Abandoned Classics Found In New Mexico

From Gregg W – I was on a road trip back to Minnesota from Tucson recently and while driving on Highway 54 through Vaughn, New Mexico, we stopped in front of a church my sister wanted to check out. Not really being interested in churches I happened to notice on the other side of the main drag an abandoned gas station and matching garage, apparently once in use as its service structure. The place looked like it belonged on Route 66 with all the other forgotten and abandoned gas/service stations! Most of the town reminded me of the same. The first thing I saw through the half-opened hinged garage door was the tail fin of a 1963 Fairlane!

Having a ’63 in my own garage, I could not open the door quick enough to get out, run across the empty highway to check out. My sister mentioned she had to find a restroom, so with that in mind, I was only able to spend less than a fraction of what was necessary to check it out. The attached photos show what I found inside, very sad, like someone ran out of time and just went home, never to come back. I’m hoping someone here can tell the story of what happened here.

The cars inside had so much going for them and they ended up a meal for the never-ending work of vandals! They are rust-free and looked like they were in the process of being repaired, except maybe the Corvair. Perhaps someone came by and ‘borrowed’ most of her parts? The ’59? Lincoln looks as if it could be salvaged along with a few body parts from the Fairlane. Several engines lay strewn about layers of trash, and what was left of the structure’s roof provided plenty of light! The picture of the VIN is off the Fairlane, the Bias-ply tires date the extent of time the cars have been in slumber. I wonder how the Dyna Flow fits into the mix?

Special thanks to Gregg for sharing his sighting with us! It really would be interesting to know the story of what happened here. If you happen to know more about this abandoned shop and the cars in it, please share. And if you’ve come across an interesting find, please share the photos and story with us!

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Comments

  1. Vinnie C.

    New Mexico is full of older abandoned cars many of them in way better condition. Getting them bought is the challenge!

    Like 21
    • Steve R

      Better and more desirable. Even if complete, these cars wouldn’t be in high demand.

      Steve R

      Like 15
      • TimS Member

        Because of course, resale is the only reason to take on a project.

        Like 42
      • Bill McCoskey

        But Steve R, we both know if you have one of these cars already, and it’s from the rust belt, those car bodies can be very valuable today.

        Like 16
      • KenB

        That Lincoln would be quite desirable.

        Like 3
    • Steve R

      TimS, resale value has nothing to do with it. It’s about potential buyers spending their money wisely. There is nothing special about the cars shown in the pictures. They are just shells, better examples can be found at reasonable prices, that’s what matters. I seriously doubt anyone that echos your opinion would spend their own money to purchase and restore one of these cars, it would be foolish to do so. Your comment is just grandstanding, it’s an empty gesture.

      Steve R

      Like 26
      • piper62j

        Steve R..
        Tim S is on track.. If these body shells are in good condition, and a buyer has the resources to bring them back, there would certainly be some resale value. When I had my shop, there were plenty of salvage yards we dealt with who had the parts to sell us and very reasonable prices because we continually did repeat business with them on our restorations.. Our opinions are welcome on this site, criticisms are frowned upon. Thanks for your contribution.

        Like 32
      • Trevor m

        When it comes to cars and nostalgia and emotion no Monet is spent wisely!

        Like 1
  2. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Cool find, Greg, and thanks for sharing his find with us, Josh. Someone with some time could have a field day with a little research here.

    Ironic, isn’t it, that some simple minded twit would graffiti cars that no one can really see until they’re inside the building.

    Hopefully an owner can be found to part with some of the stuff inside!

    Like 22
    • Jef

      Agree the story is in the detail of why the cars were left. The cars themselves less so.
      I drove parts of route 66 and have photos of similar abandoned gas stations. Didn’t find a cache of cars though.

      Like 2
  3. Mark Mitchell Member

    I also stopped in Vaughn many years ago as a friend had told me about a huge wrecking yard there full of classic cars. The yard seemed to be long gone, but there were remnants left with a few junk cars scattered around an open field just outside of town. It was mostly picked over and there was nothing too exciting. I looked around some more, and noticed a giant Ford neon dealership sign abandoned and half buried in the soil. As I happened to be driving a van, I managed to load it up and bring it back home with me. I did poke around at the gas station you photographed and a couple others nearby. At the time, there were some pretty desirable cars and an old ’40’s tow truck. Again, nobody around to ask if they were for sale. On the same cross country trip, I stopped at a makeshift classic car dealer somewhere along Route 66. I went onto the lot to check out the cars, and a mangy dog came out of nowhere and attacked me. Luckily no injuries – my Levi’s took most of the damage!

