Habitat, water bodies and contraband
Not every old car end up in a museum. Some dive into an unusual element, at the bottom of lakes or oceans. The bodies slowly merge over the years with the underwater world. But in some cases they’re even brought back to dry land.
Desolate stretches of ocean floor as dark brown sandy area off the coast of the Philippines. As distinguished from a vaguely familiar shape in blue water. As the bulbs detect the object, 30 meters below the water surface an unusual sight, it turns out to be red Ford Mustang.
We know that ships sometimes sink - but sports car? Miles away from the nearest road? But the Mustang was not simply disposed of as garbage here, but to create protective habitat in this rather colourless surroundings. Corals and other sea life settle on the metal, fish and crabs hide in the wheel arches and engine compartment. Even a couple of seahorses feel at home now, where once shone the Mustang emblem.
Car litter is a haven for marine life?
There is little shelter for animals, and therefore these artificial wrecks are quickly invaded by nature. After a few years they turn into habitats and quirky destinations for divers. And without the risks and side effects: Before the cars are sunk forever beneath the waves, they are stripped out and all fuel and oils are removed.
Sometimes divers encounter cars that hide a dramatic stories. The photo shows the two trucks. They were part of the reinforcements, which the Japanese troops in Chuuk in February 1944 - was to be transported - right in the Southwest Pacific. Some 100 vessels counted the fleet when she was attacked by about 450 American bombers. More than 40 ships sank beneath the waves. Today, the Truck Lagoon is an underwater monument to the impressive wreck dive sites - not least because of the up to 150 meters long, with all sorts of vehicles from motorbikes to bulldozers laden freighter. In the Red Sea in 1941 by a German bombers sank British freighter SS Thistlegorm attracts 30 meters below the water surface with similar finds.
Car wrecks as contraband or insurance fraud?
In addition to the automotive water bodies whose end is more or less clear. As in the case of the freighter Blue Belt that off the coast of Sudan ran on a reef and capsized in 1977. Whether the crew steered the disastrous wrong course because they had smuggled goods on board and wanted to remain anonymous, or whether the sinking was simply an insurance fraud remains a mystery. Why it is known as Toyota Wreck, reveals itself in the face of scattered over the reef barrier: From the car to truck tractors and spare parts to the Japanese manufacturer's products were on board.
In some cases the cars even came back to the surface. Just as the Bugatti Type 22, a diver in 2009 discovered in Ascona Lake Maggiore. The rotted sports car landed in the water because the previous owner had drove the then eleven-year-old sports car unceremoniously into the water as the authorities wanted to collect pending charges from the owner.
Photos by: Paul Munzinger