It doesn't happen very often, but occasionally automotive time capsules are created. Owners disappear, dealers get abandoned, and a group of cars from a certain era get stuck in time. Something along those lines happened to a bunch of vintage Volvos in the town of Malmedy, Belgium.
Images posted online show several of the steel Swedish bricks from the 1980s sitting in relatively good shape behind glass at a gas station. No one has been able to track down the exact story, but we've found a lot of details to get a rough idea of what's going on.
The long and short of it is that the Volvos are located at a former dealer that was once likely owned/operated by an individual named Charles Faymonville, according to a post on social media. It's actually very close to the city of Francorchamps, where the Spa Formula 1 circuit is located. The dealership is no longer operating, of course, but apparently, the shop next to it still is. Curious car enthusiasts, possibly in the area for a grand prix weekend, have stopped over the years and gleaned some information from the shop owner.
One Facebook user name Paul Drury posted the pictures that triggered the current bout of social media interest. In his post, he said he "had a chat with the old guy there, bit of a language barrier but I think he said the bank closed it down." If that is indeed the case, it's possible the institution just never got around to liquidating the assets it owned. That's a possible explanation, but it can't be confirmed.
What we do know is that the Volvos in the showroom are not the only Swedish cars on the premises. There are other newer machines parked beside the building, and a little sniffing through some images taken a decade ago on Flickr shows the whole front lot of the dealership was once packed to the gills with cars, all of them from Volvo. A comment posted by user Erik M on one of those Flickr photos six years ago gives more context. Allegedly, the property owner's son removed the cars that used to fill the front of the dealership in 2014. Where they went, we don't know.
It's unclear why the cars in the showroom, or those off to the side of the building, were not removed. It's possible some of the cars in front of the building were just moved to the side, although that's impossible to confirm using the available imagery. Aerial photos and historic street view pictures from Google do confirm Erik M's story, though. The cars out front are visible in pictures taken as early as 2009 but gone by 2015.
So there are still Volvos there today in the showroom but there used to be many more. Why the cars inside have not been sold off or otherwise removed is still a mystery. We can be certain that they haven't moved in a very long time, though. At least 13 years, probably more. We reached out to a few of the users on social media who posted photos with information to try and get more details, but so far we have yet to hear back. Without a visit to Belgium or more information from a local, it's likely this mystery will remain unsolved.
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