Apparently This Matters: The zombie car that nobody loved

Police and bystanders look at a the "zombie car." Its official owner said he'd sold it, but didn't know the buyer's name.

Story highlights

  • In 2012 a car was abandoned in China
  • Vines grew all over the car, completely covering it with foliage
  • It was a rather absurd sight, and the "zombie car" earned fame on the Internet
  • Recently, the car was finally towed away

Here's the short, tragic story of a little car in China that nobody wanted.

Some time back in 2012, a blue van was innocently parked along Peace Road in the village of Huayang in Sichuan Province. And it just sat there. Abandoned. The owner nowhere to be found.

We still don't know what happened to him. Or her. But we'll just have to assume this person died or is in the middle of a really good "Law & Order" marathon.

Don't laugh. It's how I lost most of my 20s. Just me and Detective Briscoe. And a bowl of gravy.

Eventually, over the course of a year, Mother Nature did her thing and the van became consumed by vines. Amazingly, the foliage almost completely engulfed every part of the vehicle.

And when people on the Internet started sharing pictures of this crazy car-bush, it sort of became a celebrity.

"Apparently This Matters" Is Jarrett Bellini's weekly (and somewhat random) look at social-media trends.

Not in the George Clooney kind of way. But in the drunk-and-naked-at-a-Bar-Mitzvah YouTube kind of way.

"Hey, who wants to see my shofar?"

"Go home, Rabbi."

So, people online started paying attention to this ever-growing mound of foliage with a funny name -- in China, vehicles that are unloved and abandoned are referred to as "jiangshiche" or "zombie cars."

Eventually, police managed to contact the original owner of the "zombie car," Wang Ping, who explained that he had sold his blue van over three years ago but couldn't recall the buyer's name. So, authorities finally decided to just get rid of the damn thing.

However, when they came to take it away, police were unable to dig the van out from beneath all the vines. It had simply become too thick and thorny. So, they just towed it off, foliage and all, hauling what appeared to be a giant bush slowly and hilariously down the highway.

Photos were taken, and, thus, this week, China's famous "zombie car" emerged once again to bask in the warm glow of the Internet's spotlight.

So, that's the short, tragic (and completely pointless) story of a car that nobody wanted, and the Internet who loved it.

To be honest, seeing this thing all alone kind of made me sad. I care about my car like a big, stupid child. And I only recently realized this.

You see, the other day I was at the auto shop waiting on a minor repair -- as one does when you have no technical skills beyond heating things in the microwave.

So, to pass time at the shop, I started thumbing through some of those hot rod magazines filled with pictures of shiny cars draped by scantily clad women. They had several different ones on the shelf -- Lugs and Jugs, Groin and Driver, The Economist -- I don't remember the exact titles, but you get the point.

And as I turned my attention away from those glossy pages of beautiful, perfect steel and skin, and peered through the shop's window into the garage, my gray Saturn suddenly seemed incredibly ... unsexy.

You know, because it's a Saturn. Really, there's nothing "suddenly" about it.

However, almost immediately, this fact didn't matter because, hey, it was mine. Sure, it's big, and stupid, and gray. But it gets me to Kroger.

And Kroger has Lean Pockets and Klondike Bars.

And, for that, I think it's worthy of a sexy photo shoot.

"There ya go, Tina, get nice and close to those side-impact air bags. Work that cup holder. Wooooooo!"

Anyway, my Saturn is awesome, and you should check it out in next month's issue of Groin and Driver.

Follow Jarrett Bellini on Twitter.

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