Before Mother Nature, all are equal. Decay and growth are just two sides of the same coin. And spoiler alert: We all are going to die at some point - which is just perfectly illustrated by this collection of dozens of vintage cars we came across on our travels. Once worth millions, such collector's pieces are usually kept alive at a great cost. But here, just a pile of junk is left - deteriorating and vanishing: That is the circle of life.
This time, we explore a surreal park located in a German forest. This is no car cemetery - and for sure, it is not a scrapyard or sales area either. In fact, it is a metaphor for life. Because in the end, nothing matters anymore. Even the most expensive possessions become irrelevant and riddled with decay. So, why even bother with earning a lot of money or collecting fancy stuff? If you think that this is depressing, then take a closer look. Join us in exploring a place where life is ending - but also starting.
This looks like a car graveyard - but it is not. The difference here is that the vehicles and their stories were staged. It is basically art - arranged by an eccentric German car dealer, designer, and constructor. His name is Michael Fröhlich, and he came up with a strange new project in the year 2000. It started with an unusual present he made himself for his 50th birthday: 50 classic cars built in 1950 - the same year he was born. All of them were precious at the beginning. But through the years, this has changed - on purpose. Michael Fröhlich bought the cars to let them rot. Yup, I am serious. Millions were spent just to make a point: In his controversial project, the German artist wants to show the undeniable supremacy of Mother Nature. In the first couple of years, there were just dirty cars but 20 years later, nature has given all of them a fresh coat of paint. Rust and decomposition created new colorways and surface textures. For some, it is art - for others, it is irresponsible. Either way, the more decay the more curious visitors get attracted.
After winning the Oldtimer Grand Prix at a German racing track, his white Jaguar was the first vehicle Michael Fröhlich dumped in these woods. The second one was the Porsche of his competitor. Then 48 other automobiles followed from all around the world. However, it is better not to spend too much time finding out the car models - since this is not about the differences but similarities. Nature makes sure that all of these cars are equal. Also, it is not only classic cars you can find here. On the 20,000 square meter compound, you can discover way more.
Since the natural deterioration would take substantially longer, the artist is accelerating the decay. For that, he is pouring milk or saltwater onto the cars regularly. And needless to say: Oil and other contaminants were removed before Fröhlich dumped his cars in the woods.
While they are getting destroyed beyond repair and deteriorating more and more, these vehicles also serve as a biosphere for something new - because as life is ending, it is also beginning. As we look around this surreal park we clearly see that everything is transient, and nothing endures. It all falls apart in the end - just like these luxury car wrecks. Maybe it is sad to know that nothing you achieve will really last - and that everything you own will not have a purpose in the long run. But for us, this is actually a soothing thought. Transience can be motivating to affirm our existence right at this moment and to shape it joyfully. It is not money you need for that, or any possessions - this stuff will not last anyway, you see - so, why even bother? But that is just an opinion. What do you think?
Do you want to explore this place yourself? The park is only open on Sundays, and you have to register in advance. The telephone number and email address can be found online. There is also an entrance fee. Address: Autoskulpturenpark im Neandertal, Neandertal 11, 40699 Erkrath, Germany
See more of these priceless classic cars in our video report on YouTube: