We’re enjoying our last few days with our 1973 Mini pickup. She’s lived with us from the early days, and is now on her way to finding a new home.
We’re particularly hoping that she finds a good one, as her story so far is so charming. A Mini pickup is a rare beast now. Only 58179 were built, compared to over half a million oftheir close cousin, the Mini van. They started as 850cc, but by the time ours was built they had the 998cc engine. The list of options for purchasers wasn’t long, but the first owner of ours seems to have ticked every box – she has seatbelts, heater, laminated windscreen, tilt frame and cover, and even a sun visor for the passenger!
There are not many examples of the Mini pickup left now, probably around 20 like ours, and their practicality was largely responsible for so many falling by the wayside. They were very popular with farmers, and so led a hard life and were viewed as a rural consumable in many cases, starting to rust on the road, and then being used as off-road runabouts until there was nothing left.
In many ways charming design of the Mini pickup was overlooked, but now they are a every bit as much a style icon as their Cooper cousins. As commercials they remained wonderfully basic and true to Issigonis’ original, practical intention. They retained the pressed steel grill, external door hinges and sliding windows of the earlier 1959 Mini-Minor, and are consequently superbly pure and true to the original design.
So how did ours survive?
She was purchased new from New Forest Services in Lyndhurst in January 1972 by a young lady involved in the local equestrian scene. Serviced on schedule at NFS. the little truck notched up 21590 miles by October 1975 before moving to a new owner – in who’s family he would stay for the next 40 years. Trading in a 1966 willow green Austin Mini pickup, this owner took LAA off to life on a farm caravan park in Fawley, 14 miles away. This was probably the mini’s salvation, as one can imagine a gentle life as a tender pottering around the site during the summer, and tucked away in the winter. Becoming something of a heirloom and passing from father to son the next home is in Hythe, yet another 14 mile move and still less than 10 miles away from the original supplying dealer!
Moving to the family of a niece after 25 years in Hythe, saw a big change of scene – all the way to Salisbury, an adventure of nearly 25 miles, but still safely in the the County of Hampshire. At this stage it was time for an overhaul, and there are bills totalling nearly £8000 reflecting a sympathetic restoration, with engine removal and rebuild, brake and ancilliaries overhaul, electrican check and a full checkover and repair followed by underseal and a fresh coat of paint! A new hood followed in 2017 at his new home in storage in Andover.
Since the 2015/6 renovations only just over 100 miles have been covered, with the last MOT (no advisories) being in October 2018. Currently showing 47755 miles on her original engine, this Mini pickup, a lovely bit of motoring history, is probably making her first trip out of Hampshire since delivery from Cowley in 1972 – and she’s going all the way back to Oxfordshire as she is to be sold at the Brightwells Auction held in connection with the Classic and Sports Car Show in association with Flywheel on 24th June 2018.
We’re sad to see her go . . . .