Car dealerships rely majorly on how the auto industry works. When the auto business and sales are good, so are dealerships and many are able to thrive. When the industry crashes, it’s the dealerships that suffer right behind factory workers. When the 2008 economic crunch almost ruined the auto industry, companies cut ties to many dealerships. Almost literally overnight, thousands of car dealerships around the world folded and were abandoned, some with cars still inside. While the industry has recovered, economic issues mean several of these places remain empty.
It is amazing to see so many empty buildings about the countryside, many located in busy places. These have become popular for urban explorers who enjoy photographing such places. Car enthusiasts also obviously enjoy seeing once busy dealerships now turned into ghostly edifices. Some are run down while others look almost brand new but each is a reminder of what was once a vibrant car showcase. Here are 20 truly haunting images of abandoned car dealerships to show what happens when an auto seller closes up shop fast.
In Hawaii, “aloha” means both “hello” and “goodbye.” The owners of Aloha Auto Sales clearly had no idea how he’d be living up to both meanings of the word. It barely looks like a dealership with its small size and was opened back when the island had a smaller population that wasn’t as into cars. The cardboard sign notes how it moved to a larger location while the bright green colors fit its setting. It’s a bizarre deserted place on this island paradise.
19 Lonely LeBaron
Seeing a near pristine car inside a totally abandoned dealership is always a haunting sight. Such a case is in this suburban Chicago dealership as a classic 1980s Chrysler LeBaron convertible sits perfectly still in the middle of a showroom. The wood floors also don’t look too bad and even manage to amazingly match the car exterior. Incredibly, the car and dealership remains almost exactly the same as if the ‘80s never stopped.
18 Still Waiting
Found in Weir, Massachusetts, this dealership seems to have been quite the vibrant place in the 1980s. Today, it’s long been abandoned yet still attracts passerbys due to the great cars left inside. The used Ford inside still looks ready to go, its bright white color a huge contrast to the dingy interior. The background is also moody with old-styled furniture and sheets strewn about. It’s as if it’s just waiting for someone to drive it despite being long abandoned.
17 The Price is Wrong
The most striking abandoned buildings are those that look like they’re almost brand new from the outside but the interior is a mess. This Flint, Michigan dealership is a good example. Passing by, one might think it’s operational thanks to the bold painted logos offering the best deals and prices that look like they were just painted yesterday. That it’s been abandoned for a decade seems off and almost as if the signs are mocking anyone passing by.
16 Space Age
While car dealerships had existed for a while, the 1950s and ‘60s had them rising to new prominence. The entire “space age” motif took hold for architecture in this time and car dealerships wanted to use that. This Cadillac showcase in Downey, California is a great example.It was built in 1964 and lasted until 2009. The signs are still there with the weird design just looking more striking today. It’s almost become a tourist sight in its own right as a throwback to a different age.
15 Jettisoned Jaguar
Abandoned dealerships seem like a bigger deal when it’s for a major luxury car company. Such a case is this Jaguar dealership in Columbia, South Carolina. This pic makes it look as if it’s just a quiet Sunday morning as the floors look mopped, the banners hanging from the ceiling in pristine shape and the sun flowing in. It’s as if it’s ready for business instead of shut down. The black and white image makes it all the more striking to show how even a high-end dealership can suffer the same fate as a low-scale shop.
14 Barren Setting
The location is unknown but that makes it look more haunting. It appears to have been a dealership along with a very top notch repair shop, its location distant yet near the road to help people. The dirt track at the rear shows how the muddy days may have played a part in why this place went out of business as owners prefer a dealership looking much more high-end. Nature itself looks prepared to take the place back but for now, it appears quite lonely.
13 A Cherry on Top
The car belongs to the photographer who parked it to get a photo of what was once the Ash Grove dealership. Yet that actually makes this stand out more, a bright red new car against this long abandoned building. The canopy shows the long row of cars once on display and the boarded up doors and windows showcase how long it’s been left behind. The faded satellite dish on the roof showcases how modern this place had been before going out of business and this car was once just one of many sold there.
12 Deal’s Over
Talk about a weird sight. Located in Darien, Georgia, Jack Nelson Ford shuttered its doors in 2009 after the car industry crunch hit. The notable part is that while the store sign was removed and the outlines remain, the “we’re dealin!” logo on the front window remains prominently displayed. It’s almost as if mocking how the dealership’s work is long over and nothing but dust left inside. The only deal here is how great a sight it is for photographers.
