There Used to be a Junk Yard with Vintage Cars near Bern

Swiss Junk Yard in Kaufdorf

According to official records, there is a car for every two Swiss. Up until 2009, the town of Kaufdorf in the canton of Bern used to push that average up by much.

In addition to the statistically estimated 510 cars, there used to be hundreds of additional cars on the town premises of Kaufdorf (pop 1020). Now, I never claimed that they were all operational.

In fact, these classic machines were peacefully resting in the Swiss junk yard of a car dealer.

Swiss Junk Yard in Kaufdorf

In the scenic farmlands of Bern, hundreds of vintage Chevys, Chryslers, Mustangs and Thunderbirds from the 1930s to the 1960s were stacked side by side (and on top of one another).

It all started in the 1930s when car dealer Walter Messerli started buying cars for parts. His love for the cars prevented him from scrapping them, so Messerli instead preserved them in his yard.

Swiss Junk Yard in Kaufdorf
 

Can you imagine how controversial this was in a country like Switzerland where people value neatness over anything?

Many locals saw the junk yard as a historical artifact, wanting to preserve it. On the other hand, environmental organizations claimed that the seeping fluids are causing irreversible damage to the fauna and flora of this place.

Swiss Junk Yard in Kaufdorf

 


 

Finally, the Swiss government had their way: The car cemetary was removed in 2008 and by 2009, most of the cars had been auctioned off.

What’s your opinion? Should the Swiss junk yard have stayed, or was it OK to "scrap" it?

(Photographs copyright by Wikipedia, Swiss car statistics, via Urban Ghosts)

Swiss Junk Yard in Kaufdorf

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Dimitri

As the founder, editor and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of the Swiss Travelwriters Club.

Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.
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  • Benny Sørensen

    It should not have been scraped but auctioning it off was a good idea since the cars were potential for restoration or for use as spare parts for restoring other rare cars. Letting it stay would just have resulted in the cars deteriorating beyond repair, at that point they would be completely lost for future generations.

    • newlyswissed

      Thanks for the insights, Benny! ^Dimitri