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Discovering Lost Automobiles and their Stories (Hardback)

Colour Books Photographic Books Transport > Cars

By Michael Ware, Foreword by Jools Holland
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 216
Illustrations: 400 colour & mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399019002
Published: 28th October 2022



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Many enthusiasts dream of finding a Bugatti or a Bentley in a barn or a long disused building. In reality, such finds are more likely to be an Austin 7, Ford Popular or a Mini. This book is stuffed with these so called “barn finds”. The author has tried to find out the background to the abandonment and the previous history of the “as found” car when it was in regular use. Why was it put away and apparently forgotten? Many of the stories have appeared in his “Lost and Found” column in “Classic and Sports Car” magazine, but a book gives a chance for the expanded story to be told. The cars featured date from 1900 through till the 1980’s, most come from Great Britain and Europe but there are plenty from Australasia and USA. There are well over 200 different cars plus collections featured. Each story has at least one illustration to go with it. Some of the locations are bizarre, a Daimler buried under a rockery, a Porsche sunk in Lake Lucerne, a Rolls -Royce on the roof of a high rise building in Karachi, or a Morris 8 special in a Gloucestershire pond. There is a chapter on collections of cars, put together by seemingly eccentric owners who never got around to restoring them before their death. The author is not critical of any of these owners and is grateful for the number of cars they have saved from almost certain destruction.

As featured by

Rare & Unique Vehicles No. 12

As featured in


"This is a book that's packed full of discoveries with mouth-watering tales and backed by a huge number of photographs...exceptional value and strongly recommended."

SAHB Times (published by the Society of Automotive Historians in Britain) Issue 113 Spring 2023

As featured in

Antique Automobile Club of America's magazine - Volume 87, Number 3, May/June 2023

Read the review here


As featured in

Best of British

Featured in

Best of British Magazine - January 2023

As featured in

Classic Car Weekly

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a phenomenal book. So many interesting stories. Can't wait for it to come out on hardcover, so I can present it to my husband who collects vintage cars.

NetGalley, Anubha Charan

Discovering Lost Automobiles and their Stories by Michael Ware is such a fun read. I learned so much about both the "found" cars and the people who owned them.

I think most people have a certain attraction to finding hidden gems, whether automobiles or other collectibles (for me it is probably books, record albums, and sports cards). Seeing how so many vehicles came to be uncovered, as well as the stories about how they ended up "lost," makes for fascinating reading. I can't imagine having a car and just letting it sit in less-than-ideal conditions for years. But then I have never owned more than three cars at one time and had a purpose for each, so my income bracket probably plays into my ability to understand.

Even with all of the amazing vehicles mentioned here the one that caused me to go and look up more pictures as well as more of the backstory was the Manta Ray Concept Car, built on a Studebaker frame by a couple of engineers and a true one of a kind, as in there is only one. It would scare me to death if I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw it coming up behind me.

That is just one of the many interesting stories included. Made me want to go and search barns (for cars and such) as well as attics and basements (for the things that interest me even more than cars). Highly recommended for car buffs as well as those who enjoy recovering long forgotten items from decay.

NetGalley, Jack Messer

About Michael Ware

Michael Ware became a professional motor sport photographer in 1959, before moving in 1963 to The Montagu Motor Museum at Beaulieu where he took charge of the Photographic Library. Very much to his surprise Lord Montagu offered him the job of the Museum Curator in 1966. In 1972 the museum became the National Motor Museum Trust which he managed until retirement in 2001. He started writing about “barn finds” in 1983. His other interests include Welsh narrow gauge steam railways and British canals

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