Documentary unravels mystery of Hong Kong’s abandoned classic cars

Screenshot via Youtube

Classic car enthusiast Michael Tracy was shocked to discover a fourth generation Lincoln Continental — what he calls a “dream car” — on the back roads of Hong Kong.

That’s the story he tells in a recent episode of TVB’s “The Pearl Report” called “End of the Road,” which delved into why so many rare vintage cars are left decomposing on the city’s streets.

The documentary features Tracy, a writer for Jalopnik, and his brother Michael, who runs the Instagram account @carsofhongkong. The two document abandoned cars through photos and videos, which caught the attention of TVB staffers.

Tracy, who is a geologist by trade, told Coconuts HK that he began photographing the rare cars as a way to record his sightings and introduce Hong Kong’s automotive culture to the world.

“I started documenting these cars to the Instagram account because I knew very little about these mostly Japanese domestic market vehicles, but knew many American automotive enthusiasts could only dream of owning them (most of these cars are not sold in the US),” he said, in a message.

“It became a way of documenting/cataloguing relatively rare cars while introducing the HK car culture to the world and learning about each car from enthusiasts on the IG account.”

“The amount of messages I receive asking if I can export a vehicle is endless,” he said, adding that other enthusiasts’ reactions to the abandoned cars are “mostly astonishment, shock, frustration, and sometimes anger.”

While the resulting glut of collectible cars is heartbreaking to car lovers around the world, local residents view the abandoned cars as a nuisance that takes up precious space in a land-squeezed city.

The documentary explains the reasons behind the phenomenon, which range from the sky-high costs of owning a car in Hong Kong to a consumer culture that values newness above all.


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