Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Abandoned VW Dealership


The guys over at Hooniverse recently posted a video depicting a Brazilian VW dealer that shut down in 2001. Even though the doors are closed, the owner still goes in everyday to clean and watch after a few of his favorite cars. One of the Beetles supposedly has never been driven and the other cars inside look pristine as well. This one might not qualify as a barn find just yet, but we predict that the contents of this old building will go up to auction sometime soon. Watch the video and let us know if you think the story is legit:

Be sure to turn on Closed Captions (CC) as it is in Portuguese.


  1. Brian

    Such a sad story, hopefully he will be able to keep his collection and dealership together until his passing, since it is the joy in his life. When everything does sell, I’m sure the sale will set records! As far as legit, these days, nothing really surprises me, so, yes, I’ll buy it!

    Like 0
  2. Dolphin Member

    I had trouble getting English subtitles in the video, but I got the English translation and copied it below. I hope it’s OK to take up the space, but this is an amazing, mostly very sad story. It’s a lot harder for me to feel warm and fuzzy about VW-Audi today, unfortunately. I just hope this fellow, Otmar Walter Essig, finds some peace in his remaining years.

    [English translation from Portuguese:]
    Estrela, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

    In 1974, I became a business partner here.
    The business was broken and we raised it up.
    The dealership was selling well, like 25 cars per month.
    Fusca (Beetle) was the best selling car. It was cheap, everyone wanted it.
    This one I couldn’t sell. I’ve received just one, I’ve never drove and till today is a brand new car.
    But in 2001 Volkswagen decided to break up the contract.
    They’ve ordered that all dealers with sales of less than 60 cars per month should be closed.
    When they told me, I just got up and left the meeting.
    How could I sell that amount at Estrela? It’s a very small city. It would be impossible.
    My children were my partners … but after that…No, I don’t talk to them anymore.
    It has been six years that I’ve lost my sweet wife. Oh, my darling Susi!
    I really miss her.
    You don’t have idea about how hard is to get old and be lonely at home …
    But here I feel happy. I sweep, I clean, I take care of my cars, they are my friends!
    At six-thirty in the morning I’m here with them. I drink my “chimarrão” (like tea-mate) and meet some friends.
    Many people call me looking for car parts, sometimes I sell something.
    Even on Sundays I come here to see if everything is in place. It is a hobby for me.
    I come to stay close to my cars. They are my friends, my motivation.
    I keep myself happy and in peace. I’ll keep taking care of them, my lovely cars until the day I meet my dear Susi again.
    Otmar Walter Essig is 79 years old.
    He is great-grandson of Germans. He became a dealership partner in 1974.
    Since 2001, when the store was closed, he keeps everything intact.
    Essig goes every day to dealership, dress shirt and lives like a manager.
    He declined to appear or record his voice.

    Special thanks to Autoesporte magazine

    Like 0
  3. 88R108

    What a sad, sad story.

    Like 0
  4. Mike

    Deceptive headline (although lifted from hooniverse.) Not “abandoned” at all.

    Like 0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Well, it was abandoned by Volkswagen…

      Like 0
      • Horse Radish

        Nice try , Jesse !

        Like 0
  5. Quinton

    Where is this located?

    Like 0
  6. Stan

    comment est-ce possible que ce garage soit fermé ??

    Like 0
    • Dolphin Member

      Too few cars sold, not enough money being made, according to VW-Audi.

      Like 0
  7. Peter J

    It’s unfortunate that Otmar lost his beloved wife and perhaps his relationship with his children. It sounds like he has found something he enjoys to keep him occupied and happy now. Not sad at all.

    Like 0
  8. Rick

    Really like that VW SP 2 sports coupe, looks totally cool, never seen one before

    Like 0
    • Moxman

      That car caught my eye too. It has an uncanny resembalance to a 924 Porsche. Don’t you think?

      Like 0
  9. 88R107

    After watching it again it almost seems like a made up story. Why someone would do that I dont know. I mean losing the store and his kids in the process and then his wife. Looking after the cars is all he has…real tearjerker if its true.

    Like 0
    • Celson

      That is really truth. I was born in this city and I know this story since I was a kid. Sad but true…

      Like 0
    • Levi

      actually, it’s true. I live in a nearby city and some of my friends from Estrela talk about this store and it’s owner, no way it’s made up! and it’s really tearjerker ”/

      Like 0
  10. Joe Lonzello

    The tools hanging in the repair shop were interesting. A wood saw ? Hedgeclippers ??

    Like 0
  11. Leo

    The sad tale reeks of deception but who knows…

    Like 0
  12. Rick

    The link below is to another version of the same story I found on youtube. Now I don’t speak Spanish, but the way it’s presented the story is a bit more upbeat that the original posting on Hooniverse. Also appears the guy will talk to reporters if they look like this gal.


    Like 0
  13. NorCalDave

    What was that VW sportscar in the video? I’ve never seen one before but I WANT!!!! What is it called and are they still available? I will travel to Brazil if needed.

    Like 0
  14. sdwarf36

    I find it totally believable.
    In the early 80’s, I used to help a guy that rented a couple of bays from an old man. The bays were behind what (from what I was told) used to be a butcher shop. The old man ran it until more people went to supermarkets rather than special shops like his. Even though he was in his mid eighties-and the shop had been gone for 20 years, he would still go in every day at 4:30am and just sit there looking out the window till around 2pm. He would poke his head out back now and then to be social-but would then go back to what was his shop to sit in his chair.

