We stumbled upon this Fiat 238 while gathering firewood in December of 2010. It was about two minutes away from a major road that we take on a regular basis yet we had never seen it before, leaving us amazed at how well hidden it was.
We got out of our car and walked up to a somber sight: Not only was the 238 riddled with bullets, it was missing all four wheels and its four-cylinder engine. The interior was infested with rats so, identification plate be damned, we chose not to rummage around.
Intrigued, we talked to a local man in his sixties who revealed that the van had been parked in the exact same spot for over thirty years, and that the owner of the plot of land had been dead for almost as long. The man added that in the middle of the 1980s there were several other cars parked next to it, including a Renault 16, Citroën DS and several Simcas. All that’s left of the DS and the Simcas are miscellaneous parts such as steel wheels and trim bits, but the 16 is still around today.
We visited the van late last month and were surprised to see it laying on its side. We couldn’t find anybody around to talk to but we’re assuming that the lot has changed hands and is being cleaned up. The 238, the 16 and the remains of what appeared to be a large shed will all be scrapped in the near future.
We know very little about the van pictured below other than its registration number was issued in 1983. While this could make it one of the very last 238s built, the front panel, the rear doors and what’s left of the dashboard indicate that it is an early model that was likely assembled in the late 1960s or early 1970s.