Cardio Car Spotting

Earlier in the summer, I visited John’s Salvage Company in Seguin, Texas, to explore its yard of derelicts and take in the sights. This open field is the final resting place for hundreds of former traffic jams. The exposed area creates a unique spectacle as stacks of rusting metal fall into mother nature’s warm embrace. 

I started my hike at ten in the morning, which meant the South Texas climate was still preheating to its triple-digit temperature setting for the day. Based on the parking lot, I was the only visitor that day. Walking through tall grass, with only singing cicadas for company, the eerie silence of this automotive cemetery sat like still water.

The rumble of a tow-mater-looking Ford F-100 wrecker with matching smashed headlights disturbed the tranquility. The tow truck’s sheet metal wore more dents than a crushed beer can as it clanked about the yard jangling its rust-coated chains, clearing its throat of oil as it rumbled through the garden of patina.

Garden of Patina

The overgrown greenery, fresh and hydrated from a recent rainstorm, seizes the landscape with clumps of brown and orange metal peeking out. Thick healthy vines sprouted in engine bays create a waterfall of foliage. The symbolic imagery makes me think, “All trucks go to heaven,” while feeling a sense of melancholy for these forgotten heaps of metal. The source of this sentiment is rooted in childhood memories of Thomas the Tank Engine, Pixar’s Cars, and the junkyard scene from The Brave Little Toaster. Each dilapidated vehicle is a continuous work of art as gravity sculpts it into new shapes over time. Chrome effortlessly reflects sunlight giving cars a twinkle of potential. 

I strongly encourage people to visit places like John’s Salvage Company. Classic car junkyards are open-air museums with metal sculptures and patina works of art. Furthermore, maintaining a business like this is not for the fate of the heart. It’s tough being a junkman, and who knows what the future holds for places like this in an era of condo-addicted developers treating real estate like a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

This place is not too far from I-10 and is in the scenic hills of East Texas. It is possible for a faceless corporate entity to stumble upon this field of wrecks and envision a horizon littered with overpriced “rustic” themed apartment towers. In that scenario, these cars would be disturbed from their above-ground graves, dragged onto a flatbed truck, and whisked away to the crusher. 

Nothing lasts forever, not even steel-bodied cars from the 1930s, but they endure longer than expected. So, before they fade into the earth, why not make a plan to visit your nearest classic car salvage yard and witness the other end of the classic car spectrum – the ones that didn’t get saved. Plus, it’s a great way to get your steps in if you’re bored with treadmills.