UPDATE: Sadly these metal dinosaurs have gone extinct. After Gary’s death the dinosaurs were removed, most were sent to the Tallahassee Museum in Florida which now claims 21 exhibit pieces with some as much as 43 feet in length and up to 4,000 pounds. The only remaining dinosaurs in New Jersey appears to be a small Stegosaurus at the Roadside diner, as well as one lone dinosaur on the Brookdale Community College campus nearby in front of the Monmouth Museum.
Long before the Transformers, Jim Gary was transforming automobiles into dinosaurs. Jim Gary started tinkering young, building his own car out of junk parts before he was even old enough to drive. He would later turn his skill with tinkering and welding towards art. This time, instead of building cars, he used them as his raw materials.
For 40 years Jim Gary sculpted dinosaurs out of old car parts. Gary studied dinosaur anatomy at natural history museums, and would recreate them in astonishing detail and accuracy out of engine pieces, bumpers, and every other part of a car. Eventually this self-taught welder became a famed artist, and was the only living sculptor to ever have a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. Gary also produced other, non-dinosaur work out of stain glass and metal, such as the baptismal font in St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Holmdel, New Jersey.
Over the course of his life, Gary’s yard became a sculpture garden - - at over 20 feet tall, the dinosaurs would not fit in his living room - filled with his “Garysauruses.” Though he passed away in 2006, his sculptures can still be viewed for free, at his former residence in Farmingdale, New Jersey with self-guided tours.