A battered Mini Clubman that lay in the tunnels under Birmingham’s Longbridge factory for 30 years – making it the last Mini to leave the site – is being offered for sale by auction.
The iconic car – which was used to travel around the sprawling plant – had been secretly dumped by workers in the late 1970s after suffering damage, thought to be from a storage container falling on it.
However, photos of the Mini, which has 11 miles on the clock, emerged and after much searching it was saved by former factory worker Steve Morgan from Northfield who got permission to remove it in 2012 shortly before the tunnels were due to be filled in – making it the last ever Mini to leave Longbridge.
Mr Morgan worked at the plant for six years from 1986 and his parents were also employed there.
The 44-year-old car enthusiast is also ‘director’ of the legendary motor brand Austin – after snapping up the name for just £4.99 by registering Austin Motor Company Ltd at Companies House, more than 25 years after the last badged Austin rolled off the Longbridge production line.
Mr Morgan’s ‘lost’ 1976 Mini is being offered without reserve by Silverstone Auctions at its sale on Saturday, July 7 at Silverstone circuit.
Nick Whale, managing director of Silverstone Auctions, said anyone interested in owning an important slice of British automotive history should remember that having been abandoned for many decades the Mini Clubman 1275 GT needs much love and attention to return it to its former glory.
“Without doubt, this has got to be one of the most fascinating cars we’ve ever secured for auction,” he said.
“It made international headlines when it was rescued from underneath the factory and has caused a fair amount of controversy in the Mini community, as some people would have preferred it was left in the tunnels as a hidden memorial.
“However, now that it’s been recovered we’re absolutely thrilled to offer it for auction at the Silverstone Classic Sale and it goes without saying that we expect it will attract a lot of attention.”