A new show on TLC (wednesday evenings at 9&10) in which two teams compete to engineer useful STUFF made only of parts they can find within a junkyard and within the span of a ten hour time period and without any prior knowledge of the challenge.

The show doesn't hand-pick the best of the best... there is an application process that is open to any team who wants to try.

The show is originally British, called Scrapheap Challenge on channel 4.

i am absolutely amazed by this show. the feats of engineering performed are spectacular. in the first junkyard war i saw two, teams were to build something that could hold a person and fly without an internal power source. the team whose "machine" flew the longest in 3 runs was declared the winner.

one team had a member who was a hobby hang glider, their natural choice was to build a simple hang glider. they found sturdy cloth, created a frame and joined the two.

the other team... i was sure they would fail. they found an airplane in their half of the junkyard and decided to build their machine using it's wings. no way, i thought. no way. it's to heavy. they still needed to add a human to the equation. no way would it fly. instead of putting the tail in the back, they built one in the front. on the wings they made styrofoam stabilizers which also served to steer. this was a great big hulking hunk of metal with a human in the middle of it. and it flew.

the teams were given the option of using a tow rope to give them speed, and both teams made use of it after their trial runs using human power resulted in neither plane getting off the ground at all, though the glider showed much more potential.

with the tow rope, the glider got fairly high, but it was unsteady and not properly balanced and only stayed in the air for a short time on each run, gliding nicely down.

the airplane. to my amazement actually got aloft. i didn't expect it to leave the ground. as soon as the tow rope was released, it had similar problems as the glider. weight and balance made the machine unsteady, and it too stayed in the air only a few seconds.

in the end, the glider won. each time the airplane hit the ground again it hit fairly hard and got a bit damaged. but i'm still amazed that the big hunk of scrap got off the ground.

this show is cool.
Ammendment, November 24, 2000

It's a Junkyard Wars MARATHON! Huzzah! And it's just as good the second time, even knowing who wins the challenges. It's just so cool what smart and creative people can do with JUNK. These are the minds that make Mad Max of Thunderdome post-apocalyptic people with planes and cars movies a real future possibility. This show makes me want to quit my job and go work with my hands so I have some basic skillset that would prove useful should the power someday go out.

A new season is starting soon, and preview clips are showing a submersible vehicle. How cool is that?

I cannot recommend this show enough. Excellent.