The Restoration Show Sale 2015

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1968 Austin Mk 2 Mini Van

Lot No.: 130

Registration: BIA 6374
Chassis Number: AAV71086043A
Engine Number: Not Specified
Year of Manufacture: 1968
Sold for (£): Unsold

Perhaps the most instantly recognisable small car in the World, the Mini, was manufactured by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors at their Longbridge and Cowley plants from 1959 until 2000. The original is considered to be a British icon of the 1960s. Its space-saving front-wheel drive layout, allowing 80% of the area of the car's floorpan to be used for passengers and luggage, influenced a generation of car makers. The vehicle is, in some ways, considered to be the British equivalent of its German contemporary the Volkswagen Beetle, or the Italian Fiat 500. In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, behind the Ford Model T.

This ground breaking little car was conceived as a direct result of the fuel shortages following the 1956 Suez Crisis when petrol was rationed in the UK and sales of large family cars slumped, whilst the market for German made ‘bubble' cars boomed. Leonard Lord, the head of BMC, reportedly disliked these German cars so much that he vowed to remove them from the UK streets and design a 'proper miniature car' as a replacement. Sir Alec Issigonis was invited to put pen to paper and the result was the Mini.

Upon its introduction in August 1959 the Mini was marketed under the Austin and Morris names, as the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor. The Austin Seven was renamed Austin Mini in January 1962 and Mini became a marque in its own right in 1969.

The original Mini had three major UK updates, the Mark II, the Clubman and the Mark III. Within the range there were a number of variations, including a Traveller estate car, a pick-up truck, a van and the Mini Moke.

From 1960 to 1982 a commercial panel van was offered. Built on the longer Traveller chassis but without side windows, it proved popular in 1960's Britain as a cheaper alternative to the car as it was classed as a commercial vehicle and as such carried no sales tax. A set of simple stamped steel slots served in place of a more costly chrome grille.

The Mini van was utilised by small businesses, delivery drivers and the AA alike. It was hugely adaptable, reliable and, of course, distinctive.

Offered here is an original 1968 Austin Mini Van which is presented in a very rare state of preservation, showing a genuine 302 miles from new. The background behind its 'frozen in time' condition is fascinating, with the vehicle having been virtually unused for some 47 years after only covering delivery mileage to the original owner's address.

First registered on the 14/03/1968, the van was bought new by a Miss G. Crumcott from Northern Ireland for the mere sum of £400 so that she could learn to drive. She never managed to pass her driving test and this brand new Mini van lay unused, locked away in her shed for nearly three decades. It was discovered in this same shed covered in old copies of the Ballymena Observer and could not have been preserved in better condition.

It was eventually purchased by a local BMC Mini dealer and enthusiast Mr T. Turkington in 1997 and placed in the Mini Centres showroom until 2006. The van was then purchased by a car collector from Northamptonshire and has recently been brought back onto the classic car market.

This van has never been restored and is presented in completely original condition, right down to the seat protectors and rubber floor mats fitted when new by BMC. It was also rustproofed from the factory. It still wears its original Dunlop cross-ply tyres with the spare wheel, tyre and tool kit all being unused and still retains its original exhaust and the factory sealed Lucas battery. This charismatic little van has enjoyed a recent light mechanical re-commissioning and is presented in perfect running order.