In the early days of Old Car City U.S.A., when it was still a general store the founder Walt Lewis sold a bit of everything. On a particular day a merchant pulled in the parking lot with a load of shoes he was looking to unload for a good price. Walt being a man always looking for bargain took the load of shoes for somewhere in the range of 5 cent a pair. Word traveled fast and soon people from all over were coming to take advantage of a good bargain.
Now in these days there was also another store located across the street. Walt’s competitor seen all the business the shoes were drawing in and decided they needed the shoes to help them draw business. They approached Walt with the proposal to buy the shoes, they struck a deal in which both parties were satisfied.
Same shoes only a few hundred feet from were they had been bringing Walt a great deal of customers didn’t have the same fait for Walts competitors. Time goes by and the now owners of all these shoes decided to go ask Walt if he would be interested in buying the shoes back at the same cost as he had sold them at. Walt counter offered them a price lower than the original price, so no deal was made.
Moving ahead several weeks Walt’s competition hatched a plan to get rid of the unselling shoes. They would write a letter posing as a store in Chattanooga that had heard Walt had a bunch of shoes and would be down in a few weeks to buy all the shoes at a price double what the new store had them for sale at. They had a person they new drop the letter in a mailbox from Chattanooga so the post mark would make it look official. The letter made its way back to Walt’s mailbox and the well crafted plan worked as intended. Walt came and bought the shoes at the price he had originally sold them to the competitor for. The weeks went by but the new buyer never showed up.
Fast forward to the 1980’s and Walt’s store that had been built in the 1920’s was tore down. The shoes that were still there waiting for the Chattanooga buyer was packed up and now sit in a few cars at Old Car City U.S.A.
It all started in 1931 by a man named Walt and Lucille his wife, they owned a small general store with a gas pump and wood floors, they worked every day with no time off and little pay, back then times were tough and money was rare, conditions were rough but people were fair.
Now Walt had a few old cars, they were beaten and battered and had some scars. When he wasn’t working in the mine he would sell spare parts to people who would buy them. Anything to make an extra honest dollar, he had to work hard, be a good husband and father, he had to provide and keep away the worry they had to survive and continue the Lewis family story.
Now Dean was Walt’s boy and he grew up playing in these old cars, a million miles they would go pretending they were cowboys and chasing Geronimo. Walt had no idea the passion he had instilled in his child but Dean’s love for cars went far beyond the parts Walt had piled. So for Walt’s son he was going to make it big someday, it all started in 1931 it we would become known as Old Car City USA.
The last car purchased by the king of rock and roll was a 1977 Lincoln Mark V , it’s maroon in color and was purchased for Larry Geller. The Lincoln went up for auction in the early 1980s; where Dean Lewis the owner of Old Car City USA would acquire the Lincoln and some other rare Elvis memorabilia. Dean put the car and memorabilia on display at Old Car City USA
Mr. Geller was a very close friend of the King! He was not only his friend but also his hair dresser and spiritual advisor. Larry went to work for Elvis in 1964 and was the man responsible for the Legendary hair styles of “Elvis Aaron Presley”.
Photography has had a rebirth for the masses of cellphone users worldwide. There are many videos and/or photography websites that have come up as a result.
Still, when it comes to getting that perfect shot with the right light and effect, nothing takes the place of using a higher quality camera with manual focus and adjustments to get the close ups as well as those one-of-a-kind photos that end up on somebody’s wall or in a gallery somewhere.
In this article, we’ll wade through the many articles already written featuring how to photograph cars outside to find the top 8 tips. We will look at them in reverse order, starting with top tip #8.
Tip #8 – How to photograph cars outside – Use Water.
Top tip number eight is to use water. Photographers agree that getting that perfect shot with the resemblance of early morning dew yet your shooting is later in the morning or afternoon, a spray bottle of water does wonders.
The same tip is true with nature photos to get leaves to look like the new day has come or a rain just fell. So, keep a small spray bottle with you for just such an occasion.