    Like 0
  15. Jay

    The only consistent thing in 5o years are the cars in my life everything else has come and gone….at one point I tried to be away from them but it did not last very long and I felt incomplete. Strange that it is but they still bring a smile to me anytime in my life..

    Like 0
  16. Dr. D

    The very 1st subtitle reads “based on a true story.” Which tells me that this is a dramatic recreation, not a factual documentary. How loosely based is anyone’s guess.

    Like 0
  17. Jim-Bob

    It’s sad that his children no longer talk to him if it is because of what happened to the business. It’s not his fault that VW decided capriciously to stop doing business with the smaller dealers. Unfortunately, it’s not an isolated incident as smaller GM and Chrysler dealers in the US had the same thing happen to them in 2008. In fact, my local Dodge dealer closed for this very reason.

    Like 0
  18. jim s

    we just had old chevys on MSO’s in the USA, no reason not to have the same thing happen somewhere else with VW’s.

    Like 0
  19. geomechs geomechs Member

    The dealerships everywhere came under a lot of pressure starting in the 80s. You were suddenly expected to keep $1M stock on hand and a lot of small town dealers simply couldn’t do that. They had little choice but to close. And that’s sad because that’s another institution gone. We used to have people stop in, especially during the winter, for nothing more than a cup of coffee and a visit. No one got bent out of shape over that because when spring hit and there were crops to plant, those same customers kept us plenty busy. I have to consider myself lucky to have been involved with a small town dealership back then. I learned a lot more than how to fix stuff.

    Like 0
  20. Mark E

    I find the story totally believable, especially if the mfr put unreasonable sales quotas on the small town dealerships as is stated in the video. Otherwise, it’s a poignant video of an old man and his memories. Like lots of us, he has a car collection. Unlike us though, he keeps them in an old car dealership building. He could sell everything, especially that SP2, but he keeps them for the fond memories they bring.

    Like 0
  21. Jerry

    It’s a shame that we have become so jaded, mistrusting and tend to find everything false. I find the story true as I did when I first heard of the Lambrecht dealership. Yes, I know that there are a lot of false stories (thing what our gov’t is telling us!) but I will give this story the benefit of the doubt.

    Like 0
  22. mtshootist1

    I believe it, knowing how the current administration screwed over the small dealers in Livingston MT. When I moved there, we had a GMC dealership, a Ford Dealership, a Chevy Dealer, Dodge/Chrysler dealer. All of them are gone now, and the big multi brand dealer from Bozeman set up a lot on the site of the Ford Dealership and took over the Chevy Dealership. There were articles in the local paper about families having been in business for decades being told that they no longer had a business. Sounded like the USSR. I refuse to do any business with them.

    Like 0
  23. Jamie Palmer TR6driver Staff

    Another video news story, unfortunately I can’t figure out the captioning to translate…


    Like 0
  24. jim s

    so many dealer and manufactures have gone out of business in my lifetime that it leaves a void. but then it is not just the auto industry that is like that.

    Like 0
  25. Tiago

    Actually, I live in Estrela, the town where this shop is located. Sometimes I see Mr. Essig here or there with his VW SP2, and I can tell you guys this story is absolutely true.
    I upkeep (don’t know if that’s the best word for it, anyway) my car in the mechanic across the street from the shop and the guy there confirmed to me that, everyday, makes rain or sun, the owner goes to the shop, have a Chimarrão (which is something like a tea, and part of the south-brazilian culture), water and cut the flowers and bushes, etc…
    And yes, there is a 0 km Fusca in there. Actually lots of people tried to buy it, and some offered big money, but Mr. Essig didn’t give in on his last passion…
    Pretty sad story…
    Here’s the Google Maps localization of the shop, if you’re interested: http://goo.gl/maps/QRtBt

    Like 0
  26. David

    Please let the next one be 1950s and 1960s FoMoCo!

    Like 0
  27. Alfieri

    Talk about ironic- a google ad pop up at the beginning of the video was for Volkswagen Tiguan! Cruel. Harsh. Damn you, Volkswagen.

    Like 0
  28. Charles

    It is sad that the man’s life has diminished so that his only source of joy in his life is his dealership and his few contacts through the remains of his business.

    The new old stock VW’s are cool!

    Like 0
  29. tom

    We were visiting there in 1971,in the Navy,the new VW looked like 67 models except wood grain interiors,fancy rims.the Expensive cars were 70s LTD Fords, all kinda backwards from the U.S. I guess that`s how it was down there.

    Like 0
  30. Cameron Bater UK

    Personally I wouldn’t qualify these as “barnfinds” as they have not been found in a barn or even been hidden and forgotten for 1 Decade – as you say they are Showroom finds and one is supposedly factory new, barnfind suggests that they have been used then stored in a leaky barn with a soil floor for a decade or so the process of which will cause any number of problems – seizing of Brakes, suspension, tranny, engine even doors bootlids and some seats, mice may have eaten away at wiring looms it could also be covered in dangerous levels of guano.

    Having said that if that beetle is as it left the factory with el-zilcho (as they say in spain) miles on the clock then it could be worth £80,000 ($127136) to a serious Chris Evans like collector who will put it in his glass Garage or “Car House” as they are sometimes referred to so he can show it off to friends, family and burglars.

    Me personally I don’t think I would pay that much for a car I’m never going to run, I would prefer to buy a solid project and custom tune it to my specs thus adding value not decreeing it as, as we know as soon as that engine starts (assuming the rumours are correct) the value is going to halve and as soon as the thing moves under power you’ve lost another £5000 ($7946) although if you were to buy the saleroom with the contents (as I am told it is fashionable to do with storage in the US of A) you might find a decent profit.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.