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Hagerty Employee

Dieter Klein travels the world in search of the perfect abandoned car photo

For a photographer who spends half his life traveling the world in search of abandoned cars, it should come as no surprise that one of the favorite photographs captured by Dieter Klein was in nowheresville.


“It was the last corner of America, really in the middle of nowhere, six miles to Canada, 20 miles to North Dakota, in a town with six houses. There is nothing; nobody who cares about anything. So it meant that the abandoned car could be left and would remain forever untouched by anybody.”


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Intermediate Driver

What a wonderful aesthetic. I too have pondered derelicts, be they old cars, old buildings, old aircraft...left to molder in an almost state of grace, in my travels thru my home states of Alaska and now Arizona. There is many secret, off the grid places in America where you can pause for a moment and wonder 'what is the story behind this place, this thing'. Beautiful.

Pit Crew

Great pics!  We found this in Belize - not so much abandoned, more like repurposed.IMG_2448.JPG


There's something really neat about a car with great patina running/ driving/ being used.  Kind of sad to see them rotting to the ground, but that's the way it goes sometimes. 

Intermediate Driver

They are great photos, but from a photographer's standpoint, I wish he would back off on the color filters about 10%.  It helps to improve the striking feeling invoked, but some of the photos are bordering on being photochops because of the amount of color modification.

Pit Crew

The not retouched line in the article should be removed. I guess if the manipulation is all done in the camera, then it's the camera that has poor fidelity, but the images clearly have too much saturation.

Great shots, love his work, especially his eye for framing the shots. Can't help but wonder if one of those is part of the Belgian "forest of parked cars" left behind by GI's who bought them during occupation and had to leave them behind when shipping back to the US?

Advanced Driver

That cover shot is fabulous, and its story just adds. The Ford panel van with the trailer is also amazing in the midst of that western landscape.  I took this photograph in 2011. I've taken  a lot of this Mustang, both in winter and summer, and it's still in this spot. 



when the authorities "clean up", all they do is destroy history and opportunities. most "derelict" vehicles are still able to provide parts for other restorations. some, like that mopar on the cover, are a candidate for a full restoration. i live in unorganized township. we have no rules, and the last attempt to "organize" a municipality was met, according the news accounts, "by 200 angry shouting residents" at a meeting arranged by the government. thank God for small mercies.

New Driver

Found this one outside Lexington, Kentucky. The weeds were high, but Mother Nature allowed the 442 badge to be visible to show some respect.

Pit Crew

Thanks for sharing so much of his work.  Great artist eye.

New Driver

The artistry is fairly spectacular.  You kinda wonder exactly how a vehicle came to be where it is returning to the earth over time.  

The stories are myriad and the pictures are great, and sad at the same time.

Advanced Driver

Owned a Baby Blue 60 Dodge with that wonderful slant 6 back in the day. One of the best cars I ever owned. Seeing this picture makes we remember and almost want to go out and rescue her but is has more beauty allowing her to sleep. 

Pit Crew

Great pictures. I have one abondoned  Triumph TR3 4 cyl in Spain..

Intermediate Driver

A couple of notes. Michael's Porsche is not from 1950, it's a 356B about a decade newer. Also, his compositions are terrific, but they are most certainly post-processed, either in camera or after. That is evident by the heavy HDR effect which is the result of combining multiple exposures to achieve the lighting and contrast effect. This isn't a criticism, rather explanation as a good HDR photo is not easy to create.

Intermediate Driver

Beautiful! Thank you for your wonderful images, Dieter!


Intermediate Driver

I can sum up my reaction in one word WOW. The one that stands out the most,to me, is the pink Dodge. They're all beautiful. 

Intermediate Driver

So sorry to see all that old iron abandoned in such bad shape.

Pit Crew

Fantastic work. Beautiful.

Pit Crew

The aluminum wheel trim on that 74 grand prix is very hard to find.  I wonder where in WY it is!

