Photos Show Dozens of Classic Cars Abandoned in Collapsed Train Tunnel

You never know what lies beneath.

Lotus Elite in tunnel
Kyle May

It's human nature to bury the dead. Maybe that's why it's so eerie to look through this collection of photos showing a group of classic cars rotting away in a disused, collapsed train tunnel—it's like peering into a crypt, disturbing the spirits within.

There's a long story behind these leprosic husks and their resting place, a ruined piece of late-Victorian infrastructure in England. After the trains stopped running decades ago, the tunnel was converted into a subterranean car repair shop, then subsequently abandoned in 2012 when a large ceiling collapse threatened the integrity of the entire complex.

Kyle May

Everything was left behind—customer cars, old projects, tools and equipment, and older abandoned vehicles that predated the shop itself—and the place was sealed off. Recently, a local photographer named Kyle May got access to the tunnel from its current owner and agreed to share his photos with The Drive on the condition that we don't publish its exact location or the full backstory to help safeguard it from scavengers. You'll notice that some of the chambers look surprisingly clean and well-lit—that's because the property was actually being used to film a movie at the time.

Regardless, we're sorry for the intentional vagueness. But you're here for the cars, of which there are at least 20, running the gamut from a late-50s Land Rover Series II to 1979 Lotus Elite to a 1992 Mitsubishi Pajero 2-Door. Some have fared better than others—or at least spent a little less time underground. License plate checks (again, blurred out on May's request) show that a few were on the road as recently as 2012, while the most haggard have been down there for thirty years or more.

So enjoy this creepy photo tour, and remember: you never know what lies under your feet.

Kyle May

This 1986 Ford Capri has (had?) a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter engine making a whopping 72 horsepower. The optional Laser appearance package unfortunately didn't offer any actual lasers. It's notable both for being a collectible little rear-drive coupe and also one of the last Capris ever built, rolling off the line at the tail end of 1986 in the model's final year of production.

Kyle May

The sun may never set on the British Empire, but the roof will stay up on this 1982 Volkswagen Golf GLI Cabriolet forevermore. The GLI Cabriolet of this period was a GTI in every way but the name, packing the same tough 110-horsepower four-cylinder, anti-roll bars, and ventilated disc brakes.

Kyle May

Cabriolets finally received the GTI badge for the 1984 model year.

Kyle May

This Land Rover Series II dating from the late 1950s looks to be a coat of wax away from a pricey performance on Bring a Trailer. But that's not happening anytime soon.

Kyle May

The 1976 Fiat 124 Sport Coupé CC had a twin-cam engine designed by former Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi. It only pumped out about 118 horsepower, but the car could still hit a top speed of 115 mph.

Kyle May

This late-1970s AMC Pacer looks like it was stripped for parts years ago. How long it's been in the tunnel—or whether the English owner enjoyed their fine piece of Kenosha steel—is anyone's guess.

Kyle May

Get a load of those leaf springs.

Kyle May

Only 11,501 Rover P5Bs were built, this one in 1968. Many, many more of the Ford Ka (background) subcompact are out there on the road.

Kyle May

This 1968 P5B boasted a license-built version of the 3.5-liter "Buick 215" V-8, famed for its light weight, 158 horsepower, and 210 pound-feet of torque. Versions of this engine continued to be produced until 2006.

Kyle May

It's hard to tell from the angle of this shot, but the Lotus Elite (Type 72) is actually a weird front-engine, two-door shooting brake with a backseat and a rear glass hatch. It was also one of the last models Lotus founder Colin Chapman was involved with designing before his death in 1982.

Kyle May

An interesting juxtaposition here. In part, the success of imported economy cars like the first-generation Honda Civic in the foreground brought the era of British cars like the late-60s Morris Minor in the background to an end.

Kyle May

Rusted, graffitied, ravaged by time—this car deserved better. Not a lot of these first-gen models still left on the roads.

Kyle May

The Morris Minor was the first British car to sell more than a million units, but going mostly unchanged since the early 1950s, it was fairly obsolete by the time it went out of production in 1971.

Kyle May

When this Renault Safrane was sold in 1993, it was the French automaker's most expensive car on the market, in part because it was its first with airbags.

Kyle May

A 1988 Land Rover Defender 110 alongside a 1990 VW Caddy, the Golf-based ute. Rubble from the cave-in is visible in the background.

Kyle May

This 2004 Volkswagen Transporter van was directly underneath the spot where the ceiling collapsed in 2012.

Kyle May

The Transporter is a rugged workhorse, if not quite sturdy enough to withstand several tons of earth and bricks falling onto their roof.

Kyle May

Only the front end could be seen sticking out from under the pile. Once the rubble was mostly cleared, according to May, the owner of the shop used the PVC pipe seen here to patch the cooling system, started it up, and drove it out. Front-wheel drive has its merits.

Kyle May

This 1980 Ford Cortina 2.0GL wagon was a far cry from its Lotus-tuned ancestor, but it was still a member of the Cortina family that earned a heartfelt eulogy from Amazon's The Grand Tour.

Kyle May

This is just unsettling.

Kyle May

Here's another economy car dating from the 1970s: a supermini Fiat 127. These early front-drive Fiats were immensely popular in Europe, with Fiat reporting one million examples sold barely three years into production.

Kyle May

We'll give you one guess as to why this late-1970s Ford Transit chassis cab was left in the tunnel.

Kyle May

This early-70s Triumph GT6 was in a dire state well before the place was abandoned. It hasn't aged like wine since.

Kyle May

Two old Land Rovers gather dust. The 1993 Defender in the background deserves to be saved.

Kyle May

With some new tires, some fresh gas, and a jump start, this Defender could roam the UK once more. Note the brand-new tires stacked upper right, still wearing their stickers.

Kyle May

A 1964 Humber Hawk Series IV in a sad state of disrepair.

Kyle May

This particular year of Humber Hawk received revised bodywork, an updated synchromesh-equipped manual transmission, and a rear sway bar.

Kyle May

A second stack of tires, presumably meant for the Land Rovers seen above.

Kyle May

That's the closest to seeing the light of day this Fiat 130 will ever get again.

Kyle May

Beneath the dust, that interior's probably in salvageable shape. Or parts of it, anyway.

Kyle May
Kyle May

Finito.

Kyle May

Humber Limited went under in 1967, which makes this bicycle delivery trailer at least 52 years old.

Kyle May

Lifts, workbenches, and oil drains that haven't been used in almost eight years.

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