Rusty Mini Fetches $65,382, Beats Keith Richards Pontiac

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- The world's oldest original Mini car that despite being a non-runner has sold for just under $65,000. (Source: Bloomberg)

A rusty Mini car sold for 40,250 pounds ($65,382) at an auction today -- beating the price of a shiny Pontiac convertible once owned by Keith Richards.

The corroded 1959 Mini was described by Bonhams as the oldest surviving unrestored car of its type. It beat the 37,950 pounds paid for a dark-blue 1950 Chieftain Silver Streak used by guitarist Richards at a time when the Rolling Stones recorded “Exile on Main Street” at his south of France home in the early 1970s.

Both cars were bought by private U.S. buyers at an auction at the RAF Museum in Hendon, England. Classic cars often get a premium if they have interesting stories attached to them, such as famous owners, or years spent in storage before being discovered in original condition.

The Austin Mini Se7en De Luxe Saloon, registration number XLL 27, was the eighth car of its type to come off the production line at Longbridge in May 1959, three months before the official debut of the Mini on Aug. 26 of that year, according to correspondence from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust. It had a presale estimate of 12,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds.

The Mini was designed by Alec Issigonis for the British Motor Corporation as a response to the fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. It’s believed that only three examples earlier than XLL 27 exist, and all are in restored or altered condition, said Bonhams.

Barn Find

Entered by a U.K.-based seller, the car had had just three owners and is in classic rusted and non-running “barn find” condition. It retains its original Bluemels number plates and an engine with the glass washer bottle that distinguishes the earliest Minis. The 30,041 miles on the clock are thought to be correct, Bonhams said.

Classic-car collectors put an increasing premium on “barn finds” in untouched original condition, said dealers.

The California-based collector Peter Mullin bought a wrecked 1925 Bugatti Brescia Type-22 for 260,500 euros ($368,320) at Bonhams in Paris in January 2010. The car had spent more than 70 years at the bottom of Lake Maggiore.

The Pontiac, with an estimate of 18,000 pounds to 22,000 pounds, is being sold by a U.K. classic car and Stones enthusiast who acquired it directly from Richards in the mid- 1980s, said the London-based auction house.

The left-hand-drive convertible was originally supplied by the now-defunct Pontiac marque specifically for the European market and was Richards’s drive when he rented Villa Nellcote, near Villefranche-sur-Mer, in 1971.

Richards acquired it second-hand from a neighbor of the novelist Somerset Maugham, said Bonhams.

The band worked on tracks including “Rip This Joint,” “Happy” and “Shake Your Hips” in the basement of Nellcote. The novelist William S. Burroughs was among the visitors.

(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer on the story: Scott Reyburn in London at sreyburn@hotmail.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.
Tap for Slideshow
Source: Bonhams via Bloomberg.

An Austin Mini Se7en De Luxe Saloon, registration number "XLL 27." Manufactured in May, 1959, three months before the official launch of the Mini, it was the earliest example of the classic economy car to be preserved in original condition, Bonhams said. It was sold in an auction of classic cars at the RAF Museum, Hendon, U.K. on April 30 and fetched 40,250 pounds.

Close
Source: Bonhams via Bloomberg.

An Austin Mini Se7en De Luxe Saloon, registration number "XLL 27." Manufactured in May, 1959, three months before the official launch of the Mini, it was the earliest example of the classic economy car to be preserved in original condition, Bonhams said. It was sold in an auction of classic cars at the RAF Museum, Hendon, U.K. on April 30 and fetched 40,250 pounds. Close

An Austin Mini Se7en De Luxe Saloon, registration number "XLL 27." Manufactured in May, 1959, three months before the... Read More

Source: Bonhams via Bloomberg

A Pontiac Chieftain Silver Streak convertible. The dark blue 1950 car is valued at 18,000 pounds to 22,000 pounds in Bonhams’s April 30 auction of collectors’ cars. Close

A Pontiac Chieftain Silver Streak convertible. The dark blue 1950 car is valued at 18,000 pounds to 22,000 pounds in... Read More

Source: Bonhams via Bloomberg.

The rusted engine bay of an Austin Mini Se7en De Luxe Saloon, registration number "XLL 27." Manufactured in May, 1959, three months before the official launch of the Mini, it was the earliest example of the classic economy car to be preserved in original condition, Bonhams said. It was sold in an auction of classic cars at the RAF Museum, Hendon, U.K. on April 30 and fetched 40,250 pounds. Close

The rusted engine bay of an Austin Mini Se7en De Luxe Saloon, registration number "XLL 27." Manufactured in May,... Read More

Source: Bonhams via Bloomberg

The steering wheel of a 1950 Pontiac Chieftain Silver Streak convertible. Formerly owned by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, the auto will be included in a Bonhams auction of classic cars at the RAF Museum, Hendon, London, on April 30. Close

The steering wheel of a 1950 Pontiac Chieftain Silver Streak convertible. Formerly owned by Rolling Stones guitarist... Read More

Source: Bonhams via Bloomberg.

An Austin Mini Se7en De Luxe Saloon, registration number "XLL 27." Manufactured in May, 1959, three months before the official launch of the Mini, it was the earliest example of the classic economy car to be preserved in original condition, Bonhams said. It was sold in an auction of classic cars at the RAF Museum, Hendon, U.K. on April 30 and fetched 40,250 pounds. Close

An Austin Mini Se7en De Luxe Saloon, registration number "XLL 27." Manufactured in May, 1959, three months before the... Read More

Source: Bonhams via Bloomberg

A 1950 Pontiac Chieftain Silver Streak convertible. The car was Keith Richards’s runaround when he rented the villa Nellcôte, in Villefranche-sur-Mer, near Nice, in 1971. Close

A 1950 Pontiac Chieftain Silver Streak convertible. The car was Keith Richards’s runaround when he rented the villa... Read More

Source: Bonhams via Bloomberg.

The interior of an Austin Mini Se7en De Luxe Saloon, registration number "XLL 27." Manufactured in May, 1959, three months before the official launch of the Mini, it was the earliest example of the classic economy car to be preserved in original condition, Bonhams said. It was sold in an auction of classic cars at the RAF Museum, Hendon, U.K. on April 30 and fetched 40,250 pounds. Close

The interior of an Austin Mini Se7en De Luxe Saloon, registration number "XLL 27." Manufactured in May, 1959, three... Read More

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.