Headlights In The Field

Posted: 23rd September 2013 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

It’s a real good thing I never grew up here.  I would have been in and out of the hospital non-stop for tetanus shots and to sew back on appendages that would have mysteriously been liberated from my body.  No matter how hard my mom would have tried, it would have been pointless, there’s no way you’d have been able to keep me away from these old rusty cars.  To me, they would have been toys of the highest magnitude, and they most certainly would have beckoned me like a Siren’s song.

Rusty Antique Car Planter - Metchosin, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Rusty Antique Car Planter – Metchosin, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

What started out in life as what I believe to be a late 20’s or early 30’s Model A Ford today has a whole new purpose for existence.  Today it is a planter.  Or a toy, depending on your viewpoint.

Isn’t this a terrific way to re-purpose something?  With all the talk lately of being green and looking to recycle and reuse as much as possible things like this are a terrific way to take a chunk of metal that could have just as easily ended up part of an auto-wrecking yard and give it a whole new second life.  It’s utterly ingenious.  I think for me, one of the things that really struck me as Mrs. Toad and I were adventuring all over the west coast of the island over the weekend was the imagination required to see something like this come alive from a worn out car in the driveway.  If you look closely, some really interesting elements come to light.  For example, the classic wire wheels that are so distinctive on cars of this time still exist, at least in the back right fender.  Also, the front left tire is still there!  Even though it’s highly unlikely it’s serviceable, it really adds a wonderful touch.  And one of the best parts, at least to us, is the way the owner created a hanging bar inside the car from which to hang baskets of flowers and plants from.  It almost looks as if the plants are driving, if you use your imagination.

Rusty Car - Metchosin, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Rusty Car – Metchosin, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

What’s the story here?  Your guess is definitely as good, or even better, than mine.  First glance reveals a little vignette in a field with the remains of a VW Beetle.  Given the sparse level of trim still evident, the year and generation of this car elude me at the moment, but a couple of little things immediately pop out.  The first is how there are no back windows in this Beetle.  All VW’s that I am aware of had back windows.  Also the front fenders appear to me to be widened.  VW Beetle’s have historically been very popular platforms to use for building such specialty cars as dune-buggies.  They are easy to work on, parts are cheap and easy to find, and they are very very reliable, even in the most daunting environments.  Could it be that this is all that remains from what once was a really cool dune-buggy?  If you do a search on Google for “vw beetle dune buggy” you’ll find about a trillion examples, showing the endless myriad of ways that people can customize them.

I find it’s amazing what you can discover if you just get in your car and explore your area.  Little scenes, like the ones we’ve shared here today, are found everywhere, they literally pop out as you make your way around.  Vancouver Island is a wonderful place, full of whimsy and character, the challenge is trying to find and capture them all.

Thank you so much for your kind visit to The Hollow today!  We love to hear from all our visitors, so please do feel free to leave us any comments you may have.  Until next time!




  1. avatar Rick Louie says:

    What a find, Toad! Oh what stories those cars could tell!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      No kidding my friend, I totally totally agree! Thanks so much for your kind visit, Rick, that means an awful lot to us here!

  2. avatar Edith Levy says:

    What a great place to shoot Toad. Love it. Denise Ippolito is coming to Toronto to speak to my photography club and she’ll be running some workshops for us. One is to an old autoyard and I hope some of the finds will be as great as this.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Oh wow, Edith, you’d never be able to tear me away from a venue like that! It’s so odd to find the beauty in these sorts of artifacts, yet there it is, just begging to be noticed. I really hope you enjoy your workshop and I’ll be keeping a close eye out for the posts you make that come from the visit! Thank you so much for your kind visit here today, my dear friend!

  3. avatar Jim Denham says:

    And it is the little things isn’t it? These things you didn’t use to see until you started looking through the viewfinder! Very cool finds Toads – Pretty genius use of what most would consider junk!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Ain’t it just something else entirely, Jim? 🙂 Thank you so so much for your visit my friend, it’s always a huge highlight for us when you pop by!

  4. avatar LensScaper says:

    Love those planters in that first rusted wreck. looks like there was something red hanging inside the vehicle. Geraniums perhaps? I would love to see this decorated with bright red planters full of geraniums. That vehicle would com alive with a bright primary colour. That vehicle still has stature and presence despite everything that’s happened to it.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Ooo, I totally agree with you on that Andy! I do think you’re right about it being geraniums, although I couldn’t see for sure from the vantage point I had when shooting this picture. I had to use all of my 135mm lens to reach that far. 🙂 I LOVE your comments here pertaining to the stature and presence of the car, that’s a perfect way to describe it! Thank you so kindly, my friend, we really appreciate it!

  5. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    What great shots, Toad. Absolutely love that first shot. Using that as a planter is just fantastic. It’s really nice to see the old car from the past continue to bring joy to those who view it. 🙂

  6. avatar ken bello says:

    As far as I’m concerned, these cars are gold, photographically speaking. Someone along the way customized that VW but it eventually came to this sad end. Still a gorgeous car, though, for those of us who appreciate them.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      I totally, totally agree with you Ken, absolutely!! Thanks so much for your kind visit and comments here, my friend!

  7. avatar Renee Besta says:

    I’m so thrilled to see that certain people truly value the historic and emotional significance of these old classic vehicles. I would call that process “Stories in the Rust,” a name I’ve given to a favorite urbex photo of mine. It is way too sad for me to think about these vintage beauties ending up in a wrecking yard – what was once so full of life crushed into oblivion.

    The planters are a very cool way to have new life springing forth from a prior life. A resurrection of sorts. They are merged together beautifully. My, Toad, you have a wonderful eye in discovering these things and a great way with words.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Gosh, thanks so much there Renee, your ongoing friendship and support of our work means so much to us! Thanks for taking the time to pop by, my dear friend!

  8. Lol, the past is still present, albeit immobile. Isn’t it nice to come across these little “jewels” and being able to stop and explore them. By the way, your THP logo is embedded very nicely and inconspicuously in your photographs (unlike most of these type of signatures, that harm the looks of the image they are attached to). I have been meaning to compliment you on that for a while now. Take care.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Joseph!! That means a lot to me. Our watermark was changed a couple months back to try and not impede on the picture, so your comments here really mean a lot to me because it appears to be working. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit us, and for leaving your thoughtful comments my fine friend, we sure do appreciate it.

  9. avatar ehpem says:

    Two really good shots that go together perfectly.
    I like that couple driving the Model A, one is looking a bit flushed, I hope they did not take a corner too fast!
    I wonder if the sun roof on the bug was customised, or if it would help date the car, in general terms.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      HA! 🙂 What terrific comments, Ehpem, thank you so much for popping on by and leaving those for everyone to enjoy!! I had similar thoughts, too, about the sunroof on the VW; given the lines on the fenders there I think it’s from at least the 70’s, but it’s really hard to tell because so much trim is missing. I.e. there is none!

  10. Love the old cars! That first shot is my favorite. I enjoy the rusted old vehicles but it’s sad to see them waste away to ruin. Nice post!

  11. avatar Valerie Couture says:

    I love those old car photos you have done. Old rusted out cars stir something inside me when I look at them and think of their glory days. Such history.

    • I totally agree, Valerie, thank you! These are definitely some of my favorite subjects to work with, there is a story in each of them if only you look. Many thanks for taking the time to pop by and see us today and for leaving these great comments!!