Car dealers spend their entire careers trying to keep their customers from realizing that owning a new car is an exercise in watching something valuable decay into something useless. Every brand-new car loses a major chunk of its worth the second it rolls off the dealer floor, and then a few short years later, has depreciated so significantly that it's barely worth half its original price tag.
Very few automobiles hold their original value, both because new technology renders them obsolete while the act of driving a car slowly destroys every component through wear and tear. Collectors might be able to spend gobs of cash to keep their classics looking great, but the vast majority of car owners put in the bare minimum of time and money just to keep their cars running.
Once a car has reached the end of its driveable life, there are only a few options that remain. But some cars just get abandoned for no apparent reason. Keep scrolling for 17 unexplained photos of cars in the woods.
17 Modern Art
Cars left out in the woods eventually deteriorate and, if given enough time, will turn into little more than a pile of dust. But automobiles are built to last for their entire service lives—for the most part—and have to provide a modicum of safety, too. The process of disintegrating may take a long time but it sure can look artistic along the way.
16 It's Camouflage, Captain
Given enough time, Mother Nature will take over a vehicle that's been abandoned in the woods. These two cars—and there could be more hidden under all that foliage—are well on their way to becoming planters. Perhaps this dirt track is just so rough on vehicles that the entire length is populated by abandoned cars every twenty feet or so.
15 Don't Leave Valuables In Car
This SUV looks like either an Isuzu Rodeo or a Honda Passport, though climbing vines and some front-end damage have made it just about impossible to tell which of the rebadged vehicles it could be. The hilarious part is that it looks like the truck was just left in a parking lot for long enough that it started becoming part of the scenery.
14 Not-So-Fresh Prince
The internet's obsession with abandoned car photography makes it easy to find some incredible and valuable cars in various states of disrepair. But regardless of how many pics circulate online, seeing an entire semi-truck trailer pulling four Chevy Bel Airs will always be confusing. How could it have ever not been worth attempting a restoration on these cars?
13 See Where They Rust
Modern cars being built today pretty much don't suffer from the kinds of rust issues that older cars had to contend with. Buying a vintage car requires an in-depth search for any rust—apparent or possibly hidden—because rust can quickly spread throughout a steel frame or body with minimal signs on the exterior.
12 Detroit Garden
Abandoned cars litter the countrysides of the world for the sheer fact that cars can't run forever without massive infusions of money, time, and effort. Every vehicle reaches the end of its life—barring the most valuable collectibles on the market—though most won't ever find new life as a planter with trees sprouting out of their engine bays.
11 Eternal Rest
Automobiles must be built out of valuable materials because they haul humans and other precious cargo around during their time on the road. Once a car has been abandoned, scrappers and scavengers will quickly circle and nab anything of any potential value. Only cars left in the most remote regions will ever be able to avoid getting stripped.
10 Mossy Oak Break-Up
Some cars get so embedded in moss, vines, shrubbery, and foliage that it can be almost impossible to see them from more than just a few feet away. These cars are getting demolished by nature, though the fact that there are a few in a row makes it more likely that their hulking shapes will remain discernable for many years to come.
9 Park It, Buddy
Plenty of abandoned cars left in woods, in fields, or in the desert probably were not intentionally left to disintegrate forever. How many owners experienced a breakdown and had to walk to find help, only to realize that the effort of actually getting back to their vehicle, towing it away, and fixing it just wasn't worth the time and money?
8 Different Eras
Finding cars left in nature can be a fun pursuit and also a walk down memory lane. How many people would be able to identify the rusted-out truck cab in this picture without going over the remains with a fine-tooth comb? The longer vehicles are left to rot away, the more difficult it becomes to figure out what they were originally.
7 The Dark Knight Retires
This abandoned car makes just about the least sense of any on this list. Sure, a random sedan or station wagon that broke down might get left in the woods. But a Batmobile? All the time and effort that went into creating this sleek Batmobile have come to nothing, as this Batmobile is just sitting around collecting dry leaves now.
6 So Modern
The quintessential abandoned car in the woods is an old jalopy, beat up and rusty. But this abandoned Acura (or Honda) NSX is extremely confusing. This is one of the world's premier sports cars—from a company known for its reliability! What could have gone so wrong that this NSX was left in the woods within 20 to 25 years of leaving the factory?
5 Days of Yore
One reason that abandoned cars become so interesting as they fade into nothingness is that along the way, the internals become external. Check out the engine bay of this antique, complete (or rather, incomplete) with intake tubes, radiator fan, and engine block all visible. Modern cars, meanwhile, have their engines covered in plastic.
4 Rat's Nest
One of the quickest ways to ruin a car is to leave it outside where vermin like rats can get into it and start their destructive processes. Rats love to chew on upholstery, electric wire insulation, carpeting, and just about anything they can get their little teeth on as they slowly but surely transform a car into a nest.
3 Needs Some TLC
This pic looks like a stereotypical Craigslist ad for the "Mechanic's Special" that just "needs a little TLC" to get back on the road. Of course, even though Eagle Talon can't be more than 30 years old or so, there's very little chance that after a long period of disuse in the woods, it will ever get to run full boost ever again.
One way that collectors keep their valuable cars in pristine shape is by investing in garages and car covers—as opposed to most people, who leave their cars to bake in the sun or get covered in sap and leaves in the shade under trees. But all the cars left abandoned in the woods are a crystal clear message that garages and car covers are the way to go.
1 Mother Nature Does Not Abide
Climate change threatens the world's ecological system and the future of the human race, and automobiles are a large contributor to noxious gasses being released into the atmosphere and causing global warming. The opposite is happening in this picture, however, as Mother Nature reclaims the cars left abandoned under this shed roof.
Sources: Car and Driver, Jalopnik, and Wikipedia.