Got a spare £182,000? You should’ve bought Paul McCartney’s Mini
The Beatles star’s old Mini Cooper went to auction last weekend, and sold for a record – but not eyewatering – price
The recent Auburn Auction, ran by Worldwide Auctioneers, may have had a famous automotive name in its title, but it also had a famous name in its sales catalogue. Its star car was the 1965 Morris Mini Cooper S DeVille formerly belonging to Sir Paul McCartney.
Heavily customised for its world-famous owner, the Mini underwent a full restoration 17 years ago, and was offered without a reserve at last Saturday’s auction. Its eventual sale price was £182,000, a record for a Mini of any kind. It was joined at the event by a psychedelic art Bentley also used by McCartney’s band The Beatles.
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The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein bought four Minis for the band members, three made by Radford, the other by British coachbuilder Hooper. McCartney’s old Mini was one of the Radford vehicles, and featured a 1275cc four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Exterior modifications were obvious, with the twin driving lamps in the grille often seen on Radford cars, a sliding sunroof, Aston Martin tail-lights and custom wheels.
It came in California Sage Green and had a heavily customised interior, which included a wood-rimmed Moto-Lita three-spoke steering wheel, rich woodgrain interior accents, luxuriously upgraded bucket seats and a central armrest to make driving look as casual as possible.
The specific model became famous after appearing in The Beatles’ 1967 Magic Mystery Tour movie, and was then papped on several occasions while its occupant was impressing the ladies while driving around London.
When The Beatles split, the car was exported to the USA. It was serviced under its new owner in Hollywood, including a complete engine rebuild. In 2001 it was restored by Florida-based enthusiast Brion Michael Fisher, then sold on to a new owner. It appeared at museums and shows before arriving at auction just a few days ago.
The whereabouts of two of the other ‘Beatles Minis’ is known. George Harrison’s remains with his wife, while Spice Girls star Geri Halliwell purchased Ringo Starr’s Hooper-built Cooper last year.
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