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Rusty Monday: Cars Rusted Beyond Recognition

Some of the challenges of Rusty Monday is identifying the remains of cars rusting away. But some are so far gone they are unrecognizable. Cars sitting in dry climates or higher altitudes survive in the elements a lot longer than those with a lot of rain and humidity. That, or what’s left has been above the waterline of a lake or stream. Whatever the circumstances the common theme is lots of rust. We have a selection of rusted cars and trucks that are so far gone they are beyond recognition. 

Resting in rust

We know this is a station wagon and that it is probably from 1957 with the single headlight bezel laying next to the front tire. Beyond that, we are stumped. The C-pillar trim with the two or three hash marks is a definite clue, but in going through images of the late-1950s wagons there is nothing even close. It doesn’t really matter because other than maybe a piece of trim or two there is nothing salvageable on this pile of rust.

This is a 1970s sedan that is just about gone. The taillights (or what’s left of them) should be a solid clue. But, we don’t see anything that comes close. This image could be from across the pond in which case we would need to look some more. We thought it could be a Plymouth/Dodge/Chrysler K-car. But, alas, it is not. We’ll keep looking.

None can destroy iron, but its own rust can

While open touring cars from the ‘teens and ‘twenties had their distinctive features, being this far gone erases virtually any identifying marks to give us a clue as to what it is. It’s not a Ford Model T. Beyond that it is anybody’s guess? The one remaining wheel rim, if it was from this car, indicates it is more from the ‘teens. That’s because it is so narrow. Even though it appears to be in dry desert climes this has probably been sitting for close to 100 years. 

Yes, we know this is a Volkswagen bug convertible. But that is because of the distinctive air-cooled engine. Sitting with a group of other vehicles in Maui, Hawaii, that climate will eat up cars fairly quickly. Salt in the air from being surrounded by water, combined with all of the rain and somewhat humid conditions are ripe for rust. There are some pieces worth scavenging, but mostly this is a goner.

We’re all rust or stardust

The remaining trim and headlight/grille tells us this is a 1956 Chevy Bel Air-but just barely. It has almost completely returned to the earth. The door looks short enough to make this either a four-door sedan or station wagon. It is getting eaten both at the top by foliage, and the bottom by the stream. Depending on when this image was shot it may already be completely gone.

Our best guess is that this is a shot of the rear of a 1949-54 Chevy sedan delivery top. The featureless sides and shape of the rear opening are the best clues to what it is. The other is the fading writing on the side, indicating a company affiliation. But virtually everything below the beltline is gone except for a small patch next to the front door.