News : ‘Longbridge tunnel’ Mini goes to auction

Keith Adams

Longbridge Mini (1)

The Mini Clubman so famously rescued from the Longbridge tunnels in 2012 – making it the final ‘new’ example of its type to leave the factory – will be going on sale at Silverstone Auctions on 27 July. The car, which has an interesting history goes to auction, and its owner, Steve Morgan has confirmed it’s being sold at no reserve.

The car, which became a bit of an icon in the aftermath of the failure of MG Rover in 2005, had lived in the tunnels from new after being damaged at the factory. Standing in dank water and away from sunlight for at least 30 years, the car was something of a lone and rather sad survivor – a time capsule reminder that beneath the factory is an intricate network of passages that saw so much action. They served to protect the factory workers from German bombers during WW2 and ended up becoming something of a storage-cum-hiding area in more recent years.

The car was rescued from the tunnels in November 2012, and its owner Steve Morgan vowed to restore the car to its former glory, a decision that caused controversy within the Mini fraternity – igniting the old ‘restore or not to restore’ debate. He said, ‘after much soul searching and with a heavy heart, I have come to the decision that the tunnel Mini deserves a better future than the one it has at the minute. I really haven’t got the time to restore it, and I would really like the car to go into a collection or be restored by a real enthusiast.’

Lot details are available on Silverstone Classics’ website.

Longbridge Mini

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Editor at AROnline and @hjclassics. Likes cars, taking pictures, travelling and knee-high boots...


46 Responses

  1. Paul Taylor Paul Taylor - May 13, 2013

    Well, yet another epic “I was going to restore it but will milk the history for a quick buck” story.

    Apologies for the cynicism but this was always going to be the outcome. It’s hard enough restoring a complete Mini with bodywork issues, far less one with 99% of it missing.

    Will be interesting to see if be has any plans for the proceeds, which I am sure will be none of our business

  2. Claire Smith - May 13, 2013

    An amazing PR stunt from start to finish. I followed it on Facebook then the penny dropped. Meh.

  3. Graham Wall - May 13, 2013

    Yes you are quite right, What he does with his own money is none of our business

  4. Russ Smith - May 13, 2013

    A less cynical view could be that at least it is not going to be left in a damp lock-up until the rest of the shell has rotted away.

  5. Frederik Scherer - May 13, 2013

    I wonder why anyone could EVER have thought of restoring that thing. The Mini’s condition as well as its history require nothing but a conservation “as is”!

  6. Jag x - May 13, 2013

    Hmmm, good luck trying to restore that! But, anything is possible, you have only got to look at the linder nocker lightweight jaguar!

  7. Chris Baglin - May 13, 2013

    Restore or not to restore? Who cares.

    Its not as if the world is deprived of restored Minis- they are plentiful (even quite a few Clubmans around). If it was a vintage Bugatti it would have been a different matter.

    If he wants to milk its ‘heritage’ then good luck to him.

  8. Sam Mace Frankie - May 13, 2013

    Heritage? A rusty old Mini which had a crate dropped on it’s roof? Hmmm…
    To be honest, I think you’d have to be a little mad to buy it. Take away the “heritage” and it’s scrap metal at worse, and something would go for a few unread quid on Ebay at best.
    Please don’t buy this for my birthday if you’re reading this, Mum and Dad.

  9. A. C. Delco Esq - May 13, 2013

    Hmm, a lot of jealousy here! Instead of just talking about it he went and got the thing out of there and he’s entitled to do what the hell he wants with it. I hope it makes mega bucks just to see all the frothers get wound up.

  10. Hilton D - May 13, 2013

    It would be great if this Clubman could be restored BUT in reality it’s just a damaged 1275GT(?)shell with nothing in it. There are plenty of other Mini Clubman’s around in excellent working order. I dont think there’s anything from this shell worth cannibalising either? Nice story but I dont think it will lead to anything more…

  11. Richard M Brotherton - May 13, 2013

    Good luck to the guy. At least he had the gumption to get it out. I enjoyed seeing it recently. Nice piece of history and possibly given another chance. So thumbs up from here.

