Over the Fence: Oxidation

(Image looks a bit sharper and cooler if you click to view in lightbox)

This is the first image of what will be an ongoing series that I’m dubbing “Over the Fence.” There is a bit of a backstory on this, so hopefully you don’t mind reading a few extra words today.

We moved  into this 100-year old, downtown Phoenix house back in November and met a few of our neighbors right off the bat. Great people. One of them was a guy named John who has lived on our block for over 20 years and owns five houses just on our street. He rents them, fixes them up and is usually seen running up and down the sidewalks working on something.

From our upstairs guest house we can see down into a small portion of one his backyards. Ever since I saw the rusted old cars he has back there, I’ve longed to explore what else might exist “over the fence.” It took me a bit of time to ask, because I didn’t want to appear like some weirdo, but when I finally did he had no problem. Sure, go over there anytime I want and here is where you open the gate.

I took him up on the offer last Friday afternoon. My daughter and I wandered over to what is actually TWO backyards since he owns the adjoining house and has a portion of the fence taken down. After a brief overall exploration, I was dumbfounded to find over TWELVE CARS in this guy’s backyard. Twelve.

Sadly or fantastically, depending on how you look at it…most of these cars are in vast degrees of deterioration and are hidden in little nooks and crannies of the backyard. I actually found out later than one of his houses which basically cannot be saved and needs to be bulldozed, has two cars INSIDE it. I’m kind of nervous about stepping foot inside a condemned house, but I think I may need to ask that question.

Now, he seems to collect a lot of “micro cars” from long ago. One of the pictures I’ll post later this week is of a 1953 BMW Isetta 300. It’s tiny, like a true and actual Mini Cooper.

This one in the above picture was pretty amazing, especially when you got to the front of the car and the exposed, completely rusted out engine. The view in the photo is the rear-left tail light or what is left of it. I was struck by the rich details of the paint, the rust and the streaks of white coming from these “legions” all over the trunk.

Needless to say, I’m hoping to get back in that yard soon. I believe on my first run I only got about 1/10th of what is possible and I only left because Lyla told me it was time to go. She has a way of getting me to do what she wants…I think it’s because she’s super cute and I’m a big pushover.

Regardless, I hope you are jealous. Having this kind of stuff to shoot about 20 feet away is heck of a lot of fun.

As Kenny Banya once said: “That’s GOLD Jerry…GOLD!”

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, iso 100, f/2.2)

14 replies
  1. Chris Nitz
    Chris Nitz says:

    I love old junked cars. I used to work on cars with an ex-girlfriends father. I learned a lot about busted knuckles, paint fumes, and the great rust that happens in Michigan. Looking forward to this series 😀

  2. Michelle H.
    Michelle H. says:

    What a fun series and project this will be… so many backyards and “over the fences” to explore. Some day I would love to own or live in a 100 yr old house; what amazing history and story a house like that would have.

  3. Bryan Clingman
    Bryan Clingman says:

    I would love to have an Isetta. Not for driving around town, they are too small in the days of 3/4 ton trucks driven by everyone, but for use as a track runabout.

    Looking forward to the pictures….

  4. murphyz
    murphyz says:

    Good that you have so much great stuff to see so close to where you are – I look forward to the rest of the series. I wish I had something similar here…I live opposite a hotel but they frown on my taking photos 😉

  5. Mike
    Mike says:

    Thanks so much guys…I definitely need to get back in there.

    Bryan, I can see that…would be hard to drive those things around town. Heck, even the Smart Cars are pretty tiny for out here.

  6. Mark Blundell
    Mark Blundell says:

    What an awesome find right next door. I’ve wanted to shoot scrap cars for AGES!

    Looking forward to seeing some more from this series – rust and crust abound!

  7. jina
    jina says:

    I knew eventually you would end up like Wilson from Home Improvement… it’s just all anyone would see of you wouldn’t be the brim of your hat, instead it would be your camera lens. 🙂

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] This is another shot in my “Over the Fence” series, which is in reality my neighbor’s backyard. A few weeks ago I posted how this came about and you can read more about it right here. […]

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