Please forward to the Department of Automotive Archaeology

Dear Tom & Ray,

I am pleased to inform you that your Department of Automotive Archaeology has been selected to participate in/lead the archaeological study and excavation of what appears to be an exciting automotive archaeological site near my home (i.e., in my backyard).

I first discovered the mostly-buried car soon after the landslide 16 years ago (the car used to be in the neighbor’s yard). There was a thick cover of blackberries over the car, so neither my neighbor nor I knew it was ever there. I did a bit of initial investigation and found the letters “FORD” on part of the door - perhaps your AA (Automotive Archaeology) Dept. can decipher that. Although I am not an Automotive Archaeologist, I would guess that the car is from the early 1960’s. It is painted a lovely shade of aqua.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that there was a wheel and a frying pan in the front seat, and the roof had been compressed down nearly to the floor due to the dirt on top of the car.

I am afraid to admit that during a house renovation project I asked the backhoe guy to dig out the car, but all he did was rip off the roof and the back 1/3 of the car. The rest of it is still buried.

Here are some photos of the site that I took today:

I have recently resumed the excavations myself, but since I am not an archaeologist I am afraid that I might miss key archaeological evidence or cause damage to potentially valuable artifacts, so I have selected your AA department to finish the excavation, due to their reputation in the field. Please send a team of PhD students and professors at your earliest convenience, and I will direct them to the site.

My wife has accused me of “trying to con someone else into digging out that hunk of junk” but I am confident that you will be able to correct her misperception.

Kind Regards,

Dave in Camas (WA)

Tough one. Besides it being a Ford from the 60s (I think), it’s hard to tell. If the backhoe dug out the back of the car, maybe there’s a nameplate in what they dug up? Time to look through the pile of diggings!

Ford Falcon from the early 60’s?

I agree that the steering wheel is from a Ford of the early '60s, but after that bit of identification, much more of the car would have to be visible before anyone could get more specific.

Since the car has been there so long, I see that people have built that fence over the terrain as it is now.
When you , or some other ‘‘archaeological’’ sucker, extract the rest of the CARcass…

BE READY for that hill back there to settle down into the void you just created over time. AND be prepared for that same hill, with its mud slide history, to end up in your kitchen with the next gullywasher. It is unstable ground, that old car could actually be your saving grace.

Either finish digging to the point of building a retaining wall for the hill ( is that why you’re digging there already ? )…
or fill in the hole with junk dirt.( just as unstable as the hill there that was a landslide 16 years ago )…
or just leave the car there to support the impending land slide.

You’re poking a stick in a hornet’s nest.

“My wife has accused me of “trying to con someone else into digging out that hunk of junk” but I am confident that you will be able to correct her misperception.”

Take your wife’s advise…Cover that mess up and forget you ever saw it…Otherwise, get ready to spend some serious money to have it removed…Oh, where there is one buried car there are usually more…

I have a feeling you and your up-hill neighbor are about to have a serious conversation…

Did you find a cufflink with the initials J.H. (Jimmy Hoffa) in it?

Your wife’s a smart lady. Keep her. Bury the car.

After removing the car, the hole will need to be reinforced to keep the hill under the fence from falling into the hole. The car isn’t worth anything after sitting underground for so long. I suggest you cover it up and leave it.

Thanks guys for the info and advice. All joking aside, I am going to dig out the remnants of the car because 1) I am planting a “food forest” in my yard and I need to plant some plants there; 2) I don’t want all that gunk in my soil; and 3) whenever I need some exercise, I grab a shovel and work on digging out the car - i.e. it is fun exercise. I have made it pretty far in a couple of afternoons, so I am sure I can get the rest of it out. I’ll just take it in pieces to my local metal recycler, like I did with the trunk & roof.

Once I got the windshield out of the way, the dashboard was all exposed so I took some more pictures - The odometer shows 88,973.

I confirmed my suspicion that the car has no engine - which is good news. The frame is still there, as well as the grill. It is amazing how well preserved the chrome pieces are - no rust on them at all. The hubcap looks brand new except for a little denting. Same for the wipers & the triangular windows.

The reason for the landslide 16 years ago was my neighbor decided to make the flat part of his yard bigger (toward us) by getting his buddies from the city to dump dozens of truckloads of dirt from some city project over the bank, making the slope top-heavy. When it became saturated after weeks of heavy rain, it slumped down partially into our yard (along with the car). He got some money from FEMA who made him stabilize the slope with a wall of big boulders. At the time he promised to return our yard to its original state but as you may have guessed he is what many would call a “jerk” and so he did nothing. But I wouldn’t really want him messing around in our yard anyway, plus the back of our yard is about 8 feet higher than it used to be which makes for kind of a nice viewpoint. The slope has been completely stable for 16 years despite rain events similar to 16 years ago so I’m not worried about another landslide. I do plan to stabilize the “car hole” however. I have a bunch of boulders ready for that.

I’ll keep posting photos as I dig it out.

A picture of the grille would tell us what we need to know.

Compare this 63 Galaxie dash to the picture of your dash. I think that’s it.

Thanks missileman, it looks like the word “Galaxie” should be on the glove compartment, which I have nearly exposed so I am just one more digging session away from getting a positive ID!

I’m looking forward to seeing the future photos.

Hire a tow-truck to just come and drag it out of there!! A Galaxie will have a heavy frame under it…

This particular one may not have ANY frame left under it!

Missileman was right! I did some more digging today and the glove compartment says “Galaxie 500” on it. I also found another hubcap. It is amazing how well preserved the chrome pieces are.

Thanks for the feedback daveincamas. Mystery solved.

The gauges and radio seem to be in fair shape. They might actually be worth some money to a restorer.

The chromed pieces might be worth a few hundred bucks, too.