At a farm in Xerém, Brazil, which is in the country’s Rio de Janeiro federative unit is now a graveyard for around 60 cars sitting bumper to bumper and door to door. They’re mostly 1992 and 1993 Chevrolet Chevette L 1.6/S and Chevette Junior 1.0 models, in addition to a few examples of the Volkswagen Gol and a Chevy Corsa. The machines sit under a shed, which also houses the pigsty of a small family of piglets.
Our pals at Motor1.com Brazil found this bizarre collection, and naturally, they had to film, photograph, and write about the scene.
The angular shapes of the Chevrolet Chevettes reinforce the impression that you are looking at in a life-size Tetris game. Until a few weeks ago, the visual shock was even greater: there were 96 cars under this roof.
All the cars are retired cabs – or ex-combatants, in Rio de Janeiro-speak. They were part of the large fleet owned by Pascoal da Ressurreição Afonso Rego, who was once known in Rio as the Taxi King.
Despite the thick layer of dust, it is possible to see that all the cars are all Java Yellow – a color Volkswagen launched in 1977 and two years later became the standard shade for taxis in the city of Rio de Janeiro. However, these vehicles have lost their Baltic Blue side stripes and the light on the roof. The taximeters and cab-specific license plates were removed, too.
The yellow Chevettes and Gols were part of the city’s landscape until the end of the 1990s, when the larger VW Santana began to dominate the square.
The cars that are in Xerém today are mostly from 1992 and 1993. They were only on the road for three years because of old rules from Rio’s Municipal Transportation Secretariat. They tallied high mileage in that time because the drivers covered 170 to 200 kilometers (106 to 124 miles) a day in the city’s traffic.
After being retired, the cars went to a warehouse at the headquarters of Pascoal’s cab empire. A legal dispute with the state government prevented the vehicles from being sold at the time, so they just sat around for decades.
Paschoal died eight years ago, at the age of 92, and the company passed into the hands of 14 heirs. The cabs remained in the warehouse until 2020 when there was an offer to rent the space.
“The offer was impossible to refuse: we were already in the pandemic, with weak movement and competition from apps. With the arrival of the tenant, we had to store the cars in the family’s farm, in Xerém,” Carlos, one of Pascoal’s sons, told Motor1.com Brazil
In the meantime, the justice department allowed for the sale of the retired cabs.
“A guy named Patrick came here and bought ten cars. He made a video and passed it on to the Chevette groups. Since then, sales have been booming. There have even been police here, thinking that it was a stolen car,” Carlos said.
Despite being complete, the old cabs are sold as scrap. Prices vary from R$1,300 to R$2,000 ($240 to $370 at current exchange rates). The seller says that it was not worth the trouble of putting them all on the road and going through the headache of registering the vehicles. Carlos also wants to avoid buyers not performing the property transfer and driving with a vehicle that’s still in the company’s name.
“I didn’t place any ads. It was all by word of mouth. Even so, all the cars are already reserved. By next Tuesday, the shed should be empty – expects the heir,” Carlos said.
Both the Brazilian version of the Chevette and the one available in the US rode on General Motors’ T-Platform for compact rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Brazil got more body styles than just three- and five-door hatchbacks, though. In Europe, the same underpinnings were for the Opel Kadette C and Vauxhall Chevette.