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RUST IN PIECES
Texas’ Largest Outdoor Museum

by Brewster Hudspeth
Photos by Barclay Gibson, Stephen Michaels, Jeff Jenson, Sarah Reveley and Raoul Hashimoto
A well-used windmill awaits restoration, rural Texas

A well-used windmill awaits restoration
Photo Courtesy Sarah Reveley, 2005
See Texas Windmills

A lot has been written about that "new car smell” and until recently one had to purchase a new car to get it. Now, thanks to the modern miracles of technology and the millions of dollars spent on research, the whole family can enjoy smelling a new car - even from the comfort of their living room. Yes, "new car smell" (AKA NCS) now comes in an aerosol can.

But what about the elusive fragrance of old cars? That blend of mildewed carpet, cracked vinyl dashboards and the adhesive from the sun-baked mosaics of old inspection stickers? And let's not forget the considerable contributions of generations of field mice. Together these scents form a sort of petroleum potpourri - and unless someone tells Ron Popeil there’s a market for it, they won’t be putting OCS in a can anytime soon. No, currently there’s only one place to get “old car” smell - and that is (literally) in the field.

The auto graveyards of yesteryear have all but disappeared - they were flattened by hydraulic crushing machines and hauled away by truck or rail one car at a time. Cities now have yards where the public is charged admission to browse metal morgues in search of old parts. But these are quickly becoming extinct as the demand for used parts falls. The junkyards of the deep south, once Kudzu-covered (like so much camouflage netting) are nearly all gone.

People use the expression “meaner than a junkyard dog” without ever having known the thrill of trying to liberate a float valve from a '66 Impala without waking “Cujo.”

For those who find beauty in unusual places, or those who remember amber-winged fairy hood ornaments and pin-up girls encased in plastic steering wheel knobs, here’s our ode to bullet-riddled sheet metal. We casually present: Rust in Pieces.
Rusted car in Toyah, Texas
Rusting and bullet-riddled in Toyah, Texas
Photo courtesy Jeff Jenson, 2004
Brazos River Railroad Bridge date plate, near Snook Texas
Brazos River Railroad Bridge near Snook, Texas
Raoul Hashimoto photo, 2003
More Pitted Dates
Waring Tx Closed Railroad Through Truss Bridge
Closed Railroad Through Truss Bridge near Waring, Texas
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2007
More Texas Bridges
VW junker, Odell Texas
A (thoroughly) used car in Odell, Texas
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2007
Rusted portable generator in Englewood, Kansas
Portable Generator in Englewood, Kansas
Photo Courtesy Stephen Michaels, December 2007
Rusted Ford in Venus Texas
Rusted Ford Pickup in Venus Texas
Photo courtesy Stephen Michaels, August 2003
Kansas Grenola Old Ford Truck

The one-ton cousin of the preceeding pickup in Grenola, Kansas
Raoul Hashimoto photo, May 2005

Caterpillar road grader in Waelder, Texas

Caterpillar Road Grader in Waelder, Texas
TE Photo, June 2006

WWI Cannon in Cherryvale, Kansas
A little steel wool and a coat of Rust-oleum goes a long way...
WWI Cannon in Cherryvale, Kansas

Raoul Hashimoto photo, May 2005
© John Troesser. First Published June 7, 2005
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