Barn Finds

The expression “barn find” conjures up visions of old MGs which have been discovered in barns on farms in the English countryside (I should really say the UK countryside). Two such “barn finds” have recently been discovered and were sold by different auction houses for amazingly high prices. I’m sorry to have to disappoint you but neither was found in a barn on a farm and the expression is frankly a bit of a misnomer.

The most recent auction (12th November) was held at the premises of Jacobs and Hunt Auctioneers, in Petersfield, Hampshire. TA0779 with original engine MPJG 1032 was owned for 55 years by the late Mr. Ivor Kemp, who died in May 2010. The car was in daily use until the mid 1980s and, according to the speedo, had covered 45,827 miles. It was discovered in his garage after his death and was unlikely to have seen the light of day for 25 years.


The bidding was extremely brisk at the auction with half a dozen serious bidders and some bids over the Internet. It eventually sold for £12,800 GBP ($20,350 USD, $20,800 AUD). However, with buyer’s premium and VAT the new owner would have had to pay quite a bit more.

At an earlier auction (9th October) held at Chudleigh, Devon by Michael J Bowman Auctioneer, TC0683 came under the hammer. This car was last run about 30 years ago and had been in the same ownership for 45 years. It was pretty rusty and would have needed a complete rebuild. What the auctioneer did not know (until I told him) was that this TC was one of seven TCs which were built by the Factory for Kent County Constabulary in April, 1946. Hopefully, this bit of information (which was wrongly attributed in a press article after the auction to the MG Owners’ Club!) might have bumped the price up a bit for the deceased’s widow.

TC0683 was eventually knocked down after some keen bidding for £10,200 GBP ($16,250 USD, $16600 AUD). However, I am reliably informed that the successful bidder would have ended up having to pay £11,985 (buyer’s premium and VAT).


The discovery of HKN 514 has ensured that another ex-Kent Police car has survived. The photo below (top photo) shows the seven TCs referred to earlier outside the Factory. You can see registration numbers HKN 511, 515, 516 and 517 on the right hand side of the photo. The registration numbers you can’t see are almost certainly HKN 512, 513 and 514.

Of the seven cars in the photo, three have definitely survived; they are as follows:

TC0683 (HKN 514) car in the UK TC0685 (HKN 516) car in Western Australia TC0686 (HKN 517) car in the UK

I would not be surprised if TC0680 (may have been HKN 511) was also one of the cars in the photo (this car is in the USA) but the link between the chassis and registration nos. needs proving.

3 thoughts on “Barn Finds

  1. john inglis says:

    ex-Kent police car .My TC Reg No JKR 408 Chasis No 3111 First registered in July 1947 is also an ex Kent Constabulary police car. Is anyone aware of any contemporary photographs of that batch of cars ?

    • JOHN JAMES says:


      Your car was one of a sequence of registration numbers (JKR 401 to JKR 412) which Kent Police registered on 16th July, 1947. These were withdrawn from service by the end of 1948. My notes say that there is a reference to JKR 408 in “Safety Fast!” of January 2002. It might be worth checking to see what it was.

      • john inglis says:

        Hi, John, sorry not too reply to you sooner. The reference to JKR 408 in Sefaty Fast in Jan 2002 is a picture of us setting of on the MGCC Caledonian Centre two day rally in May 2001. Many thanks john Inglis

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