Visiting a Car Mausoleum

Yesterday I was invited to view what I thought was a garaged collection of old sports cars. I arrived to find two dozen lifeless cars parked inches apart in a cavernous former beer brewery. I've seen plenty of car collections, but this was unlike any of the others. I had to shuffle sideways between the cars where space permitted and was careful to look but not touch — not just out of concern for my health — but as a sign of respect for the automotive corpses, for I realized I was in a ceramic tiled mausoleum for cars.

The collection belonged to an avid SCCA racer who piloted a Renault Le Car and a Chevy Citation back in the 1970s and '80s. He passed away and his family wanted to see if there was any interest in the cars, most of which been parked — or entombed — more than 20 years ago. It's common for abandoned cars to rust away outdoors, but these were protected from the elements... except for the birds.

Even the email I received from a friend about the cars had a funereal tone:

....a property that is filled with old cars and they are opening it up tomorrow for viewing from noon to 4pm by invitation only.

As with traditional mausoleums, the lifeless cars were placed in family groupings. Here's a photo essay of the collection, arranged by family.

Renault Family:

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

Note the location of the ignition switch to the left of the steering column (above) and the 3-lug wheels (below) on the Renault Le Cars, mostly 1976 models.

The 1980 rally car is elevated on jack stands as if to simulate actual driving situations.

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

Here are the Renault twins, reunited in their resting place.

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

Mercedes-Benz Family:

1972 Mercedes 280SE 4.5, an orphan.

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

MG Family:

The MG family features a white 1969 MGB-GT, a red 1972 Midget in the background, and an 1965 Austin Healey Sprite in the foreground. The red MGA is a 1600 model from 1959.

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

Porsche-Audi Family:

1970 Porsche 911T and cousin 1974 Audi. (Thanks to the Jalops who pointed out that the original description of the Porsche as a 928 was incorrect.)

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

BMW Family:

Siblings from 1969

Visiting a Car Mausoleum

Volkswagen Family:

Alphabet soup: SCCA VW

Visiting a Car Mausoleum