What is the story of the abandoned Volvo of 1973?  The car has been standing in Leeuwarden for a year and a half

What is the story of the abandoned Volvo of 1973? The car has been standing in Leeuwarden for a year and a half

A 1973 Volvo has been collecting weeds on the Johan Willem Frisostraat in Leeuwarden for over a year and a half. A classic car enjoys a lot of interest among car lovers, but the owner of the car has disappeared. At the same time, the car is becoming a nuisance for the residents of the area.

“You are already the fourth to come with this car,” says contractor Michel Leemburg in the building on Johan Willem Frisostraat. The house is completely destroyed. It currently looks more like ruins than the mansion it once was.

A stone of error

An impressive Volvo 1800 ES Overdrive from 1973 is parked in front of an open building, slowly decaying. “I think: remove the car now, because there is no place to park cars here at night,” says a local resident who wishes to remain anonymous. “It is a bone of contention. Nice car, just sitting there rotting.”

But why has the car been standing here untouched for a year and a half? Has the owner left without telling them? And should the municipality remove the car?

‘That Volvo is really nice’

Inquiries in the neighborhood reveal that there is a story behind the classic blue car. His neighbor Siebe Annema says that the real owner of the car and the building where it is parked died in August 2021.

Rob van Beuningen van Helsdingen was the owner of the restaurant De Blauwe Druif in Leeuwarden for a while. In addition to being a bar owner, he was a collector of, among other things picture .

Van Beuningen van Helsdingen, jokingly called ‘baron’ by a number of local residents because of his double surname and noble background, had at least one great love. “Rob really loved that Volvo, he really loved that car,” says Annema. “If Rob saw him now, he’d have tears in his eyes.”

‘An odd statistic’

The former bar owner liked to talk about his car, but he was very private. “Rob was a wonderful person,” says Annema. Local resident Ronald van Asselt confirms this photo: β€œHe was a very pleasant gentleman. But he is not someone who often looks behind the curtains of others.”

Van Beuningen van Helsdingen was only found in his home in 2021 about fourteen days after his death. His son, who was no longer in contact with him according to local residents, inherited his house and his beloved Volvo.

Without telling them

“His son lived here for about ten months after his death,” says van Asselt. The heir also drove a Volvo several times, he recalls. “But he is no longer visible. It won’t come back either.”

Several attempts by car enthusiasts to contact the son were unsuccessful. Also all the efforts of Leeuwarder Courant attempts to contact him to hear his side of the story – even visiting his home address in Amsterdam – were unsuccessful.

Snow White’s coffin

The fact that many participants are interested in the car will not surprise experts. This is how the P1800 ES becomes one article car Automatic week last year it was even called ‘One of the most beautiful models in Volvo’s history’. Furthermore, the article reports that only 8,078 copies of ‘Snow White’s Coffin’ – as the car is nicknamed, due to its impressive glass rear section – were made.

This does not mean that luck is lost on the Johan Willem Frisostraat. “In that sense, Volvo is still low-level,” says Alain Pondman when asked. He is the owner of Volvo Lotte, a car company from Ophemert in Gelderland that specializes in classic Volvos.

‘It was a fringe!’

Pondman knows the P1800 ES in Leeuwarden. We dare not say exactly what a Volvo is or might be worth. “It just depends on what a true Volvo fan is willing to give. But the costs of the repairs can be much higher than what they will bring in the end.”

Pondman already has experience with abandoned Volvos. In 2020, he heard a Volvo that had been standing still in Eindhoven for a year . He decided to go to the City of Light with a group of his friends and put the car in soapy water. He has a tip for local residents who are bothered by the sight of the car: “Wash it!”

Legally very difficult

While Volvo’s status seems to remain unchanged for the time being, the former ‘baron’ house is now being restored by a new owner. A local resident says that Van Beuningen van Helsdingen’s ex-boyfriend was on the contract to purchase the house. He and his son had a claim to the house, but not to the contents of the car.

The house was finally sold in August last year. That was not an easy matter, Annema knows: “That was a very difficult matter legally.”

Parking charges

At the same time, the residents of the area say that they have complained several times to the municipality about the defective Volvo car that is taking up parking spaces. The car is in the blue zone, for which parking costs must be paid annually.

Ankie Huizenga – Annema’s partner – has therefore submitted a complaint to the municipality. “You can’t automatically pay parking charges until last year.” According to him, it is therefore highly unlikely that the son of the ‘baron’ will pay his parking permit.

There is no danger to the neighborhood

An investigation by the municipality shows that the car is on the radar. In accordance with privacy law, spokesman Johan de Jong cannot comment on whether or not the parking charges have been paid. “But if the payment was not made, there is no reason to remove it.” He confirms that in theory a car can remain in the blue zone indefinitely without paying. As long as there is a known address where any parking fines can be sent.

Failure to pay parking charges does not provide a legal basis for removing the vehicle. “And the car is in good shape, so you can’t just drive it away. It’s not a danger to the neighborhood.”

Whether the car is in good optical condition is negotiable. But when does a car become dangerous? “Only if, for example, the windows are broken, the tires are flat, etc.”


Local residents can still try another way. “The township can write a letter to the municipality about the high pressure of parking on the street.” The municipality answered the questions of Leeuwarder Courant In any case, the campaign itself has the same plan: “We have a son’s address in Amsterdam, the letter will go there. I hope he will remove the car.”

Meanwhile, spring is blooming and the weeds are sprouting again around ‘Snow White’s coffin’. To the horror of local residents and car enthusiasts everywhere.