Name that Car-cass and bonus Ghost Town

I came across this picked over and crushed remainder of a car when we recently went on a family hike to the ghost town of Lille, Alberta. I believe I know what it is right down to the year but I would like to give others a chance to guess as well. My answer is at the bottom. In between are some additional photos and I will even toss in some bonus photos of the ghost town.

This view of the engine should provide a big hint on the potential make. Not sure why that door handle is sitting on top. The car is situated a couple kilometers away from the town site.

A door as well as the rear of the chassis.

A shot of the steering column.

And a parting shot of the whole car again. That front bumper is remarkably good condition given what the rest of it looks like.

After poking around the abandoned car we continued on to the ghost town site of Lille, Alberta. Located in the mountains of the Crowsnest Pass the town was originally called French Camp when established in 1902 but soon changed its name to Lille. Like many towns of the Crowsnest Pass area it was founded to exploit a coal seam nearby. Random bits of metal and a cleared meadow are the first signs that you have entered the town site.

Lille quickly grew to a population of 400 with many houses, stores, a hospital, post office and hotel. Unfortunately the winding rail line servicing the town with multiple water crossings proved expensive to operate. This combined with labor unrest, relatively low quality coal and an economic downturn in 1912 lead to the mine closure in 1913. While the town was abandoned the Lille town site became a popular destination to visit in the 1920s and 30s before the removal of almost all buildings as well as the rail line. Many of these buildings were re-purposed in surrounding area towns. From the main town site all that remains today are a few sunken areas of old cellars and the foundation for the hotel.

Today is Lille is most known for its Bernard Coke ovens, the only one of its kind ever used in Western Canada. Amazingly the oven was prefabricated in Belgium. Each individual brick was numbered so it could be assembled on site in Lille.


An example of a few of the numbered bricks. The assembly must have been a massive undertaking.

Inside the oven coal was heated to remove volatile organic compounds.

There were once fifty ovens but thoughtless vandals have reduced the structure over the years.

A pile of waste coal remains nearby. Off road vehicles were once allowed onsite but many still drive here despite ample signage.

We spot a few remaining fire hydrants standing guard at the town site as we leave.

Scroll down to see what I believe the car once was …
















A 1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe. Anyone disagree?