We recently took advantage of a work trip to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, Nevada, to re-discover the American southwest. Starting in Sin City we rented a Hyundai and headed for Death Valley in California. From there we drove to Joshua Tree National Park, to Palm Springs and back to Vegas through the Mojave Desert.
California is widely known as one of the glitziest states in the U.S. but the southeastern part of it is decidedly rural. Abandoned houses are a dime a dozen and decrepit vintage cars, trucks and tractors are a common sight. The hot and dry climate goes a long way in preserving cars and the vast majority of the classics we came across had less rust than many ten-year old cars you see in humid climates like the Pacific Northwest or the United Kingdom.
As expected, European cars are few and far between. We’d estimate that in smaller towns 90-percent of the cars are American, maybe eight-percent are Asian (generally Accords, Camrys and the occasional Sonata) and the rest are European. Volkswagen Beetles were surprisingly common but many had been converted into Baja Bugs.
We’ll showcase a number of cars we came upon over the coming weeks. In the meantime, we’ve compiled a gallery of some of the pictures we took during our three-day long trip.
Can someone help us identify the pre-war sedan below? We took the picture behind a fence so we weren’t able to get a look at the front end or the interior.