1957 Ford Ranch Wagon c

Ranch Wagon
Canon PowerShot S80
2013

I’m ending this series on classic cars as I began it: with a photo of a badge on the flank of a colorful station wagon.

This time it’s a 1957 Ford. The Ranch Wagon sat at the bottom of Ford’s wagon hierarchy as basic transportation. If you wanted a swankier Ford wagon, you opted for the Country Squire.

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Old Cars, Photography

single frame: Ranch Wagon

Ford Ranch Wagon badge.

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Swan

Cormorant hood ornament
Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Kodak Tri-X 400 (at EI 200 by mistake)
2016

Early Packard automobiles had an array of stunning hood ornaments. You might think this bird is a swan, but you’d be wrong; it’s a cormorant. You’d find cormorant hood ornaments on the finest Packards.

If I had not shot this at EI 200 by mistake, I might not have gotten just this perfect look.

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Film Photography, Old Cars

single frame: Cormorant hood ornament

A Packard hood ornament on Tri-X.

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GMC Truck

Turquoise truck
Minolta Autopak 470
Lomography Color Tiger
2016

One year I took a 110 camera to the Mecum auction. I’m not crazy about the 110 format for its itty-bitty negatives. But I’m also a curious man, and I wanted to see what that Minolta 110 camera was capable of.

I got the best photos I’d ever made on 110 film from that camera. That’s not to say the photos were particularly sharp or detailed. Maybe it’s better to say that I got the least bad photos I’d ever made on 110 film from that camera.

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Film Photography, Old Cars

single frame: Turquoise truck

A turquoise GMC truck.

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1950 Hudson Commodore

Hudson grille
Nikon F2AS, 50mm f/2 AI-Nikkor
Kodak Plus-X Pan
2014

This 1950 Hudson was my favorite car of the 2014 Mecum auction here in Indianapolis. I love step-down Hudsons anyway, and this one was a peach.

Have I ever mentioned that when I was in middle school I wrote short stories? I don’t have any of them anymore, and I’m sure none of them were any good. The only one I remember at all was the one where I had the main character drive a step-down Hudson.

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Film Photography, Old Cars

single frame: Hudson grille

1951 Hudson grille.

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1951 Chevrolet station wagon a

Green Chevy
Canon PowerShot S80
2013

For the first several years I went to the Mecum auction, the sold cars were left outside for people to see. Then at some other Mecum auction in some other city someone stole one of the sold cars. That was that: the sold cars were no longer accessible to the public.

It really bummed me out. The for-sale cars were all inside under bright direct lighting. I made much more pleasing photographs of the sold cars outside, like of this 1951 Chevrolet. I love how the camera rendered the sunlight falling across the car’s hood.

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Old Cars, Photography

single frame: Green Chevy

A 1951 Chevrolet.

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Plymouth 8

Plymouth 8
Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Kodak T-Max 400
2015

As I made digital photos of the cars at the Mecum auction each year, I always photographed the card in the windshield that told the car’s make, model, and year. But I did it with my digital cameras, not my film cameras — why waste the film on those cards? But then when the negatives and scans came back from the processor, I sometimes couldn’t match the photo to the car it came from.

This is one of those times. Clearly, this is from a Plymouth, and it had a V-8 engine. That’s all I know. If you know more, do tell in the comments.

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Film Photography, Old Cars

single frame: Plymouth 8

Detail of a V-8 Plymouth.

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