By 16 December 2010 18 Comments Read More →

Classics : Mini Beach car discovered… and nearly dies

Keith Adams

John Reymondos and his amazing Mini Beach Car

John Reymondos and his amazing Mini Beach Car

One of perhaps 20 original Mini Beach cars built to this specification has been unearthed by John Reymondos in Greece – and it’s going to be restored to its former glory. AROnline is already in correspondence with the owner of a similar car in Canada – but this one is incredibly special because it’s based upon the three-box Riley Elf/Wolseley Hornet and it originally received many more styling modifications by Dick Burzi , whereas all of the other known survivors have the more familar pert rump shared with the standard two-box Mini.

You can read more about the Mini Beach Cars here but, suffice to say, there has been a slight problem extracting the car from the scrapyard that it was ‘found’ in. John told the Maximum Mini blog site that: ‘Unfortunately, I have bought the car as “spare parts” and will not be able to register it for road use. Furthermore, and this really hurts, in order to take it away from the scrapyard I have to cut the car in half (roof and floor). I am both happy to find it and furious at the system and the Greek laws for having to cut up a rare car.’

Considering the rarity of this car and the fortunate circumstances in which it was rediscovered, it’s amazing that the law couldn’t be circumvented in order to allow this car to survive unmolested. John has subsequently been in touch with AROnline saying, ‘The car is now in my hands and I managed to save it. The only thing I had to give the scrapman was a load of cash and the chassis number plate…’

It’s a shame the chassis plate couldn’t be saved and we’re waiting to hear back from John as to whether he has a photographic record of it.

We will be following this car’s restoration with keen interest…

Issigonis and the Beach Car. But is it the same one?

Issigonis and the Beach Car. But is it the same one?

The Mini Beach Car

The Mini Beach Car

MINI Beach car 1961 (picture: Ian Rinn)

MINI Beach car 1961 (picture: Ian Rinn)

[Source: Maximum Mini]

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created in 2001 and watched it steadily grow into AROnline. Is the Editor of Classic Car Weekly, and has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, Classic Car Weekly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

18 Comments on "Classics : Mini Beach car discovered… and nearly dies"

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  1. Richard Kilpatrick Richard Kilpatrick says:

    One assumes that, given the insane attitude of the Greek’s equivalent of the DVLA (I seem to remember that exporting classics from Greece is nearly impossible as they’re considered “historical artifacts” or some other nonsense), they’re also sufficiently bound by paperwork that, if a conventional, rotten but not-yet-scrapped Mini were somehow to be modified with these salvaged parts, it’d be perfectly fine…

  2. Pieter Vos says:

    I can probably assist if registration for road use is a problem in Greece – if you come to Germany I will help you to obtain the paperwork and, under EEC Law, the Greek authority will be forced to issue new Greek paperwork.

  3. Hilton Davis says:

    I had never heard of the Mini Beach car until seeing this article. I note the body design is like the Riley Elf/Wolseley Hornet. Incidentally, I wonder what that green car behind the Mini Beach car is – an Opel Ascona/Vauxhall Cavalier Mk1 perhaps?

  4. Magnus says:

    Given that pretty much anything goes in Greece, I suspect John probably hasn’t offered to put enough notes in the scrapdealer’s back pocket.

    Oh, and is it just me, or do the proportions of the front grille match those of a Morris Oxford/Hindustan Ambassador?

  5. MG Mal says:

    I reckon that, if John he still retains the details of the chassis plate, then the alternative Euro registration seems to be the only way to go.

    Hopefully, other details of its identity are still somewhere on the car. Minis usually had a body no. on a welded tag in the engine bay – if that’s still in place, there maybe a chance of sorting this out.

  6. Mike Butler says:

    @Hilton Davis
    Looks to me like a Toyota Carina E. I had a turbo diesel one myself for some time. “Worthy” was the best description for it. You’d never get excited over it, but it would not breakdown – even when it cracked a block and mixed the coolant and lubricant together, it still drove back from Devon without missing a beat.

    I can’t figure why that one’s got a blue lamp on the roof though…

  7. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    @Hilton Davis
    Yep, I’m pretty sure it’s an Opel Ascona Mk1. The Beach Car is a top find!

  8. Will says:

    Hopefully, the Greek authorities will be more forgiving than the Spanish authorities – any car sitting for more than a week in Spain gets lifted and crushed automatically. The Spanish do, though, take kindly to persuasion of the monetary kind during this process…

    I hope this Mini can be registered – if not, would it have to be registered as a “new build”? Surely, it’s far, far, far too small to be registered as a BMW MINI.

  9. David Knowles says:

    What an incredible find! Surely Gaydon could help with the chassis details if the plate survives!?

  10. Michael says:

    Wow! That’s amazing. I’ve never seen this before. I would have thought the Moke would have filled this “perceived” sector of the market, but obviously BMC were going overboard with making the Mini into some bizarre, bastardised form of universal transport!

    I suppose the Moke probably did supplant the Mini Beach Car as that made it into production – just. Still, I’d be a bit sceptical over the whole idea of a Mini-based dune-buggy. Is it really sensible to put 10″ wheels on sand?!!

    That said, this is an amazing find! I’d love to see this restored and back in Blightey next to 621 AOK and the others.

    I’m not sure if John’s is the one in the original publicity pictures as it’s wearing overriders and doesn’t have the Morris-style grille. It’s not very likely these things will have been added later. It’s also white, whereas the original was probably Almond Green (or a similar dark colour) to show up on the B&W pictures – a common trick in the old days.

  11. peterpiper says:

    Whatever happened to this car?
    Looking at the prices of Mini’s now, this one must be worth a bit!

  12. Chris Baglin says:

    Beaurocracy eh? So the Greeks won’t let it keep its VIN plate but they won’t allow it out of the country either? Its not exactly the Elgin Marbles!

    Looks to me rather less than a Mini, and more like a poorly adapted Trabant! But you’d definatly want the doors left on a Trabant to keep the blue smoke out!

  13. reymondos reymondos says:

    Nearly there. Very few thing to do now.

  14. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    What an amazing job you’ve done. Congratulations on a great save…

  15. Brian Gunn says:

    That is an absolute delight. Nicely done!

    I could sit looking at that engine bay pic all night: I love how simple and clean an early Mini engine bay is.

  16. Karl says:

    Well done. Bloody brilliant!

  17. Yorkie says:

    Good on yer fella!

  18. David Jackson says:

    A brilliant resto. job.
    I reckon the Greek sun must have kept the Abingdon ants at bay.

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