Thursday, August 15, 2013

Call Me, Maybe?

I've got an eye for abandonded cars. Or maybe it's a nose. Or some sort of sixth sense. Whatever it is, it is a blessing, as it helps me discover wonderful gems hidden from plain sight.
Most recently it was on vacation in the south of France. I was sent on croissant mission early one morning for breakfast, and enjoyed a crisp walk along a path through the forest and fields that lead to the nearest town. Luckily I missed the shortcut at the end that lead directly to town, and ended up taking a longer but fortuitous route. 
As I rounded the last corner leading into town, I saw a small, overgrown garage. I had been noticing all sorts of old abandoned houses, barns and sheds in the area, and this tired old wooden structure caught my attention. As I got closer I could see that there were missing boards on the wall, and through these cracks I could see the jackpot: old forgotten cars!!!
I could see three cars, all lined up in a row. There were two mustard-coloured cars and a white four-door. While I would never suggest anyone trespass, I felt that I had a civic duty to go in and make sure that these cars were okay. Once inside I was glad that I had ventured past the brambles and thorns, as I discovered three rather interesting and uncommon cars.  
The first was an Opel Olympia coupe, a car that I had never even heard of before. Apparently it was a luxury version of the more common Opel Kadett from the same time period, and was produced between 1967 and 1970. This lovely little two-door with vinyl roof was in rather sound shape, even if it was covered in an inch of dirt and grime.
The other yellowish car was a Morris 1300 GT, produced around the same time as the Olympia (1967 to 1973). This model was a four-door version, and appeared mostly complete. The windows had been rolled down, which was unfortunate, as the interior appeared to be complete and in good shape, though beginning to suffer from the elements and birds and other animals that appeared to call it home.
My favourite was the white four-door sandwiched in-between the two others. In the small garage it was impossible to get a proper picture of the cars, but the most interesting angle of the Ford Consul was the rear 3/4 view. The Consul 315 (or the 'Consul Classic' in its home market of the United Kingdom) was a midsize sedan built from 1961 to 1963. The most striking feature of this car was the reverse angle of the rear windshield, a feature Ford had previously used on their small Anglia, and the late '50s Lincoln Continental, and would be used by Citroen on their Ami 6 small car in the 1960s.
The body of the Consul was in very good shape, though it has been stripped of many exterior and interior bits, and was therefore the saddest looking of the bunch.
I have several other pictures of each vehicle, and will share them when I have a chance. As any car fan can tell you, a find like this is very exciting, especially when it holds treasures that you have never seen or even heard of before! I spent a few minutes looking around, and then left the place as I had found it...
Well with one exception: I did write my phone number and an "I'll buy it" message in the dirt on the hood of the Ford... you never know when the owner will wander back, and I would love an excuse to head back to the south again, especially if it was for such a rare and wonderful car!

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