Car parts

10 comments on Car parts
1 minute

I recently updated my 2012 review of the Pentax K1000; see it here. On my first ever roll in that camera I walked through the parking lot at work, photographing colorful everyday cars up close. I’ve always thought these photos were fun. A couple of these have been only on my hard drive all these years.

Jeep light

Over at Curbside Classic, the old-car blog to which I sometimes contribute, someone will occasionally post a parking-lot photo from 30 or 50 years ago. It’s always great fun to see the everyday cars of the era. The cars that get saved or restored tend to be the more noteworthy or upper-trim models.


These photographs are far too close up to ever provide much of that feeling of nostalgia. But even seven years later, when was the last time you saw a Dodge Neon R/T (above)? Even the once-ubiquitous Chevy Malibu Maxx (below) is starting to be thin on the ground.


Cars date photographs. I follow a group on Facebook for vintage photographs of Indiana. The posters are often left to guess when photos were made. Because I have good knowledge of American automobiles after World War II, I can frequently help narrow it down. “That had to be made no earlier than 1968 because there’s a 1968 Chevy in the photo.”


I made all of these photos with my 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M lens on Fujicolor 200.

It’s easy to make detail photos of old cars; there are so many details. I find newer cars to be more challenging. Revisiting these seven-year-old photographs makes me want to try more often now.

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.


10 responses to “Car parts”

  1. Stuart Templeton Avatar

    Its funny isn’t it that whilst most car designs have changed hugely over the last thirty (or even twenty) years, a Jeep will always look like a Jeep. :-D

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Instantly recognizable!

  2. J P Avatar

    I make no claim to be a great photographer. I mainly shoot cars with a cellphone. But I must give you credit for the improvement I have seen in my results over the last several years. Shots like these have been an education in composition.

    With all of the black white and silver cars in modern parking lots I would think that this would be a good subject for your black and white stuff too. 😀

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Why thank you!

      Even colorful cars work in black and white!

  3. Dan James Avatar

    Cars are something I don’t photograph enough of. Occasionally on a walk I’ll come across what could be considered vintage (like a rusting orange/yellow VW Golf Cabriolet circa 1982ish on a favourite walk), but rarely photograph them.

    I do agree that cars can pinpoint the date of a photo pretty well. It’s always strange seeing old photos (or indeed old films) where cars that are now rare and vintage are plentiful, new and shiny!

    Like Stuart said about Jeeps, I’ve always loved Land Rovers, and the basic body shape hasn’t really changed from the Series II in the late 60s to the present day. Though most these days are designer urban taxis rather than the off road utilitarian vehicles they were designed as.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yeah – how did Land Rover end up as a luxury brand anyway? Just crazy.

      1. Dan James Avatar

        The history is rather complex, it seems –

        I think the BMW years where when it became more of a coveted street machine, rather than utilitarian. Though arguable when the Discovery arrived in 1989 it was the first step in this direction.

        That said, Range Rovers have, by common perception I’d say, always been owned by posh people like Lords and Earls (and the Royal Family) over here, going back the 70s!

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Range Rovers started appearing on the scene here in the 90s in small numbers, and now in moderate numbers. They’re a real statement of wealth.

  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    When I was a kid, I could name any make and model…sometimes even the model year…with just a quick glance. These days, it takes a bit more study. And I am in the retail automotive business

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Same here. I still can, for anything made 1950-1980. But the refresh cycles are so long now, and the year-to-year updates so minor. Also, I have less time to pay attention to this stuff as an adult and there are entire generations of modern cars where I recognize it as “one from that generation” but I don’t know exactly what years that generation was built.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.