The Classic Mini never ceases to fascinate. Considering there is fundamentally one shape of car, the variants and customised versions available are endless. At Mini Spares Midlands, we see Classic Mini cars every day, especially during our Annual Mini Open Evening where over 100 of our customers Mini Cars can turn up – Read more about this here!
And yet it is still special when we see something a little different, and this was certainly a new one for us. At first glance, this Open Sided Mini with fairground style protective bars seems like it has been customised for a reason and has been kept for nostalgia purposes only. It’s only when we delve deeper into the history of the car with the owner; we find out that it has quite an extraordinary history attached to it.
When the car was built, it was originally planned to be a Morris Minor until a total of 35 customised open sided Mini’s were commissioned for promotional purposes. Parts of the engine still show this to be true. The wicker seats were specially designed and built for comfort and practicality whilst being able to withstand the exposed elements. (52 years later, they have certainly done the job).
This is the last of the 35 Mini’s of this kind to exist in the UK, so what about the rest of them? As far as we know, 2 exist in the US and 1 refurbished version exists in Greece having narrowly escaped the scrappage scheme in 2009 (similar to the new car incentive we had in the UK). Infact, the Greek open sided Mini was plucked from the scrap yard before total annihilation and painstakingly refurbished back to its original glory by its proud owner.
Even the wicker seats have their own story. The man who designed the originals was tracked down in the UK. Now in his 80’s, his young apprentice followed instructions of the original designs to keep it as authentic as it could possibly be.
Since 1962, this Mini has only covered a total of 7,500 miles and still boasts its original paintwork. It has been well looked after from new and has only had a handful of owners. But it’s the cars first owner that makes it so special.
The car was originally owned by Queen Elizabeth II in 1962. The Mini, with its original registration number can be seen on old Pathe news reels looking no different to what it does today. Apart from the Union Jack flag that is. Infact, the hole where the flag once mounted on the right front wing still exists with a chrome plate covering it.
The Mini has been with its current owner for several years now. It originally ended up back in the hands of Austin so was well stored for several years until a clear out of assets meant the car traded hand for little more than £50.
The car is used sparingly today but is available to see at Mini shows across the country from time to time. In the short time it was with us at the David Manners Group, it had already drawn a crowd from passers-by.