In truth, many parts of Los Angeles and Orange Counties offer as many old street-parked cars per capita as The Island That Time Forgot; it's even drier down there than in the Bay Area, and the worship of vintage cars runs strong. Here's what the Scientist has to say about his finds:
Los Angelinos don't register or wash their cars edition.
North-East LA (Silverlake, Glassell Park, Eagle Rock) could easily give Alameda a run for its money when it comes to keeping old cars alive. Of course, that's LA in general. With hardly any rain and no salt to promote corrosion, it's really easy to keep beater cars running forever...they just oxidize top-down from the sun and acid rain.
In shooting these, I noticed a ton of super-dusty cars with super-late registration, which suggests they might be abandoned or just flaunting the law. The cops around here have plenty of real crime to fight, so cracking down on the beaters of the poor isn't real high on their priorities list.
Anyway, I'll start with what might be the most malaisiest car ever: an olive-green, vinyl-topped Ford Maverick. This shining star of the Mustang II/Pinto family is parked right down the street from my house in charming Glassell Park, CA. As best I can tell, it's a '71...but they didn't change much over the years.
According to the Abuelita whose house it's in front of, it's abandoned. It was parked on a different nearby street for a few months with a "Se Vende" sign on it, but it looks like they gave up and just pushed it over here.
For the positively hideous exterior, the interior is in surprisingly good shape. And what's this? A Stickshift?! Probably a bean-counter special 3 speed OD with a 2.5:1 1st gear...but I'd like to believe it's a true 4spd behind a built 302. Best.Sleeper.Ever.
Also right down the street is the 3/4 Ton Chevy Pickup. "Yep, that's a pickup" pretty much sums it up. It clearly sees regular hauling duty, and the owner's taken good care of the interior (or had it re-done). They took the time to add late-model 8-lug take-offs, which probably weigh 1/2 what the original steelies did. My best guess on the year is towards the end of that generation, 69-72.
Around the corner, we find an Impala that's slowly being mummified by spiders. They've already tethered it to the ground and started sucking the tires dry. I've lived in this neighborhood for about 2 years, and I don't think it's moved as long as I've been here. The funny (tragic?) thing is, both the body and interior are about a "B-". The 327 might be a good motor for something smaller ('Vette, 'Maro or El Camino), but for this beast, we'd like to see that "3" switched to a "4". Some new tires and wheels (the 13"s aren't quite my thing) and a coat of primer, you'd be ready to cruise for really trashy ladies. Nothing like a 19-foot long two-door. That trunk looks big enough for a whole cheerleading squad.
Moving over to genuinely charming Eagle Rock, we see the DOTs material improving...
This '63 Falcon Futura Convertible is pretty puzzling. Aside from the massive layer of dust on it, it's in great shape. The top is perfect, the interior doesn't have a rip or stain. From the expired tags and the writing on the windshield, it looks like it spent some time in an impound/tow lot...but why? They better get that reg straightened out, or it could get towed for parking on a public street.
Right down the street from the '63 Falcon Futura Convertible is this red-rimed Falcon Ranchero ('65?). The paint's not perfect, but there's no major rust going on. From the bedliner and requisite Miscellaneous Crap in the Bed, it's pretty clear it gets used as intended. The red rims and Car Kulture sticker suggest this owner probably cruises around town with a pack of cigs rolled up in sleeve of their plaid shirt. There's no V8 badge, but if the shifter ball is to be believed, this puppy's got a 4speed. Sweet. I'd kill for this car.
Down the street from the Falcon vairants is a pretty standard While Mustang. I didn't catch the corners to see if it's a 67 or 68. It's got Cragars, a nicely patina-ed painjob, and a painted undercarriage that suggest its (likely numerous) owners have used it as intended (liquor store parking lot burnouts). The dust and spiderwebs tell me it's been sitting for a while. Again, get those tags current, or it's off to impound for you!
Cruising over to Silverlake (aka Hipster Ground Zero)...
...we've got a super-malaisey Jag XJ6L. It was once a Proper British Green...but that's starting to peel in a big way (no rust, though). I know nothing about Jags, but those sun-baked mega-bumpers and Wikipedia tell me this is probably a Series III. Again: registration, people!
While making a wrong turn, I noticed this 3-door 3/4 Ton Suburban. Never could figure out why it was important to not have a door on the driver's side. Anyway, it's about as textbook as it gets: 2wd, 350, tons of crap in the back, super-dusty. The blue-and-white is almost emasculating on something this big.
Coming into the final stretch, we've got a '64 Falcon, a Plymouth Fury III ('65?), a Studebaker Champ Pickup, a 67 Mustang and a '70 (?) Caddy Hearse with custom paint all within a quarter mile of each other on Silverlake main-drag Hyperion Blvd. The funny thing is, I was coming over here b/c there's a 68 Chevy Wagon and Checker Marathon that are usually over here...but gone today.
The Falcon is a super-clean Futura hardtop with AC and a 302 (says the For Sale sign). I love how the side-lines run into the rocket/jet tail lights. Maybe someone can fill me in on those aluminum Ford rims. There's no way those are OEM, right? Also not sure what's up with the driver's side mirror. Pep Boys didn't have a bright yellow one with blue LEDs?
A few steps in front of the Falcon, we come to find...
Apparently in '61 Studebaker bought the tooling for their Champ pickup beds from Dodge. You can see how well that turned out here. Yet another anti-registration activist. The interior looks pretty clean, and that paint looks about a quarter-inch thick. Not sure what's up with the wheels.
Parked a few feet in front of the Stude (and partially into a shrub) is a Fury III. Looking this one up, I learned that the "III" stands for the trim level (above "I" and "II"), and not the 3rd of anything. While the outside was super-dusty, the interior looked near-flawless (hope the AC works). The dark blue makes me think this was either a detective's car, or purchased by a cop for home use because he liked the one he got from the LAPD so much. The dual pipes and overstated shifter suggests it may have fallen into more hoony hands along the way.
Up from there, we've got a pretty clean, but otherwise unimpressive 67 Mustang. 302, C4, deluxe interior, and filthy. I'm cool with filthy beaters, but to see this guy on the street with 8 month out registration and 50lbs of "I've been sitting" dust on it is a travesty.
Ok, last but certainly not least is a white-with-blue-flames Caddy hearse. Google image search tells me that nose is probably a '70. Looks like it's been someone's "haul all my crap"-mobile for some time (note the trailer hitch). While the others had expired tags, this thing's got no plates at all! Good luck with this one Mr Tow Truck Driver.
California doesn't offer any kind of "finders keepers" program for abandoned cars, do they?