Sweden’s Forgotten Car Cemetery

A while ago I went on a little road trip to the west of Sweden. In a tiny place called Båstnäs, there’s the remains of a once huge car cemetery. The place is pretty well known these days, people even come from all over Europe to visit it.
It lies just on the border with Norway, and was even used a setting for filming a Norwegian kids movie featuring a living tractor like the one I fixed recently.

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It used to be nearly 3 times the size, and was run by the two Ivarsson brothers until somewhere in the 80’s. After it closed down there have been a few efforts to remove some of the cars (hence it being only a third of the original size), but by now the local community seems to be OK with leaving the cars out there, considering it has become such an attraction.

The place still easily has over 200 rusting car hulks lying in a field and the surrounding forest (which also used to be fields some 30 years ago). There’s a few buildings dotted around the area, two of them are houses that used to belong to the brothers. There’s notes on the door saying you’re free to explore the area, but that the houses are booby-trapped! The other small buildings were used to store spare parts and contain piles of exhausts, driveshafts, rims, etc… Parts have even spilled over into the old outhouse.

The cars mostly date from the 50’s and 60’s, some of the most common models are VW Beetle, Volvo PV500, Saab 96 and Ford Cortina. There were also some VW T1 Transporters, but they looked like they’d often been used as donor cars; whole front were chopped off on a lot of them, and judging by some photo’s online some of it had been happening recently.

There was a magical feeling to the whole place, with moss covering almost every car, trees having grown through doors, bumpers and engine bays. Some stacks of cars had started to fall over, some even tumbling into murky ponds along with other parts.

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My friend Jerry had been fantasizing about having a barbecue in a location like this for a really long time, so we finally fullfilled that dream of his. We spent some 4-5 hours exploring this place, since it took almost 6 hours to drive there we felt like we didn’t want to miss anything. There were almost too many rusty cars, even for an enthousiast like me!

There’s some more misinformation about this place on the internet, such as these cars being ‘ex US-servicemen’ from after the second world war (US troops were never in Sweden in any numbers), but the simple truth is these are just ordinary cars that were not worth repairing anymore. In an interview with a guy who used to help bring cars to the scrapyard, he said how sometimes they’d bring cars over that were just a few years old; cars from back then would just rust much easier than they do now.

This place was honestly one of the best locations I’ve ever been to. Well worth the long drive, and despite being well known and us not being alone there, everything still felt properly abandoned and nearly untouched. This article only shows about half of the photos I processed (and that’s again less than half of the ones I took), check out the album if you want to see the rest.

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