The Fiat 128 you see below is ending its days in a dry riverbed in southern France.
There used to be at least a dozen cars in the riverbed: a handful of Renault 4s (including this one and this one), a few Renault 5s, a Renault 17, a pair of Renault 8s, and a Volkswagen 1500 Variant, among others. Most of them have been featured in these pages before. A couple of years ago, the local authorities decided to slowly clean up the area by pulling all of the cars out, by getting rid of most of the scrap metal that was down there, and by cutting down literally hundreds of trees.
The cleanup operation made it possible to access a part of the riverbed that was entirely off-limits before. I walked down it a few months ago to check whether there were any cars left and, low and behold, I found the 128 pictured here. What’s interesting is that most of the aforementioned cars were badly damaged from being pushed down into the riverbed from the road above. The 128, however, looks like it was simply parked there and forgotten about. The door pillars are intact, and the roof is dented but it’s the result of folks jumping on it and throwing rocks at it, not the result of it being pushed off a cliff.
Getting to where the 128 is by car is impossible today. However, it’s been sitting there for decades so it’s possible that the forest was much less dense at the time. At any rate, the engine has been removed and it looks like the dash is gone, though it’s difficult to tell what else is missing without using a shovel. White with red stripes right above the rocker panels — this must have been a sharp-looking 128 back in the 1970s! I can’t help but wonder what the folks who bought it new would think if they saw it today.