By: Michael E. Ware .
It is often said that it's everyone's dream to find a Ferrari or a Lamborghini in a barn. Sadly such finds are usually just a pipedream. However, hundreds of cars are being found every year in a wide variety of locations, and each of them has a story to tell.
These are the stories that Michael E. Ware, former Director of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, has been writing about for more than 25 years. How about the vintage Bentley that finished fourth at Le Mans in 1923 being found rebodied as a woody shooting brake and used for carrying show dogs? Then there's the MG 14/28 which the owner converted to steam for use during the war and, like so many cars, did not reappear until after his death. Or there's the extraordinary story of Wadia Murad, who built a car to take on the motor industry just after the Second World War only to be beaten by officialdom; the car existed a few years ago in a Hampshire barn.
There are stories of very rare cars, such as the only Arrol-Johnston electric car to survive and what may be the first car built by Ole Evinrude before he turned to outboard motors. There's a chapter on some of the secretive collectors who squirreled away cars, usually unrestored — people like W.F. Smith of Cross in Hand, the Sharpe brothers of Essex, Edward Tucker of Taunton and the wonderfully eccentric Lee Hartung in Chicago.
Fascinating stories lie behind many lost automobiles that are rediscovered. This book is a wonderful collection of just some of those stories, each an intriguing read that will delight every classic car enthusiast.
Michael E. Ware, now retired, was Curator and then Director of the National Motor Museum from 1966 to 2001. For 17 years (1983-2000) he wrote the 'Discovered' column in Classic Cars and since then the 'Lost and Found' column in Classic & Sports Car, in total recording around 3,000 car discoveries. In his time at Beaulieu he visited places and people with extraordinary collections of unrestored cars and saw aspects of old car collecting few others have witnessed.