    Like 17
    • RC

      Ummmmm …….. open and wild as the American West might look, properties are not necessarily abandoned nor is the stuff on it. Many years back, our family had visitors with kids from back east come to our largely unfenced property, and in thinking they had chanced upon an abandoned Crosley pickup up a little dim roadpath, the kids smashed every bit of glass on it. It was on OUR property and it was MY DAD’s truck that he might have been able to do something with. He was just lagging a bit behind on dealing with it.

      Ya might want to put that Ford sign back where you found it, and/or find some of the townsfolk to see who it belongs to, and deeply apologize for stealing something that wasn’t yours.

      Like 58
      • Freddy

        What RC said. An old steel wheeled tractor was liberated from my grandfathers farm in similar fashion.

        Like 12
      • Mark Mitchell Member

        I agree with your sentiments, although I assure you that the sign was well and truly abandoned. This was the prior site of a wrecking yard, but everything of value was either moved, crushed, or sold off. There were no buildings on the lot and no fencing – just a handful of stripped car body shells, debris, and sagebrush. This was about 20-25 years ago-

        Like 11
    • Chris

      Sounds like stealing to me . Properties may look abandon but someone probably owned that property . I would never remove anything without permission .”But that’s me “

      Like 21
    • Ricardo Sanchez Member

      Mark M, What happened to the sign? I’ve been talking to Mr Allen about that specific sign. It was a Ford Jubilee dealer sign that was stolen from his property in Vaughn. It’s a very valuable sign and despite appearing “abandoned” was taken from his property. Any assistance in returning it to the rightful owner would be greatly appreciated!

  4. Mark

    There’s been a video on YouTube for over a year of this building and these cars.

    Like 12
  5. NovaTom

    There’s a YouTube video of this location.

    Like 6
  6. Ken Carney

    Lots of VT there! Restoring these cars
    would definitely be a labor of love for
    someone with deep pockets. But then,
    there’s plenty of stuff there to make a
    rat rodder squeal with delight. As for
    me though, I think all these cars are
    good for is the parts they have left
    on them.

    Like 2
  7. Dave

    I am from Albuquerque NM. I have passed the place many times when there was a full junk yard in the back. Hundreds of amazing cars. It was called Allen Motors and was a authorized Ford dealer. The owner died as did the town…slowly. City ended up crushing all the car except the cars inside. Back in 1998 I got in the building, did some urban archeological and took some great pics. Ford motor signs everywhere, shelves were stocked with NOS parts. It was dream! I managed to save some documentation from the dealership and a couple service write up sheets. It was beautiful! But please note as of today the building, what’s left of it, and the land is still owned by the family.

    Like 20
    • boxdin

      I’m in ABQ also. In 1989 I bought a new Ramcharger and one Sunday I drove out to Vaughn w my trusty camera and took a bunch of the cars and trucks there. Yes I have pics of the dodge cabover tow truck in the front. Just a couple of years later it was all gone. Another large yard now gone is in colorado near the NM border.

  8. Steve Clinton

    When my family took a cross-country vacation in 1966, I remember we stopped at a few places where there old abandoned cars in fields. I think it was New Mexico. My dad helped me remove some of the name badges, from a Buick (the big oval emblem from the hood was the best one), Packard, Kaiser, etc. Luckily we didn’t get snake or dog bit! I still have them!

    Like 2
  9. KENNETH ATHON

    On non-publicly owned property, if something doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to somebody else. Leave it, undisturbed.

    Like 28
  10. Mack Urioste

    Yes this was Allen Motor Company – Ford dealership.
    I heard that the property and cars were tied up in a estate/probate issue.
    My brother and I went there two times about 30 years ago and photographed
    many of the cars in the yard. We didn’t know about the cars inside at the time.
    The building has really deteriorated over the years.
    So sad that all those cars were crushed as many of them could have been restored or at least provided parts for others. As usual a lot of the glass had
    been broken out.

