Mystery over pristine 1974 Vauxhall Victor FE discovered with just 86 miles on it
With just over 80 miles on the clock and not a sign of any rust on its pristine bodywork, a 50-year-old Vauxhall Victor FE is at the centre of a motoring mystery.
The classic motor was bought by The Great British Car Journey in Ambergate, Derbyshire, but has stumped the museum’s experts about exactly why the olive green car has been preserved so lovingly.
According to documents found in the glovebox, one P Milner from Ilkeston in Derbyshire bought it brand new in 1974 from the nearby Mercury Garage on April 12 1974.
The only trip he is believed to have taken in it was to Derby where it was treated at a specialist garage to prevent corrosion six years after its purchase.
Then it returned to Mr Milner’s outbuilding in Ilkeston where its bodywork was oiled, the seats covered in polythene and many of those metal parts most likely to succumb to rust - such as the exhaust pipe - were removed and placed in the boot.
There it sat untouched for decades before it was finally unearthed during a house clearance.
After being sold to a collector by the executors of Mr Milner’s estate, it was bought by The Great British Car Journey museum last November.
The museum is now appealing for help to identify the owner to try to establish why it was barely driven but preserved as if part of a time capsule before Mr Milner’s death, possibly 10 years ago.
Richard Usher, who founded the museum, said of the 200 cars in the museum’s collection, this one has the most intriguing backstory.
Mr Milner, described by a relative who contacted the museum, was a loner who worked as a General Post Office telecommunications engineer who never married and had no children. The spare parts, a dozen empty red fuel cannisters and a 1974 Haynes manual which were found in the boot have added to the speculation about why he preserved the vehicle.
It was only found after undergrowth was removed from a shed where the car was inside.
Richard Felkin, who bought the car from Mr Milner’s estate, said: “The car was originally found by Dez Dexter who does demolition work – we buy all the reclaimed bricks off him.
“He was asked to clear this land by the executor of the will for Mr Milner when he passed but he didn’t know the car was there.
“I was collecting bricks and ended up buying the car off him.
“When I found the car, all the chrome and lights had been removed and stored in the car.
“What couldn’t be removed was covered over to protect it.”
With no family or friends to ask, the museum is hoping those who lived nearby at the time may be able to provide some information about the car’s history.
The car has the registration plate SRB 705M and has a top speed of 110mph.
Mr Usher said: “We would love to know more about this Victor and why the owner never used it.
“It really is a one of a kind story that we’re desperate to know more about.
“If the name of Mr Milner or the car description rings any bells, please get in touch with us as we would love to solve the puzzle of this mystery car.”