The sale of secondhand auto parts is a very lucrative business. According to Statista, revenue of used car parts wholesaling from 2008 to 2013 exceeded $3 billion each year in the United States alone.
However, the sale of reusable salvage from abandoned cars is only a small part of the auto recycling industry. About sixty-five percent of a junked car is composed of steel (the rest is made from other metals plus upholstery, rubber, and glass). Every year, fourteen million tons of steel are scrapped from vehicles.
Auto parts that are not salvaged or scrapped can be used for other purposes like creating art. Several international artists do just that.
Auto parts are first collected from junkyards, then sorted, cleaned, welded together, and then polished and lacquered. No parts are wasted. One artist says it takes about 400 hours (two to three months) to complete a large sculpture.
Many of these sculptures are, frankly, frightening. Thirty-foot high transformer replicas, metal alien creatures, and giant rubber gorillas are enough to scare even the most ardent fan of horror movies.
Here are twenty terrifying photos of sculptures created from car parts.
20 Gorilla Apocalypse
Welsh sculptor Luke Kite created the twelve-foot tall gorilla out of abandoned car parts to highlight the decline of the gorilla population and the motor industry's impact on the environment.
“Gorilla Apocalypse” is crafted entirely from scrap car bumpers, panels, and a few tubes and hoses found over the past several years. The British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire, hopes the gorilla will act as a point of focus to educate young people about environmental issues.
19 The Last Emoji Sculpture
Although the demented smiley face with its punctured tires for eyes and red car seat for a tongue is hideous, the Emoji sculpture is more terrifying for what it represents than its appearance.
The sign next to the imposing yellow sculpture in downtown Miami reads, "Texting & driving is no laughing matter." Only recently (July 2019) a law passed in Florida, making it illegal to text on a smartphone while driving.
18 What Keeps this Sculpture from Falling?
It’s not a giant transformer or a ferocious beast, but this sculpture constructed from cars is just as terrifying.
Although the supporting pole that passes through the center of each car is visible, the precarious position of the stacked cars makes the observer believe the entire pile could come tumbling down on a moment’s notice.
17 Ferocious Lion Made from Old Tires
This ferocious lion made entirely of old tires is fascinating to look at in the bright sunlight. However, few people would enjoy an encounter at night. The tire rubber is so dark, only the monster’s silhouette would be seen. Fortunately, the sculpture is not robotic. A moving monster would scare the daylights out of anyone.
16 Red Cow Sculpture from Car Pieces on Grass
This sculpture appears to be a pile of auto body pieces rising from the grass and taking the shape of a red cow. The artist has successfully created the sensation of motion with a static object.
Passing by, one wonders if the mechanical cow will find its legs and begin to chase any gawkers.
15 The Precarious Semi-Truck Sculpture
Made from two semi-truck tractors, this precarious sculpture strikes fear in the heart of any casual passer-by. A slight breeze or the vibration from a passing truck, and this artwork will come tumbling down.
A plaque has been placed near the grill describing the artist’s process for creating the masterpiece. However, no one with any common sense would stand under the statue to read it.
14 “Jaws” Sculpture Made from Old Tires
Although it’s no great white shark, the open mouth and menacing teeth make this “Jaws” just as terrifying as the original in the movie of the same name. The suspended sculpture gives it the feeling of swimming in ocean waters.
Korean artist Yong Ho Ji collects old tires and uses them to create extraordinary sculptures of various creatures, including human/animal hybrids, lions, and sharks.
13 Gorilla Monster by Tom Samui
Based in Switzerland, Tom Samui has made hundreds of custom sculptures out of recycled car and motorcycle parts. A close inspection of his work reveals the details and the quality of his work.
This huge gorilla dwarfs the woman leaning against it. The torso, arms, and legs look remarkably smooth, considering they are made of a variety of differently shaped car parts.
The original Megatron is the warlord and leader of the Decepticons, a fictional faction of self-configuring integrated alien robotic lifeforms from the planet Cybertron. The transformer can change into a Cybertronian race car similar to a jet fighter and the Batmobile.
This sculpture version of Megatron has no transformer properties, but many of the components are recognizable auto parts.
11 Optimus Prime, Leader of the Autobots
The main character (if a robot can be called a character) of the movie Transformers, Optimus Prime, is the leader of Team Prime as well as the leader of the Autobots during the war on Cybertron.
