Saved for posterity! Museum and car enthusiast pay thousands to own piece of British motoring history

Posted on 27/11/2018 in Press Coverage

Two model cars that play an important part in Britain’s motoring heritage have been bought for thousands of pounds at auction.

A unique model of the Mosquito – the forerunner of the Morris Minor – dating back to 1943 sold for £6,300 at Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers. Meanwhile, a 1956/7 large-scale pre-manufacture design prototype of the iconic Mini made £850.

The sole surviving example of the ‘narrow bodied’ prototype Mosquito was bought by Mark Havard, owner of Canterbury Convertibles, a Kent firm which has been specialising in restoring Morris Minors for 35 years.

Meanwhile the Mini was bought by the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, Warwickshire, which boasts the world’s largest collection of historic British cars.

Mr Havard said: “I am a member of the Morris Minor Owners’ Club and have been restoring them for 35 years. I’d seen the prototype model on display before and even had my photo taken with it.

“It was something I very much wanted to own. I plan to lend it to the Morris Minor Owners’ Club so that it can be exhibited at their events annually.

“A Morris Minor Convertible was the first car I ever owned at 18. I saw one advertised as ‘Mr Rusty’ in the Kent Courier in 1974 and bought it. Today, due to my business, at any one time I usually have about eight of them for sale.

“It was when I was restoring one of my own Morris Minor Convertibles many years ago that I realised there was a need for a firm that specialised in restoration.”

Meanwhile, the model Mini is on its way to the British Motor Museum. Stephen Laing, curator for the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, said: “We are delighted to acquire another piece of Mini history for the museum, joining our unrivalled collection which includes the very first Morris Mini-Minor and the last Mini to be made as well as an extensive collection of archive material from its designer, Sir Alec Issigonis.”

The models were sold by David Daniels, 82, of Swanmore, Hampshire, whose father, Jack Daniels was a close associate of Sir Alec Issigonis, the British car engineer and designer behind both cars.

Such was Jack’s contribution to the motoring industry as a development engineer, after his death at the age of 92 in 2004, The Times and The Telegraph ran obituaries. The latter said that, without Daniels, Issigonis would never have brought the Morris Minor or the Mini Minor on to our roads.

Mr Daniels, an Austin apprentice who worked in the motor industry as an area sales manager before retirement, said: “On behalf of the Daniels family we would like to thank Hansons Auctioneers for their excellent work. Their efforts have produced a result far better than our expectations.

“We have no-one to leave the two pre-production models to, so we are so glad they have gone to people who will treasure them as much as we have.We hope they will be available for others to see in the future.

“I have been lecturing and showing the cars to interested groups since my father Jack Daniels died 14 years ago, and Sir Alec Issigonis some years before that, to keep alive the memories of two of the most outstanding motor engineers of the last century.”

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, said: “I’m delighted these important pieces of British motoring history will stay in the UK, preserved for posterity.”

The Mosquito/Morris Minor and Mini prototypes were sold at Hansons Auctioneers, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, on November 23.

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