Pre-production models of two of the most influential British cars of all time have starred at a recent auction
Road-going automobiles are normally the pieces of work that are cited when we’re talking about landmarks in automotive history. Sometimes it’s racing cars, and very occasionally it’s a model. Hansons Auctioneers has sold a small-scale model of the Mosquito, the forerunner to the Morris Minor, one of the most influential cars of all time.
The model dates back to 1943, five years before the Minor went into production, and sold for £6300 ($8050, €7090), far exceeding its estimate of £3000. Not only is the design of this model an integral part of the story of one of Britain’s most famous cars, but it’s also the sole surviving example of the ‘narrow bodied’ prototype of the car. It was bought by Mark Havard, owner of Kent-based firm Canterbury Convertibles, which specialises in restoring Morris Minors and has been in business for 35 years.
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‘I am a member of the Morris Minor Owners’ Club and have been restoring them for 35 years. I’d seen the prototype model on display before and even had my photo taken with it,’ said Havard.
‘It was something I very much wanted to own. I plan to lend it to the Morris Minor Owners’ Club so that it can be exhibited at their events annually. A Morris Minor Convertible was the first car I ever owned at 18.
'I saw one advertised as ‘Mr Rusty’ in the Kent Courier in 1974 and bought it. Today, due to my business, at any one time I usually have about eight of them for sale. It was when I was restoring one of my own Morris Minor Convertibles many years ago that I realised there was a need for a firm that specialized in restoration.’
Also included in the sale was a larger production model of the pre-manufacture design prototype of the first Mini. Just as influential as the Morris Minor, it sold for £850. The buyer was none other than the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, Warwickshire, which boasts the world’s largest collection of historic British cars.
The models were sold by David Daniels, 82, son of Jack Daniels, who was a close associate of Sir Alec Issigonis, the British car engineer and designer of both cars. Jack Daniels worked as an apprentice at Austin before becoming an area sales manager in the automotive industry.