While Optimus Prime is a “good guy,” anyone would be frightened by this towering Autobot sculpture. The giant figure is so tall, the artist needed to construct scaffolding to reach the upper torso, head, and shoulders.
In the film Bumblebee, the star and fictional robot superhero, B-127, arrives on Earth, where he first disguises himself as a Volkswagen Beetle and later a Chevy Camaro.
Perhaps this young woman doesn’t have any fear of the fifteen-foot-high transformer replica because she has seen the film and is sure it will do her no harm. More likely, she knows the artist who built this one.
9 Life-Size Recycled Metal Monster
Based on the 1979 film, Alien, this life-sized recycled metal monster is terrifying to anyone who has never seen the movie. To those who remember the scene when the embryonic xenomorph alien bursts out of Kane's chest (played by John Hurt), this sculpture may cause nightmares for a month.
Nevertheless, the refined craftsmanship used to build the monster from used auto parts deserves admiration.
8 Menacing Faces of a Metal Two-Seater
While most terrifying car sculptures are made by assembling old vehicle parts, this entire two-seater sports car was converted into a sculpture. Small rectangular-shaped metal plates cover the entire car body, and three menacing faces were formed on the front end. Two of them resemble gargoyles while the other a toothless monster.
No doubt, this scary sculpture no longer moves, but if it were street legal, no one would enjoy seeing it in the rear-view mirror.
7 Dieselpunk Recycled Metal Brave Giant Robot
This Dieselpunk Giant Robot sculpture lacks transformer properties, but it can be separated into five pieces – head, upper body, lower body, left and right arms (perhaps for shipping), and easily reassembled.
One of the coolest features of this robot sculpture is the use of numerous gears. They give the stationary art form the illusion of motion.
6 Immense Cow Sculptures from Recycled Cars
Finnish sculptor Miina Akkijyrkka designs immense colorful and expressive cow sculptures by assembling massive scrap metal car parts. Her art helps raise awareness about sustainable issues.
The cow’s torso made from a van body complete with the front windshield gives the statue a robotic feel. An observer could easily be convinced the mechanical cow is controlled by someone sitting inside, like the AT-AT Walker (All Terrain Armored Transport) from Star Wars.
5 Motorcycle Parts Dragon
Not only is this dragon constructed from motorbike parts, but the shape suggests one could climb on its back and ride it like a bike.
The frightening-looking creature is the creation of Robert Jefferson Travis Pond, an artist who makes huge sculptures out of scrap metal motorcycle parts. An assortment of gas tanks, exhausts, nuts, bolts, and other miscellaneous spare parts are welded together to create the often-ferocious looking beasts with plenty of attitude.
4 Aggressive Dog from Motorcycle Parts
Dogs make wonderful pets, and humans can learn a lot from “Man’s best friend.” We admire their personality, behavior, demeanor, and resiliency. A dog never ceases to provide their family members with companionship, loyalty, and unconditional love.
This dog, however, displays an aggressive stance, and the jagged form of the car parts that make up the body does nothing to encourage a caress.
3 Motorcycle Parts and Scrap Metal Beasts
Building a sculpture from scrap motorcycle and automobile parts requires a vivid imagination. The sculptor must visualize the artwork in its final form using the available pieces of sheet metal, nuts and bolts, gears, and rims available.
Perhaps what separates the artist from the engineer is the final product’s function. The engineer must design a vehicle that provides transportation with moving parts that all work together. The artist, on the other hand, need only focus on the observer’s emotion and reaction to the finished product.
2 Transformers in Montenegro
A fearsome transformer exhibit included sculptures on seven different locations around the center of Podgorica in Montenegro.
Placed in parks, pedestrian zones, on street corners, and in the city center where Megatron, a 25-ton transformer measuring nearly 14 meters high, loomed over the main square.
While these intimidating transformers were advertised as protecting Podgorica, the average tourist might wonder: protection from what?
1 Danilo Baletic Transformer Art
Danilo Baletic called his art exhibit, “Transformers Defending Podgorica.” Over two years, Baletic created seven realistic sculptures of Transformers. He built them out of metal and auto parts he pulled from the scrap yard owned by his father.
Creating characters from his childhood, the exhibit was intended to send a message that waste can be “transformed” and recycled for other purposes!
Sources: money.cnn.com, dailymail.co.uk, statista.com, thisiswhyimbroke.com