CA, Mojave Desert

"Mojave Car Wash"

This is an interesting little corner of the Mojave. I was surprised to see so many old junked cars out here. It is pretty unusual to see so many in one place but why are they here? They all seem to be missing their engines and drive-trains. One engine could have been used to power equipment at the mine, so why six more?

From what I can piece together, sometime in the 1910s, the mine was worked for a short time for gold. It had only a few minor workings and little to show for the effort. It was soon abandoned.

Then in the 1940s, a man named Bliss set up shop here for a few years. One account describes Bliss as being a former jeweler who got caught stealing gems out of his customer’s watches. After a time in jail, his brother sent him into the desert to stay out of trouble.

Bliss brought the cars out here for some reason that remains a mystery. If he was fixing them up, why are they all missing their engines? Did he sell those for cash? How did he get the cars in the first place?

By 1953, the mine site was abandoned again. Bliss was gone. Reportedly, he was killed while working on one of his cars when it fell off the jack-stand and crushed him. His cars and their mystery remain.

There is another pile of junked cars over in Joshua Tree known locally as the “Joshua Tree Car Wash”.

Thanks to my friend Mohave and Daniel N. for car IDs.

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About Guy Starbuck

Exploring the American West.
  • Nevada
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