The normal life cycle of a vehicle is to run as long as it can, then be stripped for usable parts, then the leftover scrap metal is recycled. But sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. Someone puts those vehicles aside with plans to do something or other and it never happens. Dust settles in, then rust, and sometimes even moss and trees grow up around them. One of those places is the Kaufdorf car graveyard in Switzerland.
A former junkyard owned by one Mr Walter Messerli, the cemetery began as far back as 1933. At the time, Mr Messerli was interested mainly in the money he could get from scrap parts. However, he also seemed to have a strange affinity for the vehicles themselves. Rather than doing as others in his business did and scrapping the abandoned cars entirely, Mr Messerli carefully preserved their shells, secreting them away on his vast and overgrown lot.
It was to become an obsession. By the time he was ready to retire, Mr Messerli had a collection of hundreds of cars spanning five decades. But the vehicle cemetery wasn’t finished yet. After he took over the business, his son continued to add to the collection until it contained some 1,500 vehicles, dating from 1930 right the way to the early 2000s.
In 2008, the cars were removed and scrapped, but we still have plenty of pictures. In a list at Urban Ghosts, you’ll also see ten abandoned vehicle graveyards populated by particular types, such as Reliant Robins, trolley cars, ambulances, and even rickshaws.
(Image credit: Norbert Aepli)