Classic Finds. A Mini in a barn!

by Adam Partridge

Known for regular appearances on Flog It!, Bargain Hunt, Dickinson’s Real Deal and Cash In The Attic, and one of the UK’s finest antique experts and auctioneers - Adam Partridge looks at the forgotten classic cars recovered from sheds and barns.

Cars have gone through so many exciting developments. They have gone from petrol to electric. 360-degree cameras have been added. Smart driving cars can park and drive themselves. So, let’s take a moment to remember all those cars that were the new big thing in their day that are now lingering in barns, garages, and even the scrap yard.

Popular TV series Bangers and Cash follows a classic car of yesteryear being collected and then sold at auction. People are amazed at how much a dilapidated, rusted vehicle found in a barn can sell for. Cars in this condition that haven’t been touched in years are referred to as barn finds and are exceedingly rare.

In early November, our Preston valuation office got a phone call from a lady who was clearing her late mother’s home and had found an old car that she wanted to sell. There was just a bit of a problem – it was in a shed at the bottom of the garden and had been there since 1993!

Our senior valuer, Steven Parkinson, visited the property and fought through the undergrowth of a long garden like an explorer looking for the lost Aztec city. He found a large shed and at the back was a barn find – a 1964 Morris Mini. When BMW bought the Morris car company, the new Minis became bigger and were different from what is now referred to as the Classic Mini.

Morris produced over 50 million minis from 1959 – 2000, so the car isn’t rare, but to find one from this period in this condition was such a delight. What is important with a barn find car is that you do not clean it, as the buyers want to see it as it was found. To maintain the car’s condition and to keep it safe, it was decided that we needed to move it. The fun part was getting it out without the shed falling down. There was a door holding up a beam that said, ‘Don’t remove’ and the offside tyres were flat and didn’t turn. The seller had to cut down bushes and branches to make a path for the car to be maneuvered down to the waiting trailer. It was pushed through the doors of the Preston valuation office, where it went on display for the potential bidders to come and view. As well as the car, which was in good condition, there was also a big box of parts like wiper blades and window catches – all original and hard to find.

“To find one from this period in this condition was such a delight.”

The car was listed as part of a live internet auction and sold with bidders from all around the country bidding furiously. So, you have to remember when you look at something you have and think, who on earth would want that? You have to remember that there is probably someone somewhere who will want it!

Facts about the Mini

The Classic Mini Was built from 1959 until 2000. In 1999, the Mini was voted the second-most influential car of the 20th century. This distinctive two-door car was designed for BMC by Sir Alec Issigonis. It was manufactured at the Longbridge plant in Birmingham. The performance versions, the Mini Cooper and Cooper “S”, were successful as both race and rally cars, winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965, and 1967. The Mini came about because of a fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. Petrol was once again rationed in the UK, sales of large cars slumped, and the market for German bubble cars boomed, even in countries such as the United Kingdom.

Have a read of Andrew’s previous piece, where he goes behind the scenes in the auction room. Available here.

NorthernLife Jan/Feb 24