‘Time-warp’ abandoned car dealership reveals its treasures – including vintage vehicle

  • An automotive Aladdin’s Cave of classic cars has been discovered
  • Finds include a rare, low-mileage Peugeot
  • Workshops, stock, tools and masses of owners’ manuals left behind as well
  • Clothes belonging to staff are still hanging in cupboards

Time 12:12 pm, March 27, 2024

A time-warp of a car dealership has been found abandoned with an astonishing array of vehicles, parts and manuals.

Mystery surrounds why the showroom was left as it is, but with workers’ clothes still in their cupboards and offices still full of dealership business material, it’s like the automotive equivalent of the Mary Celeste – the ship that was famously found adrift and deserted off the Azores in 1872.

The dealership is in France – its precise location hasn’t been revealed – but YouTuber The Bearded Explorer, aka Colin Smith from Southsea, took a video camera inside to have a look round and uploaded his findings earlier this month.

‘This is probably one of the most amazing places I’ve filmed this year,’ he says. ‘Just to see these cars in here like this – hidden away for all of these years. This place is like a time warp. It’s like going back in time.’

It has an array of classic cars and most of the vehicles are in a poor condition, but some are still in surprisingly good shape. There’s even a vintage vehicle tucked away in a basement corner.

Abandoned dealership in France, with vintage car

The vintage car in the abandoned dealership

Among the vehicles that have been left there is a rare, low-mileage Peugeot still with the owner’s manual on the driver’s seat and still smelling as new.

The Aladdin’s Cave of automobiles also has a Fiat Palio, Nissan Micra,  Ford Focus, other Peugeots and a Mazda.

Venturing further into the premises, Smith uncovers workshops, stock, tools and masses of owners’ manuals in what appears to have been the manager’s office.

It’s unknown when the showroom was left to its fate and there’s evidence of plenty of water damage because of leaks, but Smith says: ‘Nothing has changed. It has just completely stood still. I really hope [the manuals] can be saved because this stuff deserves it.

‘These cars are so rare now and there are people out there crying out for this stuff, even just an original service manual like that.

‘I just hope whoever buys this place or whoever does whatever they want to do with it, it can be going to the right people and all of this stuff can be saved.’

He adds: ‘This is one of those places that just continues to blow me away as I walk round it. I’m actually lost for words – I don’t know what to say!’

Smith is a former plumber who jacked in his trade to become an urban explorer when he became a viral hit on TikTok. You can watch his video of the dealership at the top of this article.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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