11 Left High
European dealerships are notable for the “stacked” showcases that prominently show off cars in high buildings. This Mercedes-Benz dealership in Alfonso Molina Avenue in Spain is a good showcase. It had been abandoned in the late 1990s which explains the older car that seems almost trapped in the broken ruins of the upper floor. The building was demolished at last in 2008 but the picture remains as a chilling sight of an abandoned dealership.
10 Tagged In
As soon as a building becomes abandoned, it instantly becomes a target for graffiti artists. It’s much easier to “tag” a building with no worries over security and some artist took full advantage. Rather than just put on a small logo, they are able to paint a massive tag over four huge windows and it’s actually very stylish. The setting sun adds another amazing touch to show how what was once a strong dealership is now a street artist gallery.
9 Valley Low
That it looks to still be in good shape makes this image so striking. Valley Dodge in Wellsville, Connecticut was yet another victim of the near-collapse of the auto industry in the late 2000s. Almost overnight, this popular dealership went belly-up and abandoned fast. It still stays in town, its signs showcased (although one later falling down) and furniture inside. It looks ready to be moved in once more but no one seems interested in making this dealership viable again.
8 Grey Skies
It’s the weather that makes this such a striking sight. An abandoned car dealership on the highway is already a striking sight. This Pontiac Chevrolet establishment looks to have been a big deal, a dealership with a full garage and showcase. Located in Orland, California, it was one of the countless dealerships ruined when Chevy cut ties during the economic crunch of 2008. It’s the sky that makes it so striking, the grey clouds almost matching the sad mood of a once vibrant industry fallen on hard times.
This Ohio dealership looks more like a single garage and dominated by the lone Cordoba inside. Chrysler’s first luxury model coupe was made between 1975 and 1983. That shows just how long this place has been left behind given it still has a car not produced for 35 years. The dust makes it look even worse. The thick growth on the windows adds more pathos to the sight of a once fine luxury car left to rot in some lonely garage.
6 Burned Down
Most dealerships are abandoned because of bad business but others suffer a different fate. When a car dealership burns out, authorities are suspicious it might have been arson as part of an insurance scam. As it happens, this was a pure stupid accident as the janitor of a Detroit dealership knocked over a can of fuel oil and then ran it over with a scrubber. That ignited a blaze that raged for five hours. This eerie aftermath shows several cars still burned-out husks inside and how damaging a foolish accident can be.
5 Muscle Dust
One doesn’t think of Denmark when it comes to muscle cars. Yet this Fiat dealership shows a very extensive row of automobiles that, in their prime, would have been a fantastic sight. Despite their age and how Europe isn’t known for huge muscle machines, they still look good. The problem of course is that they’re covered with dust and dirt, making them look like ghostly machines. This is actually a popular tourist spot to see a fleet of cars that just need a good wash.
4 Moss Coverings
The elements have not been kind to this dealership. It’s in a rural area and thus moss has become overgrown and cracking up through the paved floor. The wood pillars also show a lot of wear and tear with mold covering them and one looking amazingly intact but the other seems ready to collapse. The newspapers strewn about date to whenever it was last used and the fact there seems to be a still open dealership next door highlights how abandoned this place is.
3 Proauto Parade
This Japanese factory has been hailed by many for its amazing plethora of abandoned cars. Enthusiasts have shared photos of an amazing row of vehicles that include a Volvo 544, Bugatti Type 25, n Alpine A110, a 2CV and many more. It’s almost like a museum with the cars laid out front like it’s a display and many more visible through the building windows. It’s remarkable as a junkyard with pristine cars to make it an amazing find.
2 The Oakville Mystery
This is pretty famous among abandoned dealerships. For almost two decades in Oakville, Ontario, there has sat a BMW dealership that seems frozen in time. It went out of business in 2002 yet the owner refuses to sell off either the building or its inventory. Which means passer-bys can just wander past and peer in to see an E24 and 635csi BMW both in great condition, sitting in the showroom as if waiting to be used. It’s just remarkable how this place remains so intact and yet so empty.
1 Ohio Ghosts
This Dayton-set dealership truly looks like something out of time. The interior is clearly showing the wear and dust of the time with a chair pulled up to the car as if just waiting for a dealer to show it off. The wood paneling of the office is trashed and broken to show the wear and tear and the view of the garage in the read is also pitiful. There’s the car itself, just sitting there covered with dust as if waiting to still be driven off the lot that will never be used again.
Sources; weburbanist.com, pinterest.com, jalopnik.com, atomicredhead.com