"Mourners" buy up car relics

It was the end of the road for Switzerland's most controversial junkyard at the weekend when two-thirds of the lot's 800 automobile relics were auctioned off.

This content was published on September 21, 2009 - 08:46

The owner of the "car graveyard" in Kaufdorf near Bern, home to wrecks dating back to the 1930s, carried out the auction in order to clear the lot, as demanded by the local authorities.

"Dear mourners, once the corpses are gone, there will be dead silence," said junkyard owner Franz Messerli at the start of the sale.

Of the 3,000 people who attended the auction, including many from abroad, one man shelled out nearly SFr20,000 ($19,374) for a 1950s Porsche. At least SFr250,000 was generated by the sale.

The remains of the relics that did not find buyers will be shredded.

Fans of the car graveyard rallied around Messerli when he received a court order a couple of years ago to seal the junkyard grounds to keep solvents leaking out of the old cars into the earth.

This would have meant the clearing of the lot, dooming the remains of cars that had not been touched for about 30 years.

Leading the supporters was a Swiss artist who turned the site into an art exhibition last year. He claimed the junkyard had become a breeding ground for rare flora and fauna, and therefore should be saved. and agencies

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