Tip #7 – How to photograph cars outside – focus on one at a time!
Tip number seven on how to photograph cars outside is to focus on one at a time. When it comes to photographing old classic cars, there’s so much more to be looking for on the car:
Unique concepts, like rumble seats or soft tops
Make and model and year
Tip #6 – How to photograph cars outside – take your time!
When you hurry, you’re sure to miss that great shot. Not only so, you’re likely to miss a step that causes you to regret later for not slowing down.
Part of that might mean taking time out for you. You know when you are at your best, creatively speaking. There’s other times when you or someone else is rushing you and you’re forcing yourself to get done.
Tip #5 – How to photograph cars outdoors – Work closer to sunrise or sunset.
Professional photographers agree that working closer to sunrise or sunset offers great color enhancements and softer shades.
Your work will be more appealing if you keep the sun in perspective when you’re learning how to photograph cars outside.
Tip #4 – To learn how to photograph cars outdoors, study the car!
One great tip I learned when learning how to photograph cars outside is to study, or take note of the car itself. Every car has a story that goes with it.
Is it a family car or a sports car? Was it popular or a dud? Does it have a history, like a Mustang or Corvette?
Some of the old classic cars have unique hood ornaments that just aren’t on most cars today. I think Jaguar is the last of the modern auto manufacturer that still features a hood ornament.
Every car started out on a showroom floor as somebody’s dream. Cars sitting in a car junk yard represent dreams that got shattered or broken in life. It’s the role of the creative photographer to bring it back to life again.
Tip #3 – If you want to know how to photograph cars outside, use the right equipment.
That seems elementary but to photograph cars outside, one needs a wide angle lens, macro lens and GPS labeling technology.
In areas where the mosquitoes are plentiful, it’s also wise to bring bug spray. Some lots featuring old classic cars like mentioned in tip number one are so large that having water to drink is actually a wise idea.
Tip #2 – Give yourself plenty of time when learning how to photograph cars outside.
This tip is different, yet related to tip #6, on how to photograph cars outside because if you have a lot like Old Car City USA that has 4400 old classic cars from 1918 to 1972 and it’s only open four days a week between 9a.m. and 4 p.m., don’t wait until an hour before closing. Though you can get some great shots, your time will slip away from you quickly and you will be frustrated.
As mentioned in aforementioned tips, early morning hours get great photo opportunities and in the South, hot weather can still sneak up on the photographer without warning.
The #1 tip on how to photograph cars outside is to choose the best place to take great photos.
Old Car City USA likes to toot its own horn with being the largest known classic car junkyard in the world with over 4400 cars on 34 acres of land. It’s been featured in Hot Rod Magazine, Fox, NBC, ABC and Sunday Morning on CBS as well as international visitors who come specifically for these American and some foreign built cars and trucks.
The season is short for early morning fog in the northwestern Georgia town of White where Old Car City USA is located. Photographers would do well to schedule their visits around those times when early morning fog settles in among the old classic cars and trucks here.
Photographers are welcome to shoot early morning fog pictures at Old Car City USA!
Old Car City has the distinct privilege among all the many car junk yards in America as a mecca for the creative photographers of the world. We have these artisans flocking to Atlanta’s nearby International airport specifically to visit the “world’s largest known classic car junkyard.”
…in general terms, fog formation is exactly the same process involved in the formation of clouds . . . fog is simply a cloud that forms over the ground…
…Fog is possible, but not entirely guaranteed, if the relative humidity is 100% (when RH% = 100%, that means that the air is saturated)…So, fog is the result of a “moist” air mass near the surface, which has reached saturation. (Source)
According to the information gleaned from the link in the quote above, fog in the north Georgia mountains might be more common because of how the air is saturated in low lying areas. It would behoove the photographer seeking to have early morning fog for pictures of our old classic cars to check with the meteorologists in the area and see when the fog is likely to occur.
Early morning fog photographs have a certain mystique. At Old Car City USA, we love how photographers can take a car junk yard full of old classic cars and find treasure after treasure in almost every shot!
