Michigan salvage yard thrives on vintage snowmobile, motorcycle parts

Publish Date: 
Apr 5, 2013

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Take more than 7,000 dead snowmobiles, put them on more than 20 acres of land and what do you get? Snowmobile and Motorcycle Salvage, a business where builders can find rare parts, as long as they have the time.

In the early 1970s, Steven Tompkins’ father came up with the idea of starting the “graveyard” with a total of 90 acres. The property has dead units and parts for motorcycles, snowmobiles, lawn mowers and boat motors.

“You can walk out there any given day and stumble across something you never knew was there,” sales manager Dave Ryckman told Central Michigan Life. “Because I don’t think I have ever walked the same area twice out there.” And he’s been there 34 years.

Winter and early spring are the busiest times at the graveyard. “We originally started with just snowmobiles, but (we) had to have something during the summer when it became slow,” Tompkins said. “We included motorcycles so no one had to get another job when June came around.”

Some customers really start their projects from the ground up.“I had one guy come in here who only had a muffler of a motorcycle, and he said he wanted to build one from it,” Ryckman said. “I told him, ‘You’re starting from the wrong end, buddy.’”

Posted by Holly Wagner