1960 Austin Seven
On introduction in August 1959, the ‘Mini' was marketed under both Austin and Morris names as the Austin Se7en and Morris Mini-Minor, such was the brand-loyalty customers of the formerly divided companies, still displayed. The Austin Se7en was to be renamed the Mini in January of 1962.
The Mini is considered the ultimate design icon and is undoubtedly the most famous car of all time, with it's unique features the Mk1 is considered by many to be the most desirable of them all.
Conceived by Sir Alec Issigonis who, acting on BMC chief Sir Leonard Lord's brief to "drive those bloody bubble-cars off the road", instructed a team of talented engineers, draughtsmen and craftsmen to translate his basic sketches and often crude ‘cigarette-packet' drawings and calculations into the legend it became.
The original 848cc engine was to be mounted transversely in a clever arrangement with the gearbox-in-sump driving the front wheels. The battery - famously - was mounted in the boot to help give a better weight distribution.
During the Mini's creation, it was necessary to gain co-operation from Dunlop to enable Issigonis to ‘re-invent the wheel' as he insisted strongly that the vehicle adopt unique 10 inch wheels and at the time, tyres did not exist to fit them. This emphasised the level of commitment and detail the project was receiving.
The late owner (and only keeper on the UK V5C), of this delightful example, decided the outstandingly original shell - that had never been welded - should be renovated and therefore decided to embark upon the painstaking task of bringing the Mini back to ‘factory-fresh' condition.
The accompaning Heitage Certificate confirms this Austin Mini Se7en was built on the 30th May 1960 and despatched from 'Lookers' in Manchester.
The quirkiness of BMC's ‘badge-engineering' and the fact that on occasion both Longbridge and Cowley completed Austin and Morris variants, the late owner fitted this Austin Se7en with the more ‘premium-looking' Morris badges. The chrome bumper over-riders and heater are testimony to the ‘de-luxe' specification.
Photographs detailing the originality, accompany the history file and help highlight the unique level of detail both ‘inside-and-out' that ‘brand-new shell' restorations often lack. The heritage of this wonderful Mini has therefore been retained, perhaps it is the very best Mk1 848cc on offer today.
Noted and highly respected journalist, Quentin Wilson, has recently commissioned a full restoration of a Mk1. Now complete, various forums and clubs are suggesting this car may have a value in excess of £35,000.
Upon acquisition from the estate of the late owner, the current private collector embarked on attending to various items that time had not allowed him to finish. This included refreshing various engine and transmission items (having diligently inspected the internals of both), servicing the entire braking system, detailing the engine bay, procuring and fitting O.E.M items such as tyres, exhaust and inlet manifolds, preparing the underside of the car to ‘factory-fresh' condition (including the prized original type sub-frames).
Having covered just 85 miles since the restoration, the results of the combined endeavours of such fanatical owners has led to the museum-quality example offered here today.