Rust in peace

One of the most interesting photo opportunities for me would have to be a visit to a vintage auto graveyard, full of rusting classics waiting peacefully to be discovered and captured on camera. Rust and decay seems to lend itself as the perfect subject for HDR photography and there are many excellent examples on the internet. Perhaps one day I’ll make a trip to one of the few places that still exist like this and  come away some pictures of my own. In the mean time I’ll feature some graveyards around the world and some of my favourite VW photos.

Autofriedhof, Kaufdorf – Switzerland

Autofriedhof, on the edge of Kaufdorf near Switzerland’s capital Bern was, until recently, one of Europe’s biggest vintage-auto graveyards. It contained more than 1,000 vintage vehicles including rusting Wolseleys, Ford Prefects, Porsches and several vintage volkswagens. Vehicles with ages ranging from the late 1920’s right up to the 70s.

Walter Messerli opened the brakers yard in 1933. A part time racing driver, Meserli’s collection numbered 2,000 vehicles at it’s peak and it was his intension to open a museum which would cover the history of modern motoring. His son Franz took over the graveyard in 1975 and planted trees  due to complaints that the site was an eyesore.

In 2009 the authorities declared that the collection was an environmental hazard and ordered the site to to be cleared. A campaign was stared to preserve the site with over 10,000 people attending an open day. The aim was to preserve it as a ‘national work of art.’

An auction of the vehicles was held in September 2009 and as far as I can establish, the site has now been cleared.

Photos by


  1. Astrid

    I knew from the title that looking at this post was going to make me sad 😦 so many cars past the point of no return! Does make for some great photos though.

    • Malc

      The VWs are far outnumbered by other marques and, as you say, most of the cars look to be too far gone to restore. On the auction site there are pictures of them being removed and many just crumbled away when they tried to move them. The photos only work with the cars in situ as once they are moved, the whole atmosphere is lost. I guess most that we’re sold will be restored or at least used to donate parts so others may live again.

      • Astrid

        If their parts are used to keep other classic cars on the road, then it’s not such a shame. One has to assume that the cars have ended up here because they were totalled in a crash or rusted past repair to start with. You can’t save every classic, unfortunately, and it does make the ones that are still around that much more special.

  2. Pingback: Rust in peace « mobile web sales

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