25th May 2021

The car savior’s shed – The Winsford Collection

The auction of a stunning collection of historic cars is set to finish this Friday, with some thoroughly British icons up for grabs. Ranging from the much-maligned Austin Allegro to the sublime Jaguar XK120, and with some famous fast Fords, there really is something for everyone in The Winsford Collection.

Coming as it does from the owner of a longstanding, family-run car-dismantling company, The Winsford collection is a serves as an inspiring story for the Footman James Show Us Your Shed competition. As a dismantler by trade, John Schofield should have been more adept at stripping cars than at saving them but, luckily for this story, he excelled at both.

Flourishing though the family business was, John found his inner petrolhead moved by examples of vehicles that for want of some minor T.L.C., were landing at his feet as scrap. Not wanting for space in which to store the vehicles that caught his eye, he began to squirrel away cars which were deserving of his attentions, and with these ranging from the mundane to the exotic, it wasn’t long before he had acquired a sizable collection.

As his business grew around him, so did the array of vehicles, and the shed in which he kept them. ‘The Winsford Collection’ as it became known, was special as much for its unexceptional nature as anything else, although it counted some exotics amongst its numbers. Cars like the Austin Allegro, once plentiful on UK roads, have now become classed alongside hens’ teeth in rarity. Their very mundanity, alongside their ability to disintegrate into rust meant that not many have survived – which makes John’s brown example, complete with Vanden Plas trim, all the more appealing for its total originality. The same can be said for the Austin Metro, various minis, Ford escorts and even a battle-scarred Morris 1000 Saloon, saved long before it had achieved classic status.  

Of course, among the plethora of once daily drivers lurk some real gems, and luckily for the car buying public, these “star cars” are currently being sold at auction. Leading the way is a road / race spec Jaguar XK120, complete with wire wheels, a half roll cage and fully-plumbed fire extinguisher, its currently enjoying a top bid of £50,000 with a day to go on the auction – it looks like someone could well be about to bag themselves a big cat bargain!

For true lovers of the swinging sixties, there is an example of a mini so rare, that it may even be unique. The 1964 Austin Mini Cooper S was not only tuned in period by famed racing firm Downton Engineering, but it also enjoyed a bespoke interior by coachbuilder to the stars, Harold Radford &Co. Quick, quirky and with two owners from new, this leather-clad pocket-rocket is likely to go for more than £40,000 by the time bidding closes.

If they weren’t exciting enough, there also a mint example of a Ford Escort Mexico, a Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth and a mildly enhanced Fords Escort RS Cosworth  up for grabs

The collection is part of the SYNETIQ Group, following the merger of John’s company with other businesses in the industry in March 2019 to create Britain’s largest integrated salvage and recycling company. The sale is designed to free up some space, and to allow the vehicles to enter the hands of new enthusiasts.

You can follow the close of the auctions for some of the star cars with the links below:

1953 Jaguar XK120 OTS: https://auctions.synetiq.co.uk/auction/items/details/1953-jaguar-xk120-road-going-competition-3880cc/155930 
1964 Austin Mini Cooper S, Downton tuned with a Radford interior: https://auctions.synetiq.co.uk/auction/items/details/1964-austin-mini-cooper-s-petrol-manual-2-door-saloon/152731
1971 Ford Escort Mexico: https://auctions.synetiq.co.uk/auction/items/details/1971-ford-escort-mexico-1558cc-petrol-manual-2-door-saloon/152384
1989 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth: https://auctions.synetiq.co.uk/auction/items/details/1989-ford-sierra-rs-cosworth-1993cc-turbo-petrol-manual-5-speed-3-door-hatchback/152082
1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth: https://www.synetiq-auctions.co.uk/auction/items/details/156665