A Photo Essay on Jalopies

Truck #1 was located at an antique shop on Newport Highway (US 411), between Sevierville and Newport, Tennessee. We think it might be a 1951 or 1952 International Harvester truck. What do you think?

Witnesses to the American Road

by Ria Nicholas

I know, I know! Jalopies are not a destination we can visit. But what could be more iconic of the American experience – or more necessary for a road trip – than the American automobile? Whether you call them “classic cars,” “antique automobiles,” or just plain “vintage,” I have managed to photograph a number of jalopies through the years and find them both beautiful and sad.


Year: ? Make: ? Model: ?

Vehicle #2: This beautifully eerie image of a fossilized car, beneath an overarching Milky Way, is one of several spectacular night photos taken in the Big Bend area of West Texas by photographer Andrew M. Shirey.


Vehicle #3 is a truck located inside the East Texas Oil Museum in Kilgore, Texas. Can anyone identify it for us?


I invite you to help me identify their years, makes and models and to share your photos of jalopies to add to this post. (I’ve numbered the vehicles, to make it easier for you to refer to them.)

The above three cars were all located in Tennessee. Car #4 was offered for sale at an antique shop on Newport Highway (US 411), between Sevierville and Newport. We believe it is a Plymouth. Pickup #5 was abandoned off Boogertown (yes, you read that right) Road in Gatlinburg. It appears to be a Chevy. And pickup #6, a Dodge, was on display at a school bus diner and gift shop on US 321 near Cosby, TN.

We believe vehicles #7, #8 and #9 are all 1930s or 40s International Harvester trucks. Location: Silverton, Colorado, near the railroad tracks. Can anyone provide more details?

The Tremont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was once a booming logging community known as Stringtown, run by the Little River Lumber Company. It was clustered around a hotel and post office and served by a railroad. Somewhere off the main hiking trail sit the skeletonized remains of a 1930s Cadillac, leaving visitors to ponder how it ended up among boulders and trees. Rumor has it, that it was used to run moonshine from a still during the Prohibition. More likely, it was left behind by the Civilian Conservation Corps, who had a camp in the area at the time.

#11. 1941 Ford Coupe; photos by Jim Zura. Use the slider to see its potential.

This moss-covered beauty is located at Ely’s Mill, at the end of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg, TN. Andrew Jefferson Ely built the mill in 1925 after the death of his wife and to escape urban living. He hired local craft folk to produce items to sell at the mill and used the mill – actually two mills – for wood furniture making and grinding grain.

Vehicle #13 serves as an advertising banner on Pittman Center Road in Sevierville, Tennessee. Cars #14 and #15 were located at the antique shop on Newport Highway (US 411) between Sevierville and Newport, TN. We believe car #15 is a 1947 Chevy Stylemaster.

The two images of jalopies below, #16, labeled as a 1927 Buick, and #17, an unidentified truck, were taken on the Caliente-Bodfish Road, east of Bakersfield, California in 2012. Both photos are by Jim Zura. Happy Halloween!

So what’s the difference between a vintage car and a classic car? (I had to look it up.) According to West Coast Shipping, a company that deals in cars from around the globe, a classic car is at least 20 years old. Vintage cars were built between 1919 and 1930. A car must be at least 45 years old to be considered an antique car. And if a car was manufactured after 1922 and is at least 25 years old, then it is an Historical Vehicle.

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