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Laurel Bay Finds

Laurel Bay Finds

For the past 47 years, John H has lived in the Beaufort, South Carolina area and he was recently visiting what’s known as Laurel Bay. It is a housing area for the Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station. He hadn’t been to Laurel Bay in a number of years and wasn’t expecting to come across a collection of old European cars while he was there. He knew he had to snap a few photos of this interesting mixture of Scandinavian, British, and American cars to share with us.

Laurel Bay Finds 1

Service men have always brought back trinkets and tokens of their time spent abroad, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Marine Pilots brought back their favorite cars from the various countries they had served in. The real question is, how did so many end up parked in this one location?

Laurel Bay Finds 3

John speculates that these cars were brought back by service men who were excited to take their fun and unique cars out on American roads, only to discover that no one in their immediate area knew how to work on them. Add salty air to the lack of mechanical support and these cars quickly fell into disrepair. This sounds like a reasonable explanation, but then again there are more than just foreign cars at this location, so perhaps there is another reason.

Laurel Bay Sonett

Of the cars that John saw there, he felt that this Saab Sonett was in the best overall condition.

Laurel Bay Sonett 1

Looks can be deceiving though. That fiberglass body could be hiding some nasty rust underneath. All the cars have plenty of corrosion so we doubt this one was able to avoid the tin worm.

Laurel Bay Finds 2

It would be interesting to have a look around this stash to see what else might be hiding here. We would love to know more about why they are all parked there. Perhaps someone here knows more and could shed more light on this find? If so, please feel free to share. Thanks John for sharing your sighting with us!


  1. Richard lindley

    I can see two Saab 900 turbo, an alpha romeo sud, a vw camper, two mg midgets , a morris marina , a triumph gt8 , a Saab v4 and a v4 estate and a Citroen HY all of these are sort after in the uk, I’ve owned all but the v4’s and the Citroen HY van (which by the way can fetch £30000 done up) … I would so love to visit this place, why is no one saving these before they are gone, if they were cute pandas or rhinos people would be saving them as endangered species

    • Bobinott

      Richard, I don’t think that is a Citroen H-van. The rear wheels are too far forward, and the roof is too square. I don’t have another suggestion, however.

      If there was a Panda there, I would not save it. They were one of Fiat’s worst products :-)

      • Jim-Bob

        Yeah, I believe the cube van is a Grumman, not a Citroen. They were built on a Chevrolet truck chassis, and I believe many were made from aluminum (apparently not this one though). Plus, the H-van was made from corrugated metal and this one is made from flat sheet.

  2. Jim-Bob

    I’ll take the Morris Marina! (Behind the Sonnet and next to the Eagle wagon) I just have to be careful around pianos as I can’t imagine too many of them were ever imported into the US.

    That being said, where else in the world could you expect one lot to include a Gremlin, an Eagle, a Renault Fuego, a Saab Sonnet and a Morris Marina? Oh, and there appears to be a 1969 Camaro Z-22 in the mix too!

  3. paul

    Huh, really, So. Carolina high humid climate…. sad … & that poor little Alfa sitting behind that yellow AMC Gremlin, ugh.Why?

    • Brian

      High humidity and salt water air, these cars very well may not have been sitting around for the many decades that alot of people maybe thinking. You can park a car outside for 6 months to a year down here, first it will mold, then start rusting. In 5 years time, you’ve got a real mess on your hands. My ’63 Studebaker will start developing slight rust through the paint just sitting in the garage if I don’t keep it cleaned and waxed!

  4. John S. Davis

    A 1969 Camaro Z 22 ???? what`s that??? I believe that`s a 1969 RS Camaro with what the tag says is a “327”, the last year they made that engine…a “Z28” has a 302 engine.

    • Jim-Bob

      A Z22 is an RS Camaro with no other major option packages added. It’s the RPO code for the RS package, just like Z-28 was for the Z-28 (the original, 1967 Z-28 didn’t even have any badging denoting what it was as it was just an option code.) So, you could have a Z22/ Z28, or a Z22/Z27 (RS/SS).

  5. Jeff V.

    I believe that’s a 68′ Camaro RS327, the headlight structure & badge if original. In 69′ I think the RS & SS came with 350’s and naturally the Z was a 302.

    • Jim-Bob

      The RS could be had with any Camaro engine. It was just a trim package that added the hide away headlights, badging, different taillights (and reverse lamps) as well as a few other minor trim items. The SS was available with either a L-48 (300hp with SS, 295hp on base Camaro) 350 or a L34 (350hp), L35 (325hp), L78( 375hp) or L98 (aluminum head package L78) 396. The 427 (425hp) was also available as a COPO special order, but was never an SS or Z/28.

