We step back to another era at CTC Auto Ranch, where rust, paint and the hot southwestern sun make an amazing playground for car nuts.
Time literally stands still at CTC Auto Ranch. This final resting place for Detroit iron is both mentally overwhelming and visually delightful in its details. One could spend hours pouring over classics without moving more than a few yards - which we recently did on a sunny afternoon.
Not merely a junkyard, this veritable museum of slowly rusting beauties is, appropriately, located at the end of Memory Lane.
This Memory Lane is just north of Denton, Texas, the home of the University of North Texas' fightin' Mean Green. Denton is the kind of place you probably haven't visited unless you're a career musician - its College of Music is among the world's finest.
But the instruments of CTC Auto Ranch come mostly from Motown. The collection primarily focuses on prewar through mid-1980s domestic cars, with the occasional vintage import popping up for good measure. This is Texas, of course, so pickup trucks with the kind of patina born only out of the southwest also take up a good portion of the landscape.
CTC will gladly buy cars that fit within its rather wide parameters. Of course, that's not as easy to do today, in 2011, as it was 25 years ago. Now, the focus is more on helping a global collector car community connect with rare and unusual parts saved by the region's generally dry climate.
We didn't spot anything especially rare; CTC acknowledges that it does its best to preserve anything worth keeping on the road. Instead, we spent hours gazing longly at relics of the past, looking just as they did the day they were last driven. Many have been cut up for good sheetmetal, but many more are simply donors awaiting a needy project car tucked away in someone's garage.
Should you choose to visit the ranch - like we did with our long-term 2011 Hyundai Sonata SE - the management would be more than glad to have you poke around with your camera. Normally, the entrance fee is a nominal $5. That's a small price to pay for what might be one of America's finest unintentional automotive history museums.
Will our Sonata eventually wind up at CTC Auto Ranch? Probably not, even though its svelte curves still have us swooning after 9,000 miles. Today's cars are not only more complex, making them questionable candidates for long-term hobbies, but they are also designed to be easily recycled. Materials are chosen in part for their ease of re-use and disposal; nearly everything in our Sonata is ready to be wadded up, melted and re-used for a 2041 Hyundai Sonata (which, hopefully, will be capable of flying to CTC Auto Ranch).
Without further ado, we invite you to check out our image gallery. Make sure to cycle through the whole gallery. If you're interested in a high-resolution photo for a desktop background, post in our comments section below and we'll shoot one over to the email address we have on file.
CTC Auto Ranch
3077 Memory Lane
Denton, TX 76207