Every now and then, it’s nice to spot a few cars that have been left to the elements. Don’t get the wrong idea, though, a congregation of rust buckets isn’t our thing, but a few aged antiques are something to stop and look at every once in a while. Some enthusiasts enjoy these cars for their long, mysterious histories while others enjoy collecting just the right pieces to use as décor in their yards. Even if you don’t fit into either category, there is still something about a lonely car that piques every gearhead’s intrigue.
In fact, some people leisurely poke around old junkyards for the adventure of it and nothing more. If you’re into junkyard explorations, then New York is full of hidden treats that may satisfy the curious car enthusiasts’ desires. Actually, New York could have easily been considered one large junkyard, itself (at least in the city), because of the excessive amount of unregulated dumping of damaged automobiles and parts. However, after years of cracking down, there’s only a fraction of what once lied around the city.
The vast majority of illegal dumping happened around the Bronx, in and around Queens, and on a few beaches, but we can’t leave Brooklyn entirely out of the equation. Every borough has a little bit of its own trash to be seen. Though, some of it can seem more like treasure to the knowing collector or enthusiast. No matter how well you know cars or New York, there’s always a hint of wonder that passes through everyone’s mind when they’re lucky enough to stumble upon a (seemingly) randomly abandoned car.
25 1947 Oldsmobile
The local government really beat around the bush about disposing of abandoned vehicles, as is clearly evidenced by this surreal photo. After a number of complaints—and a lot of legal debacles—the State of New York really began cracking down on illegal dumping like this. However, in the case of a historical landmark such as this one, it’s clear that some passersby didn’t seem to mind its permanent resting place, probably because this isn’t just any old car, it’s a 1947 Oldsmobile. Which isn’t exactly the most impressive antique car, but it’s a neat ride that no one really seemed to mind looking at (for a while, anyway).
24 1959 Ford Galaxie
This antique had almost completely concealed itself from the rest of New York’s streets. Luckily, a photographer snapped a photo of it before this retired Ford Galaxie had seen its last days at the auto body shop. With no tires or rims, and even most of the undercarriage giving itself up to rust, the Galaxie has certainly seen better days. But, (rusted or not) there’s always something enchanting about an old Ford—especially a 50s model—that just makes it a photo-worthy car. It’s comforting to assume that the Galaxie will be repaired at the auto shop, but seeing as how the rust damage is severely extensive, it’s safe to say that this car is probably a lost cause.
23 90s Toyota
Some old, abandoned cars become one with the landscape or community. Others are more of a nuisance than anything, and that pretty much sums up the story of this Toyota (in a much nicer way). This 90s throwback is an obvious victim of abuse. It has a good amount of amateur graffiti all over it (most of which isn’t visible from this angle) and loads of trash shoved inside of the cab, including a number of crutches and other random objects. As odd as they may seem, there must be far more disgusting treasures hidden beneath the heaping pile of trash because residents complained about the car to local authorities—excessively so, until the car was finally towed away.
22 70s Buick
Nothing is quite as satisfying as a photo of an old Buick in a somewhat deserted parking lot. It’s more comical than it is creepy because the personality (or stigma) of a Buick is a bit quirky. But it’s an excellent photograph in its own right, the Buick just reminding us of why we’re glad that automobile design has evolved into what it is today. The boxy frame and bulbous leather seats paired with the frumpy wheels isn’t any way to attract newbies to the classic car scene. It’s easy to understand why this Buick looks lonely; it’s sad and ugly.
21 70s Chevrolet Impala
Without even trying, the 70s Impala always finds a way into the heart of any true Chevy fanatic. Though this particular model needs a serious wash, the old school body is both pleasing and distasteful at the same time. There are a lot of things to love and hate about this car, beginning with the wheels (hate) and including the sleek shape (love). It may not be a perfect ten, but this old Impala gives off a fairly unsettling vibe that piques your interest, especially in the artificial lights of New York. Who wouldn’t want to take a ride in this old classic on an empty street in the city that never sleeps?
20 80s Mercedes-Benz
An old sedan isn’t so bad to look at; some people even enjoy a rusted vehicle as a lawn ornament. But this 80s model Mercedes-Benz acquired a lot of fungi, and that takes the fun out of antique yard décor. It seems like the Mercedes sedan was dumped off at the end of a street and left to accumulate as much algae as possible, but it doesn’t seem to make sense since the car looks to be in decent condition. Either the owner didn’t have the willpower to save up money and fix the car and just left it where it lied or it could have been a stolen vehicle that someone attempted to hide or dump in a relatively remote area.
19 Abandoned Car Lot In The Bronx
During the 1970s and 80s, the Bronx had a serious problem with littering, and that applied even more to old automobiles. Residents left their old vehicles everywhere, and this is just a single snapshot of the aftermath. Clearly, this old lot was in terrible condition, but the situation was even worse in other less-fortunate locations. The old cars look as if they’ve had a lot of practice with decay; the body that’s upside down doesn’t even have wheels and has entire parts that are rusted away. A whole engine has been removed from the car next to it. Clearly, people were emptying these cars of everything valuable and then leaving the city to clean up their mess.
