1959 Morris Mini Minor Deluxe Saloon Registration no. 444 LJO Chassis no. M/A2S4L/4864
"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.
Manufactured in October 1959, this very early Morris Mini Minor was exported new to Sweden but soon returned to the UK. Purchased by the immediately preceding owner's grandmother in June 1960, it passed in September 1998 to her father, Don Reid, who worked at BMC's Cowley plant for 31 years. The car retains its original engine and has always been well maintained, though it saw relatively little use as the years progressed. '444 LJO' was displayed at the Gaydon Mini Festival in 2009 and took part in that year's Mini 50th anniversary celebrations (certificate on file).
In December 2014, the car was offered for sale at Bonhams' Oxford auction (Lot 367) where it was purchased by the current vendor. At that time it was described to have been "Repainted in its original Clipper Blue" and "in generally very good condition mechanically, with good chassis, body, paintwork and original blue/cream vinyl interior".
Refurbishment carried out since then has been done with the aim of preserving as much originality as possible; only parts beyond repair were replaced, which included both wings and the front panel. The front and rear side panels, door sills, and spare wheel compartment were repaired, and all aged rubber parts replaced. The entire body was then primed and repainted in the original colour. Other parts replaced include the fuel pump and rear shock absorbers, while the dynamo was repaired. The upholstery is original and has been re-sown where necessary. It is believed the carpets were replaced by the previous owners.
We are advised that the engine has not required any attention other than an oil change. According to the vendor, this is probably the quietest Mini he has driven: "At idle you have to pay attention to know that the engine is on. It pulls well and can keep up easily with modern traffic. Gears and clutch both work very well. Brakes have not needed any attention as they work very efficiently and pull up straight".
This delightful Mk1 Mini is offered with a BMIHT Certificate, sundry invoices, a V5 registration document, and a copy of Classics magazine (December 1999 edition) featuring it on the front cover and in an article.