News : Unrestored Mini makes £40,000

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

This 1959 Mini is really worth £40,000?
This 1959 Mini is really worth £40,000? (Photo: Classic & Sportscar)

When the hammer dropped and the final bid was settled for Richard Bremner’s 1959 Austin Mini Seven De Luxe, there was a ripple of applause from the buyers present at Bonhams’ Hendon auction. It’s not the oldest surviving example, but it’s really close, being the eighth to roll of the Longbridge production line – and that makes this car rather special to Mini aficionados.

The pre-sale estimate for the Mini was £15,000, but the hammer fell at £40,250, and it has experts wondering what will happen next to this fascinating barn-find. Those who have seen it say that a restoration would be a full-rebuild from the wheels up, but perhaps its patina is what’s drawn buyers in. But whatever, the bar has been raised on all early Minis.

Bremner’s car has 30,041 miles on the clock, while the 848cc engine is said never to have been touched aside from a few maintenance checks. It’s likely that this mileage tally is not going to be added to. The car has received a new door some time in its life. The car was once owned by a Gladys Hobro of Aldwick in West Sussex before being bought by David Gallimore in 1986, who then kept it in his garage in Chichester until last year.

Expect a raft of other early Minis to hit the market now…

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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42 Comments

  1. There was a very early, certainly 1959, Mini at the POL. It was original and looked pretty sound. It had gone to South America(?) early in life and come back to these shores.

    What must this one be worth?

  2. Perhaps if someone drives it the speedo will go backwards and the car will gradually restore itself….

    [Christine]

  3. The last sentence in the article sums things up perfectly. All this has done is further inflate the price expectations in an already overpriced market……

  4. This crazy Mini pricing is not all helpful. Mini’s are easy to bodge and this sort of pricing tends to increase bodgery to increase profit. £40k is silly money for this no matter how old or new it is.

  5. The front of this one looks just like my own 1967 Austin Mini 850 did. Mine looked in better condition (when purchased in 1975) obviously, but that was 35+ years ago…

  6. Way overpriced. I cannot think why someone would pay that kind of money, even for an immaculate, unrestored version. Does it even run? I think, in the next few days, someone will wake up and think “What a nightmare, I dream’t I paid £40,000 for an old rusty 850cc Austin Mini, that doesn’t work, Oh no it is true, I did!!!!”

  7. If I had a spare 40K I’d be tempted, then do the absolute minimum of work to make it run/MOT legal and then use it every day. Would love to see the looks on peoples faces as I drove by in that (and how stunned they would be if they knew what it had cost me)!

  8. There was much discussion on this car in some of the classic car mags a few months ago. I think Quintin Wilson owns a similar car.
    The problem I have with this car no matter what it’s worth. Is what on earth do you do with it now?? Restoring it to mint condition would more than likely de-value the car. So put it in a atmosphere controlled glass cabinet? I suspect as someone has mentioned getting it back to a roadworthy condition is possibly not an option, as it’s too far gone

  9. I agree with Big H, What do you do with it? It’s worth is in the unrestored nature of the vehicle and its age, do anything to change this and it becomes just another old restored mini. If you leave be, then your money will rot away before your eyes, unless you coccoon it in a controlled climate and exhibit it.

    Either way you are going to lose out, unless your just in it for the kudos of being able to say “I paid £40,000 for that” and watch everyone fall about laughing.

  10. I’m sure the buyer has thought all this through. Here are couple of suggestions why it might be worth 40k plus the restoration costs

    – income from film/TV production companies who need period accurate cars for 60s dramas.

    – hold onto it for 10 years and sell it again, restored or not. If he got more than 52k in unrestored condition it would be a better return than saving in a bank.

    – or as someone else has alluded to, what it will do to the value of early Minis. If he’s a dealer and has ten of them worth say 5k each, he’ll get his money back if it boosts their value to 9k each.

  11. Just occured to me there must be more than one nutter out there as it was obviously “bidded” up to £40250
    Perhaps we are missing something on here? That being the case I’m glad i am 🙂

  12. I wouldn’t mind betting it’ll be off to the Far East – perhaps in the same crate as Munch’s “The Scream” – to someone for whom 40k is pocket money.

  13. There are definitely three winners in this. The vendor and the auctioneers & the taxman (VAT on fees).

    No wait, make that four, manufacturers of rust inhibitors.

  14. thats interesting i have a 1968 mk2 mini sitting in my garden where it was driven and parked in 1988 mileage about 50k body very very poor but 100% of the car is still intact and only two owners since 1970 — i wont book my holiday just yet!!!!!!

