Is there anyone who doesn’t love a good mystery? I mean, other than the low-level real estate fraudsters with a dramatic flair and a penchant for mummy costumes that butted heads with those teens who lived in that van with their Great Dane? We all love a good mystery, especially a car mystery, and a reader named Michael sent us a very good one, involving buried cars on a beach.
Michael is in Bayswater, which is part of New York City, across the water from Brooklyn, and he tells me, in the same Zip Code as Far Rockaway. It’s near JFK airport.
Michael was out exploring (I assume? Maybe he has pirate treasure/stack of old Oui magazines buried there, for all I know) and came across the carcasses of at least four cars, lined up in a row on a beach, behind a state park.
Michael also took all these lovely pictures, by the way.
It’s around here, and as you can see, it’s not really somewhere that is normally accessible by car, at least not with any actual roads.
Here’s what Michael had to say about it all:
A few points:
1. The city ran a storm drain right past this spot around the time of Hurricane Sandy. If the cars were there, they’d be impossible to miss.
2. The beach is hard to access by vehicle now. Not impossible, but it would take some planning. (See Maps link.) There are easier places to abandon a car.
3. The water is shallow, so a barge dropping off the vehicles would have a tough time too.
4. The vehicles seem to be lined up, as if someone parked a row of Chevy vans and just never came back for them. Why they’d pick this spot is part of the problem.
5. I counted four but there could be a more. They do seem to be similar vehicles, eg the various tires near each all were marked “Reynolds” and the plots are of similar size.
I have more info, and can go back for more. The heart of the mystery is this - how or why did they get here? This is like finding a horse skeleton in your attic. Obviously you could have urged a horse up the stairs, but why?
The vehicles are clearly very very decayed. I know they must be just about completely and irretrievably returned to Mother Earth because when I posted them in our Jalopnik Slack channel, I got this response:
Anyway, looking at these carcasses (car-carcasses?) I think we can determine some things: they look like American V8s. and, based on this bit of plastic grille, perhaps an early-to-mid 1970s Cadillac? At least one of them?
That’s definitely a V8 of some sort under all that oceanic cruft; you can see the tips of four spark plugs (sorry, valves) peeking out of this bank.
Some parts have survived a bit better, likely the plastic bits, like whatever this box was:
Were early ECUs housed like that?
Those belts still look pretty good!
Is that a crankshaft? Maybe not.
This one even still has the bottom part of the bench seat! I bet with some fresh gas and a new battery, you could drive it home!
There’s lots of mysteries here—how did these cars end up here? Are they all old Cadillacs, or something else? Why were they just parked so neatly and abandoned? Is this some mid-’70s New York mob thing?
Any old Reynolds tires salespeople from the area have a lead on this?
It’s a strange find, that’s for sure. Who wants to help speculate a bit? Why would these cars have been abandoned here, all in a row? What were they? How long have they been here? Did anyone ever notice them before, perhaps when there was still more of them around?
I welcome your wild, unproven theories. Let’s get all worked up and demand some answers! From someone!