Our family cottage is on an island right in Portland, ME’s harbor. A car ferry runs out hourly throughout the day, so it is very accessible. Interestingly, it has always had a unique car culture from the rest of Maine. When I was a kid, you didn’t even need to register a car if you intended to only drive it on the island. Nowadays, the city gets their beak wet with an annual registration fee and sticker.

As a result of the lax rules, cars generally come out here to die. I doubt more than 15-20% would pass inspection on the mainland. Many haven’t moved in years. Rust, visibly bent frames, missing glass, and mismatched wheels are the general theme.

When I was a kid, the island was littered with abandoned cars, mostly Volkswagens. The old WW2 battery on the island used to be packed with beetles, vandalized beyond repair. It was cheaper to do that than pay to have a junker hauled off the island.

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Now, most of the better island cars are old Subaru wagons and old 4x4 SUVs. Here’s a selection that caught my eye over the last few days. I’ll update this post if I snap any more.

This thing is the king of all Subaru island cars.
I’ve never seen it move.
This guy has 8-9 island cars. Truly impressive.
The rest of his collection. He spent all labor day weekend working them.
XJs are everywhere.
I’ve never seen the Montero move.
This may also be someone’s home. Seriously.
Our local arborist. His license plates are TREES, TREEMD, and TRUNKS. He owns two work trucks and a 5.0 Mustang...on an island with a 20mph speed limit.
Love that land cruiser. I just saw a brand new one on the ferry today and it seemed hideously oversized in comparison.
The land rover was running around earlier in the summer. Now the right side is being supported by a bar stool.
There used to be tons of old Saabs and Volvos. I’ve only seen one of each so far, including this brick.
A common sight: old work horses returning to the earth.