Every now and then, stories and photos surface of car dealerships simply forgotten by time. Sometimes it's due to the dealer in question ceasing trading, for one reason or another, sometimes it's because of political tensions in the area — like with the Cypriot Toyota dealership which still has 1970s J-tin laying dormant, ravaged by opportunistic parts hunters. Years ago, photos appeared of a complete, 150-car, zero-miles Chrysler Neon shipment in Singapore. And no matter what the backstory, it's always fascinating to see completely everyday cars remaining undriven for decades, as if they were frozen in time while the world revolved around them.
How about these as-new, unregistered, first generation Subaru Imprezas? Somewhere on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean, as reported by CarsAddition.com, there's a forgotten Subaru dealership with new mid-1990s stock still on the showroom floor. Judging by the unpainted bumpers and steel wheels, the right-hand-drive cars on display are absolute base spec, with likely the 90-horsepower 1.6 flat-four powering just their front wheels. They are almost all white, which adds to the appliance appearance. A couple Justy 4WD hatchbacks keep the Impreza saloons and wagons company, along with some Kei car vans and pickups. But the star of the showroom is the still-dazzling, late-'80s XT Turbo 4WD coupe, which has probably had been there originally to draw attention. It still does, and it's likely barely used. There are Subaru posters on the walls, all faded to blue, depicting Subaru's rally program and Leone/Loyale models which were originally replaced by the rounder Impreza in 1992.
It's likely that all other base-model, first-generation Imprezas ever made have faced a quarter of a century of careless use, dents and rust. They were no fancier than a similarly priced Corolla, and it's unlikely any others have been preserved in a condition anywhere near these. Were the dealership owner ever to sell these, they would need complete overhauling after sitting for 25 years with their factory liquids and lubricants, but something tells me they won't leave the place anytime soon.
It's unclear what the story behind this seemingly forgotten dealership is. CarsAddiction.com, the source for these photos, says it's probably due to a competing Maltese Subaru dealer upstaging this one, and the cars' era places them in the time of the 1990s economic downturn, which might have thrown a spanner in the works for this "Fuji" dealer.
Commenters have stated that the cars are rotated around the floor to keep the tires from developing flat spots, and that several fruitless attempts have been made to buy them. It will take a while until the Imprezas are again worth as much as they were in 1994-1995; the white XT Turbo is probably the only car in the showroom that is appreciating in value. But if we were planning for a holiday in Malta, this is an attraction we would surely not miss.