    Like 1
  11. gaspumpchas

    That fairlane is a sports roof; if you had a rusty one you could build on this one, provided you could buy it cheap. I’m sure all the good stuff is gone. Sad to see in this condition. If you wanted to take the time you could find out the owners’ name from the county, might even be on line. Stay safe, good luck and respect others’ property.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 5
  12. RepeatOffender-Stephen

    My grandfather had a farm in TX which was passed down to my father & uncle. Grandma’s house was a kit bought from the Sears catalog, that my dad & uncle assembled. There was a separate carport that had a whole wall of old license plates. All different years, colors, designs, states….(You used to have to get new license plates in TX every year, back in the 1970’s and prior). They were cool to see as a kid. The entire property was fenced, because they had cows. Grandma died, and my uncle lived elsewhere on the property. Kids started breaking into the house to party. All the license plates were stolen.

    Private property is private property. I’m sure artifacts in the abandoned dealership could bring much joy to the owner’s relatives, even if they appear abandoned.

    Like 2
  13. P Reilly

    Just love days like that.
    A great story and the sign was a great find.
    From some of the comments I guess it is a sign of our times .

  14. Jerry K

    The only rust in southern New Mexico is imported. I spent several years living in Roswell down route 285 from Vaughn. Not a filling station or anything for 90 miles.
    Last I was by this location about 10 years ago and looked the same. The owner probably died and there was nobody to pick up the ball. Vaughn is a shadow of it’s former self. Hoping place years back thanks to the Union Pacific, 15 to 20 trains a day rumble thru.

    Like 2
  15. Lowthar... of the Hill People

    Note to self… get a mangy dog to keep people from stealing my “abandoned” stuff.

    Like 12
    • Eric B

      Thank you for having this screen name. Now I can tell by the position of the sun that it is time to end this comment.

      Like 1
      • Lothar... of the Hill People

        Glad you like it, Eric B.

        Yes, getting late it is. And I swear by Zena’s teats, I am tired all the time.

  16. wizzy

    Your lucky you didn’t get a butt full of buckshot Gregg W. People around here don’t take kindly to unknowns poking around like that.

    Like 7
  17. Michael Walter

    Classic American cars and classic Streamline Moderne buildings! It doesn’t get better than that.

    BTW, isn’t Rte. 54 part of the old Rte. 66?

    Like 2
  18. lbpa18

    You guys are a tough crowd. By the description, it doesnt sound to me like he violated anyone. I get the rest, but the picture he paints sounds pretty innocent. Give the guy a chance to exercise his judgement. By all you have said, every open space is private and one is breaking the law walking on it. As a property owner, I recognize I have a duty to make it obvious that it isnt just open unowned or abandoned land. Fences and/or signs go a long way here. That said, that wont stop a lot of real thieves intent on mischief.

    Like 2
  19. Sheldon Jackson

    Mark… Did the 40’s tow truck have any of the equipment on the back? Or was it just a shell? I would love to take a look at it. Would you mind telling me the location of it so I could make that might happen? It would make my day on my next trip out that way. Thanks

    • Mark Member

      It was 20-25 years ago when I stopped there. It has most likely been crushed or moved by now.

  20. David W. King

    Back during the early ’90s, I drove through Wyoming from Salt Lake City, UT, by way of I-80, and stopped at appeared to be two empty warehouses on the south-side of the road. I didn’t know what I would find, if anything. But as I was peering through the windows, I heard my name. I thought I was imagining things at the time. Again, I heard my name clear as a bell. Then I spotted them. It was a State trooper. He was talking to me over his loud-speaker. I asked him how he knew my name. He said that he had run my plates, and was able to identify me. At the time I was driving a 1975 Ford LTD four door which I had purchased in Rapid City, SD, before moving to SLC. This thing which was completely without rust, I had purchased for $500. I wish I owned that car today.

    Like 1
  21. Goatsnvairs

    Of course some douche had to spray tag them…..

