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Lost and Forgotten: 7 Old Car Photos from Around the West

There was a time when I fell in love with literally every Swiss woman I met.

In March of 1995 I was in Nice, France. The momentary Swiss-love-of-my-life was a lover of classic cars and classic car pictures. She even had a book.  In exchange for accompanying her to a gallery full of old car photos she agreed to climb up and over Mt Boron to Fort de Mont Alban and down into Villefranche-sur-Mer with me.

The old town was full of drunk American sailors looking for a fight so we hitched a ride wherever we could go and ended up at Passable on the way to St. Jean Cap Ferrat.

Near the beach we climbed a rusted gate into an overgrown garden dominated by tumble-down walls and bright flowers and I must have said something like “magnificent” because she said “I notice you like rustic things.”

And then she saw the car.

You know, I’m not a car guy.  When people ask “what type of car was it?”  My answer is usually “a green one” or “a blue one” or … anyway, I dont know a Ferrari from a Lada.

She liked the old car. She loved the car.  She knew everything about it and droned on about this make and that model. It was sitting among vines and spindly trees and it was a rusted hulk and flowers grew out of dirt that had blown into the open engine cavity. There were no tires. No seats. The hood was gone.

“Wow,” she said. And there we stood, looking at the car and both wishing we had brought cameras instead of cheap bottles of wine and stinky cheeses.

The seven photographers below came a bit more prepared.


Debra Hansen Schmidt

“The image of this old truck was taken In on Passcreek Pass in Colorado. It was my first time to Colorado, and I was just in awe of the beauty all around me through out the entire state. While traveling from one end of the state to another we passed two old trucks being driven thru the mountains, this was one of the trucks. We later came back down the mountain and found this truck with a broken axle in the back and an old sign on the back saying (if this was a horse I would shoot it) I had to stop and take the picture.”

Find Debra’s fabulous work at Schmidt Photography.

Steve Collins

“This old bus reached the end of the line but still has some use left. It looks like rust is the only thing holding it together. I found it on private property while exploring the Glorieta Civil War Battlefield near Pecos, NM.”

Steve and his lovely wife Billie are The Santa Fe Travelers. Check them out.

John Mata

“Grand Valley Fire Truck 926 sits among the elements just between the backside of San Diego Aerospace Museum at Gillespie Field and the Gillespie Field runway. Many of the old airplanes and artifacts on display at San Diego Aerospace Museum Gillespie Field have been either donated or are hand-me-downs from the San Diego Aerospace Museum at Balboa Park. This old Dodge fire truck I assume has never flown, and was probably donated. And, I suspect that most museum visitors don’t even give this old beauty a second look. Many people who I have shown this photograph insist that it was taken elsewhere in the states, like perhaps somewhere in the deep South, where old rusty trucks and photosynthesis are plenty. The truth is, I took this shot just between rainfalls during the winter months of Southern California.”

John introduced us to the photo editing program GIMP and guest-posted this awesome photo two months ago. Hear and see more from John at

January Sadler

Curiosity got the best of me one day and I took a drive down a dirt road located in the northwest Rio Rancho, New Mexico area. With intentions to take photos of the small canyon that I believed to be at the end, I came across this beauty all by its lonesome. There was another vehicle at the bottom of the canyon that was tossed over like piece of trash. This one seemed to have been given another fate and left for me to look through and photograph. With appreciation and a sense of reverence, I captured it forever; unchanged.

Sharing the planet one blink at a time, January Sadler is the owner/photographer of JDawnPhotos

Jim O’Donnell

“Much of my childhood was spent in the ghost-town mining camps of my native southern Colorado. There were dead vehicles scattered in the most bizarre places in those bare hills. Poverty Gulch was our stomping ground. When the claims ran dry just after the first war, they left the mules in the shafts to starve to death. When a car, purchased in better times, broke down on the side of the road and escape to Pueblo or Colorado Springs was stymied, they just left it. This old boy was rusting and rotting on a slope near the Mollie Kathleen Mine in the summer of 2011.”

You know where to find me……

Jim Cox


Jim O’Donnell: For Taos-based photographers and painters (not to mention many passing through) this old boy is a well-known gem.  Jim Cox shot this  truck on a late winters day behind the Overland Sheep Skin Company in El Prado, just a few miles north of Taos Plaza.  In the back ground some of the finest high altitude meadows in the southwest stretch out to the hills and mountains on Taos Pueblo land.

Jim Cox can be found at his art studio in Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico.

Marti Reed


“This wonderful old Chevy pickup truck near my house in Albuquerque must have a story, but I don’t know what it is.  I photographed it one evening a couple of years ago when I was practicing with the Nifty Fifty “Teaching Lens.” Periodically, as I pass it on my way to and from the Walmart near Highland High School, I think about going in to the A&A Sign Shop on whose land the old truck still sits. The shop has wonderful murals on the outside walls depicting the truck in various settings. So when Jim asked the other night if I had an old vehicle photo, I immediately thought of the Old Chevy pix, and shared this one. I went by the shop on Saturday to inquire about it, but, unfortunately, they’re not open on Saturdays and today is a holiday, so I don’t know the story.  But I bet it has one!”

Find Marti and her work over on Facebook.


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