Immensely Rare 1962 Austin Mini Beach Car Sells for Astonishing $230,000 at Auction
Is a doorless Mini worth more than a McLaren 570S? Apparently, it depends on who you ask.
If you're looking for an easy way to get into iconic cars from the 1960s, a first-generation Mini is a great first step. According to Hagerty, average prices for old Minis hover around the $13,000 mark, and a top-of-the-line show-ready example rarely breaks $25,000. However, glance at more obscure variants and prices go from reasonable to unobtainium pretty fast. Need an example? A low-mileage, rare 1962 Austin 850 Mini Beach Car recently sold for $230,000 on Bring a Trailer—yes, someone paid more for the teensy, undeniably adorable classic novelty than a new McLaren.
To celebrate the Mini's debut in the North American market at the beginning of the Swinging '60s, Austin built 15 "Beach Car" variants, which came from the factory with wicker seats and no doors or B-pillars. Thirteen of these Fiat Jolly-esque Beach Cars were sent to the United States for advertising purposes at dealerships, while the Queen of England was supposedly loaned one to complement her Rolls-Royce.
This example, chassis A-AY1-L/197662 is finished in Smoke Grey with a Snowberry White roof. It's still powered by a numbers-matching, 850cc inline-four engine bolted to a four-speed manual gearbox.
The car was originally purchased by the general manager of the dealership in Michigan it was displayed at and has been in his family's possession until now. In their 54 years with the car, the family has put just 3,000 miles on it, although they filled those miles with trips to car shows such as the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance. All the while, this Mini has been meticulously maintained and comes with service records to prove it. It also boasts a Manufacturer's Statement of Origin and a British Motor Industry Trust certificate, both of which are coveted collector's documents detailing the car's history and confirming its authenticity.
Does all of that make this old Mini worth more than some brand new supercars though? Well, another example, chassis A-AY1L-197664, sold for $181,500 at Bonhams' Monterey auction in 2016. It isn't just rare, it's an adorably quirky blip in automotive history that's even been signed off on by her Majesty the Queen.
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