A 1959 unrestored Mini, believed to be the oldest surviving vehicle of its kind, is estimated to fetch 15,000 pounds at a Bonhams auction this month.
The Austin Se7en De Luxe was the eighth of its type to roll off the production line at Longbridge in Birmingham in May 1959. According to British Motor Industry Heritage Trust (BMIHT) correspondence, the car was dispatched on 31 July, 1959 to Car Mart Limited in Colchester, whose service plate is still riveted inside the engine compartment.
It is believed that only three other Minis still exist, one reportedly is a part of the BMIHT's collection at Gaydon while the other two are in Japan.
According to the Bonhams website, the car was earlier owned from 1986 by David Gallimore of Chichester, the previous owner listed on the copy Swansea V5 on file being Mrs Gladys Hobro of Aldwick, Bognor Regis.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to buy the car and restore it. Collectors love the fact it has had very little done to it since it was built. The car was made very, very simply without many instruments or equipment," the Guardian quoted John Polson, of Bonhams saying.
"It was designed to be an affordable, family car. The Mini is one of the most important cars of the 20th century. They have always been collectable. Some collectors would want to return her to new, but others would just like to get her going again and keep her in the original condition," he said.
The Telegraph reported that the Mini has just 30,041 miles on the clock, while the 848cc engine is said never to have been touched aside from a few maintenance checks. Beneath the rust on the bodywork you can see the Farina grey paint, and the car also retains its original registration plate (XLL 27) and even the glass washer bottle.
The driver's door has been replaced but other than that only a few small items appear to have been renewed.
The car has all the features that distinguish these very early Minis, including the famous glass washer bottle. Although, some parts have been removed for security and ease of transport, they will be provided at the sale together with a Swansea V5 registration document.