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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

For auto junkies, visiting Old Car City USA is a must
Deep in the Georgia woods, about an hour north of Atlanta, there lies a sight that excites and delights old car junkies from the world over.
Spread out across 34 acres in the tiny rural community of White is a vintage car scrapyard that serves as the final resting place for more than 4,000 cars, dating from 1918 to 1972. Old Car City USA is said to be the world's largest auto junkyard.
But more than a traditional junkyard, it exists as a decaying repository of the auto industry — lovingly neglected and open for all to see as one of North Georgia's most popular tourist attractions. Visitors can wander more than six miles of trails, paying $15 to browse and $25 to make photos.
The owner and curator of this picturesque museum of automotive carcasses is 77-year-old Dean Lewis. His parents established the salvage yard in 1931  back when hard times had most folks trying to save money by opting for used over new.
The vehicles themselves, scattered about in various stages of rusting ruin, are only part of the attraction. Mother Nature has added her input, draping the cars in greenery, wrapping them in vines and coating them with moss. They have become literally one with the environment.
The result is nothing less than a sprawling outdoor art gallery — a picturesque scene of abandonment where nature has helped create stunning color schemes in hoods, roofs, windshields and engine blocks that would be challenging to replicate in an artist's or sculptor's studio.
Described by one writer as "a creative thinker and doer, yet maybe a bit strange," Lewis also is more than a bit shrewd. A number of years ago, when visitors began showing up in droves, taking photos and even posing models for professional shoots, he realized the profit potential of his rustic theme park and started charging admission.
An artist in his own right, Lewis busies himself applying intricate ink designs to plastic foam coffee cups, several hundred of which are on display in his headquarters building. His creativity and quixotic sense of humor can also be seen in a number of bizarre scrap iron sculptures and chimes made of hubcaps, tailpipes and other car parts scattered about the property.
A sign at the entrance reads "Welcome to the Worlds Largest Knowd Old Car Junkyard." Another proclaims "CARS, ART, NATURE, HISTORY," which pretty well sums up what Old Car City USA is all about.
Visitors are welcome Wednesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact: 770-382-6141

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