Money can’t buy you love, but it could buy you Paul McCartney’s classic 1965 Mini Cooper S DeVille during the 11th annual Auburn Auction on September 1
Two things symbolise the era of free love that was the 1960s – The Beatles and Alec Issigonis’ revolutionary Mini. Discovering a combination of the two is a seldom-found opportunity, but the very 1965 Morris Mini Cooper S DeVille used by Paul McCartney is going under the hammer with Worldwide Auctioneers during the 11th annual Auburn Auction held at the National Auto & Truck Museum, Illinois, on September 1.
Offering peppy performance from a 1275cc four-cylinder engine, mated with a four-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel hydraulic brakes, the heavily modified DeVille Cooper S isn’t quite the same machine as was immortalised by Paddy Hopkirk during the Monte Carlo Rally. Rather, the upmarket Mini was fitted with a host of custom interior and exterior touches, often to individual order.
The same sale also includes a replica of the psychedelic Bentley used by The Beatles.
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Showcased by Peter Sellers in 1964’s A Shot in the Dark, as well as Steve McQueen and James Garner, the Mini Cooper DeVille was a must-have for Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. In fact, he ordered four of them; one for each band member. Three models were produced by Radford and one by British coachbuilder Hooper.
Paul McCartney’s 1965 Mini Cooper S DeVille
Paul McCartney’s Mini Cooper S was a Radford-built car, finished in California Sage Green and registered GGJ 382C. It was featured in the 1967 Magic Mystery Tour motion picture, before later being photographed with Paul driving and his future wife, Linda Eastman, seated beside him.
Bespoke features at the time included Radford’s signature twin driving lamps mounted within the grille, a Webasto sliding sunroof, Aston Martin taillights, power window lifts, a wood-rimmed Moto-Lita three-spoke steering wheel, rich woodgrain interior accents, luxuriously upgraded bucket seats, a central armrest, Smiths instruments and custom wheels.
After The Beatles split to pursue their solo careers, Paul’s Mini was exported to the US and regularly seen in the Hollywood Hills with then-owner Bill Victor, who had the Radford serviced at Hollywood Sports Cars. The engine was rebuilt during his tenure with the vehicle.
The Mini was sympathetically restored by Florida-based enthusiast Brion Michael Fisher in 2001, before being acquired by the current vendor. Displayed at the Sarasota Classic Car Museum and regularly taken out for major Florida shows and concours events, Paul’s Radford Mini Cooper S proved popular with all ages.
As a point of note, after McCartney parted with the car, it was used regularly to take Blake Godbey – Worldwide Auctioneers’ global specialist – to school.
A thick document binder accompanies the Mini at auction, as do many photographs of Paul McCartney with the car, showing the GGJ 382C registration plate. This documentation of its exceptional provenance makes this auction lot a truly unique opportunity for collectors of Beatles’ memorabilia, classic Minis or cultural vehicles.
All but one of the Beatles’ Minis are currently accounted for. George Harrison’s remains with his wife, Ringo Starr’s Hooper-built Cooper was purchased by Geri Halliwell last year and Paul’s is presented for a new custodian. The whereabouts of John Lennon’s Radford Mini currently remains unknown – although speculation points to private ownership in the US.
You can find out more about the upcoming auction and Paul McCartney’s Mini here.
Pictures courtesy of Worldwide Auctioneers