"The 2nd June 2019 saw these three Minis and their accompanying bus set of from leafy Hertfordshire to Turin on the 50th Anniversary of the release of the iconic film 'The Italian Job' staring Michael Caine. The idea to recreate the film was developed five years previously by 'The Welwyn Jolly Boys Drinking Club', an eclectic group of friends, after several bottles of port following a St. Georges Day lunch. ‘Hang on lads, I've got a great idea..’ soon became a massive project for Charlie Croker and his modern-day drinking club.
What seemed like a fairly straightforward escapade to start with soon turned into a far more complicated proposition when it was realised that there are actually very few Minis in good enough condition to make the 2,000 mile round trip including passing over the Alps. Twice. The decision was therefore made to purchase three Minis and completely rebuild them, styled to replicate the 1968 Mk. I Mini Cooper S as used in the film. A former (school run) Bedford bus completed the set and, after four years of grafting, the journey commenced.
After the 100 mile trip to Folkstone and to the bemusement of the Channel Tunnel team, the three Minis were driven aboard the bus for a single vehicle Tunnel crossing to the continent. It was on arrival in France that the 'Jolly Boys' realised that, apart from the Channel crossings and a place to stay in Turin, there was absolutely no plan whatsoever regarding the route or accommodation on the way. In hindsight they conceded that this may have been a mistake and may have been a contributing factor in the bus being refused entry through the Chamonix Tunnel (four hour detour) and the convoy going the wrong way over the Petit St. Bernard Pass. It was only on reaching the other side of the pass, after a spectacular drive, that it became apparent that they were now three hours further away from Turin and in the wrong country, having now crossed back into France.
Things went more smoothly in Turin where the lack of a plan meant that the authorities and building owners were not forewarned of the arrival of the British Minis which snuck past the sleeping security guards at the Turin Fiat factory gates allowing unfettered access to the test track on the roof and subsequent sorties around the Piazzas in Turin city centre. Surprisingly there were no arrests and the convoy set off a couple of days later escaping Italy, this time over the Alps via the Great St. Bernard Pass, though Switzerland, around Lake Geneva, into northern France for the ferry back to Blighty.
There is no doubt that these Minis have European touring pedigree and the spirit of the original 1969 British caper!!
Purchased in 2017 by our vendor who is part of the Welwyn Jolly Boys, this example now presented in white, its 'Italian Job' colours having originally been supplied as a Austin Mini Racing Flame in June 1989. After purchase and with the grand plan to take this and the other Minis on a pilgrimage, this example was treated to a full rebuild. The works include but were not limited to an engine rebuild with the original block re-bored and a re-ground crank shaft, the body was then treated to 60% new panels before a full bare-metal respray and a powder coated subframe. Naturally, to pass the grade as an 'Italian job' replica, this car was treated to new wheels, triple spot lamps, Mk. I grilles, windows, bumpers and lights along with badges and bonnet straps. The extensive works are all photographed and show a very good level of workmanship. It is worth noting that the car was a rotisserie restoration. Now presenting as new and described as a 10/10 by the vendor, this is certainly a car we recommend viewing. With an MoT test certificate until April 2020 and UK V5 registration document, many years of enjoyment is ahead of one lucky bidder. "