Like a rusty traffic jam on a ghost highway, these cars of the past are going nowhere.
We spent two weeks in the summer of 2007, criss-crossing Colorado, admiring the deep Black Canyon of the Gunnison, photographing classic F7 locomotives in the Royal Gorge, visiting Mesa Verde, eating in local diners in small towns, roaming through National Parks and more. A hard drive crash that taught me never to have a picture in less than two or three places left us, ironically, with no pictures but a portfolio of dead cars in a field on US-341 north of Cortez.
I may have given my wife a near heart attack with my exclamation when I spotted the hundreds of car carcasses of every age scattered across the field. Despite that, she was willing to pull over and let me drool…I mean look at cars. From the fence I could see the ones I had driven, the ones I had seen and loved and even some that were complete strangers.
While I hung on the fence, leaning over to take pictures, the owners came along. I asked permission to wander inside—freely given—and asked how it had come about. The previous owner, it turns out, returned from World War II, with the idea that he would take in all the strays there were, and eventually make a fortune salvaging parts. As you can see…it didn’t work out. The new owners, only recently arrived, were planning to clear the field and return to farming and grazing…so this is probably no longer there to see.
The cars were roughly sorted by make, Dodge with Dodge, Pontiac with Pontiac and, yes, Packards with Packards. The field was full of exotics, such as the German Borgwards and a Goliath, as well as lesser-known and long-gone American makes such as Hudson, Nash and even a Willys. For your viewing pleasure, a small selection of an embarrassingly large album, and a slideshow below. If that's not enough, feel free to browse the whole album by clicking HERE.