As in the case of one artist listed above,
Cheryl Grogan, her photos combined with her talent with painting portraits become one-of-a-kind masterpieces. One such photo, shown here, hangs proudly in Mayor Deano’s office in Old Car City USA.
Remember everyone! Old Car City USA opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday. If you desire to take early morning fog photos, please make arrangements to be there when our doors open. We welcome you with open arms!
Have any of your parents and grandparents ever watched the movie, “American Graffitti,” with your kids and grandchildren to show off the cars you used to drive or ride in when you were young? Have them tell you how they remember the good old days.
You might want to tell them that Richard Dreyfuss and Harrison Ford was in that movie to entice them to watch it.
Remember the good old days in your automobile that featured a full bench seat.
There’s just something romantic about the bench seat where your honey could cozy up to you while you drove around town, or cruised around as we used to call it. The guys were more concerned what was under the hood while the girls were hoping that your car doesn’t conk out when you’re popping the clutch at a traffic light.
Yes, those were the good old days when cars were made of steel and real chrome fenders and unique hood ornaments and AM radios, only!
Remember the good old days when your automobile had a real big trunk and a full-size spare tire?
Every car had to have a spare tire and a jack to change your own tire and replace it with a full size spare. Many a relationship probably started when some hunk came to a stranded damsel in distress and changed her tire.
Today, kids just call their daddies or AAA and they come out and change the tire. Where’s the romance in that?!
Remember the good old days when one dollar got a hamburger, fries and milkshake for two(!) with change left over?
Well, this author vaguely remembers when the Burger King Whopper sandwich was first introduced in the Atlanta, Georgia area and, I think, the price per whopper was 45 or 55 cents. With a Coca-Cola for ten cents and fries for maybe 15 cents, one could get quite filled up!
Here’s a piece of trivia for you younger cats out there. I could take a Kennedy half-dollar coin down to the local “grocerette” convenience store in the mid-1960’s and get two bottles of Cokes, 12 ounce, and 6 full-size candy bars. I wasn’t ten years old and I would do that as often as I would get away with it.
Yes, boys and girls, I remember the good old days when I was a kid and I could walk several miles around my neighborhood during the day without fear or concern for my safety. Of course, if I stayed out past dinner time and didn’t call home, there’d be hell to pay!
Remember the good old days every time you come to Old Car City USA!
There’s something here for everyone! The toys shown above are just a small sampling of the kinds of toys the older generation of kids enjoyed playing with when their fathers and brothers were working on the family car.
These toys are made of durable metal that have withstood the many hands and imaginations of kids working on construction projects in the back yards or rescuing victims in house fires kindled by the children’s dreams of doing it in real life.
Remember the good old days when there was a bench seat for two “in the trunk?”
You read it right. There were cars that had what is called a “rumble” seat; not to be confused with “Rumble in the Streets,” or something related.
This car inside the “showroom” of Old Car City USA has the two seats up front and the rumble seat in back. When no one was in it, the seat could be tucked away as one would close the trunk. I wonder if it was designed with Daddies in mind to chaperone kids on Saturday night dates.
In summary, the time to visit Old Car City USA is when you want to relive the times and memories that involved the American automobile in everyone’s lives, whether in full size for adults or as a toy for the creative boy and girl in the sandbox.
This author loves to play with toys like these with his grandchildren. It’s a way to pass on fun times as we remember the good old days, everyday.
To the naked eye of the first time visitor or passerby to Old Car City USA in White, Georgia, it looks like a junk yard. A car junk yard.
But once you step into the property and take a look around how the cars are situated, you begin to see something that’s missing in other car junk yards around America, possibly the world!
10 Reasons why a car junk yard like Old Car City USA is so special!
In this blog, we’ll look at ten videos currently on YouTube that show car junk yards of various types and conditions. We might say a little about each one, but as you will see, Old Car City USA stands apart as more than a car junk yard. It’s a “national treasure!”
