The lost treasure
In 2012, one of the oldest Dutch Classic Minis known to exist was found – quietly tucked away from the world in a lonely barn in the northern part of the Netherlands. It wasn't long after its discovery that MINI Netherlands realised the potential in such a godsend and launched an ambitious engineering and restoration project.
The completely original 1959 white Austin 7 Classic Mini turned out to be one of the original 30 assembled in 1959 in the Netherlands and features some uniquely Dutch characteristics to boot. In total over 4,000 MINI’s were assembled at Molenaar’s car factory in Amersfoort. While many of the parts were provided directly from the UK, the interior upholstery of this Classic Mini was locally produced and – fun fact – filled with horsehair! As its first owner never ventured too far from his province and its second kept it protected in his barn during the late 80s, this piece of MINI history has luckily remained intact.
The restoration team
In keeping with the hometown hero celebrations, the restoration team of welders, body builders, painters and engine specialists were all selected from the 1,500 employees of the local automotive factory. Some of them brought over 30 years of experience in their field to the project, which ensured only the most qualified hands touched up this Mini veteran.
The big reveal
The Mini was painstakingly stripped down, piece by piece and gradually put back together. Wherever possible, replicas of the original parts were made with the greatest attention to detail. Some of these were rebuilt by hand and others, like the small 34 hp four-cylinder engine and the gearbox, given a complete overhaul. The MINI community were an invaluable part of the team, helping to track down rare parts from all corners of the earth. Sporting the original shade from 1959, Farina Grey, one of the oldest MINIs in the world was good as new and ready to start a new life of adventures.