People have a strange, almost obsessive fascination with junkyards. Maybe it’s the idea of finding old-timey vehicles that you won’t find anywhere else. Maybe it’s because we’re scavengers at heart, and we love hunting for rare parts and such. Or maybe it’s just our morbid curiosity with things that are destroyed.
Whatever it is, junkyards are amazing places. They’re strange, too, because they’re timeless and unchanged—you can find a ‘30s Ford Roadster right next to a 2018 Ferrari in these places, and be reminded of a bygone era and of newfangled technological advances, all in one picture.
Sometimes cars are so demolished in these places that it’s hard to even tell what they are. Then there are cars you just don’t expect to see there: ice cream trucks, mail trucks, construction vehicles—but they all have to go somewhere when they’re done kicking.
Here are 19 of the weirdest junkyard finds.
Another highly specialized type of junkyard are the ones that hold all of our abandoned ice cream trucks. These are a bit spooky, when you see a truck like this ’74 AM General FJ-8A—that usually recalls happy memories of laughter and hot summer days—completely totaled and relegated to the scrap pile. Next to it are tons of mail jeeps and vans, too, which shows that this junkyard has some odd vehicles in it.
What’s regular than a modern ice cream truck in a scrap yard? How about an old-timey ice cream truck that’s sitting in a desert junkyard. First off, how did this ice cream truck get out to the desert? Wrong turn? And were ice cream trucks really that small in the past? It’s probably completely rusted through because of the harsh desert elements, but that begs another question: how long has it been out there?
The Truth About Cars asks the question, “Is there anything sadder than a junked ice cream truck?” We think not. Especially when the truck is as colorful as this one—it just shows the decline of a bygone era, before cell phones and technology, when going outside to play was all kids could do for fun, and chasing the ice cream truck down the street was the ultimate dream. Unfortunately, this minivan-ice cream truck is slated for a Denver crusher.
To finish out our ice cream truck section (because let’s face it, what’s a weirder junkyard find than an ice cream truck?) we come across this beautiful photo that seems oddly surreal. In the foreground we have a disabled, junked ice cream truck in another desert junkyard. In the background we have some other older cars, and a starry night—with what looks to be a shooting star in the background!
Now, while this isn’t technically a junkyard—it’s more of an art museum in the desert—it’s still a trippy, weird sight. This manmade place, called the International Car Forest of the Last Church, was created by Mark Rippie and Chad Sorg. It sits on a stretch of desert road in Nevada and features more than 40 painted vehicles and buses that are embedded vertically in the dirt, so they stick up in the air and look like trees.
This is a strange sight, to say the least. When you see rows upon rows of Toyotas with their hoods bashed in, making them completely level with each other, it makes you think that Godzilla took a stroll along the junkyard and stepped right on them. These are brand new production Toyotas, all still in protective wrapping, but they’re all crushed in the same way and have no doors. And there are hundreds of them . . . what is Toyota hiding from us?
This oddly shaped car almost looks like an alien vessel, or a crashed Jetsons car. It’s been dubbed the “Reykjavik Mystery Car” by Truth About Cars. The car has been sliced and diced so badly it’s just about unrecognizable. As it turns out, the car is a second generation Renault Megane five-door, a hatchback with just about the wildest shape you’ll see.
It might seem odd to see all these cars in a field of grass or woods, all rusted away like they are, but there’s a good reason for that. As it turns out, the Blue Ridge Junkyard (named after the Blue Ridge Parkway in Maggie Valley, North Carolina) was once heavily flooded, which means the cars were, too, and it led them to rust away like this before the water was dammed.
Most junkyards aren’t discriminatory about the kinds of cars they take—they’ll take anything from trucks to classics to sedans, etc. But there are specialized wrecking yards out there, as you’ll see, and this one happens to specialize in sports cars. Instead of finding Nissan Altimas and such here, this junkyard near southern France has stacks of Ferrari silhouettes, such as the skeletons of Testarossas long past their expiry date.
There are many junkyard hunters out there who try to find the rarest and oddest cars around, either to strip for parts or to buy outright and fix up to sell. Here we see an older picture of an ecstatic man who has just found himself a vintage car from the ‘50s, namely an Opel Rekord. Even though 10 million Rekords were sold between 1953 to 1986, an early generation one like this is still a rare find.
It’s funny that hot rods are usually made by someone scouring junkyards to find all the necessary parts to soup up your car, and it seems like this hot rod race car junkyard would be the perfect place to find said parts. Still, it’s not every day you find a rusted bucket like this, which appears to be the body of a 1930s Ford Deuce Roadster, the most popular hot rod in the world.
As if forest junkyards aren’t already strange and creepy enough—they look like dystopian landscapes from futuristic times, where people just left their cars to escape whatever disaster chased them, and then nature grew around those abandoned vehicles. It looks like that’s exactly what happened here, with this old, vintage, rusted Buick getting swallowed up by Mother Nature.
Sometimes the location of a junkyard is even more interesting than what’s found inside of that junkyard. With these forested areas, it’s a little bit of both: they’re located in the backwoods of the world, but they also hold some undeniable gems, like this old Chevy dump truck, that looks like it probably hasn’t been operation since the 1950s.
This old Chevy race car has definitely seen better days. It doesn’t appear to be an actual junkyard find, but there probably isn’t any other place that it could be going, considering its condition. You can still read the racing number of this old speedster, sort of (#32 or #22 it looks like), and it looks like one of its sponsors was named Edward something or other . . .
This old junker was found in an Argentina scrap yard by a traveler who goes around the world finding the coolest, oddest junkyard finds. Sounds like a fun job. Any way, it’s hard to even tell what this car is at first glance, because it’s so squished together. It’s filled with tires in the cabin, the back (or front) is nonexistent, but besides that, it actually looks in pretty good shape. As it turns out, it’s an old ‘60s Valiant racer.
Construction vehicles are another one that you don’t expect to see in junkyards—they can take a beating, and they seem to work forever as long as they’re maintained. But even the toughest Caterpillar must be put down eventually, which is evident by this D7 from the 1950s that has clearly seen better days, and is now surrounded by trees inside and out of it.
At first glance, it’s hard to even tell what this car is. But because we know where it’s located, and in what junkyard, we can get a better idea. This is probably a JDM car of some sort, even though it looks like little more than a box these days, located in the Kyusha Cemetery, which we’ll talk about more below.
The Kyusha Cemetery is a legendary place in Japan that holds a lot of their domestic cars that have been scrapped. Included here is an odd, rusted looking car that is unrecognizable it’s been so torn apart. It almost looks like a toilet is resting in the bed of this car, although it’s probably an oil pan or half a gas tank or something like that. Or a kitchen sink.
SpeedHunters wrote an article about the Kyusha Cemetery, saying it’s “the place where JDM cars go to die,” and they couldn’t be more right. Here you’ll find old Datsuns and Nissans and Infinitis, Hondas, and everything in between. If it was made in Japan, then you’ll find it here, which means it’s a great place to scavenge for JDM parts, which can often be difficult to find outside of Japan.
References: speedhunters.com, thetruthaboutcars.com, inspiredimperfection.com