1959 Austin Seven £19,995
A very original Mini and what’s more, it’s from the coveted first year of production. Paul Hardiman slides behind the wheel
This Mini is from the first six months of production, built at Longbridge on December 29, 1959 and despatched the following day. Stour Valley Motor Co in Stourbridge sold it to one Miss Brewer, who had it serviced by French’s Garage in Seaford, East Sussex for the first two years – an original invoice remains from 1962 at 9954 miles.
Still in original Speedwell Blue, it’s never been fully restored, but has had repair work over the years. Inevitably, both sills have been replaced and appear to be the early type, but are slightly different patterns (one round and one square jacking hole), and they’re slightly wavy from jacking. Various floor repairs have resulted in the jig brackets being lost, but that’s common on all but the most meticulous restorations. Welding isn’t the neatest, but is at its most Ferrari-esque where repair sections have been let in at inner wing corners, possibly to join the new (later, with brake cooling cut-outs) front panel. There’s daylight between rear seam finisher and main body, where more repairs have taken place, though the rear subframe is good, probably a replacement, and the floors are well protected. Roof gutters have no corner drain holes, although some 1959s never did. The repaint is showing its age, with some surface rust on rear pillars and a patch on the bonnet. It sounds a bit damning but is typical of an original Mini of this age that’s not been reshelled or fully restored.
Most brightwork is good, with a few rear bumper dings and slightly pitted boot handle chrome. There’s a hinge-down rear numberplate for carrying outsize luggage on an open bootlid. Front tyres are old Michelin XZXS, rears 2008-dated Marshalls with good tread, and an old India radial on the spare. The original jack remains in its bag, and there’s a new exhaust.
Inside, it’s mostly original. It was specced from new with a heater plus side trims in carpetboard and leathercloth, and these are still very good, as are door trims. The headlining is intact though a bit stained, and carpets are newer replacements. One front seat has split, but along the seams, so it can be restitched. Dash trim is all good and the steering wheel isn’t cracked.
The replacement engine is from the car’s early life, possibly caused by the overheating that affected many early Minis. Oil is clean and the engine bay looks correct although the original glass washer bottle has been replaced with plastic.
It starts easily on the floor button and is brilliant to drive with communicative and slop-free steering and no creaks from the rubber-cone suspension. The all-drum brakes pull up straight, and typically synchros are a little weak but improve as the transmission warms up. There are no temp or oil gauges but the fuel gauge works.
It’s very usable as-is, or could be gently improved starting with better sills but, as the vendor says, ‘We urge the new owner to think hard before the many stories this car can tell are hidden under fresh paint.’
This Seven was built in the first year of production. In 1959 cars were badged Austin Seven or Morris Mini-minor
Mostly original interior includes heater
Replacement engine from early in the car’s life