  6. Mike R.

    It’s a 1969 RS as the signal lights are in the front valance not the grill.

  7. George Bauer

    It’s a 1969 327 RS hard top. Not a particularly special camaro. Probably worth about 6-10k in that condition depending on the interior and what’s hiding rust-wise.


    I would love to buy the Camaro

  9. Don Andreina

    Thin bumper Volvo 142 for me

  10. Leon P

    A few years ago A returning serviceman brought back an Opel but it was stuck in limbo in a New Orleans riverfront warehouse where my friend worked because it didn’t meet US EPA gov’t safety codes

  11. billy

    Cool find.I hope someone can save a lot of them.
    It is incredible that someone has not got the 69 rs camaro.
    I stay between georgetown and myrtle beach South Carolina.
    Wow I would like to have all of them!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Catfish Phil

    Triumph GT6 next to da Gremlin, and I believe there are two MGB’s, one behind the Gremlin (not an Alpha Romero Spyder?), and one behind the white Saab. Also looks like a BMW behind the GT6, along the fence. These cars are really, really bad. Down to the paint surface rust? Ugh. The sun damage to the interiors must be, er, frightful. Really exciting to see that Saab wagon, but saab-ing inside a little to see so much surface rust.

    • paul

      Nope it’s an Alfa & if you look real hard it says Alfa Romeo on the top edge of the windshield but I knew it before I read it because I owned quite a few of these over the years.

    • paul

      the MG your referring to is a MG Midget.

  13. Mark E

    Interesting that there’s a representative of nearly every Saab body style from the 60s through the 80s except for a 9000…

    • paul

      Yes quite surprising to see all these Saabs, but once you drive them they can easily suck you into owning one they were fun to drive & solid as a rock.

  14. Chadrick Knott

    It is a 1969 Camaro with a RS package.. it can come with particularly any motor sizes, it was just an option that GM offered to the Camaro buyers. The Rally Sport (RS) option, RPO Z22, includes special black painted grille with concealed headlights and headlight washers, fender striping (except when sport striping or Z28 Special Performance Package is specified), simulated rear fender louvers, front and rear wheel opening moldings, black body sill, RS emblems on grille, steering wheel and rear panel, Rally Sport front fender nameplates, bright accented taillights, back-up lights below rear bumper; also includes bright roof drip moldings on Sport Coupe. This option could be added to any other option IE- SS or Z/28, making the model an RS/SS or a RS/Z28 . It only cost the owner $131.65 to upgrade it! If anyone knows the owner and is interested in selling the car, please email me! Thanks!

  15. Dave F

    If you look at the place on google street view it appears to be completely abandoned.

  16. Smokeycretin9

    I dont want to sound like a Snaab, but those are crusty. :)

    • Brian

      I’m doubting that there is a solid floor pan in the whole bunch…

  17. jim s

    yes that is a midget. something for everyone here? great find

  18. Scott

    Was the camaro at the same place as all the foreign cars or was it at a different place? Was there anyone there to talk to about the cars? Thanks

  19. Pleiku Pete

    Some Military get transferred and with good intentions leave ther vehicle behind. Eventually it will be impounded, then sold. Perhaps this is what has been found in Beaufort.

  20. jsmithba

    I hate to sound morbid in my speculation, but is it possible they were cars belonging to overseas servicemen who gave their lives for our country? Perhaps in a few cases when their belongings were shipped back to the US there was no next-of-kin who wanted the vehicles so they’ve just sat here on government property ever since in vehicular limbo? It would explain the mix of foreign and US models, as some servicemen take cars over, and others purchase vehicles overseas. Potentially sad…

  21. Richard lindley

    I agree on the Citroen H wagen bodinott.. I never noticed that, I think it’s american but I don’t know the makes… Bit of a wild description but in MIB 2 what vasn does the bug alien steal from the roach terminator??? I think itsx one of those

  22. Bob

    Most likely all are abandoned by deployed military members and never claimed. Probably no titles and the government wont auction them either.

  23. Brian

    Living just up the road in Savannah, I need to check this place out! It seems vaguely familiar, so I’ve probably driven past it once or twice… There are a number of locations around this area that look like this, a cross between an old auto repair shop and a junkyard – that time forgot. This area is getting to be a hot retirement community, because its so close to Hilton Head Island, so locations like this are disappearing as the area is redeveloped.

  24. Rob K

    The rarest car there, by a long way is the Renault Fuego. I believe they are nearly extinct here in the UK now.

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