Intermediate Driver

Beautiful work all right.  The effort needed to find the cars and create the image is amazing.  I've loved that kind of photo for a long time, which is why I've gotten and used Hemming's "Abandoned Vehicles" calendars for many years.  It made me remember that some of the pictures I took in college, of the southwestern Pennsylvania countryside, included abandoned vehicles and equipment.  I should see if I still have those somewhere...


Looked up Phase One cameras. Base model $51,990. Seriously. There must be a lot of money in commercial photography.


Anyone notice the airplane- nose buried-behind the house trailer?


It's beautiful work and very well done. Thank you for this. I'll buy the book when I can.

Pit Crew

I’m intrigued by autos that have been not necessarily abandoned, but stored forever, I live in NY, and in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx, on the side of a woman’s house is a 66 GTO, been there since the 70s, under a partial tarp, yellow 4 speed car, hasn’t been registered since the early 70s, and I’ve left letters but to no avail, rumors abound it was her sons car, never returned from Vietnam Nam, car is so far gone now, it’s a shame, I guess when she goes, it will go too, 

Advanced Driver

We have several similar places here in Southern New Jersey. One is chock full of old Corvettes (which, of course, the uninformed will think are worth a ton of money!). That's not a slight, just an inside reality that most of the long time car guys will definitely get.

I find it so interesting but am really not inclined to stop in and ask....why? I am certainly bold enough but just want to leave the pile of dreams sitting there behind the fence.

I really liked the "abandoned" pictures like that "not so old" Grand Prix. The hood has been removed so that is a clue. But I, possibly like the photographer, don't really want to disturb the cars. I do want to know the "why" but sometimes the right thing to do is just counter-intuitive, right? 

A very cool look at something most of us would have never, ever seen! Thanks

Pit Crew

Great pictures but the enhancing he does in his computer is really heavy handed.  Makes the images look more like drawings and water colors.  I would prefer something more accurately and tastefully represented. 

Intermediate Driver

Why did Mustangs have to get so big?  Why did VW get fancy with the Beetle?  We loved the diesel Rabbit's.  They would go forever and feel good with the sunroof back.  The hell with the smoke.  Porsche had to get big and clumsy too.  Who the hell wants to put the key into the left side of the steering wheel and drive a car that does not even have an oil dip stick?  New cars suck.  Their colors suck and I don't want my windshield wiper controls on a stupid stick.  I want them on the dash.  I want a dimmer switch on the floor.  I have two feet.  I want the high beam indicator be RED.  Not "comfortable" blue.  I hope I see improvements before I die.  And electric cars.  Been around 150 years now.  They still suck.  And catch on fire.


cool and depressing at the same time...

Advanced Driver

The "1950" Porsche is a 1960 to 1965 356. 

Intermediate Driver

There was an auction near me last weekend that Dieter would have found a few subjects. A couple of the pictures had the trees taking over. And the description to bring a few friends and a chainsaw. 

New Driver

The Porsche 356 has to be from the mid 60's, not 1950!


I enjoyed the subjects but find that the manipulation of the hues, saturation and as the author suggests, "tonal values", for me, detracts from the image. They look surreal vs real.

I want to see what the eye sees, not a digitally enhanced, visually "loud" photograph of these wonderful automobiles. For my money, the few photos submitted by readers far surpasses what is presented here.


There's a country road not far from home that I travel several times a year. My fantasy is to walk the entire ten miles and photograph the derelict cars I see there. The first caught my attention when the tarp tore over the passenger window. Over the years the entire tarp disappeared, revealing a 1953 or 1954 Chevy sedan. There is also a postwar Pontiac two door with that beautiful fastback shape and a 1957 Ford hardtop. Someone keeps the headlights burning on an early 1920's touring car with seasonal character balloons taking a ride. Now I must follow Dieter's lead. By the way, I see three Saabs under the Austin in that Swedish forest. I wish I could afford to resurrect just one such car. I can't believe Michael bought fifty cars just to let them rot. Neglect by design saddens me.


How are you uploading photos? I have a few. Thanks!

Community Manager

Great pictures.  Derelict cars always make me a little sad.  That was new once, and perhaps someones pride and joy.