Old Car City U.S.A. is the Biggest Junkyard on the Planet
Take me down to Old Car City, where the cars are old and it sure ain't pretty!
There isn't a song like that, but there should be. Old cars look like junk to many folks, but the owners of Old Car City, located 50 miles north of Atlanta, GA, would surely tend to differ. This enormous 34-acre compound contains one of the largest car collections on the planet.
Here at Woody Anderson Ford Collision Center, we love the old cars and we often see classic vehicles here in Huntsville, AL, but the question is—how many of these ever spent time in a junkyard, let alone a stay in Old Car City?
A rusty sign out front of Old Car City tells everyone that it is “The world’s oldest junkyard jungle, here 80 years.”
The majority of this assortment is made up of unsalvageable mid-century American steel that will never be road-ready ever again. Nearly 5,000 cars with 80% of them older than 1972 belong to a family that spent their life saving some of this country's classic cars from the dreaded crusher to give them a "forever home" or a permanent resting place.
So, what is the history behind Old Car City U.S.A. and why does it appear in publications and on TV all the time to share its story with the rest of the globe?
Old Car City was started in 1931 as a general store, which was opened by Dean Lewis, the founder. His parents operated the store in the town of White, Georgia, and marketed a wide range of sundries and other assorted items including car parts, tires and gasoline, just to name a few.
When the country jumped into World War II, things like steel and tires became hard to find as they were re-directed to support the war effort.
The Lewis family wisely followed the money and began a business that focused on scrapping cars and re-selling them for parts primarily. By the early '40s, the general store had become an auto salvage yard that continued to grow...and grow...and grow!
Somewhere along the way, Dean Lewis decided that in addition to re-marketing old junked cars, he began a mission of preserving these classic iconic vehicles for prosperity.
He started purchasing old cars from auctions, private parties and recycling yards and after a while, he was forced to buy more land to accommodate all of the vehicles. An artist himself, Dean Lewis and his family used scrap metal to build towers and airplanes and other interesting creations right next to all of the rusting frames of muscle cars and old classics.
After a while, Old Car City became more of an art project than a salvage yard, and that’s when Dean saw that he could make more money charging admission like a theme park than parting out the displays.
If you're ever in the area of Atlanta, GA and have some time, why not visit Old Car City USA and see what the rest of the automotive world is talking about!
Sources: Old Car City's Website, CNN and AARP News