<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329

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Lot 233
1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR
Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664
Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329

Without reserve

Sold for US$ 181,500 inc. premium
1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR

Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664
Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329

848cc OHV Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
Single SU Carburetor
34bhp at 5,500rpm
4-Speed All-Synchro Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Dry Rubber Cone Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes


*One of only approximately 15 Beach Cars built by the factory
*Delivered new to BMC's Kjell Qvale in San Francisco
*Believed to be fewer than 12,000 miles from new
*Documented as a factory Beach Car by its Heritage Certificate
*The rarest Mini variant, three owners from new


THE MINI BEACH CAR

Perhaps an exploration into the possibility of having a go at FIAT's successful Jolly beach car, Austin commissioned a run of door-less Mini-based "Beach Cars" between December 1961 and March 1962. According to the Longbridge production records, 14 Beach Cars were made during this period, all Export models with left-hand-drive, though there is at least one right-hand-drive version known to exist in the UK. 13 of the LHD cars went to destinations in the United States, where they would serve as dealer and distributor promotional vehicles to promote the North American introduction of the new Mini.

The Beach Cars were built by hand in house at Longbridge's Experimental Department. They had no doors, no B-pillars, and a spot-welded roof. Seats were similar to a Jolly, originally made of wicker.

Alternatively known as the "Riviera Buggy", the Mini Beach Car was a fleeting hit. One was even loaned to the Royal Family and used briefly by the Queen at Windsor Castle, as documented by Jon Pressnell in Mini – The Definitive History. According to a contemporary column in the Daily Express newspaper that reported on the Queen's drive: "The Queen, a knowledgeable motorist, doubtless enjoys travelling in this unconventional little vehicle as much as she does in her Rolls."

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Longbridge production records are said to indicate that four of the fourteen left-hand-drive Beach Cars were finished in Surf Blue with a Snowberry White roof, including our subject car. This car's accompanying Heritage Trust Certificate, which specifically refers to it as a "Beach Car", confirms this original color scheme and a build date of March 19th, 1962.

It was originally delivered to San Francisco's British Motor Cars, where it served as a dealership display car for Kjell Qvale's Austin franchise. Qvale, in many ways the West Coast equivalent of Max Hoffman, was a key player in popularizing imported cars – and making them available for buyers on the West Coast.

When the Austin Mini came to these shores, Qvale, ever the showman, was determined to encourage sales. In addition to his unique Beach Car drawing the attention of customers in his San Francisco showroom, Qvale took a fleet of new Minis to his Carmel Valley ranch and staged a "road race" for which he invited some of the seminal names in motor sport: Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Pedro Rodriguez, Ronnie Bucknum, Innes Ireland, and Dan Gurney all participated, among others. The publicity stunt went well – until some of the drivers became a bit too exuberant and more than one of the new cars ended up on their roofs!

The Mini Beach Car would stay on the floor at Qvale's BMC Mini dealership on San Francisco's Van Ness Avenue. With its promotional duties done, Qvale enjoyed the Beach Car at his ranch for a number of years before putting it into dry storage for some two decades. Around the turn of the century, Qvale gifted the rare Mini to longtime friend and business associate Mr. Keith Simon, who sold it to the consignor several years later.

According to Qvale (now deceased), the recorded mileage of just over 11,000 reflects actual mileage covered during the Beach Car's lifetime. When acquired by the consignor around 2007, the Beach Car's subframes were refurbished and the car repainted in its original Surf Blue with Strawberry White top. For easier driving, the original non-synchro-1st gearbox was exchanged for a more user-friendly all-synchro unit.

Once its restoration was complete, Qvale was reunited with the Beach Car at a local Concours d'Elegance, and a photo of him standing proudly next to the car documents this happy reunion. A rare surviving example of one of the Mini's first major marketing exercises, the hand-built Mini Beach Car is truly a unique proposition. It remains one of the rarest Minis of all, a truly bespoke creation – a car with a fascinating provenance – one that is fit for a Queen...

Without reserve

Footnotes

  • Please note that this vehicle is titled with chassis number BMC62197664.
Contacts
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
<b>1962 AUSTIN MINI BEACH CAR  </b><br />Chassis no. A-AY1L-197664 <br />Engine no. 8AM-U-H264329
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