It’s a tragedy when we hear stories of beautiful cars sitting in garages rotting away leaving nothing but a rusted glimpse into what should have been cherished, enjoyed and out exploring the open road. Whether new and never sold or old classics left and forgotten, ordinary daily-driver, classic cars to exotic supercars; a large supply of cars have been abandoned across the world. The reasons of abandonment range. For example, in Dubai and under Sharia Law it is illegal to not pay your debts. Therefore, many citizens flee abandoning their luxury cars, homes, properties in order to escape jail time. Here in America, good ole car enthusiasts take their car collections to the grave, leaving them to wither and rust away in hidden garages. Finding a 1958 Edsel Pacer Convertible with 15000 miles on it left in a garage to rust away will make just about any motorsports enthusiast cringe. But, finding these gems provide a feeling of nostalgia that must be appreciated. Below, you will find five of the most astonishing abandoned car collections in the world.
5. 60 Rare and Exotic Antique Cars Found in France
Between 1955 and 1965, inventor and car enthusiast Roger Baillon amassed a collection of over 100 rare and exotic cars. His collection includes brands like Bugatti, Ferrari, Maserati, Delage, Delahaye, Hispano-Suiza, Panhard-Levassor and Talbot-Lago. When his business struggled, he ended up selling about 50 of his cars and left the rest to sit. Baillon died 10 years ago, and his son died last year. This left his grandchildren to discover the true value of the entire collection. Appraisers Mathiu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff of the firm Artcurial, compared this find to the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. “It really is a treasure trove. No doubt a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.” The most valuable car in the collection is a Ferrari GT California Spider with covered headlights. At one of only 37 ever made, it is valued at over $13.7 million. Another extremely valuable find is the 1956 Maserati A6G Grans Sports, with coachwork by Frua, one of just 3 in the world. It is valued at around $1 million. Many of the 100 rare cars were found beyond repair, but 59 were sold by Artcurial at its auction in Paris during the week of the annual Retromobile classic car show.
4. Abandoned Barn Outside of Lisbon, Portugal
There are pictures floating around the internet of a collection of 180 cars that are located in a barn outside Lisbon Portugal. The barn belongs to a former car dealer from the 1970’s and 1980’s. The story is that the owner decided to save some of the more interesting cars that came through his dealership. Once the barn was full, he locked it all up and left it. The only way the world has any knowledge of this collection is thanks to photographer Manuel Menezes Marais. He was invited by the collections owner to photograph the vehicles. He was, however sworn to secrecy about the cars’ location and the owner’s name. Whatever the circumstance, it is wonderful fuel for the car lover’s fantasies to imagine that such a “barn find” even exists. Reportedly, some of the cars included are a 1950’s Nash Metropolitan, 1960’s Sprint Speciale, 1950’s Alfa Giuleietta, 1970’s Abarth Scorpione, 1960’s Hillman Imp Californian, 1931 Chrysler CD Roadster, 1950’s Lancia B20, 1939 Plymount, and 1960’s Mercedes-Benz 200, and 280. This is a rather impressive collection that unfortunately, is not for sale. Sadly, we will have to wait for another day to gain access to these cars.
3. New Car Graveyards
When the global economy took a turn for the worst back in 2008, several auto manufacturers found themselves with a huge surplus of inventory. Unable to sell the vehicles, the manufacturers started to stockpile them in ports, on test tracks, and in other makeshift holding places. The number of these abandoned vehicles has been estimated to be in the millions. While it is unconfirmed as to the current state of these abandoned car lots, it is still incredible to think about this staggering number of abandoned vehicles that will likely never see the open road. Some of the locations of these abandoned cars include: Sheerness, Kent, England; the Port of Baltimore, MD; and the Sunderland England Test Track. Reports say you can use google maps to view aerial images of these stockpiles of unsold vehicles. While these cars will not likely be available for purchase, their estimated global value is over $25B dollars.
2. Dubai Airport
Approximately 3,000 cars per year have been abandoned at the Dubai Airport in United Arab Emirates (UEA) since the economy started to tank back in 2008. The airport is a logical last stop for those fleeing the country in the wake of the economic downturn. Many expats from Europe, UK, and the US have fled Dubai, and other cities around the UAE to avoid prison sentences for money owed. Under Sharia law (observed around the Middle East), non-payment of debt carries with it severe criminal penalties. Some foreigners have even been prevented from leaving the country after being black-listed for something as simple as missing a loan payment. Many of these abandoned cars are not your typical daily-drivers. Most are expensive luxury vehicles: Mercedes, Range Rovers, BMW’s, etc… There are also a shocking amount of supercars like Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, and McClaren’s that have been abandoned. One limited edition Ferrari Enzo, abandoned by a British expat, has been estimated to be worth over £1M British Pounds. Abandoned vehicles are systematically impounded by police and then auctioned off at bargain prices to the highest bidder. Who knows, you might be able to get a steal on supercar if you keep an eye on Dubai!
1. Old Car City, White, GA
Old Car City started as small general store in the town of White, Georgia in 1931. Started by the Lewis Family, it eventually evolved to include a scrapyard behind the store where a collection of cars began to grow. Today there are nearly 6 miles of winding trails in and around a literal graveyard of abandoned vehicles. Big-finned Cadillacs, 60’s Ford muscle cars, vintage Mopars, and many other cars have come here to rest in peace. Some of the charm comes from the fusion of rusting metal and overgrown vegetation. Automotive purists cringe at seeing that much metal just left to rust, but those with an appreciation for what it is see it as a unique and beautiful form of art. Old Car City is open daily as a museum. There is a sign on the fence that reads “CARS, ART, NATURE, HISTORY’, a fitting synopsis of what you will find inside. Owner and curator Dean Lewis says that these cars are for sale, but only for the right price. Typically that price is set too high for anybody to realistically purchase any of these pieces of art.