20 Sad Photos Of Cars That Were Left Behind At Detroit Auto Plants

When the economy suffered a blow back in 2008, the auto industry took the impact hard. What was once considered the center of the American auto industry has since taken on a day and night change.

Thinking back to what Detroit was like before the financial crisis, production was booming. Auto plants were in full swing churning out vehicles from GM, Chrysler and more. Today, the light has gone out at most of those plants, cars don’t come off the assembly line and people lost their jobs.

The abandoned plants throughout Detroit is a cold hard look at the reality of this once booming auto city and a peek inside the aftermath of what played out over the last decade.

20 Dump Truck On The Edge

via abandonedamerica.us

It wasn’t enough to simply dump this dump truck, leaving it behind, but a worse fate was yet in store for it after years of service. Somehow, it got to the fourth floor of the Packard Plant and eventually reached the edge, which is the state this photo captures it in. To find out what happened next, the answer is further down.

19 Burnt And Graffitied Car Frame

via deanoinamerica.files.wordpress.com

Packard Automotive Plant once stood as a major factory in Detroit that’s now in ruins. Of the many artifacts scattered throughout its 3,500,000-square-foot premises is this lone car frame pictured here. Both the charred marks from it being on fire and the graffiti is evidence that vandals had their way with it (Abandoned Playgrounds).

18 In The Crusher

via TheWeek

There’s a number of reasons why they crush vehicles. According to HowStuffWorks, in a report by the Environmental Protection Agency, it can use 74 percent less energy when recycling metal instead of making new steel. If a truck is inoperable, then it makes sense to send it to the shredder so its parts can benefit another one.

17 Dump Truck

via Flickr user Tyler Linner

At dusk, an urban explorer came across this rusty dump truck that remains mostly still intact. It may not have a door anymore and there’s tagging alongside its dump bed, but it looks like it’s in working condition otherwise. According to Wall Street Journal, the truck originally resided on the fourth floor of the Packard Plant (as shown earlier) until someone pushed it down.

16 Crushed Car and Train

via verticalgardenpatrickblanc.com

Taken in July 2016, this photo shows Patrick Blanc, a botanist, and Pascal Heni, an actor and singer, standing among the ruins of a ruined auto plant in Detroit. Not only is there a crushed car outside the plant, but what appears to be a train car that flew off the rails and landed in the street (VerticalGardenPatrickBlanc.com).

15 Tagged Car

via Reddit user RyanSmith

It’s common for graffiti artists to turn abandoned automobiles into their own personal art projects. This one, still sitting in a Detroit factory, got a new paint job we’re not crazy about. As if that wasn’t demoralizing enough, there’s trash and discarded cans littered around it. This car deserved better.

14 Hidden Cougar

via Motor1

How did this end up here? A beautiful and deserted 1963 Cougar II spent its years in an abandoned property in Detroit. It’s not the only stylish vehicle to find a home here, as we reveal further on another cool vehicle stored here. Maybe now this car can go into a museum or somewhere people can enjoy it, instead of buried away.

13 Wall Of Cars

via photorator.com

To keep trespassers out of an abandoned factory, they actually used the very things it once created: automobiles. After crushing several cars into compressed bricks and stacking them up one on top of the other, they placed them where a door once stood. Now it stands as a harsh monument of its downfall.

12 Nissan 300ZX

via flickr user hilary

One can hardly see the factory in the background with all the weeds growing on the hillside. According to a Flickr user named hilary, this car sits in an abandoned lot close to the factory. It looks like a Nissan 300ZX that’s still in good shape that plenty car enthusiasts would happily adopt.

11 The State Of Detroit’s Auto Industry

via qz.com

This image might sum up the auto industry in Detroit at the moment. It’s not completely gone yet, but it’s certainly had its wheels taken from it. In addition, the car in this scene has snow all around it, which reflects the bleak state of affairs it’s currently in.

10 Hatchback

via boingboing.net

It’s a mystery why many of the abandoned cars throughout these plants remain there, let alone got there in the first place. This hatchback sits in shadows within the Packard Automotive Plant, a cinderblock on its roof and covered in graffiti. The trunk door is totally ripped off and doors sit ajar.

9 Abandoned Factory Lot

via DrStockPhoto.com

It’s not clear what factory this is, but DrStockPhoto reports it in fact resides in Detroit. As one can see, from the foreground, there’s a rundown lot with vehicles still parked and unoccupied. Unlike the deteriorated building, the cars look intact, as the chain link fencing must've discouraged trespassers from stripping them of their parts.

8 Psychedelic Truck

via Fiveprime

Left behind after serving the factory for years, this truck got vandalized like the rest of the brick walls around it. The vandals even left the paint cans behind. The colorful paint job didn’t stop this urban explorer from hopping inside though and pretending to hightail it out of there.

7 The First AMC 75?

via Motor1

The other car touched on earlier, that they found right next to the 1963 Cougar II was this 1977 AMC Pacer. Motor1 speculates that it could even be the first AMC Pacer they ever made, which would make it a valuable find. If they uncovered this in Detroit, imagine what else is hiding away there.

6 Lot In Life

via Urbex

In a nearby lot, there are cars in decay. Some are classics that look like they’re from the 50s, while one further down the frame looks more like a muscle car from the 70s. Even the door to the building in the background looks rusted and full of wear.

5 Decorative Car

via Panos Pictures

What factories in Detroit have left behind, others have found a use for. While this car no longer looks like it runs, this man took up residence here and stores many of his belongings on top of the sedan. It’s as if the car now serves as a decorate piece in someone’s home.

4 Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s Van

via CBS Detroit

The infamous Dr. Jack Kevorkian would even conduct his controversial business in a van, according to CBS Detroit. The same outlet reports that it turned up in Detroit and eventually got into the hands of the TV show Hardcore Pawn. A range of vehicles still inhabit the abandoned car plants throughout the once prosperous city.

3 Stripped Parts

via Alanna St. Laurent

A space where people could once work on cars and learn more about how they work has become vacant. As if the car was in mid-examination, with its truck open, rear wheels off and front completely removed, the workers got up and left right away. Now, it’s just a shadow of its former self.

2 Past vs Present

via USA Today

So it’s a little bit of a cheat, as the photo is technically a blending of the Packard Plant’s past (on the right) with that of its present (left). The photo, however, makes it look like there are still untouched Packard cars left on the factory floor, when in reality, a car is a rare sight there.

1 Lone Truck

via airfields-freeman.com

The photo is not the sharpest, but it looks like this abandoned garage is still home to a pickup truck of some sort. Near the center of the frame, tucked away in the corner by the door, is what looks like an intact rally truck with a spoiler on its bed. Seems like a strange vehicle to leave behind.

Sources: Abandoned Playgrounds, Wall Street Journal, VerticalGardenPatrickBlanc.com, Flickr, DrStockPhoto, HowStuffWorks, CBS Detroit, Motor1

More in Cars And Trucks