When thinking of archeology, the image of digging for buried artifacts in the desert comes to mind. Ancient treasures can be found all over the world if you’re willing to dig deep enough. So, when a vintage car was unearthed, that definitely got our attention! Archeologists came across a 1932 MG J2 when they were excavating a former WW2 site at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain.
The remains of the car were dug up by environmental consultancy WYG. The company had been employed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to survey the Larkhill site as part of the Army Basing Programme. This involves British troops who are currently stationed in Germany being re-accommodated to Salisbury Plain by 2020.
The MG was found within an artillery position and it’s believed the car was used for troop training in the 1960s. Damian Campbell-Bell of Wessex Archeology called the find a “real surprise. This particular MG J2 is pretty rare and was one of only 2083 of this model ever made. We can tell from the tyre pattern the car was probably in use until the early 1960s.”
The car was likely dismantled for repair by a local soldier, but was abandoned in a disused weapons pit. WYG archeologist Martin Brown said “The MG is a particularly exciting find in that it shows the unrecorded side to life on an army camp. As a buried artifact it almost conforms to the urban myths of buried tanks, aircraft and equipment one hearts about.”
The J2 was a two-seater that reached a top speed of 65 mph. It featured a fold flat windscreen, centre lock wire wheels, remote control gear change, temperature gauge and protective mesh grilles for the headlamps. At £199 it was affordable for many car enthusiasts of the time period. However, one of its shortcomings was that it only had a two-bearing crankshaft, which could break if it was over-revved.
If you have any stories about unearthed cars then we’d love to hear them. Feel free to post your pictures on our Inside Classics Facebook page.