Brian Smith with his 1966 Mini Cooper in 1970. Image via Daily Mail.Enlarge Photo
True "barn finds" are getting rarer and rarer, but this one is about as close as they come: a 1966 Mini Cooper found in storage 36 years after it was parked. While the car itself isn't exactly the stuff of gloss-book legend, the Cooper holds a definite place in the history of motorsports--and the hearts of enthusiasts.
This example, sold in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, in 1966 and driven for 10 years before being stored in his garage by Brian Smith, was recently found after Smith died at age 76. Now the family has put it up for sale, expecting it to bring up to £12,000, reports the Daily Mail.
With only 22,270 miles on the clock, the car is certainly not used up, but the past 36 years of storage without maintenance or operation mean it isn't in working order. It will likely need thorough renovation of the fuel system at the least, but fortunately, this example appears to have been spared from the bug that eats these classic Austin Minis alive: rust.
First released in 1961, the Mini Cooper was quickly embraced by both fans of small, inexpensive performance cars and the motorsports community--including rally. Follwed in 1963 by the Cooper S, the cars built an iconic brand and a following that continues through today--though the brand is now German-owned and in many ways, grossly divergent from the original.
Thanks to John for the tip!