The Aix-en-Provence TGV station is one of the last places where we’d expect to find vintage cars in this region. Its name is a little misleading: it is actually located deep in the countryside several miles away from downtown Aix. Since its controversial inauguration a little over a decade ago, it has become notorious for petty crime and vandalism so it is best to avoid the place after the sun has gone down.
We were extremely surprised to drive through the station a couple of weeks ago and come across an unrestored first-generation Opel Manta from the early 1970s. It was parked on the large roundabout that surrounds the train station, an unsecured area where windows seemingly get shattered every night.
Aside from its rather risky location, the Manta surprised us because it is the first example that we’ve spotted outside of a junkyard or a car show. Registered in a department which lies in the mountainous Savoie region, it had several small rust bubbles on the passenger side rocker panel, testaments of the hard winters that it has likely endured. Still, the car was remarkably original and well-kept inside and out.
It goes without saying that we did not manage to track down the owner, who presumably left the car there to take a short train trip. The car disappeared several days later without leaving behind a pile of broken class so we are hopeful that it headed home in one piece.