Ford Cortina MKII
One of the most unusual and dramatic finds we’ve ever seen came to us from readers Sion Ellis and Barry Eveleigh – an abandoned mine once used by a local council for dumping old cars. They made the discovery near Dolgellau in Snowdonia, but Sion is keeping the exact location of the site a secret – it’s a dangerous place on private land, so visits are discouraged.
‘The council used to own the mine,’ says Ellis. ‘Scrap cars were regularly wheeled up to the entrance at the top of the cavern during the Sixties, Seventies and early Eighties and simply tipped in. Some of the older people around here claim that they remember members of the public dumping cars there too.’
The practice was increasingly frowned upon for environmental reasons as the mine began to fill up and so the council back- filled the entrance. The site was then largely forgotten but the entrance at the top has since opened up just enough to admit a narrow shaft of light; and Ellis recently stumbled upon another way into the mine.
‘You can squeeze in through a little sideentrance and then wade through to a cathedral-sized opening.’ he says. ‘There are cars piled right up to the old entrance from well down into the water, which is very clear – I once went back with a dinghy and could see a Ford Escort MKI with a 40-gallon oil drum embedded in the rear window when I shone a torch down into it.’
Also visible are a blue Ford Cortina estate MKII, a Ford Capri MKI, a Mini Van and the tail ends of a much-crushed Rover P6 and a Triumph 2000 – among many others. All are battered, rusty and impossible to recover, so it’s lucky we have Barry’s superb photograph to illustrate this rather surprising use of council resources.
Tantalisingly, Ellis says other mines in the area were used in a similar way, but most were better sealed and so far nothing more has come to light.
Jaguar XK120 Roadster, Iso Rivolta, Facel Vega HK500
The Silverstone Auctions sale at the Practical Classics Restoration & Classic Car Show included several project cars, including three barn finds that would make challenging restorations.
This 1951 Jaguar XK120 Roadster – estimated at £34-£38k – was turned into a race car in 1959 by its second owner, who swapped the original XK engine for a pre-war 4.3-litre ohv Alvis straight-six unit. The racing-spec dry sump system’s oil tank is still fitted to the car but a subsequent owner replaced the Alvis engine with a 1952 XK unit before putting the car into long-term storage.