Sporting a June 1963 tax disc is this smart Mk1 Austin Mini, or Austin Seven as the really early Minis were badged. I'm guessing that this is a deluxe Mini, judging by the wheel trims and bumper overriders. Also fitted is a pair of mirrors and a curvy roof rack, clamped to the Mini's roof. In the background is another Issigonis creation, in the shape of a Series 2 splitscreen Minor. Unlike this other Mk1 Mini, which shows evidence of being souped up, the car shown above seems to be in otherwise standard condition.
Brian's brand new Mk1 Mini see in 1961.
Brian dropped me a line in 2009, attaching this interesting old photo showing a Mk1 Mini he once owned. It was his 21st birthday present in 1961. Again it looks like a De Luxe model, finished in pale blue (Speedwell blue?), and fitted with a very appropriate registration number. Thanks Brian!
Val's Austin Seven Mini.
Five years have passed since I last updated this page, so thanks to Val for these two photos of the early Austin Seven (Mini) her family once owned. In one Val is shown sat on the small car's bonnet. The Austin was registered 3300SM, a Dumfries-area number first introduced in April 1959. There's a great deal of interest in Mk1 Minis nowadays, so if 3300SM was ever to turn up in a barn somewhere in Scotland, there'd no doubt be a bun fight over it amongst keen fans of Issigonis' pint-sized motor-car. Val's example was painted bright red, a great little car.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
More photos of Minis from Val.
A year or so after sending the above photos, Val's been in touch again with a couple more photos of Mk1 Mini Deluxes "in action", during the 1960s. The first is another view of Austin Mini Mk1 Deluxe registration 3300 SM. Regarding this photo, Val adds:
"I recently sent an old and very dark negative to a professional restorer. I was delighted with what came back. I am sitting model-like on the bonnet of our wee red Mini (we called it a Mini but it was actually an Austin Seven), my dad is getting out of the car and it was taken in the grounds of Cochran's Boilerworks in Annan, at their annual open day. It is a moment trapped in time and I even know the exact date as I had written on the back of a couple of photos taken on the same day ... 17th June 1967! I wish I had that number plate now."
The second of Val's photos shows her father-in-law with another Mk1 Mini Deluxe, this time registered 2428 ME, a London issue from mid/late 1960(ish). The photo itself dates to 1963 or 1964, the location is Somerset Crescent, Melksham, in Wiltshire. Clearly the Mini was being used for driving lessons at the time, which brings back memories for me too as I learnt to drive on a 1967 Mk1 Mini Deluxe - albeit in estate form. Thanks for digging out these latest old photos Val. I've also included a Streetview view of Somerset Crescent as it looks today.
A new Surf-Blue Mini Super Deluxe in 1963.
Regular correspondent Keith forwarded the next Mini photograph over - it, and the accompanying item of paperwork, are reproduced here with the kind permission of their owner - Viv Mcstravick, who appears with her father in the photograph. The Mini is a Super Deluxe, in Surf Blue, this is confirmed in the original purchase invoice that Viv still has for the car, dated to April 1963. Interestingly, the car was supplied as a staff sale directly by the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge, to Mr Parnell at Morris Motors. While both Austin and Morris were both by this time part of the British Motor Corporation, brand loyalties still burnt brightly with both the buying public, and within the respective factories to be found within the BMC combine, so one wonders whether there were any raised eyebrows with buying an Austin-badged Mini, with Mr Parnell's colleagues at Morris Motors. The invoice also shows that the Mini was specified with a high-compression cylinder head, for added pep. Its registration was 758 HOP, no details for which survive on DVLA's system.
This '63 Mini didn't have far to travel for its delivery, the family lived on Falmouth Road, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham. Bar the addition of the occasional porch, and increased height of the trees, the road looks much the same today as it did then - albeit I doubt that any Mk1 Minis live there, or Standard 10s for that matter, an example of which can be seen peeking in to view on the left.
When it hit the market in 1959, the all-new BMC Mini re-wrote the small car rulebook, in the UK at least. Gone was the rear wheel drive, leaf sprung suspension, longitudinal engine positioning and dated styling of the A30 and A35, and in was a radical mechanical package housed within a tiny, 10ft long, bodyshell. The only link to the earlier cars was the A series engine, but this time mounted crossways on top of the gearbox, unlike the fore & aft layout of the A35 (and still used in the contemporary A40 Farina which debuted in 1958). Front wheel drive featured too, helping to maximise the interior space that was available to the driver and upto 3 passengers. The first Minis had an engine of 848cc, sharing bore dimensions with the A35 but employing a shorter stroke. Power was quoted at 34bhp when revving away at 5500 rpm. During the first few years of Mini production a number of variants would be introduced, including handy little vans, pickups and estates (known either as the Austin Countryman and Morris Mini Traveller). Austin and Morris versions were available.
Many classic Minis.
The photo collection in the video below contains 150 photos of classic Minis, from the bread-and-butter 850s and 1000s, through to the performance oriented Cooper, Cooper S and 1275GT. Estates, vans, pickups and the plus Riley Elfs and Wolseley Hornets also feature, as do competition-prepared circuit racers and rally cars.