Urban explorer finds treasure trove of classic cars covered in dust

EXCLUSIVE: Fleet of £1m luxury prototype sports cars, classic taxis and racing cars covered in dust are found in basement garage by urban explorers

  • The cars include a rare Bristol Bullet, a Bentley Continental Flying Spur and a vintage 1957 Beardmore taxi
  • They were found seemingly abandoned in the underground parking area of an abandoned building in Surrey 
  • Ben, an urban explorer from Winchester, stumbled upon the cars with his friend Eran 
  • A video of the extraordinary discovery will be live from 6pm on the LostAdventures YouTube channel today 

A dust-covered collection of rare and vintage prototype cars worth £1 million has been discovered by an astonished urban explorer in an abandoned property in Surrey.

A prototype Bristol Bullet, a Bentley Continental Flying Spur and a 1957 vintage Beardmore taxi were among the extraordinary treasure trove of seemingly abandoned cars.

They were found by a YouTuber, who gave his name only as Ben, who said he had known about the turreted complex for several years, and had noted its boarded-up windows and overgrown grounds.

Last week, he and a fellow urban explorer, Eran, decided to try to find a way into the property. They approached it across a field and found a small gap in the concrete leading into the underground car park. 

A 2016 prototype of the Bristol Bullet, which was designed to mark the company’s 70th birthday but was never sold, has been estimated at £250,000

A 2008 Bentley Continental Flying Spur which is believed to belong to one of the company directors, worth about £20,000

A silver 1964 Bristol 409 Bullet Speedster, which was created as a test prototype but never actually made it to market, worth about £300,000

The luxurious brown leather interior of the two-seater open top white 2016 Bullet prototype with a black bonnet

Ben, the urban explorer who found the cars, runs a YouTube channel called Lost Adventures

‘We set out to explore the abandoned building with no idea what it was,’ he said. ‘We jumped down, only to find millions of pounds worth of cars underneath this place.’

 ‘I’d had my eye on it for a couple of years, as it looked so interesting. 

‘We found it difficult to get in at first. It’s illegal to break and enter a property, even if it is abandoned, but you can normally find a way in. 

‘On the ground floor there were these concrete slabs. We slid in between them and dropped straight into the underground car park. It was quite a bit of a drop.’  

The building was owned by Bristol Cars, the last independently-owned British car manufacturer, which went bust in May during lockdown.  

A spokesman for the company claimed that the vehicles were not valuable and described them as ‘junk’. 

But auctioneers assessing the value of the stock told MailOnline it was worth about £1million.  

All the cars, which were mainly prototypes, were covered in a thick layer of grime. There was also a set of  wooden bucks used for hand-building classic cars.

The 15-car collection included:

  • A 2016 prototype of the Bristol Bullet, which was designed to mark the company’s 70th birthday but was never sold, and has been estimated at £250,000;
  • A silver 1964 Bristol 409 Bullet Speedster, which was created as a test prototype but never actually made it to market, worth about £300,000; 
  • A 1982 prototype of a Bristol Fighter car that was being restored for shows when the company failed. Just 13 were made. This model is due to be auctioned with a starting price of £50,000, but due to demand it may sell for as much as £200,000; 
  • A 1957 Beardmore taxi, used in London, is one of several vintage cabs in the collection, and is worth about £20,000; 
  • Parts of a mock-up of a URT A1GP Open Wheeled Motorsport Series racing car inherited by Bristol Cars when it bought URT. It is estimated to be worth about £4,000, as the car was never popular even in its heyday; 
  • A clay and wood model of a Bentley-style car, with real wheels, that was produced in the course of research and development.   

A 1982 prototype of a Bristol Fighter car that was being restored for shows when the company failed. Just 13 were made. This model is due to be auctioned with a starting price of £50,000, but due to demand it may sell for as much as £200,000

A 1957 Beardmore taxi, used in London, is one of several vintage cabs in the collection, and is worth about £20,000

Parts of a mock-up of a URT A1GP Open Wheeled Motorsport Series racing car inherited by Bristol Cars when it bought URT. It is estimated to be worth about £4,000, as the car was never popular even in its heyday

There was also a set of original Bristol Cars manufacturing bucks used to fit handmade panels. Dating from between 1949 and the early 1980s, they are to be auctioned with a starting price of £5,000.

The auction is expected to conclude next month.  

Recalling what they found, Ben, 37, from Winchester, said: ‘There was an old sign saying Bristol Cars hanging down. There were even some old taxis with shilling machines attached.

‘You would never see these cars on the road, even if someone bought them. This was a one-chance glimpse of these cars.’

The two explorers were about to investigate the rest of the building when they heard footsteps and decided to leave. ‘We didn’t want to get on the wrong side of any security guards,’ Ben said.

‘What we do is not illegal, but it is trespass, which is a civil matter. We weren’t afraid of ending up in court, but we still didn’t want to get caught by someone in the middle of an abandoned building.’

Bristol Cars, a manufacturer of hand-built luxury cars, was founded in 1945 as an offshoot of an aeroplane manufacturer. It has a showroom on High Street Kensington in London. 

In March, with the British economy affected by Coronavirus, the company was ordered into liquidation, though part of the company is continuing to trade under the name Bristol Superlight.   

A clay and wood model of a Bentley-style car, with real wheels, that was produced in the course of research and development

 

Original Bristol Car manufacturing bucks used to fit handmade panels. They date from between 1949 and the early 1980s, and are to be auctioned with a starting price of £5,000

The small-scale manufacturer employed about 20 staff and has produced around 100 cars a year. 

Kasun Waduge, the company’s financial controller, said: ‘Some of the cars are owned by us, others are privately owned and we are looking after them.

‘We were only holding them temporarily but due to Covid, they couldn’t be picked up and they remained there for some months. But none of them area really worth anything. They are just junk.’

However David Fletcher, a valuer from Wyles Hardy & Co, the auctioneers who are overseeing the disposal of the firm’s assets, said that the 15 cars in the underground facility were worth about £1million in total.

‘It’s a fascinating collection but very sad,’ he said. ‘I’m presiding over the demise of the last independently-owned British car manufacturer, which is a very poignant, historical moment.’  

A video of the discovery will be live on the YouTube channel Lost Adventures from 6pm this evening

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