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Yellowwood State Forest Mystery Car Still Unidentified

Yellowwood State Forest Mystery Car Still Unidentified

David Willibey, who always signs his emails with “Longtime Reader”, said he thought the car I talked about last week that is abandoned along a hiking trail in the Yellowwood State Forest may be a 1949 or ’50 Chrysler.

Or a DeSoto. Maybe a Dodge.

“With only the rear sight and a rear fender,” he said, he could only bet a few guesses.

My favorite ride: Do you know this mystery car and its history?

I know, it’s difficult. There aren’t many cars left. I was hoping the VIN tag would be a clue for someone, so I’m including it again this week.

Shari Frank, who first asked me if I could help her identify the car, sent me two photos she found taken of the car in the fall of 2020. The car was then more intact, so take a closer look.

This unidentified abandoned car in Yellowwood State Forest was in better condition when this photo was taken in 2020 than it is now. The top was still intact.

The only other potential ID came from an email from someone I don’t know suggesting a different make and model of car than Willibey offered.

“I was looking at this car, and after some research, I think this car might be a 1954 Cadillac Series 62,” the email reads. “The taillights are crucial to solving this puzzle. As you can see, the headlights on this car are very, very similar to those on the mystery car.”

He attached a picture of a classic 1954 aquamarine Cadillac that would have brought my grandfather to tears, who loved old Caddys but could never afford one when they were stylish. Yes, those taillights…

My favorite ride: Readers try to identify the vehicles

Still wondering, I called the Yellowwood State Forest Office, thinking someone might have some insight or knowledge about the old car abandoned along the 2.6-mile YZ Horse Trail.

One reader, focused on the location of a taillight, suggested the Yellowwood track car might be one of them, a 1954 Cadillac.

One reader, focused on the location of a taillight, suggested the Yellowwood track car might be one of them, a 1954 Cadillac.

They didn’t know much.

“It’s very likely there was a farm there years ago,” said Betsy Burhans, who answered my call at the forestry office. “Yellowwood was just empty farmland before the WPA came along and built it all up in the 1930s.”

What was the Beanblossom Land Use Project became the Yellowwood State Forest.

Much of the forest’s 23,326 acres were acquired over time as families who had settled there moved. The ground and steep ridges were not suitable for farming; people have moved on.

Some stayed in the 1950s and left things like cars and trucks behind.

The old Yellowwood State Forest car was less destroyed by the elements and time when this photo was taken in 2020.

The old Yellowwood State Forest car was less destroyed by the elements and time when this photo was taken in 2020.

Derrick Potts is the assistant property manager for Yellowwood, which is located in Brown County, about 10 miles east of Bloomington.

He said that after the Great Depression many houses in the rural world were abandoned. “Things were left behind,” he said.

Potts said it was the only automobile he knew of that litters the forest landscape, acknowledging that there may have been others better hidden. He suggested that a search of property records might reveal who last inhabited the land off Tulip Tree Road. Maybe that could help identify the vehicle.

The car will stay where it is, probably forever. Potts said that while other types of debris and metals are cleared, “this car has been there for so long that we would never do anything with it.”

Contact reporter Laura Lane at [email protected], 812-331-4362 or 812-318-5967.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: My favorite vehicle: Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge, Cadillac. Who knows?