18 Pugsley Creek Wagon
Pugsley Creek has been a victim of excessive pollution. It is situated in the Bronx, which is a pretty unfortunate location if you’re concerned about litter. However, Pugsley Creek has taken on even more damage than many of the other waterways in New York. The water has even become murky and clouded from the extensive amount of cars and other trash that has been carelessly tossed in. The wagon above is just another casualty to the creek. Even after decades of pollution laws have been put in place, huge hunks of trash like this still plague the Bronx community. It does make you wonder how a wagon like this ended up in Pugsley Creek in the first place.
17 Plymouth Belvedere In Upstate NY Graveyard
There are some antiques that we look at as pure pieces of art, and though the Belvedere wasn’t necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing car, it’s one of those bulbous cars that are hard to resist as a modern enthusiast. The extensive rust damage is utterly disappointing, to say the least. Even if this Plymouth hadn’t made its way to an antique graveyard, it wouldn’t be salvageable anyway. At the same time, that hardcore aging really piques your interest about this car’s history. Did it survive several owners? Or did someone simply let it go after years of ownership? Every lonely car has a story, but this one reaches out and captures your attention.
16 Ford Bronco
We’re going to go ahead and assume that this truck was left to rot for a really good reason because it’s incredibly hard to believe that anyone would leave behind their old Bronco like this. They’re still a popular antique that you can see riding today’s roads; there’s even a high demand for Bronco parts. On the other hand, Ford hadn’t exactly built engines that were gas efficient during the reign of the Bronco, so it’s possible that someone left it here out of economic necessity. But letting your antique deteriorate this far (just because you can’t bear to part with it) is just cruel.
15 Abandoned Dodge in Seneca Lake
Ancient and decrepit farmhouses may be the perfect settings for a scary movie, but they’re also the perfect place to discover hidden antiques. With over fifty years of age beneath this dirty Dodge’s belt, this old car is in fairly good condition. The shade of the trees obviously played a major role in preserving the body of this 40s beauty because its body has very little damage compared to other cars that were found on the same piece of property. If you can imagine the same car in mint condition, the cracked glass and disheveled appearance are hard to look at.
14 Abandoned Car In New York City
From the looks of it, this 1970s two-door looks like it suffered a lot of abuse before it was finally abandoned in a parking lot in New York City. Not only has the paint been severely scuffed in multiple areas of the car, but it has several different colors rubbed onto the body which would lead anyone to believe that it’s had quite a few brushes with other vehicles. That, along with the mismatch panels, drags this car down from shabby to trash in a hot second. The rusted rim and flat tires were a sign of the car’s last limb.
13 Lost Chrysler in Lake Seneca
It’s hard to feel empathetic when you look at the withered remains of this old Chrysler. Even if it’s been beaten by the elements, the antique has found itself in one of the most astounding resting places. Along with a number of other cars on a Seneca Lake property, the Chrysler hid itself from society’s eyes and the result is pretty cool. Even if it is a rough throwback, this decades-old relic is picturesque in its own right. Some say that beauty comes with age and, while we would love to see it fully restored, this antique projects wear,—and years of abuse, as well.
12 Trolley Street Cars In Brooklyn
Of anywhere in the US, New York City is one of the best-known places for its extensive trolley system, some of which is now defunct but still remains as a token of what once was in the quirky borough of Brooklyn. The streetcar isn’t just an iconic piece of history for the Big Apple, but the same goes for just about any urbanized area in the US. It’s not exactly a car but we couldn’t help but bring this cutesy antique into the mix. The trolley offers a slightly better experience than a public bus but is still a necessity for many people traveling throughout the city without a personal vehicle. It’s surprising, to say the least, that there are even old streetcars like this one remaining in Brooklyn that haven’t hit the scrap yard yet.
11 Snow-Covered Sedan
For obvious reasons, it’s challenging to identify precisely what vehicle is disguised beneath the powdery snow—although betting money would probably peg it as a Lincoln Continental. Carelessness has certainly been the pitfall of this car’s existence, if it wasn’t obvious by several inches of snow crowding around the edges of the car. The idea of all of that snow reaching into all of the working parts beneath the hood and under the car is worthy of enough cringing to last a lifetime. A car in this age range should definitely be garage-kept to avoid any further damage, but we can only assume that it’s already been abandoned. Otherwise, the way that the current owner is caring for the car will certainly lead to a quick demise.
10 Nissan In Demolished Queens Neighborhood
With more and more growth comes the need for increased space. And New York City doesn’t have much of that to go around. Despite the public disapproval, several colorful neighborhoods of Queens were completely demolished and this is all that is left of the community. This sad-looking Nissan has been completely stripped, either by thieves or time. Now, it’s just a lonely Altima with nothing more than a few parts to show for its short life. It’s safe to assume that the car was probably totaled before it was completely abandoned. If not, then someone missed out on a great opportunity to restore a used vehicle before it was in complete shambles.
