Antiques dealer Steve Mynott went to France to buy furniture and collectibles – but ended up with a classic army jeep he found rotting in a barn.
Steve, 59, who runs Huddersfield Auctions at Colne Bridge, has an eye for the unusual but this was one of his most unlikely buys.
Steve goes on regular buying trips to France and when he pulled back the barn doors to reveal an apparent wreck he couldn’t resist.
The soft-top Dutch army radio car turned out to be a 1964 Auto Union DKW Munga, a rare 4x4, believed to be one of few still surviving.
“The jeep was a real sight for sore eyes and it’s not my usual purchase,” said Steve. “It was thick with dust, the tyres were flat and chickens and ducks were nesting in it.
“I bought it on a whim really. I didn’t go looking for a car and I had no idea what it was but I knew I had to have it.”
A bit of internet detective work showed that Auto Union was later taken over by Audi and the German build quality has meant the mechanics and bodywork has stood the test of time.
DKW stands for Das Kleine Wunder, which translates as The Little Wonder, and the four-wheel drive technology used in this 50-year-old model was the forerunner of that used in the legendary Audi Quattro rally car.
Steve and a pal pulled the jeep out of the barn with a tractor – the brakes had seized – and the chickens and ducks were evicted before the car was taken to the UK on the back of a transporter.
The vehicle was found in Tremonzey in North Eastern France, not far from Nancy, and had been dry stored for a decade.
Its latest move across the English Channel wasn’t its first, however. The vehicle was previously registered in Britain in 1983 but, somehow, ONW 301B found its way to France.
The vehicle arrived at Steve’s home in Bradley in March and since then he’s spent every spare minute stripping it down and rebuilding it, sourcing parts from around Europe, and this week it passed its MOT with flying colours.
Steve is putting the car into his own auction on Sunday (July 10) and will start the bidding at £10,000 – but he’d be quite happy if it didn’t sell.
“I’ve been in two minds about selling it,” said Steve. “It’s something really special and where would you find another?
“It’s certainly a real head turner on the roads around Huddersfield.”
The auction is held at Colne Bridge Works in Colne Bridge Road from 1pm.