Japanese classic car showrooms are interesting places. They’re often full of odd memorabilia, parts, WIP cars and furniture. A bit like a small explosion in Beaulieu. This place, ProAuto, was once the same but then it was abandoned. We don’t know why. These pictures were taken by the blind eyes of the google street view car back in 2012 and show some amazing European classic cars slowly returning to the elements.

Like a lazy EBay seller I have to say there’s “too much to list”‘ but the highlights outside are the decaying red Maserati Merak (or is it a Bora?), a brace of black Lotus Europas, various Minis and what looks like the GRP shell of a Lotus Elan on its side. Inside there’s a super-rare Unipower GT, a Janspeed Mini and some early looking Lotus 7s. The only member of staff I can see is a Michelin Man, gathering dust.

In their yard over the road are more treasures. A BMW Isetta, looking like it has been painted and awaiting a retrim, a hardy Volvo 544 (surely that’ll be the last one standing when the others have long rusted away), an Alpine A110, a 2CV and a Renault 5. Minis are big in Japan, but here are some rare mini-based freaks such as a Mini Midas and a few Mokes too. The Alfa, is that Junior? The blue Bugatti type 25 shaped thing intrigues me, any ideas? The tiny white machine on the corner is a single seat microcar called the Zoe Zipper. Upstairs is even more.


We’d love to see this place ourselves but will have to make do with these pics. Have a virtual wander yourself here and let us know what you’ve spotted. Thanks for reading.

Pic credit; Google.

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich Duisberg* has had work published in Classic & Sportscar, Practical Performance Car, Modern Mini, Banzai, MogMag, Evo, GT Porsche, Complete Kit Car, Absolute Lotus, Alternative Cars, Classic Retro Modern, and elsewhere. Rich often appears on CBS’s XCAR and Carfection channels, and Motors TV, plus JayEmm on Cars, enthusing about historic motoring. His latest book (find his work on Amazon) was described by SniffPetrol as "hilarious", although he was also threatened with legal action by elderly DJ Tim Westwood. In his Midlands man cave is a 1972 Fiat 500, a Lotus Elise, a BMW barge and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike. Previous machines of interest include an Mk1 MX5 (owned for 14 years!), an Alfa GTV6, a Porsche 968 and a Sinclair C5. The Metro (right) was bought for an experiment, and abandoned in Africa. "I am not getting in a car with him" -  said Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. *A nom-de-plume inspired by the BBC's League of Gentlemen.

7 Responses

    • Peter M

      Hello. Pro Auto in Gifu is not abandoned, the business is operating buying and selling cars. The inventory is generally not for sale. I have spoken to the owner many times and have toured the facility. Just another eccentric car dealer.

      • DS

        Any chance you know what the red car in the second picture is? The one with the set of yellow wheels in front of it?

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