Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Car hunting season begins: Dig into the woods for classic, abandoned cars – 1933 Ford, 1951 Victoria

Classic Fords don't grow on trees, however, you may be able to find some rusting automotive diamonds buried deep in the woods this fall. Cooler temperatures and falling leaves signal the beginning of car hunting season for adventurous gear heads who keep hiking boots beside their toolbox. I recently stumbled upon two iconic Fords, a 1933 Model B and a 1951 Victoria, during a trek through north Alabama.  

A 239-c.i. flathead V-8 powered this 1951 Victoria with Ford's first automatic transmission – the three-speed Ford-O-Matic. 

Flathead, overdrive and free?
  Who would believe me if I said the "owner" tried to give me these cars? My junkyardlife cohorts and I made a beeline for the nearest home to get the low-down on the stash of 
abandoned Fords and flathead parts. A manufactured home sat on top of a hill above the wooded "holler" that was home to the Fords. 
  The woman who answered the door and made it clear that we could "just haul 'em off for free." Is this really happening?

The 1951 Victoria was Ford's first two-door hardtop.

Hold on boss
We were giddy and diagramming strategies in our heads on how we could get the cars up the hill, through the trees and out of the woods. 
  Grab a winch! Lets get the trailer! Who can be here on Saturday? 
  All great questions to ask when free classic cars are hanging in the balance. There was one more question that had to be asked. A question that doomed us all.
  "Ma'am, do you own those cars?" 
  "Well, I rent the place," said the woman on the porch. "The cars have always been here."
  We shifted our feet in slow motion and hung our heads in defeat. We faced the reality of meeting the unhappy, absentee property owner who could have us arrested if we went along with this "deal."

A Magic Air heater box sit under the dash of this 1951 Ford Victoria.

Lessons learned
  We walked away empty-handed but learned some valuable lessons. 
  • Get the whole story. Ask the important questions.
  • Get a "Bill of Sale." 
  • Hiking in the woods can lead to unbelievable classic car finds.
  • Do not trespass. You may get into some hairy situations. Ask me how I know.

Stay tuned
  More to come on the 1933 Ford two-door sedan in the top photo. The Model B was a former round track car and it is loaded with parts inside the shell. I spotted at least one Flathead V-8 nearby too. 

Know of a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a barn find, car or junkyard?  Send emails to

Ford's post-war redesign in 1949, including the 1951 Victoria, was a dramatic change from the fat-fendered '48 and older models.

This mostly complete and original '51 Vicky reveals green upholstery hiding under the recovered red bench seat.

A few layers of paint cling to the door jamb of the '51 Ford Victoria.

The '51 Victoria displays 48,000 miles on the odometer.

"Shoebox" was first used to describe the redesigned 1949-1951 Fords. Chevy guys also call the '55-'57 "shoeboxes."

1951 Victoria's were adorned with loads of stainless trim.

The new 1951 Victoria featured a three-piece rear window.

You can find more old cars in the woods during the cold, winter months.

Know of a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a barn find, car or junkyard?  Send emails to


Adam Simpson said...

Oh it hurts to see that '51. I love those cars.

Anonymous said...

Wow..... Any luck talking to the owner??? I woul love to get my hands on that vic

Anonymous said...

If you would like to c more cars like this go to a little town called Peru New York its just out side Plattsburgh New York there's a junk yord the last time I was there 4 years ago had more old cars then I have ever seen the junk yard is called Rustick Auto its hard to find