PART OF HISTORY
One of the rarest Minis ever made, we take a privileged look at Rhos Jenkins’s Limited Edition 1000 ‘Stripey’.
Think Classic Mini special editions and you probably think of popular ones across the marque’s 42-year history, such as the Designer, Thirty, British Open Classic, Italian Job, Tahiti, Sidewalk, Equinox, Paul Smith, Forty and the Cooper Sport 500.
But if you thought the first Classic Mini special edition was the 1979 1100 Special, you’d be wrong! Why? Well, three-years before it, in January 1976, Classic Mini special edition DNA was cast, with the
launch of the first limited build Classic Mini based on the standard 1000 – called the Mini Limited Edition 1000.
Outside, at first look, it was difficult to tell the difference between the Limited Edition and a standard 1000. The only colour choices were Brooklands Green (actually an MG colour!) and white. In fact, Brooklands Green was used on the 1999 John Cooper Limited Edition, but the colour of this later Sport Packed Mini, was a completely different shade. On top of the colours, it was fitted with subtle gold coach lines under the windows, plus a pair of chrome mirrors.
It was easier to tell the difference on the inside, with the Limited Edition’s biggest change being the MGB-style orange striped brushed nylon trim. If that wasn’t special enough, this special 1000 also gained face-level air vents and special carpets.
This was such a rare Mini Special Edition, that I have to admit I’ve never actually seen a picture of it from outside – just that stripey interior. It’s not even a Mini I’ve ever seen at a show!
So, an email from South Wales-based Classic Mini collector and fan, Rhos Jenkins, piqued my interest, as it turns out he was a proud owner of one of these Special Edition Minis in original,
unrestored condition. With such a significant Mini, we had to head to Wales, take a closer look and find out more from Rhos.
I reckon Rhos must have Classic Minis in the blood, as he tells me he bought his first when he was just nine-years-old, which he rebuilt as an auto grass car. Since then, Rhos reckons he’s owned 100 Minis and still has a collection of seven today — including a Van, Pick-up, turbo’d Clubman, Shorty, this Stripey Limited Edition and two shells, one of which he’s currently building up. “For years now I’ve been collecting Minis and I either restore or break them. My Minivan and Shorty having been featured in magazines before.”
Anyway, back to this 1000 Limited Edition. In July 2017, a friend told Rhos of a Mini for sale locally. He didn’t hesitate, and ended up going and seeing it the next evening. Turns out this Mini was in a small garage, covered with a dust sheet, with general garage equipment on top of it – Rhos admits it was hard to see just what he was looking at! He explains: “After a quick look over it, I was surprised how good it was — considering it had been off the road for 28 years. Some cool period parts were still on the car and it turns this Mini was owned by someone who had passed away a few years before.”
After a chat with the family relative and some haggling, Rhos actually made the tough decision to not to buy this Mini, as he didn’t have any room to store it. Only to change his mind the next day, after sleeping on it!
So it was pulled out of the garage and transported it to Rhos’s house, where he took a few pictures and a plan was hatched to get it back on the road and
“I was surprised how good it was — it had been off the road for 28 years”
maybe eventually sell it on! However, after he posted some pictures on social media, he realised he might have stumbled on a rather special Mini, as the comments went crazy! “Unknown to both the previous owner and I, it was a very rare Mini, being the first Limited Edition. I started researching it that evening, with people contacting me with information and offers to buy it. At that point I decided I’d be keeping hold of it!”
Not much is known about these cars, but Rhos reckons that these Mini 1000 Limited Editions were modelled on the MGB of the time, with the option of Brooklands Green paint and the orange striped interior, as both were first seen on the MGB first. “Some of these special features would go on to subsequently appear on the 1979 Series 1100 Special models, but the ‘Stripey’ has to be one of the rarest of all Minis,” Rhos explains.
Although unrestored, Rhos’s Mini 1000 Limited Edition is a charming and very original car, with the dealer-fitted radio and speaker all working, and all the Limited Edition’s special features still intact, along with that distinctively retro wind deflector on the driver’s side and even a pile of tax discs on the dash!
