World’s Largest Old Car Junkyard: Old Car City U.S.A.
Fifty miles north of Atlanta, a 34-acre compound houses one of the largest car collections in the world. But this collection doesn’t have polished Ferraris or Porsches under shining lights. There are no immaculate Mercedes or Bentleys proudly displayed behind velvet ropes.
A rusty sign out front of the site reads “The world’s oldest junkyard jungle, here 80 years.”
Most of this collection is unsalvageable midcentury American steel, and it lays strewn about a forested property in rural Georgia. Over 4,500 cars – most of which are model year 1972 or older – belong to a man who spent his life saving some of America’s classic cars from the crusher.
Old Car City began in 1931 as a general store, opened by the family of current owner Dean Lewis. Dean’s parents ran the store in the town of White, Georgia, and sold various items ranging from clothing to car parts, tires, and gasoline.
When the United States entered World War II, resources such as steel and tires became scarce as they were directed toward the war effort.
The Lewis family smartly followed the money and shifted the business into scrapping cars; by the late 1940s the general store had morphed into an auto salvage yard.
But Dean had a different vision for the business; rather than profit off the destruction of cars he wanted to preserve their legacies.
He recalls “My daddy bought me a ’40 Ford when I was about 12 or 14 and I just liked old cars from then on.”