Reason #1 – A Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth car junk yard in Alabama
In this video, the narrator tries to be funny with his overview of this car junk yard owned by Stephens Performance, a “Mopar-only dealer of sheet metal for Mopar cars (Chrysler family of cars) from the muscle car era.”
As you will notice, some of these cars have been picked through like elephants in a bone yard. Worse, the “carcase” of the car is left behind with little to determine what it was originally. Such is the case for the typical salvage yard today.
Reason #2 – Modern cars are made of plastic in this car junk yard
Old Car City USA might have a Corvette or two and other cars with fiberglass bodies, but 99% of the cars in the video below are made of plastic. There’s little plastic on cars before the mid-1970’s. Old Car City USA has cars dated from 1918-1977.
Reason #3 – Any old car junk yard does not a museum make!
This next video is of a lot in Minnesota that claims to be around 100 acres. That is a lot of cars. Actually, if this car junk yard contained only classic cars, which it doesn’t, then it could claim to be the largest classic car junk yard in the world. As you see how it’s laid out and the narrator seems to appreciate craftsmanship of the earlier era of automobiles, you also see, and hear, his apparent ignorance thereto as well.
Reason #4 – Don’t let titles confuse you about it being a classic car junk yard when it’s not.
This video was produced by the same guy in video #3 and was titled “Exploring classic cars…” The problem is, it’s more classic trucks and fire engines and military vehicles than cars. Still this car junk yard has some attention to detail worth viewing for your entertainment. It’s just not a very big attraction off the road as Old Car City USA is in northwest Georgia.
Reason #5 – Old Car City USA is not a car junk yard where profiteers are seen or allowed to take parts home.
Granted this car junk yard in Canada is all its name implies, a junk yard. Still, the video below shows that people looking to profit from what they take away leaves a gaping hole in the vehicle they left behind. Not exactly a photographer’s paradise, I should add.
Reason #6 – We’ve had people visit this car junk yard from around the world who came to take lots of videos and photos.
This video has had the most views and apparently has a “French” connection. It is also the oldest, dated from Feb. 24, 2007.
Reason #7 – At Old Car City USA, videographers combine fine music and thoughtful photos to make this car junk yard look more like an auto museum.
This videographer, in my opinion, exhibited Old Car City USA with the perfect blend of music taste and appreciation to detail…down to the hood ornaments.
Reason #8 – Old Car City USA is more than a car junk yard. It’s “the promise land for junk yard dreamers!”
These men in this video give justice to appreciating the value of detail in how the cars were originally crafted. Hood ornaments and special windows never seen in later models are pointed out as well.
Reason #9 – For this car junk yard, pictures are worth a thousand words each, but…
Reality is worth a thousand pictures! This video is a culmination of only 500 pictures showing various images, though I’ve limited the time to about 5 minutes. Not too many other car junk yard videos feature so many personal videos and photographers as Old Car City USA.
Reason #10 – When has a car junk yard like Old Car City USA ever had a Sunday morning news magazine program pay a visit?
That’s exactly what happened back in 2015. The honorable “Mayor” of Old Car City USA, Dean Lewis, had the distinct privilege to be featured on CBS Sunday Morning in August of 2015. Tracy Smith interviews Dean and highlights the fact that this car junk yard has, among other things, “two-ton flower pots.”
Bonus video: Russian narration
We don’t have a clue to what this man is saying, but we will assume that it’s like all the other flattering videos about this car junk yard many miles away from his homeland in Russia or the Ukraine. If anyone can translate, please add to comments below! Thanks.
This Sunday, August 9th, at 9:43am, CBS Sunday Morning will be airing a piece on Old Car City USA featuring Dean Lewis and his family as they discuss the history and meanings behind Old Car City. Earlier this summer, Tracy Smith from CBS Sunday Morning, came to visit Dean and his family at Old Car City. They spent several days touring and filming in Old Car City and interviewed Dean and the family as well as photographers who were making images at Old Car City. So if you are up and moving this Sunday, please tune into CBS Sunday Morning on you local CBS affiliate.