“This car came with no history, just the V5, so I spent hours searching for information, but as it was never registered as a limited edition, the search only showed as a 1976 1000. I contacted the DVLA to get an owner search, but sadly with no luck,” Rhos explains.
He has since found five other 1000 Limited Editions or ‘Stripeys’ on a few forums and Facebook. “Some are
modified and some are projects. I spoke to a gentleman from Rutland Minis who said he has one, but is keeping hold of it, as the last restored LE sold for a whopping £15,000 at auction back in 2010. After a conversation, we couldn’t put a price on what I had, because this Mini is unmolested – it’s as original as could be,” says Rhos.
So in February this year, Rhos got this Mini into his garage and started the recommissioning. He explains: “I only found it needed two small bits of welding on the rear valance, so I patched it to keep the original panels. The car has been Ziebart waxoyled from new and everything was covered. New cylinders, pipes, flexis and fluids for the brakes were all changed. After fitting new spark plugs, points, leads and fresh fuel it started. The fuel tank was very rusty, so I filled it with Citric Acid and water, then left it for three days, but the results were excellent! I’ve put an in-line filter in just in case. I could have changed the tank, but it has a new exhaust sticker from 1979!” Other new parts fitted included a new water pump, a full flush through of the cooling system and fresh coolant. Then, the ball joints and bearings were overhauled and greased. New tyres were fitted next,
“Unknown to both the previous owner and I, it was a very rare Mini”
along with new wipers, a look over the electrics (surprisingly they all worked, with no work required!).
Finally, Rhos gave this Mini a quick but careful clean, so as not to take anything really away from the original look and then it was off for a MoT. “Being MoT exempt, the tester appreciated what it was, but I still wanted him to have a good look over it and I’m pleased to say that he found very little to cause a problem. In fact, nothing was found, and for a 40-year-old car, it’s in very good shape,” smiles Rhos.
So now this special Mini is road worthy, I ask Rhos if he has any future plans for it — like maybe light restoration, so as to not lose the allimportant period patina that this Mini oozes. “I won’t be touching the look of this Mini. Most recently, it was selected by Mini Sport for their Top 25 Cars display at Mini Action Day at Castle Combe race track this year and the feedback was great — people loved its untouched looks.
“I have made a show board to put next to the car, to give people an understanding of this car’s history, as with its patina, to those that don’t know, that it looks like a shabby and unloved Mini!”
So far Rhos has covered around 400miles this year, and he tells me that despite this Mini being off the road for such a long time, it hasn’t missed a beat! Although, with the Mini’s 60th birthday, he admits next year is going to be a big one for the Mini. So, he’s hoping to get to a few more shows and get the following for this little Mini it deserves. Then, by using social media such as Instagram (@rhos.j), he plans to let people know more about this car and tell them what shows it’s going to. “With the IMM in Bristol next year, it might be the perfect opportunity to get it noticed.”
Sadly, because Rhos admits he’s got too many Mini projects on the go, plus not enough dry storage, this rare and special Mini may come up for sale in the future. Till then Rhos will carry on enjoying this rare Mini, and we say why not!
“Its patina looks like a shabby and unloved Mini!”
Unique MGB-style orange striped brushed nylon trim.
The 1000 was only available in Brooklands Green.
Distinctive orange colour-scheme.
Gold coachlines stand out against the green hue.
That striking, stripey interior.
Dealer-fitted radio and speaker still works.
Original gauges still in place.
Standard 998cc A-Series power.
Boot is taken up with the original spare wheel.
Original airbox with Unipart sticker.
Original beauty, complete with tax disc.
Mini 1000 badge: A very rare sight.
Such an unmolested car, you’d be forgiven for thinking we were in the ‘70s.
Standard 10-inch steel wheels.
Wind deflector is a rare sight on any car.
The lucky owner, Rhos Jenkins.