I just got back from a week on the coast just south of San Francisco. The Santa Cruz Mountains separate the populous “peninsula” from the coast, and were of course once covered in virgin redwoods. There’s still a few pockets of old-growth redwoods, and one day we took a 13 mile hike in Portola Valley State Park to a remote grove. Somewhat surprisingly, we also found a couple of “old growth” vehicles along the way, apparently pushed into a ravine from what was once a logging road. The first one is a Buick, from 1941, if I have it right. What’s a Buick coupe doing way back here?
Who knows? But passenger cars lived hard lives out in the woods, and Buicks were known to be tough cars. This one is a fastback “Sedanette”.
Here’s part of the reason: the legendary Buick OHV straight eight. Buick was a pioneer of the over head valve engine; in fact David Dunbar Buick held the patent for the OHV design, from his work with other engineers at the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in 1901 and 1902, a precursor to the Buick Motor Company. Needless to say, all Buicks used OHV engines (until recent years). In this case, it was the smaller of the two at the time, the 248 CID single-carb version rated at 115 hp.
Who knows how long it’s been sitting out here, watching the trees grow. The Bakelite steering wheel is totally gone; just the steel spokes are left.
There’s still some chrome hanging on to the lower parts of the bumper, which are a bit more protected than the upper.
The die-cast grille’s chrome is a bit more tenacious. It may well outlive much of the rest of the car. But then compared to the ancient trees nearby, this is a newbie in the woods.
Bet there’s a hell of a story behind how that car got there…and there’s no body in the trunk, given that there’s no trunklid.
The grille and two bumpers look salvageable with a little work. Some enterprising scavenger could yank them and easily sell them on ebay.
Ran when parked, easy restoration, 99% complete.
I find stuff like this all the time in my neck of the woods. Seems it was perfectly acceptable to dispose of one’s old vehicles (or any other junk) by just pushing it off the nearest cliff. My favourite such spot has about 50 old cars ranging from Model T era up to the 80’s. It’s always fun to figure out what they were and maybe snag a few emblems to add to the collection.
Oh my god Nelson get a camera and go get it for us. 🙂
Also this seems good material for a CC Fiction. Tell us how he got there.
Nelson,if I found that spot,I would be out there for a month with my toolbox!
If you do, save me a left rear frammus. They’re as scarce as hens’ teeth.
Come to think of it, I might be closer to it than you are! Only a hundred miles or so…
Dikes and fill areas used to be built with any available old worn out stuff with mass: railroad cars, locomotives, automobiles, any kind of heavy equipment and the number one item to be used is old ships. The Marina district in SF is built over the thousands of abandoned ships from the gold rush days, New York city has lots of land which was built over the bones of Vanderbilt’s old worn out ships. Every port in the US has the same scenario.
This was someone’s pride and joy in 1941. It would be great if that grille and a few other pieces could be salvaged to complete someone else’s pride and joy today.
Ashtrays to ashes, rust to dust.
I bet there’s still oil in the sump too. Bring fuel & battery.
A sad thing , as mentioned there used to be hundreds if not thousands of oldies quietly rusting deep in the woods .
Farmers often used vehicle hulks to shore up embankments against erosion , I too a city boy buddy of mine to the Mojave Desert where I knew there were many 1950’s cars used thusly , he went bonkers , grabbed his tools and spent hours taking shiny chrome and stainless steel trims and bits off them…
Sadly since then they’ve all been removed and neater shoring done .
When I canoed the New River in western NC back in the 90’s, there were multiple spots where flattened cars had been used as riprap years ago and had become part of the riverbank. Very unusual to be canoeing down the river and all of a sudden see rows of 50’s and 60’s grilles or trunklids appearing in the side of a cut bank.
It would probably be regarded as an environmental disaster nowadays, but considering how structural some of them were to the banks, wouldn’t surprise me if they’re still there.
I was going to comment on this same thing, except the location is the Snoqualmie Valley east of Seattle. The county has recently been removing these cars (not sure what they are doing instead to shore up the valley edge where the state highway runs).
I’ve come across my share of abandoned cars while out hiking in the boonies as well.
I love it when I encounter a dumped car in the woods. I get that eerie feeling when I approach one–will there be skeletal remains in the trunk or in the car itself? Thankfully I have never experience that, and hope not to.
I also ponder what its final moments were like. Did it wreck, or did its final owner just get tired of it? Or was it ditched by some lawless soul running from the law.
Regardless of its final journey, it’s still interesting nonetheless. If only the car could talk, there would be quite a story.
Maybe someone got a little too tuned up one night,and made a wrong turn? It looks as though somebody already “found” their self the trunk lid for the Buick they are restoring. The photographer probably called attention to someone’s hidden (until now) parts stash?
Any of you guys ever read the full story of those two sunken cars and their occupants found side by side in a lake in Oklahoma? Tragic and creepy.
The first one discovered was a ’69 Camaro carrying three teenagers, who vanished in 1970. The second was an early 1950’s Chevy carrying two men, that vanished sometime in the early 1960s. Both cars were found only yards apart.
The Niagara Escarpment was the dumping ground for old cars above the street where I grew up. The farmers on top would push their unwanted cars over the edge. I used to visit two of them on a regular basis to sit inside and work the steering wheel. The last time I went up there was at least ten years ago. I found one of them fairly quickly because it is only half gone now as it returns to the earth. The other one has completely come apart and flowed down hill with the rockslides and fallen trees. It would be near impossible to find now. Winter snow hangs around up there in the shade a lot longer than anywhere else and ground water flows from the rocks hastening their decay. They were both early 50’s Dodge for sure and maybe a Pontiac No way to tell now though. I should go and pay them a visit.
I bet the strait 8 in this Buick was running when they dumped it. Probably had Fred
Flintstone floors though wonder how many miles it had on it?
Even in the Bay Area, where many of these parks have had restrictions on vehicle access for decades, and/or “garbage” has been hauled out, one occasionally comes across these treasures. Among the newer cars, air-cooled Beetles seem particularly common; there’s one right off trail in Sanborn County Park not far from Portola. Another nearby Open Space area was famous for the 914 trail, now minus it’s eponymous landmark (photo from Internet).
‘Ya know, sometimes I feel more for dead cars than I do for dead people.