Lying on a blanket of Autumn leaves, these captivating scenes of abandoned vintage cars caught the attention of an urban explorer and photographer known online as DARKstyle Pictures, whose discoveries we’ve featured before on Urban Ghosts.
It’s unclear whether they’re part of a collection awaiting restoration or the unfortunate occupants of some forgotten vehicle graveyard.
Either way, the vintage machines make for an impressive series of images.
An enthusiast’s dream, all the cars pictured were found to be in the clutches of decay, though some were clearly in significantly better shape than others.
Among the collectible machines was a 1948 Jaguar XK120 racing car bearing the number ‘218’ and a name plate identifying its one-time participation in the historic Rallye Bavaria.
Elsewhere, the peeling red paintwork of another corroding classic bore the unmistakable form of a faded Iron Cross emblazoned on the door.
Only 517 Rolls-Royce Phantom Vs were manufactured.
It was an ultra-exclusive car, weighing 2.5 tonnes with a 3.6-metre wheelbase and the same 6.2L V8 engine as the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II.
The British Crown owned two of them, ridden by Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother.
However, even they are outshone by the car’s most famous owner: John Lennon of the Beatles.
John Lennon bought a 1964 Mulliner Park Ward Phantom V, finished in Valentines black.
Everything was black except for the radiator, even the wheels. Lennon asked for the radiator to be black as well but Rolls Royce refused.
Originally the car was customized from Park Ward with black leather upholstery, cocktail cabinet with fine wood trim, writing table, reading lamps, a seven-piece his-and-hers black-hide luggage set, and a Perdio portable television.
A refrigeration system was put in the trunk and it was one of the first cars in England to have tinted windows.
He probably paid 11,000 pounds (nearly $240,000 in today’s value).
Lennon didn’t know how to drive and didn’t get his driver licence until 1965 at age 24.
He sometimes used a six-foot-four Welsh guardsman named Les Anthony.
In December 1965, Lennon made a seven-page list of changes that cost more than 1900 pounds.
The backseat could change into a double bed. A Philips Auto-Mignon AG2101 “floating” record player that prevented the needle from jumping as well as a Radio Telephone and a cassette tape deck.
Speakers were mounted in the front wheel wells so that occupants could talk outside via microphone.
Before the invention of the car, jaywalking wasn’t a recognized concept.
Want to get across the street? Then just walk across the street—nobody’s going to stop you.
But the rise of the automobile posed a new problem for people of the early 20th century. While the median state-designated speed limit for American cities was just 10 miles per hour in 1906, the pace of American streets soon increased enough that people who wanted to cross them were suddenly putting themselves in harm’s way.
So cities across the U.S. started to regulate where and when pedestrians could cross.
Despite the clear mortal danger, these regulations were pretty broadly ignored until motorists and police started using an even more powerful force than law: ridicule.
In his 2007 paper, “Street Rivals: Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age Street,” Peter D. Norton describes how ridicule was recognized early on as the best socializing force to control pedestrian behavior—behavior that would have to change with the times. Laws might help regulate pedestrians, but when there are too few police officers and too many citizens, there needs to be a radical shift in public attitude if a given law is deemed too radical for its time.
For instance, a law that would restrict how a person could do something as basic as crossing the street.