  12. Leon Johnson - May 13, 2013

    Swap the ID plate to a good car! Job done! :)

  13. Paul S - May 13, 2013

    Stripes along the bottom of the doors do not make a 1275GT – only no tacho, so it has to be a 1000 Clubman

  14. stewart - May 13, 2013

    Stripes along the remaining door says ’1275GT’ though..
    Does the tachometer actuallt attach to the side of the instriments and a 3 hole bezel clip on the front? never seen one that clsoe up to know, if it does someone had the bezel and tacho for another car.
    However the guy has got it funamenatally straight again so he should be given credit for that, and not throwing the shell away like soem of the idiots were sugessting he do

  15. Ant - May 13, 2013

    Umm just a thought and I assume the possibility that this shell does not have VIN plates to give it any value then the History becomes immaterial and therefore it’s just a shell worth scrap value in my humble opinion ,, I’ve a complete original 1979 1275GT that needs restoring quite possibly it could do with a re-shell ,, me thinks if I could afford the silly price it is likely to fetch at auction and I replaced the damaged panels the main shell might be be worth using provided it’s in good nick with no other welding required and would save many hours in welding in new expensive heritage panels but saying that if I had the money I believe a New Heritage Clubby shell is around 6k and I certainly can’t afford one of those unless lady luck smiles on me with a 10k Lottery win ,,, Ant

  16. Hilton D - May 13, 2013

    I assumed the shell was a 1275GT due to the striping and because it was in that burnt orange colour (popular in the 70s). When I owned my first Mini, the Clubman & 1275GT was the car I aspired to buy next – never did though.

  17. Simon Simon - May 13, 2013

    If you gentelmens remember i was very cynical about that car even when we first see the chassis in the tunnel on this site, and called it more or less a rust bucklet without any real heritage valie

    hahahahah but if im not wrong there was an biiiiigggg hole in the roof ant think that some damage gone already from the chassis…… so hope just that we stop talking about this as the last mini from the longbridge line cos the car is not complete;)

  18. marinast - May 13, 2013

    I hope he washed the asbestos off it.

  19. Paul Taylor Paul Taylor - May 13, 2013

    @9
    I don’t give a toss how much he gets for it, and I can assure you I am neither jealous or frothing.
    You can see a hundred similar things like this on eBay with the same tired old guff being churned out about “no time/can’t do it justice etc etc/better off with a true enthusiast blahblah blah”. If he was that keen on it going to an emthusiast, why a high-profile auction? He could have offered it through the Mini clubs and forums.
    There was only one aim when it was acquired, and that is now being played out.

  20. mab01uk - May 13, 2013

    The seller went to the trouble of obtaining permission and getting it out the tunnel, so good luck to him in selling it for as much as possible, which he has every right to do…….not much anyone can do with it anyway without a major restoration, apart from look and take photos at a couple of Mini shows as has already happened. Whatever…it is better than being left to rot or get crushed by the Longbridge site re-developers.

  21. Graham Wall - May 13, 2013

    @ A. C. Delco Esq

    I Could not agree more, I hope he makes a small fortune and the car goes to a good home

  22. Peterover - May 13, 2013

    Sour grapes!
    Of course not one of you would say no to making a bit of cash!
    Good on him, was a good story that i and many others enjoyed following, and if he makes a bob or two out of showing some initiative and hard work getting the damned thing out of the tunnels, then GOOD on him making a bob or three out of it.

    And as for it being valueless.. Have you seen the prices of Mini’s recently?
    A grand buys you a rusted out shell if you are lucky.

  23. Peter Harris - May 13, 2013

    Wow a rusty mini bodyshell. I’d really love to not be bought that.

  24. jimb - May 13, 2013

    Maybe those channel 5 restoration experts can stick it back together with Polyfilla and kitchen foil.

  25. francis brett francis brett - May 13, 2013

    I hope he makes a few quid,that shell will be a piece of piss to put right,90% of the strip has been done.I have repaired worse.

  26. David 3500 - May 13, 2013

    The Mini is at the stage where unless it undergoes some form of restoration, will be beyond the point where much of its bodywork cannot be rejuvenated without replacing panels. That takes the loss of originality to an even deeper level than if it was carefully restored in its present state. I, for one, would hope it is restored as if left for another ten or twenty years, will not be salvageable.

    However, let’s hope Bernie and Co. don’t take it on!

  27. Tim Stoughton - May 13, 2013

    I think he meant well..
    And was truly interested in preserving
    a bit of history.. What if he actually
    can not afford to restore it or do whatever
    and wants to pass it on to someone who can?

    At least he tried and credit is due where credit
    is due.. Why all the bashing?

