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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Black Chrysler

Black Chrysler
Olympus XA
Arista Premium 400
2013

I’ve gotten so much good use from my Olympus XA since I bought it in 2012. It’s so small and easy to take along, and it has a great lens.

I used to wear cargo shorts to the Mecum auction every year because could stuff my pockets full of small cameras. My Kodak EasyShare Z730, my Canon PowerShot S80, and my Canon PowerShot S95 all came along every year. I had two battery packs each for the Z730 and the S80, and four for the S95. I routinely took more than a thousand digital photos at the auction, which drained every battery.

I used the digitals to make some pleasing shots, but also just to document the cars. When I shot film — and only one or two rolls, to manage costs — it was always about making pleasing shots. The Olympus XA treated this 1938 Chrysler Royal right.

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Film Photography, Old Cars

single frame: Black Chrysler

A 1938 Chrysler Royal.

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1935 Chrysler Airflow f

Airflow
Canon PowerShot S95
2011

Chrysler’s 1934-37 Airflow may have been a masterpiece of streamlining, but it bombed in the marketplace. It simply looked too strange, and buyers stayed away. But removed from the context of its time, the Airflow is clearly a groundbreaking design.

Not that you can see much of it in this photo. I found this 1935 Airflow at the 2011 Mecum auction. I moved in close to photograph this detail.

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Old Cars

Single frame: Airflow

Headlight of a 1935 Chrysler Airflow.

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