The end of a historic car graveyard in Kaufdorf
August 17, 2009 12:09 PM   Subscribe

A car graveyard in Kaufdorf, near Bern is home to 500 abandoned and decaying cars mostly from the 1930's to 1960's. It has not been touched for over 30 years and has some rare flora and founa. The opportunity to take stunning photographs is unparalleled, but it is causing environmental issues which results in an auction this September. It was a struggle between history, nature and European law. History and nature lose. posted by kudzu (21 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I forgot: You tube search. Sorry
posted by kudzu at 12:15 PM on August 17, 2009

Wow, those picture galleries are amazing. I was going to link to some of them I liked, but there's so many...go get lost in there!
posted by iamkimiam at 12:24 PM on August 17, 2009

Grundy County, TN was home for decades to a notorious ring of car thieves, fences, and chop shops. If you follow many of the dirt roads to their terminus at the edge of the Cumberland plateau you often find the dumping ground for cars that for whatever reason couldn't be cut up or sold. They were simply rolled to the edge of the mountain and pushed off. As this went on for decades the ensuing piles are spectacular to pick through. Down at the bottom you can find the rusting hulks of old 30's Packards and Dodge Bros. cars. Towards the top will be 80's model Tauruses and Explorers. Some bits like hood ornaments are still salvageable for those willing to brave snakes and potential collapse clamboring around the piles.

One more bit of warning: some of the families that used to make their living bootlegging and car thieving have moved into marijuana cultivation and meth cooking. These are not particularly social activities.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:35 PM on August 17, 2009 [4 favorites]

Don't let history and nature loose! The last time they got out they f__ed up a graveyard.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:12 PM on August 17, 2009 [4 favorites]

"the grounds must be cleared, paved and sealed to prevent fluids from seeping into the ground"

Seems to me like the environment will win in the end; sentimentalism is the loser.
posted by feistycakes at 1:19 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Switzerland is not an EU member state, so I don't quite see what this has to do with European law. Is this another case where European directives are being blamed for what is effectively a strictly local matter?
posted by jgbustos at 1:20 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

..also: the narrative in that 2nd link is painful to listen to.
posted by weezy at 1:28 PM on August 17, 2009

Wow, awesome! Thanks for this.
posted by mdonley at 1:28 PM on August 17, 2009

We must all do what we can to save the oil seals.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:29 PM on August 17, 2009


there's a truckload of EU law which applies to Switzerland, either because of its EEA membership or because of bilateral agreements with the EU.
[ truckload:proper legalistic juridical term ;-) ]
posted by MessageInABottle at 1:32 PM on August 17, 2009

Also, and more importantly, thanks, kudzu, great pics.
posted by MessageInABottle at 1:43 PM on August 17, 2009

Cue the Joni Mitchell song.
posted by GuyZero at 2:19 PM on August 17, 2009

Seems to me like the environment will win in the end

If you're paving the place, I don't know if the environment wins either.
posted by smackfu at 2:45 PM on August 17, 2009

Hurm. Perhaps the water supply wins?
posted by feistycakes at 2:46 PM on August 17, 2009

I have heard of a bioremediation technique in which soil was infused with some type of basic carbohydrate, swelling the population of soil micororganisms. When the carbohydrates were withdrawn, the bacteria in the soil moved on to the petrochemical toxins in the soil. I think brake fluid is a more difficult substance to deal with, though, however it seems like there are more sustainable approaches than just capping the site with concrete.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:23 PM on August 17, 2009

Sometimes junk is just junk. Just because these cars are of a certain vintage doesn't mean they need to be kept around forever in some decaying state. Imagine a lot full of 90s cars. Nobody would want those around as some kind of statement glorifying an imagined past.
posted by monospace at 6:50 PM on August 17, 2009

of course your garbage is now part of the environment...that's where you dumped it.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:55 PM on August 17, 2009

My pun above makes no sense now that the FPP has been edited. Sigh.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:47 AM on August 18, 2009

there's a truckload of EU law which applies to Switzerland, either because of its EEA membership or because of bilateral agreements with the EU.

Switzerland is a sovereign, non-EU nation. There's not a single EU law that applies within Swiss territory - Brussels has no jurisdiction. For the bilateral treaties, Swiss law in areas germane to the treaties had to be amended ("harmonized" is the euphemism commonly used) so as to be able to ratify them. Nevertheless, it is still Swiss law that we are subject to, thank you.

>> It was a struggle between history, nature and European law.

Secondly, environmental law and the policy that governs it is outside the scope of the bilaterals - as such the fight to save the cars unfortunately was lost to Swiss laws and bureaucrat intransigence. I wish I could blame the EU.
posted by oxidizer at 4:54 AM on August 18, 2009

a very large proportion of EU law needs to be implemented by national instruments in the EU member States as well - but has been drafted, discussed and voted in Bruxelles/Strasbourg so it _comes_ fron the EU. Of course then it is implement through French, Spanish, etc. laws... it does not make less "EU" in nature.

In this specific case the EU Directive in question is applicable because of a decision of the EEA Joint Committe, so, yes, it was technically a sovereign act of the Swiss Confederation. A sovereign act to enforce a law drafted and voted by representatives of EU States, not of Switzerland.....the format may be Swiss, but the content is definitively EU.

And you are completely right, environmental law is outside the bilaterals....but as you can see it applies nevertheless. You are therefore allowed to blame _both_ the EU and the Swiss bureaucrats. Happy? ;-)
posted by MessageInABottle at 7:31 AM on August 18, 2009

500 old cars causing environmental issues? Wow, I could import them to the US and get $1.75 million from the "Cash for Clunkers" program.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 6:07 PM on August 18, 2009

« Older From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of...   |   Marx and Mario Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments