An Old Cars Weekly reader shared a tragic tale with us about a field of old cars heading to the crusher. The really sad part is that by the time you are done reading this, they already will have met their demise.
Story and photos by Gary Buehler
My good friend and neighbor Chip Stevens has teased me for years with stories of a horde of old cars in the woods. Chip is a well-known artist and knows that I like old cars and have owned several hot rods over the years, so he suggested that we look at the horde someday. No one was allowed on the property where the old cars were parked, but since Chip knew the owner, we would be given exclusive access.
Well, almost every time I saw Chip around our small hamlet of Pultneyville, N.Y., he’d say, “We have to get together to go to that junk yard to see those cars. Call me and we’ll set something up.” I’d always say, “Sounds good. I can go and look at cars and you can do a painting while we are there.” However, as the months flew by, we never seemed to get together to make the trip happen.
Recently, I saw Chip in the post office and once again he suggested that we look at the old cars. The day after our meeting, I called him and we settled on the following Monday to drive to the secret location.
Chip had a bit of a time remembering just where the cars were located, but a few twists and turns on back country roads just 20 miles from our homes took us to the wooded area where the cars were parked. It was early spring and all the weeds, vines and tree leaves were gone to reveal car upon car parked exactly where they had been placed 50 years ago.
Turning onto the side road to gain access to the woods, we noticed acres of cleared ground. We quickly realized this area had just been cleared of cars. Sitting in the middle of this open area was a bulldozer, front-end loader with chains and a huge crusher. It was obvious hundreds of cars had already been crushed, loaded and hauled away, leaving only a mountain of tires, broken glass and miscellaneous car parts in its wake.
Clearly, the only cars left for us to discover were those in the wettest part of the wooded area. The dozer and front-end loader had obviously tried to get to those cars, but had become bogged down in the clay-and-mud earth. The crushing operation would have to wait until the ground dried and the loader could carry the remaining cars and trucks to higher ground to feed the hulks into the crusher.
The accompanying photos show the few remaining cars left in this area. No doubt, the remains of all the other vehicles are on their way to China to be recycled into new cars or steel, only to be shipped back to North America as new bridge beams. By the time you read this, the woods will probably be totally cleared and not a trace of these grand old cars will be left.
After we finished looking around and Chip had completed his sketches for a painting, we drove another 20 miles to chat with the man who owned the cars and land. His father had stacked the cars in this area one cold winter during the 1950s, when there was a year of little snow and the ground was frozen hard. His father had died and the cars had sat there untouched since. He had his business up for sale and was selling as much iron and steel as possible, because, in his words, “the price was up, $200 a ton. I have to reduce inventory so someone can afford to buy this place.”
Can you imagine if these cars had been “discovered” and rescued years ago?
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