W hile salvage yards continue to dwindle in number, there may be one that forever escapes the clutches of the crusher. This particular yard, located in the woods of Tennessee, is largely unknown. It hasn’t been in business for a long while, and time seems to have erased its whereabouts while the trees and thorny vines that have grown in the intervening years act as camouflage for the 700-plus vehicles slowly settling into the earth.
Old Cars Weekly reader and Tennessee resident Ivan Beaty submitted a box of photographs that he snapped of this yard time forgot. He isn’t willing to divulge the location of the yard, but just wanted to share its contents with other readers and explain about the vehicles he photographed (see photo captions). He also claims to know of other large collections of cars nestled in the woods of his home state, so Tennessee may well become the outdoor car museum capital for future generations of car enthusiasts.
Because Mr. Beaty is generous enough to share these images with other readers, Old Cars Weekly asks that his privacy be respected, and that he not be bothered with phone calls seeking the location of these cars.
These clusters of cars offer a great variety of the best of what the “Big Three” offered in the 1950s. Even after decades in the woods, the chrome on these cars is still vibrant.
Externally, this 1955 Buick Super sedan appears near complete, and brought to the yard many years ago after long years of dependable service.
Even the light beam from the spotlight mounted on the roof of this 1955 Chevrolet tanker would have a hard time penetrating the thick foliage that has grown over the truck.
Prior to the yard closing, this group of cars was piled up, awaiting the arrival of the crusher. Visible are a 1961 Ford sedan and a Studebaker, but in the pile in the background are many 1940s cars.
Like a closing vice, a pair of trees is squeezing this 1954 Pontiac Catalina hardtop enough to pop its hood off its hinges.
This 1940 Mercury sedan is painted olive drab, and may have seen some duty as a military staff car in World War II.
Tri-Chevys are numerous in the yard, including this pair of two-door sedans: a 1955 and ’56 with a tree growing through its engine bay.
This row of cars is fronted by a 1954 Mercury sedan that is missing a few pieces, including its hood. Note how the growth of the tree has sprung both the front trim piece and the driver’s door.
While many of Oldsmobile’s 1958 station wagons were Fiesta hardtops, the rarest model was actually the Dynamic 88 Fiesta “sedan” wagon with the centerpost or “B” pillar. This is 1 of only 3,249 produced.
This might have been the independent’s row with an early-1950s Kaiser in the foreground and the grille of a Henry J visible in the background.
This mid-1950s Studebaker two-door station wagon straddles a ditch, but appears to be sinking into the banks on each end. Not much left for usable parts other than the two-piece tailgate.
This vintage International step van has several points of entry for critters due to its missing grille and open doors.
Looking like an egg nestled in a bird’s nest, this 1953 Packard Clipper sedan will soon be overgrown in vines.
Ford did not produce many (10,575) of its Courier panel delivery model in 1953, and what’s left of this one appears to have become storage for dead leaves.
This ex-military 1941-’42 Chevrolet 1-1/2-ton truck retains its desirable engine bay panels embossed with the word “Chevrolet.” An undecipherable business name barely visible on the driver’s door means this truck saw life in the civilian work world after the war.
Well picked-over, this 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente hardtop remains solid body-wise.
Not sure if the 241-cid “Hemi” V-8 still exists in this 1954 Dodge Royal sedan, but the car remains in near complete condition.
The trees that have sprouted since the yard closed have shifted many of the vehicles and grown through others. In several cases, the trees act as nature’s jackstands, actually lifting vehicles off the ground.
One of the last cars to be brought to the yard before it closed was this 1965 Rambler Marlin fastback. The interior view shows dual gear shift levers, which Beaty challenges Old Cars Weekly readers to identify their purpose.