    Like 3
  22. Mark Mitchell Member

    Another great stop in New Mexico to see “vintage tin” is the Lewis Classic Car Museum in Moriarty along Route 66. There have a huge collection of unrestored and weathered old cars and trucks outside, and quite a few more restored cars kept inside. Lots of toys and memorabilia too: http://www.tresburrosgarage.com/lewis-museum.html

    Like 2
  23. John C.

    I was once told at the County tax office here in eastern Pa. that every parcel of land is owned by somebody. Weather they maintain it or care about is another story but there is no such thing as an un owned piece of land.

    Like 5
    • Butchb

      John, much of the West out here is owned by the governments. Tribal land, State Government Land or U.S. Forest Service and BLM. In fact only 12% of the land in Arizona is privately held.

      While it’s a $500 fine to abandon a car on public land, lots of interesting “junk” ends up left behind at abandoned mines and ranch’s. While I definitely don’t condone trespassing on private property or stealing, inexpensive permits are offered to use public land. And often government bureaucrats mostly look the other way when junk is removed as they don’t want to be bothered to take responsibility for it. Nor do they want their agency to have to pay to have it removed. So when old, abandoned “junk” disappears from public land it’s, to them, often an eyesore gone and a potential expense removed.

      It’s pretty easy to know where you’re standing out here, whether it’s public land or private property. So good people stay off people’s land and leave their stuff alone. While it’s something of a grey issue in some circumstance’s, removing junk from public land may be viewed as cleaning up the environment.

      Like 2
  24. george mattar

    Interesting comments by all you guys. However, the bottom line is any tangible item, such as one of these cars, is only worth what someone is willing to pay. About the only good thing about these cars is they are sitting in a dry climate. If they were where I live, they would be RUST. Good luck trying to buy them. The chroming bill on that Lincoln alone would be $15,000.

  25. Gary Rhodes

    A thief is a thief. Leave it where you found it.

    Like 2
  26. chrlsful

    if ur thrilled by this U need to get out more. These places are al over the 7 SW states (yes, even today) and even frm the Mississippi west. Being from several of the Right Coast states it’s all a surprise to me. NV was the best (’50s Morris Minor/but in CooperS livery, Studie p/u, caddy p/u, all sorta stuff).

  27. Ricardo Sanchez Member

    I have a relatively cool story for anyone who’s interested. FYI – I know the owner and just bought those cars!

    I’ve been driving through Vaughn since I was a kid in the mid-late 80’s. Dad was a fan of traveling on backroads and Hwy 54 shaved some time off of trips to Santa Fe and destinations to the north. I was well aware of the existence of the yard behind and around the Allen Garage. There were probably 100’s of cars from the 20’s-60’s. In the mid-90’s a good friend of mine bought a car out of that yard during an auction. Through a series of auctions they sold off all of the cars.

    Through the early 2000’s I still admired the buildings and their vintage aesthetic. The doors always appeared to be fully secured and I never dared to venture onto private property. Then on a trip in early 2020, I noticed that the doors had been opened. It was then that I first saw the 3 cars located inside. I snapped a few pictures from the doorway, but couldn’t venture beyond the threshold.

    I began doing some research and was able to make contact with Mr Arlan Allen, the owner. We spoke at length and in late May 2021 we met in Vaughn. He gave me full access to his properties. We explored the garage, service station, a family home, a grocery store, and an appliance store. Time has taken a toll on all of the buildings and their contents. Ceilings and floors are decaying and some areas are pretty dangerous.

    The cars in the garage are no gems. The vandals and thieves have taken bits and pieces through the years. Mr Allen’s Dad closed the shop doors in the late 60’s and relocated. He never opened shop again. After the man’s death, his son, Arlan Allen and his siblings inherited the properties. They have recently started selling them and have begun the arduous process of cleaning up.

    I was fortunate enough to buy the 1963 Fairlane, 1959 Lincoln Premiere Coupe, and a 1962 Scout 80 that served as the shop truck, service truck, plow, etc. for the garage. I am in the process of removing the cars from the garage and other property and will be reselling. I don’t plan to get rich off the cars. I will be listing them for reasonable prices that reflect the condition. My utmost goal has and always will be to save the cars and find proper homes for them!

    Anyone interested can contact me. Cheers!

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