Explore the ghostly Swedish junkyard of 1,000 cars abandoned by Americans

Deep in a Swedish forest lies an army of 1,000 decaying cars, many abandoned by U.S. servicemen at the conclusion of the Second World War. Known locally as the "Bastnas Car Graveyard," the mysterious spot houses a trove of neglected classics, ranging from old Saabs and Volvos, to VW camper vans and even a few Fords and Buicks — and if some Swedes have their way, the cars will stay there until they're dust.

Established by two Swedish brothers in the mid 1950s, the pair created a scrapyard for vehicles left by American soldiers. The cars were then disassembled and sold in Sweden's neighboring country, Norway, where its residents couldn't afford new cars and sought parts to repair their current ones. The brothers had homes on their sprawling land, and continued running the business until the 1980s, gaining more vehicles as time passed, before abandoning the site a decade later with more than 1,000 carcasses scattered across the land. For the last twenty years, the area has been left derelict, and the cars they originally salvaged forgotten.

Located outside of Bastnas, a renowned mining town in southern Sweden, finding the vehicular graveyard requires hours of travel along dirt roads, with no signage to guide you; the land was recently rediscovered by hikers who stumbled across a sea of rusting steel during a long trek. Once there, cars fill every view, along with the brothers' two desolate homes. The forest remains dense, and according to visitors, like a "labyrinth" of irregular paths and passages. Moss covers old classic vehicles, while shrubbery encompasses the interiors and glorious Saabs sit atop of more glorious Saabs.

Most cars in the lot range from the 1940s to 1970s, but it remains difficult to discern exact models given the inherent disrepair. Among the expected crop of Swedish vehicles is a healthy dose of American wheels, as well as a number of German examples, including Audis.

Today, according to photographer Sven Nordrom, many Swedes want the cars removed; however in an unusual twist, environmentalists plead for them to stay, stating birds and other wildlife have formed homes within the rotting bodywork. With more classic car enthusiasts learning of this decrepit graveyard's existence, additional manpower may help preserve it as a work of art.

As the saying goes, "One man's junk is another man's treasure." And a decaying Buick represents a raven's ideal summer vacation pad.

Photo: Thomas Geering / Terje Enge (via Flickr)

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