Abandoned Forest Junkyard Packed With Rare Cars Is Heartbreaking Yet Fascinating

Most classic cars are now spending their twilight years in scrapyards, waiting to be dismantled or crushed. Some are still locked up in barns or left to rot away in backyards. However, others have been abandoned in the wild with no chance of becoming more than rust buckets reclaimed by nature. What you see here is one of those places.
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Photo: The Bearded Explorer/YouTube
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Documented by "The Bearded Explorer," this seemingly abandoned junkyard is hidden in a forested area in an undisclosed location. It looks like it hasn't been attended in decades, and most of the vehicles parked here, some of which are rare, have sunken into the ground and have trees growing through them. It's heartbreaking and fascinating at the same time.

What's the story behind this place? I have no idea, and our host had nothing to say about it. But based on the large number of French cars and the scenery, I'd say it's located in Northern France. So if you're a fan of French classics, like I am, you're in for a treat. A rusty, mossy one that is!

The footage kicks off with an unidentified van and a Renault Estafette. Built from 1959 to 1980, the latter is one of the more iconic French light commercial vehicles. While not quite as famous as the Citroen HY, the Estafette was also assembled in Mexico and found its way into Canada as the Petit-Panel. And don't let the fact that Renault built some 500,000 units fool you, this compact van is a rare sight nowadays.

The forest is also home to a Citroen DS, but the car is in such terrible shape that I'm unable to identify whether it's a DS19, 21, or 23. This nameplate remained in production for a whopping 20 years before the CX replaced it.

You'll also spot a couple of Panhards. Passenger cars from this defunct French brand are also hard to find nowadays since the most recent ones have been out of production since the 1960s. Both are in bad shape, but I'm pretty sure we're looking at a Dyna Z and a PL 17. Built from 1954 to 1959, the Dyna Z became famous for an impressive array of unusual engineering choices. The second one is a PL 17, which arrived in 1959 to replace the Dyna Z.

Are Panhards too quirky for you? How about the Simca Vedette that's also rotting away in this forest? The company's largest vehicle in the 1950s, the Vedette was based on a Ford design and was heavily inspired by US-made cars. Powered by a 2.4-liter V8 engine, somewhat unusual for a European vehicle at the time, the Vedette remained in production in various trim levels from 1954 to 1961.

Moving on to more familiar nameplates, you'll see quite a few Peugeots, starting with a 404 that has yet to rot away completely. Yet another long-lived French model, the 404 was produced from 1960 to 1975. However, production continued until 1980 in Argentina and all the way until 1991 in Africa. The lineup included everything from sedans and station wagons to coupes and pickups. I grew up with a 404 parked next to my house, so I'm particularly fond of this French rig.

The property is also home to a pair of 403s, including a pickup and a van version of the 203. I haven't seen a regular Peugeot 203 in ages, let alone a van.

If French classics aren't your thing, whoever abandoned these cars also had a trio of Mercedes-Benz "Fintail" models. All three appear to be of the W110 variety, including an early 1961-to-1965 example. These are recognizable by their fender-mounted turn signals. After 1965, Mercedes moved them under the headlamps. Sadly, all three are in poor condition, and two are almost entirely buried in vegetation. Check them all out in the video below.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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