  28. The Wolseley Man - May 13, 2013

    Restoring this shell will not be difficult and if a fellow has the money why not? We have clients happy to spend in excess three quarters of a million to restore a car that means something to them – or was driven by a famous name. Is this not the beauty of living in our free society?

  29. francis brett francis brett - May 13, 2013

    If it has a VIN, a photo history and is rebuilt,it is worth it alone just for the story behind it,far more worthwhile than some old abandoned shell dragged out of a tunnel,i could dredge ten nicked MK3 Cortinas from a fishing lodge nearby and lay claim to them.

  30. Andrew McCheyne - May 13, 2013

    It will probably get those ghastly minilites and other hideous upgrades.

  31. Paul - May 13, 2013

    @29 – Why dont you then?

  32. francis brett francis brett - May 13, 2013

    @31 They probably contain dead babies.

  33. Paul - May 14, 2013

    @32 – Right

  34. Ian Robinson - May 14, 2013

    David 3500 expressed the hope that “Bernie & Co.” don’t take it on. Sound idea if you ask me…

    As this is now a very well known Mini – including appearing on today’s Hemmings News – its only real future, surely, is as an installation at Tate Modern. Heaps more interesting than Tracey Emin’s bed and its current owner would be comforted knowing that the UK taxpayer was continuing to support the preservation of our automotive heritage!

  35. jeff - May 14, 2013

    I wonder how it managed to do 11.8 miles without an engine?
    Now THAT would be a good story.

  36. Rust E. Minee - May 14, 2013

    I have to laugh at the fuss over a rusty old shell. But fair play to the guy for his enterprising nature! He’s also giving some of the proceeds to the local hospice, bless him, which you cant argue with.

    If someone wants to pay silly money for it, then so be it!

    Cant imagine why though….

  37. 1300mash - May 16, 2013

    It is a nice story and a bit of heritage, nice souvenir from Longbridge but there’s really no point restoring it. Without seeing just how bad it is, it looks like a new shell for starters which in my opinion means it’s then a different car altogether.

  38. KeithB - May 18, 2013

    At the end of the day, you’ve got it…. they want it…. you sell it. You’re happy, they’re happy…. f*** the the rest of you.
    Why people get so worked up is beyond me, this guy digs it out of a tunnel and does something with it, get over it!

  39. dib - May 18, 2013

    It’s a scrap mini, no one cared about it for years, there are millions (?) out there. If it is restored it won’t be the same mini, better to crush it and sell it for scrap value.

  40. The Wolseley Man - May 19, 2013

    @38 – couldn’t agree more.
    If we all took the attitude that ‘if we restore it it won’t be the same car’ – the restoration business would not exist. As I’ve said before, this is not a new shell job – it’s a straight forward restoration. We have restored cars in a far worse state and if someone loves it and has the money – then so be it.
    As Keith sais – ‘get over it’.
    (Please note – I am not inferring I know or have anything to do with this particular project).

  41. francis brett francis brett - May 19, 2013

    To me,it would be a labour of love,how many original Minis out there on factory front valances and ‘A’post panels,not to mention sills?
    Just looking at the pictures it seems a fairly easy resto.There is a story behind it,not just some unfinished project that has been rescued.
    Given this cars provenance and howthings ended up at Longbridge i think the new owner would get great pleasure from carrying out a resto if he chose.

  42. AT - May 26, 2013

    JUST NEEDZ RESHELLING.

  43. francis brett francis brett - May 26, 2013

    @42 Why?

  44. Cliff Nijssen - May 26, 2013

    Cool!!! Also in The Netherlands they will restore a classic mini because of the start of the production of the new mini in Born in 2014.

    http://www.nu.nl/auto/3416475/vdl-nedcar-tuigt-oude-nederlandse-mini.html (In Dutch)

    http://www.automobielmanagement.nl/nieuws/auto-economie-binnenland/nid16742-vdl-nedcar-restaureert-oude-nederlandse-mini-filmpje-.html (In Dutch)

    The project is called reBorn

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oEGQu9QOJRk#! (Movie on youtube of the classic mini too be reBorn)

  45. The Wolseley Man - May 27, 2013

    @42 – Please don’t shout – some of us may be quite mature but we may not actually be deaf.
    Also please see @40 above. To re-shell this vehicle would lose the point entirely. It does not need it anyway.

  46. Cliff Nijssen - June 1, 2013

    An edit for the reBorn project in The Netherlands there is also a Facebookpage

    https://www.facebook.com/Mini.reBorn1959

    there you can track the progress of the project der

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