The Land

by Jake Voelckers

I grew up with all sorts of British cars and tons of stories from the shop. My dad, Mark, started and ran British Auto out in western New York in the early 1970s until he died in 2011. Moss Motors has been part of my life for a long time.

Currently, I’m working on an ’80 TR7 that, after being garaged for 30 years, drives great now, and a ’54 Austin-Healey 100, a long-term project that came from a field. I also recently picked up a local Jaguar XKE V12 2+2 for my brother. It had been sitting for 27 years.

My brother-in-law, Ben Jacob, who now runs the shop and business reminded me that there were these two V12s over in the weeds, so I thought I’d take the machete and find them. When I saw the moss, I intentionally took this shot for you guys. Here’s a couple others, too.

Sifting through the overgrowth, I do see the beauty in the finality of something returning to its constituent elements. I also identify with the ‘old forts’ sentiment. As kids, we climbed in the cars in the parts yard, just had to avoid the wasp nests and rusty corners.

Even earlier this year, before everything was green again, I found an old London Taxi in the back of the field and climbed inside for a few minutes. There’s something visceral about sitting in a derelict car that won’t ever (likely) serve its intended purpose again.

We called it ‘The Land’ back in the day. All of the parts cars were organized by make, model, and year. My dad would often send one of us out to the rows of cars with tools and a task to remove specific parts for an order. “Don’t force it” was always what he said to us on our way out the door. MM

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