From dusty to rusty

There is something unnervingly interesting about discovering someone else’s forgotten or unwanted possessions. As a kid, I vividly remember a cycling trip with my friends where, right next to a new build of houses, the verdant forest had been cut back and tamed to make way for construction. Within that forest and seemingly out of nowhere, there was a blue Massey Ferguson tractor silently rotting away. Branches were beginning to wriggle their way around the axle and the paintwork was dulled with the dark green patina of moss. Why was it abandoned seemingly in the middle of a forest? Has it been saved since?

I’ve always had a fascination with abandoned things, be they buildings, cars or shipwrecks. The internet is liable for many hours of my life being lost on urban exploration sites, such as the frankly staggering Urban Ghosts Media, You can find virtually anything on there that’s been abandoned, from disused subway stations all the way up to sunken warships and discarded fighter jets. An example fairly local to myself is the abandoned Glen O’Dee hospital in Banchory. Originally conceived as a sanatorium in 1900, the building would become a tuberculosis hospital, luxury hotel, billet for stationed troops during WWII and finally, an old folks’ home before becoming destitute. Having visited it in person myself, it’s one creepy building, with the architecture typical of turn-of-the-century buildings and the smashed windows contributing to the foreboding aura. It’s all very Fallout, and I’d love to use it as a photoshoot location for the car come summertime. You can read more about it here.

Scotland - Drive - Deeside - Aberdeen |
Looking like a Shutter Island  set (Image copyright: Alan Findlay)

So why am I talking about all this on what is very clearly a car blog? A text from my brother recommended I read up about the Varosha car dealership located in Cyprus. During 1974, border disputes with the Turks escalated, with Turkey invading the popular tourist resort and annexing the town. To this day, Varosha lies abandoned, with whole hotel buildings still stocked with clothes and the airport’s departures terminal left open to the elements. There’s also a Toyota dealership full with ‘brand-new’ 1974-era Corollas and Celicas in various states of disrepair. I won’t link you to this one; do some digging yourself and you’ll find that the resort’s sad story is fascinating. 

In a similar vein, I stumbled across a collection of car photos from across the world from another blog page by, revealing a dishevelled pile of twisted metal, smashed glass and mouldy rubber. Some of the world’s most prestigious cars are left languishing in heartbreaking solitude. Whilst I won’t go through the whole list verbatim, here’s my rundown of the top ten most tragic cases of abandonment that I could find:
#10 Renault 5 Turbo
Okay, so I have no idea where this is, but it looks quite Mediterranean and the car doesn’t look too neglected. The pinky-red forerunner to the mental Clio v6 deserves to be saved, if only for the period 80’s wheels and oh-so-Euro yellow fogs.
#9 Porsche 365 B Coupe
This is probably every resprayer’s worst nightmare, but under the fecal matter is still a reasonably-preserved classic. You’d have to spend thousands on a respray, but it would be worth it – original 365s go for hundreds of thousands at auction these days.
#8 VW Combi
The only reason that this is in at #8 is because you’d have to remortgage your life to actually restore it. Can anyone spot anything that’s salvageable, other than the roof glass perhaps? Thankfully, it has been restored. Rumour goes that it was wheeled into a Norwegian fjord after an apparent gearbox problem made it unusable. Rediscovered in 2003, it now lives again.
#7 Porsche 911 (930)
Why would you abandon one of Europe’s most successful race cars in a forest?
#6 Mitsubishi Evo VI
Settle down, purists. The Evo VI is rapidly becoming a modern classic and they look hard as nails, even when they’ve got flat tyres, are covered in crap and look to have some dodgy camber issues going on.
#5 Citroen DS
This gorgeous Goddess is doing its best impression of a hedge somewhere in Europe. I could reel off a whole list of reasons why it’s worth saving, but just look at it. It’s classically futuristic even today. This one makes me sad.
#4 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
It all looks a bit rat-look, no? Despite that, this looks to be a US-spec model, what with the massive bumpers. No idea where this is, but it will certainly cost more than a brand-new SLS to fix up.
#3 Lamborghini Diablo


This car is supposedly an ex-development mule for Lamborghini, sitting behind the factory in Sant’Agata. You could say that this was a find of ‘bovine intervention’. Yes, I made that up.
#2 BMW M3 (E30)
Box-flared arches, caged, twin-piped, BBS’d and still unloved. Photos circulate around the internet of this car’s particular mileage – only 59kms from new. I’ll have it if no-one else takes it on!
#1 Lamborghini Muira
It even looks sad! Is that a leaf, or a tear coming from the headlight of the original supercar? I have no idea where this is, but it needs to be saved. Even if it is actually brown.
For a full list of cars, pay a visit to Zen Garage. All photos are copyright of their respective owners.


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