Once they were proud automobiles faithfully serving their owners on a daily basis. Transporting them and their families in all comfort along the roads of the USA. Some got an overload of TLC, others had to perform their daily duty without regular maintenance or a drive thru the carwash. For years and many miles they wore out their tires on the cracked tarmac of the Highways and Interstates.

Maybe some of them start to rust and are no longer representative enough. Maybe the lack of regular maintenance has disabled their starting routines, clogged up the carburetors or worn out the piston rings. Or their owner simply got fed up with them and wants the latest model, although most Americans nowadays tend to hang on to their cars a little longer. Anyway, there is a time when the moment comes the first owner says goodbye and leaves the car to their second or even third owner. They’re pleased with it, until the technical issues or bodywork become too much. That’s when the end is nigh. The scrapper buys the car and takes it to a field behind his house or firm. For parts or with the intent to revive it one day.

During our travels on the local roads of rural America I stumble upon hidden, but sad treasures regularly. Like on the day I spotted a green MGA in a very deplorable state, which might be an understatement in this very case. Whilst taking pictures, the owner of the place appears outside. Apparently he used to run a restoration company that sadly got destroyed by fire. He takes me inside and confides that, although he used to restore them, he’s not really a car person. His main interest is woodwork, besides restoring a Woody he mainly builds guitars. Behind the house and in the barn we find the relics of his restoring history. A derelict Rolls Royce, an ancient Porsche. It’s all history. The future lies in wood and music.

Another day, driving somewhere in the Adirondack Mountains, I spot a rotted out Volvo 1800 ES in the corner of my eye. I hit the brakes immediately, knowing we have some time to kill. The rain that has been falling for hours stops when we park the rental car in the grass. The field behind the old Volvo reveals an abundance of mainly European cars in different states of disintegration. Time to enjoy the sight. Here, at what appears to be an old farm, we find no sign of life. Still a few cars look ok to the eye, some of the tools are clean, someone must be living here or at least work on the cars. To what purpose? Restore all of the cars on the premisses? We’ll never find out.

In the village of West-Rupert in Vermont we spot an old man between a pile of junk. Behind him, behind a few barns, we spot a few classic cars. We decide to stop and notice some kind of workshop. There even is a sign stating it’s an official inspection station. The sight of the whole place doesn’t give much confidence in their work. The place is an enormous junkyard, but you never know, maybe the guy is a wizard with his hands and gives the state of the place us the wrong idea. It does provide us with some great pictures and we immortalize the old geezer, who agrees to me taking a picture of him between the lawnmower engines he seems to be cleaning all day long.

Faded automotive history. Forgotten, neglected, a shocking image of America’s once renowned automotive heritage.
Robbert Moree