9 Dodge Dart Stuck In Lower Hudson Valley
It’s never a good idea to venture outside when the weather is not permitting, especially if that means you’ll have to sacrifice your car. Ignoring all warnings, countless drivers took their cars out onto the snowy roads, inevitably becoming stuck and never actually making it to their desired destinations. This led to a mass towing spree in the lower Hudson Valley roadway. Dozens of cars were towed away in order for the snow plows to clear the blocked-up road. Unfortunately, many of the owners weren’t able to move their cars even if they were notified prior to being towed. Like the Dodge Dart owner quickly figured out, snow may seem soft but it can cause extensive damage to a car.
8 Illegally Abandoned Taxis In Queens
Although they're not posing a real threat to society, 100 taxis are certainly a sight for sore eyes. The huge collection of taxis supposedly belongs to the man known as the ‘Taxi King’ aka Gene Friedman, but there has not been anyone who’s come forward to pay any of the fines related to the taxis. Although they’re taking up space in a closed gas station, countless residents have complained about them, which has brought the taxis to the attention of local authorities, who have charged a $5,000 fine. We’re not sure that the City of New York will ever see that money without a fight, though. Regardless, the excess of abandoned yellow vehicles goes to show that taxis are a dying breed in the modern day.
7 Car Found In The Jumping Jack Power Plant
The industrial history of the Brooklyn borough is crumbling right before the eyes of locals. But if you happen to venture inside of the eerily dilapidated building, then you might spot some unique finds, like this car for instance. It’s pretty peculiar to find a car inside of an abandoned building, especially since it had nothing to do with cars. No one knows for sure, but it’s believed that the Jumping Jack was either a power plant or pump house that ceased operations in the 1960s (based on archaic papers found inside). Now, there’s an old car that clearly came years after its closing, possibly as a joke. And it’s just a monument of graffiti along with the rest of the walls of the Jumping Jack Power Plant.
6 Abandoned Cars In Hurricane Sandy Aftermath
As much of the US has learned in the past few years, hurricanes can leave devastating consequences for any and everything that’s in their path. And Hurricane Sandy was one of the most notable of these because it brought along a number of unprecedented storm surges and flooding that ruined the areas affected. These unfortunate cars were abandoned in Long Beach, NY, which was clearly one of the affected regions of the state. From afar, the damage doesn’t seem so severe. Not until you realize that these cars are partially buried in sand that had been moved from the beach. The abandoned cars don’t only give off a twinge of melancholy, but the surrounding Long Beach community is even more gloomy.
5 Buses At Outerbridge Crossing
Despite popular belief, Outerbridge isn’t named for the fact that it’s the outermost bridge in New York City—although that’s a convenient way of remembering it—but is actually named after the first chairman of the Port Authority, Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge. Now, Outerbridge marks itself as one of the most well-known boat graveyards and salvage yard. It may have lost some of its original shine, but it’s one of the most interesting places to see if you have a love for all things vehicle-related. These old buses, for instance, date back to the 1940s or 50s and are in relatively good condition considering that they’ve spent a number of decades rotting away.
4 Willets Point Junkyard
For decades, Willets Point was known for its dirty collection of all things automobile related. There was once a vibrant neighborhood littered with old clunkers, which injected the area with an economy reliant on autos. However, ever since the demolition of the Willets Point community ensued, scrapyards like this one have had a rough time making ends meet. With fewer people commuting throughout the neighborhood, there are fewer people who happen to drive by these yards which, in turn, has left many barren vehicles to decay even further than before. Eventually, the entire Iron Triangle may be nothing more than a memory of a once-thriving junker haven.
3 Abandoned Wagon At Breezy Point, Queens
Before dumping was controlled with severe consequences, there were quite a bit of automobile remains abandoned throughout the Bronx and Queens. In fact, it even began to define the image of New York City. This heavily buried wagon struggled through years of decay before it was nearly concealed by the sand. A beachcomber snapped a photo of its remains in 1973, prior to New York City’s clean-up operation. It’s hard to believe that anyone would leave their car on a public beach, but the occurrence was so common in the 70s that it reinforced perpetrators nerve. Why would anyone go through the hassle of disposing of their own vehicle if they could just leave it at Breezy Point?
2 Corvette Graveyard In Upstate New York
Just about anyone would probably accept a free Corvette if the offer was on the table. And yet there are devastating circumstances like these when owners are too greedy to maintain their cars. Instead of giving these ‘Vettes away to longing enthusiasts, someone managed to collect a hulking amount of the famed sports cars, only to let them all rot away. Apparently, the cars have been sitting in the field since shortly after they were new and have lived the duration of their existences battling nature for space in the lot. The story behind their arrival is unknown, but many drivers passing by the field have wondered about the Corvettes, only to watch old age capture them.
1 Highway Department Truck
Highway Department trucks are a thing of the past, and this one in is a particularly rare sight, even for an enthusiast. It was discovered in a remote area of western New York, although the exact location hasn’t been disclosed. Regardless, this is a unique truck. Antique Highway Department vehicles are few and far between, especially ones that date back over 50 years (like this particular find). It’s not just an unusual truck to stumble across in the woods, but it’s also a weighty reminder of a simpler time; before the interstates ruled our roadways, when highway departments were in their early phases.
Sources: Flickr, Tumblr, and Imgur.