  15. Personally I think it would be a travesty to restore this car because then it just becomes yet another proverbial broom – shiny but totally new underneath – pointless. Stick it in a nice dry store, stop any further rot and look at it to your hearts content.

  16. OK. So someone paid over £ 40,000 for an unrestored Mini. Personally I think it’s madness. I’m happy for Richard Bremner, but I think he will be astonished to.
    The question now of course is what’s going to happen to the little one? Restore it and destroy all of it’s character? Leave it as it is now and never drive it?

  17. My first car was a 1965 traveller (all metal) that looked like that…..Bloke I bought it off in 1978 was Polish and he kept taking it out there and back.
    I should have kept it :o)

  18. It’s a BARGAIN compared to £74,000,000 that some fool has paid for that bloody awefull painting called the Scream, Could’ve had 1,850 early Mini’s instead of that crappy painting!

  19. “If I had a spare 40K I’d be tempted, then do the absolute minimum of work to make it run/MOT legal and then use it every day.”

    So you mean replace the entire floor, both front wings and probably the engine too?

  20. “It’s a BARGAIN compared to £74,000,000 that some fool has paid for that bloody awefull painting called the Scream, Could’ve had 1,850 early Mini’s instead of that crappy painting!”

    At least the painting didn’t have a massive hole in it.

  21. Sorry but total wast of money for a piece of rusty metal. As above if it was mint still not worth 40 grand!!!!!!!!.Get real.

  22. I agree it’s an awful lot but there is a certain draw because of the purity of this Mini, it is afterall a 1959, unadulterated model, presented as it was intended, without all the later modifications and changes to the body, parts, suspension etc (some good and bad I hasten to add) so in that respect, it is a rare beast and I suppose only a real Mini nut could appreciate the subtle differences. Most people on the street would be hard pressed to tell the difference between this and a 2001 last of line model.

  23. OK then Mr Cameron,about this recession we have fallen back into and theres no money about ……….

  24. @ James

    I see your point, but I think it’s a wee bit cheeky to suggest someone couldn’t tell the difference between this and a car with 13 inch Minilite wheels, Sports Pack arches, four spotlights and a different shaped grille. Please give folk some credit.

    I consider myself a Mini ‘nut’ and have seen loads of 1959 cars in the specifications as they were intended. Most enthusiasts who restore them get them pretty much close to original, which is what this car actually deserves. It is later cars that tend to get brutalised to suit the owner’s ‘taste’. None of the cars I’ve seen would fetch anywhere near £40k on any other day, but the problem with this particular sale is it now sets the bar for other owners’ expectations. As I have said in previous posts, the classic Mini market is already over-hyped and overpriced, and people who would like to buy one and run it for shows, summer fun etc are never going to be able to afford it if scrappers and rusty heaps sell for ridiculaous money. As well as inflating the prices for 1959 cars, this will drip-feed down the line with folk looking for £20k for early 1960’s cars, for example, and some will remain unsold and ultimately lost to tinworm as bloody minded owners hang on to them.

    We need to get some sort of perspective about the worth of cars. Yes, the buyer of this feels it was worth the money, but otehr cars will suffer as a result.

  25. Following on from my above rant, I have 3 classic Minis myself. One is a 1968 Wolseley Hornet in unrestored condition, and another is a 1989 Mini 30 Automatic in Cherry Red pearl, of which only 100 were built. Where would I set my price expectations for those now?

  26. “If I had a spare 40K I’d be tempted, then do the absolute minimum of work to make it run/MOT legal and then use it every day.”
    ‘So you mean replace the entire floor, both front wings and probably the engine too?’

    Why not, it’s what plenty of people do with VWs!

  27. @6 I think Alexscotts comment helped put the priced paid for this car into context very well. Yours is the stupid and rather arrogant comment Alexcat

  28. I note the lucky seller of this Car is Autocar Magazines Richard Bremnar. Confirms everything I ahve ever thought about journalists. Able to make money out of any old shite!

  29. Loads of people are commenting on the fact that Richard Bremner was the owner of this Mini and thus has made a tidy profit. To be fair, the Mini was only part-owned by him as it was purchased as part of a consortium (although obviously he’s still made a good wage out of it).

    Anyone who used to read CAR magazine in the Eighties and early Nineties however will know that Bremner’s fondness for classic cars goes way back, and that he spent thousands upon thousands on various financially worthless and unreliable Citroens and Alfas, so cut him some slack please. It’s about time that one of his cars paid him back!

  30. Well one thing you can say about this mini, it is reliable. I mean you can definitely rely on it not to start.

  31. Nice to see that the early minis have risen the bar in value, but the reality is the die hard ordinary man wants a classic mini, it is now out of reach. My son now will switch to looking for a classic mg midget to restore.

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