am trying to amass a team !

-- GReg Reimer (, February 04, 2001.

There seems to be a fine line in "salting". Steam engines and rocket motors don't seem necessary to salt. If there are disparate items, like two sizes of rocket motors, then the teams should be presented with the items and told to sort out who gets what (which is what happened with the rocket motors anyway). Note that this will actually avoid the problem of influencing design decisions -- the team that envisions a design with a large rocket motor will choose that item.

On the other hand, motorcycles and v-8's seem more appropriate to salt. Of course, the expert will choose to proceed with the design she/he knows, as in the drag racing shows. BTW, isn't this choice of experts more influential than the availability of the parts?

All in all, my six year old son and I enjoy the shows immensely; he is planning a Junkyard Wars birthday party where the partygoers split into teams and build items out of Legos, K-nex, etc. His room will be the junkyard (naturally!).

BTW, miss the Brit in the Amaricanized versions of the show. Bring him back! And don't lose Cathy!

-- jdf (, February 04, 2001.

From what I have seen in the show, they only ''salt'' the yard with items relating to safety of stuff you just are not going to find in the yard, but the car engines and motorcycle engines and nice looking american cars would be found in a british junk yard owing to their very different motor vehicle laws and car inspection system. I asked someone else about the really nice american cars in t british junkyard a couple of months ago and was informed that when a US soldier takes a car over with him when he is station in the UK. he has 3 choices of what to do with it when he comes home, 1. ship it back to the US, 2. sell it to another soldier (can't sell it to a UK. citizen, no tariff or import tax was paid on it) 3. scrap it the european cars I have seen them get stuff off of were usually in bad shape

-- R.Eric Kahn (, February 04, 2001.

The creativity arguement is weak. Take the rockets. The two teams set out with two different ideas: one big engine, three small engines. Nothing, not finding the one big engine or matched small engines, was going to derail those original plans. The critical items were evently traded between teams in a hammy exchange. What creativity, of design, did all that produce? On the other hand, what kind of show do you have if one team doesn't even, pardon the pun, get off the ground. IF a critical item is needed, don't turn Junkyard Wars into an Easter Egg Hunt.

Regarding the working cars: I didn't even them a second thought. I'm from Pennsylvania and there's a very strict inspection of cars and trucks to pass every year. My old CJ-7 Jeep's body and frame had been largely replaced. But the Engine and Transmission worked without flaw for the many years I owned it. One sad day I crawled under it and found so much rust damage (4 of 5 leaf springs rusted though, no frame left on one side, etc.) that it was off to the junk yard. That Jeep ran perfect and would easily survive a day of Junkyard Wars. It would be a real find for a team. PA junk yards are filled with running cars and trucks.

-- Devin T. Ross (, February 05, 2001.

I agree with Devin. It worked fine with the coffee grinders and altimeters; do the same with the rocket motors and steam engines.

-- Eric (, February 05, 2001.

I agree with Mr. Ross. It detracts from the concept of the show when you have an easter egg hunt. I vote for giving necissary items outright as in coffee grinder, but more preferably having challenges which do not require special items that could not be found in a junkyard.

-- Martin Bizon (, February 05, 2001.

Personally, I think some of the episodes could be benefited by "salting." Give each team a projectile, and have them use available materials to create a means to chuck it the furthest (a piano would be nice, but no one would trust the results). But, keep those episodes to a minimum. The real strength of the show is the "salvage survival" aspect. And to be honest, the episodes where only real scrap is used are far more entertaining and educational (IMO).

-- Andrew Abney (, February 06, 2001.

On the rockets episode cathy said "we have hidden rocket engins for the teams to find."

-- me (, February 07, 2001.

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