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The story behind this supercar graveyard in China

Another reminder to always stay away from pyramid schemes

We’ll take the Corvette, thank you very much. PHOTO FROM ASH SUTCLIFFE

Once in a while, stories emerge about strange places where expensive cars are simply rotting away. We previously wrote about Rudi Klein’s famous luxury car junkyard, and many of you have probably also heard stories about abandoned supercars in Dubai. Now, a new place needs to be added to the list of locations where precious automotive metal is simply left to waste away. In China, a car park filled with luxury vehicles has awakened the curiosity of petrolheads from around the world. Just why have these premium rides been left there?

Who hasn’t fantasized about stumbling upon a place filled with abandoned cars? PHOTOS FROM ASH SUTCLIFFE

Pictures showing a number of neglected high-end cars with Chinese license plates recently emerged on Twitter, with an account named Rogers Chan posting a tweet that showed a Bentley Bentayga, a Rolls-Royce Phantom and other posh automobiles seemingly rusting away in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang. He didn’t provide many details, unfortunately, and so it wasn’t until another Twitter user made the trek to the location that things began to make sense. That guy happened to be Ash Sutcliffe, who works in the PR department of Chinese automaker Geely, and he was able to shed some light on the mysterious car park.

According to him, the cars belonged to a dealership that was closed down by authorities for being part of a scam. Some additional research seems to suggest that the vehicles were part of a Ponzi scheme of some sort, and from what we can gather, the people behind the scam seemingly offered supercars at prices that were way below market value. As part of the scam, buyers had to hand over all the cash months before the actual car was due to be delivered, and we’re sure you can see where this is heading.

Ever seen a neglected Bentley limo? PHOTOS FROM ASH SUTCLIFFE

For a while, this scam apparently worked, but as with all Ponzi (or pyramid) schemes, it eventually collapsed toward the end of 2017. When the time came to pick up their cars, customers found the doors of the dealership closed and the owners missing in action. The owners later got arrested, and some of the cars that were left somehow ended up abandoned in this old car park.

These cars now likely form part of a government investigation, and can’t be sold or claimed by anyone. That, as far as we can piece together the story, is why they are now corroding away, as crazy as that may seem. Then again, that’s China for you.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.