One of the most influential automobiles of all time, the Alec Issigonis-designed Mini debuted in 1959 to universal acclaim. True, there had been numerous front-wheel-drive designs before the Mini's arrival, but the transverse engine layout enabled Issigonis to create a trend-setting masterpiece of automotive packaging. BMC chose to market the car as the Austin Seven and Morris Mini Minor before Mini became a marque in its own right in 1969. The early Mk1 had the 848cc A-Series engine, rubber cone suspension, and floor-mounted starter button, the latter two features being replaced by Hydrolastic suspension and key starting respectively in 1964.
This early Mini was purchased new from Comerford's of Thames Ditton by a Mr Hampton, passing in 1988 to the second owner, who registered the car at his own address but under his brother-in-law's name. He used the Mini for around six months before having two new wings and a floor pan welded in and the car fully re-sprayed by Chamberlain's Coachworks of Surbiton, Surrey. Parked outside for around 12 months following the re-spray, '478 TPE' was subsequently kept garaged and used only once or twice annually. A total of only 64,000 miles is recorded on the odometer.
The car was purchased by the current vendor at Bonhams' Harrogate sale in November 2012 (Lot 502) and since acquisition has been re-sprayed in its original grey livery and re-trimmed using the correct material supplied with it, while all brightwork and missing parts have been replaced. New carpets have been fitted, interior fittings replaced as required and the engine bay detailed. Now restored to its former glory, this delightful early Mini comes with its original warranty card, workshop manual, current road fund licence, MoT to March 2014 and Swansea V5 registration document.