My Favorite Ride: Packard, Dodge, Buick, Plymouth, Mercury? Maybe

2022-03-15 04:04:08 By : Ms. Zoe Fang

YELLOWWOOD STATE FOREST — Just what kind of car is that rusted-way-beyond-recognition metal sculpture of sorts located off the YZ hiking and horse trail in Brown County's Yellowwood State Forest?

Well, I sure didn't know. So when I put it out there to readers of this column a few weeks ago, I got just two responses. A 1949 or '50 Chrysler, or DeSoto, maybe a Dodge, David Willibey said. The other response suggested a 1954 Cadillac.

I called the forest office and asked about the car, but they didn't know much either. The car has always been there, likely abandoned along with a homestead long ago — before the state forest was created.

Last week:Mystery car in Yellowwood State Forest still unidentified

When I devoted last week's column to the old automobile, again, more people got interested, started to wonder and delved into research to identify the mystery car.

Bob Marriott, a reader who lives in Delmar, New York, was intrigued. He was the 30th reader I heard from this week.

"I spent a lot of time last night researching your mystery (actually, in the early morning hours, until about 4 a.m.) using Google," he wrote in one of the longest emails I have received. "I knew the Cadillac was not even close. You said you took too many pictures. You can never take too many pictures; one might hold a tiny clue that clinches it."

Sidenote: Marriott's aforementioned email listed some of the cars in his collection, "None beautifully restored and many I've never had running." Two Model A trucks, a 1941 DeSoto "and several 1964, '65 and '66 Thunderbirds." I suspect I will be writing about them.

He identified the car spot-on, and provided much documentation supporting the ID. So did a reader named Nick, whose email arrived soon after Marriott's. He deciphered the numbers on the metal vehicle number tag riveted inside the driver's door well.

I heard from 38 readers about this mystery, from across the country: Florida, California, New York, Kentucky. Bedford.

Speculation and insights ran the gamut: a late 1940s Packard, a 1949 Kaiser, an early-1950s Dodge Coronet, a 1946 Buick, a 1950 Plymouth, a 1949 Mercury, a 1946 Frazer, a 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook or a Canadian-manufactured Dodge Regent from the same year. 

I am pretty proud to say that by looking solely at pictures of rusted pieces of metal that 70 years ago were a daily driver for someone who lived where the car was left behind, 15 of you identified the car.

My Favorite Ride has a car-savvy readership.

Solving mysteries:I knew it wasn't an Impala. Thanks to readers, we now know what it is

Here are excerpts from some of the responses that landed in my inbox. I enjoyed hearing from so many people who share my love for automobiles of yore and the stories that go along.

Sometimes, we have a mystery to solve.

• "Note the shape and placement of the rear fenders, front fender body lines into the front door, tail light shape and placement, placement of the door handle and window crank and steering wheel, three-spoke."

• "If you haven't found out by now the car pictured on the web abandoned in Yellowstone is a 1951 Dodge Regent Sedan. It is a Canadian Dodge." 

• "Very interesting story on the abandoned car. The idea of it being a Cadillac is not correct, a couple things rule it out: the shape of the rear window and the steering wheel."

• "With a little bit of searching, the vehicle has been identified using the interior door handle, driver-side rear fender, driver-side rear post, between rear door and rear window."

• "The vehicle in question is most likely Buick, either 1942 or 1946."

• "See the photo below and compare the trunk line, the gas cap location, the shape of the rear fender, the barely-there taillight, and the surviving little piece of chrome on the middle pillar of the roof between the doors."  

• "The biggest indicator that it is a 1950 Plymouth Deluxe, is that taillight. As you can see, it shows the remnant of the lens frame, very much like the '50 Plymouth. Finally, if you look closely, under that big stick of wood leaning on the rear of the car, is the gas filler whole."

• "Although Chrysler also produced the DeSoto and it shared a lot of the basic body styling of Dodge and Plymouth it is not the car in the photos as the taillights were totally different that year."

• "Some aspects of body are reminiscent of a 1950s Packard."

• "I came across your article about the abandoned car in Yellowwood state forest and started investigating out of curiosity."

• "I can ask my father and his friends what they think. They’re car guys and will debate this until it drives them crazy or they figure out what it is. Either way it’ll be entertaining to watch."

It looks as if I have run out of space. Return next week, when I finally will reveal what kind of car is along the forest trail and tell you all about the detective work that got the mystery got solved.

Have a story to tell about a car or truck? Contact My Favorite Ride reporter Laura Lane at, 812-331-4362 or 812-318-5967