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Divers haul more than 40 cars out of Nashville's waterways

Ronan Glon
·2 min read


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If you're looking for a lost YJ-generation Jeep Wrangler, and you live in the Nashville area, city officials may have found your car in one of the region's waterways. It's one of more than 40 vehicles that were dragged out of locations like the Cumberland River and Percy Priest Lake by a team of divers dedicated to exploration for a good cause.

Photos posted on Twitter show a line-up of rusty carcasses dragged out of different bodies of water in and around Nashville. In addition to the YJ, which looks unmodified down to its factory-fitted 15-inch steel wheels, we spot a ninth-generation Ford Thunderbird, a late-model Ford Focus, and a final-generation Pontiac LeMans. Admittedly, we don't blame the Pontiac's owner for trying to forget about the Korean-built hatchback, but there were better and more lucrative ways to get rid of it. It was at least worth its weight in scrap metal.

Some of the cars look like they were submerged decades ago, while others, like the Focus, probably spent only a couple of years parked with marine life. Some are complete, others are partially stripped, and several are far too mangled to recognize without resorting to automotive archaeology. No bodies were found in the vehicles.

Why these cars ended up submerged is a question that investigators will need to answer. Although this is pure speculation, we imagine that at least a handful were stolen and sent for a swim when they were no longer needed or wanted, while others were probably declared stolen by someone wishing to commit insurance fraud. 

John Cooper — the mayor of Metropolitan Nashville; no relation to the Mini tunerexplained that the divers who hauled the cars out of the city's waterways either worked for free or were paid by donations. They're part of a team called Adventures with Purpose that helps find missing people, cars, and boats. Cleaning up the underwater environment falls within the scope of its work, too, which explains why it dragged out Nashville's submerged fleet.