Rare Cars Decaying Outside in Downtown Columbus

UPDATE 9-19-2011:They’re gone, see my update here.
A while back, bprosperi on twitter posted about a bunch of old cars sitting out in a pay to park lot near downtown Columbus. These were old collectables, luxury cars, just sitting in the open and had been there forever. In fact, you can see them on Google Street View.
Finding a bunch of cars rusting away quietly in a field or behind a country house is not unusual, it happens all the time. Some car guy buys ’em up, thinking he’ll get around to restoring them some day, or just because he likes having them. The unusual thing here is that these cars are in a commercial parking lot in a business district right on the fringe of downtown Columbus, a mere two blocks from Huntington Park, the Columbus Clippers’ new ballpark.
This summer I’ve been down to Huntington Park a few times and stopped by to check these cars out.
Looking at them in person, they appear not to move and to simply have been abandoned. Abandoned cars on pay to park lot don’t last long, however. Closer inspection reveals that they all, save one, have current Ohio license plates with current year stickers. The other one has blue California plates. Furthermore, the street view image shows the cars in a different order meaning that at least some of them do move.
So, this is a collection of run of the mill old luxury cars, right? Hardly. What I found was an odd selection of rare high end Mercedes book ended by classic and rare American iron.

1961 Imperial Lebaron 1961 Imperial Lebaron

At one end is this 1961 Imperial. And not just any Imperial, the formal rear window means this is a $6,428 (in 1961) Imperial Lebaron, one of 1,026 built according to the Imperial Club site. While rough around the edges, it appears surprisingly solid and complete for a car stored outside in an urban area. I’m hoping the hood being ajar (it’s closed on Street View) means it’s getting some attention from its owner, not from vandals.

1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V 1956 Lincoln Capri

Just down from the Imperial is this white 1960 Continental Mark V and a black 1956 Lincoln Capri. Both appear complete, but the the Capri seems the more solid of the two.

1967 Cadillac De Ville

At the other end is this rather sad looking 1967 Cadillac De Ville Convertible. It looks to be rather rusty, but it also appears to be the only American in running order here. The Street View image shows it in a different spot, so it’s been mobile recently. Still, a lot of work needed here.

Mercedes Mercedes 6.9

In between (mostly) are 7 big late 70’s Mercedes sedans and one 280 CE coupe. But get this – among the sedans, one is a 450 SEL and four of them wear 6.9 badges on their rumps. The 6.9 was Mercedes high-performance big sedan in the late 70s and was a rare bird with only 1,816 brought to North America between 1977 and 1980 according to Wikipedia. One of the others is a 280 SE, not sure about the last one.
So many questions: Who owns these cars? What are they doing here? What is their fate? Will they continue to rust and rot away, or will these rare and magnificent examples of big German and American transportation someday get the attention they deserve? I hope that they do.

God’s Design Beats Man’s. Again.

This 7th grader took a look at the world and saw something that scientists and engineers in solar energy hadn’t yet. Read the article, it’s fascinating and amazing what this 13 year old’s mind discovered. Here’s a snippet or two:

[W]hen I went on a winter hiking trip in the Catskill Mountains in New York, I noticed something strange about the shape of the tree branches. I thought trees were a mess of tangled branches, but I saw a pattern in the way the tree branches grew. I took photos of the branches on different types of trees, and the pattern became clearer.
The branches seemed to have a spiral pattern that reached up into the sky. I had a hunch that the trees had a secret to tell about this shape. Investigating this secret led me on an expedition from the Catskill Mountains to the ancient Sanskrit poetry of India; from the 13th-century streets of Pisa, Italy, and a mysterious mathematical formula called the “divine number” to an 18th-century naturalist who saw this mathematical formula in nature; and, finally, to experimenting with the trees in my own backyard.

He discovered that tree branches and leaves are arranged in a pattern that comes from the Fibonacci sequence. Calling leaves ‘the solar panels of trees’, he theorized that this pattern was a more efficient way of gathering solar energy than a flat array of panels, which is how man made solar panels are made. He built an experiment to answer that question – and he was right:

The Fibonacci tree design performed better than the flat-panel model. The tree design made 20% more electricity and collected 2 1/2 more hours of sunlight during the day. But the most interesting results were in December, when the Sun was at its lowest point in the sky. The tree design made 50% more electricity, and the collection time of sunlight was up to 50% longer!

The tree design takes up less room than flat-panel arrays and works in spots that don’t have a full southern view. It collects more sunlight in winter. Shade and bad weather like snow don’t hurt it because the panels are not flat. It even looks nicer because it looks like a tree. A design like this may work better in urban areas where space and direct sunlight can be hard to find.

This is amazing, and just makes me grin, both because of the brilliance of this kid and his experiments and the brilliance of our God who designed this amazing world. I look at this and think of Romans 1:20:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Man in the last few decades figured out how to use sunlight to directly generate electricity. In the intervening years, they’ve designed different ways to arrange the panels, even using motorized arrays that track the sun’s movements to try to get the most out of the rays. But God figured this out eons ago and created trees in a way that may look random, but is actually a clever way to maximize capturing the sun’s rays.
I imagine God looking at this ‘discovery’ and say, “Of course, that’s exactly why I did it. Why didn’t you look there sooner?”
Amazingly, the kid credits ‘evolution’ and folks at Slashdot say ‘nature’ figured this out. They are faced with the brilliance of God’s design and evidence of His supremacy compared to us, and yet fail to see Him in it.
The evidence for God is everywhere, yet most fail to see it, though it’s right under their noses – or, in this case, above their heads.

Preach to Yourself

I’ve found this to be so true lately. When life is overwhelming, be it self doubt, family stress, work stress, church stress or anything that overwhelms my abilities, the best remedy is a good time of prayer to remind me of how God loved and desired me so much that he was willing to send Jesus to live and die in order to remove all possibility that we could be separated.
Once that reality is firmly embedded in your soul, nothing else matters.
HT: Jared Wilson

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