Every Barn Find Is a Story of Neglect

This 1971 Mini Mark III has been sitting at the back of a French workshop since somebody left it there in 1981. I went to see it just a week after it got liberated.

Máté Petrány / Road&Track

My French-American friend Ronan Glon, , knows that barn finds are rarely miraculous discoveries. Some people always seem to know about a car quietly rusting away. They just don't care. In the case of this 1971 Mini, somebody busted the right front fender in 1981, took it to a workshop in Marseille, and then never returned. Without fixing it, the owner of the garage parked it in the back of the shop and left it there. Now, at the age of 94, he finally decided to sell the car, to Ronan. It's the first time the car has moved in 37 years.

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Máté Petrány / Road&Track

BMC A-Series, 998 cc. Oil leaks as standard.

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Four-speed manual. The carpets need cleaning, but the interior is in great condition.

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A chunky steering wheel, and clear evidence of the car's original color being red.

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First, it was Morris within the British Motor Corporation. By 1971, it was British Leyland. After 1986, the Rover Group. Same car, same people, different names.

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The plates are from 1973. The car is from 1971. There must be a story there.

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Marlboro Leisure Wear must have been huge in the country that invented fashion.

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The period stickers will stay. They must.

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SNCM (Société Nationale Maritime Corse Méditerranée) is a Marseilles-based ferry company called Maritima Ferries today.

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Red cars are faster. Too bad the original owner didn't know that.

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It's amazing how much dust collects on a car that hasn't moved in decades.

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Authentic 1980s dirt.

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Last registration: 1981, Republique Francaise.

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Yellow bulbs, of course. More visible through fog.

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British steel can sometimes act as soil.

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Try sending an order for replacement parts to BMC today.

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Karina. Shell's motor oil for the French market.

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The moisture in the air is a menace, but so is the oil spewing out of these British engines.

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Lockheed brake servo.

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Parked in 1981 because of a busted fender ...

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And never moved again ... until now.

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