1959 AUSTIN SEVEN DE LUXE
Registration No. AFO 801
Chassis No. A-A2S7/548
Engine No. 8A-U-H/700
Tartan red with red/grey fleck interior
Engine: Four cylinder, overhead valve, transversely mounted, 848cc; Gearbox: Four speed manual; Suspension: front and rear, coil springs; Brakes: four wheel drum. Right hand drive
There can be no other car that is more associated with Britain than the Mini, from its inception in 1959 to today with the recent revamping of the model, millions have been sold. An almost classless car, they have been owned by actors, musicians, and many many private individuals, all who have enjoyed the car's endearing character, and practicality. The car we are proud to present, dates from the first year of production, when the model was badged either as a Morris Mini-Minor or Austin Seven, denoting their replacement for two other longstanding British icons.
This Austin was found in Rochdale in 1997. It was at the time thought to be an early '59 car but was missing documentation so the date could not be confirmed, and was in sound but dilapidated condition. A knowledgeable enthusiast the vendor was familiar with the details exclusive to early Minis, and quickly ascertained that there could be little doubt of its age. Once purchased, he set about proving this. Fortunately it still wore its original registration number and engine number tag which meant he was able to confirm its chassis number with the DVLA. When he approached Rover with this information they provided a Heritage certificate which confirmed the body number also and that it had been built on July 15th 1959, only two and a half months after production originally started.
The following three years were a labour of love for the vendor, who restored the Mini in his own time, and by sourcing all parts himself. The bodywork has been completely refurbished, repainted and a new interior made to the exact original specification. The engine was rebuilt, radiator recored, gearbox overhauled, etc. but as with many popular classics of the period, the earliest production examples differed in many ways, to those built once demand was higher and the production more streamlined, so it was the detail fittings that were the hardest to find.
To the best of his knowledge all the important details are correct and the story of trailing around the UK just to source the various missing components is quite extraordinary. Such tasks ranging from finding the last complete set of 5.20 by 10 Mini crossplies that Dunlop had, to a correct positive earth Lucas battery, to correct windows may have been exhaustive, but were entirely necessary to make the final result so rewarding. One of the hardest items to find was the original glass washer bottle - a production mistake, which was corrected after the first six months of production, as invariably the water would freeze and crack the glass! Another of the more unusual details are the two wicker paniers which sit beneath the rear seats - these were a little known option that the vendor noticed on contemporary press material, and had a pair replicated to complete the Mini perfectly.
The complete story is detailed in a subsequent article in Mini Magazine in March 2000, which makes fascinating reading.
Today the result is a beautifully presented, and correct very early Mini, which as testament to its quality and depth of restoration has been rewarded with no fewer than 9 first prizes at concours level.
It is sold with a current MoT and road fund licence, as well as V5 Registration document, Heritage Certificate and copy of the Mini Magazine article.
In order to move the car about safely to concours events and the like a purpose built trailer has been built, which will also be sold with the car.