Is there any car in the history of the automobile which is as Iconic and as effortlessly cool as the Mini.
'The new Mini was as different from the British small car norm in 1959 as a space shuttle from a firework. It bristled with innovative ideas, it looked radically different from any other car and was the most compact "real" car Britain ever produced.' – Chris Rees, 'Complete Classic Mini'.
The Alec Issigonis-designed Mini debuted in 1959 to universal acclaim. True, there had been numerous front-wheel-drive designs before the Mini's arrival, but the transverse engine layout allowed Issigonis to create a trend-setting masterpiece of automotive packaging. Less than two-and-a-half years after its initial conception the Mini was officially launched at the 1959 Motor Show. BMC chose to market the car as the 'Austin Se7en' and 'Morris Mini Minor' before 'Mini' became a marque in its own right in 1969. In due course estate and van versions arrived, larger engines became available, more luxurious Riley and Wolseley models joined the line-up and the sporting Mini Cooper was introduced. The early Mk1 had the 848cc A-Series engine, rubber cone suspension and floor-mounted starter button, the latter two features being replaced by Hydrolastic suspension and key starting respectively in 1964. De Luxe versions – preferred by the majority of customers – came with bumper over-riders and additional exterior brightwork.
Our car is about as early as you can get hailing from the first six months of production. With only four keepers and in such original unrestored condition, this car is a true rarity.
As the Heritage Certificate confirms, this 1959 Austin Seven was built during the last days of December 1959 at Longbridge and was despatched on December 30th. There is a story that during the holiday periods, with the regular staff away, the foremen in the factory would assemble cars to keep the line running. Those cars -'Foremen’s cars' - were considered to be better constructed than the run-of-the-mill cars (and especially the 'Friday afternoon'and 'Monday morning' jobs!).
The car’s first owner was Miss Brewer, who had French’s Garage in Seaford, East Sussex, service the car in its first two years. The service notes are on file and show that the car received a new engine in that time, probably due to the overheating problem that plagued many of the early Minis.
The car retains its original Speedwell Blue colour scheme and red and grey interior, the car appears sound with no advisories listed on its most recent MOT and the Mini still wears its original Worcestershire-issued registration number.
The car drives well and characterises everything that made the Mini such a legend in its own time, sharp handling and most importantly the fun factor. The car will be provided with a brand new MOT and it has only covered 160 miles since it last. A glance over the previous MOTs show virtually no advisories for many years.
This is an unassuming early Mini that truly captures the genesis of the marque and in astoundingly original condition. The car can be used as is or restored but we urge the new owner to think hard before the many stories this car can tell are hidden under fresh paint.