Thursday, 11 April 2013

Where is John Lennon's Mini?

Coachbuilt Minis of 1960s celebrities have a strange habit to seemingly disappear. Remember Enzo Ferrari's Mini Cooper, converted by an unknown coachbuilder? Or The Monkees Mike Nesmith's cool Radford? Or how about Mick Jagger's '67 Wood & Pickett? Footballer George Best's white Radford? Comedian Laurence Harvey's W&P? Anyone? Well, and then there's John Lennon's Mini, a black 1965 Austin Cooper 'S' equiped with black bumpers, wheels and pitch dark tinted windows by Harold Radford coachbuilders, too. It was registered LGF 696D not earlier then February 1966. Perhaps because Lennon was on tour in the USA for much of '65? Or because he wasn't a keen driver who only just had his driver's licence?

Anyway: after I wrote about it a few weeks ago (click here) I received a message from an anonymous reader. He wrote: "Hi. I've been into coachbuilt Minis for over 35 years and have followed up stories about this special breed of cars for years. As far as Lennon's Mini goes, when he moved to the USA he gave it to his then-butler, who in turn travelled the UK on his narrow boat and the car was carried around on this. But due to this it didnt last long thanks to rust, and it was scrapped. That's one story I heard. Then about 20 years ago I answered an ad about a half restored Radford Mini for sale in Holmfirth. The guy wanted 4,500 pounds for it. Once I was interested he told me if I gave him the asking price, he had the registration documents and logbook for Lennon's car. After that I never heard from him again." Strangely, the DVLA database says that LGF 696D is still on the road. Now who ever said something about Lennon's death and conspiracy theories..? The pictures below are screen grabs from 1966 footage that can be seen here.

A black Radford Mini arrives in London. Pitch dark windows give no hint to who's inside
Picture courtesy imcdb.com
The car, registered in February 1966, is of 1965 vintage - the year Lennon got his driver's licence
Picture courtesy imcdb.com
It's him! Lennon steps out of chauffeur driven car. Where is his Radford Mini de Ville now?
Picture courtesy imcdb.com

12 comments:

  1. Hi Jeroen,

    not that it helps much, but here is a link =

    http://www.minispace.co.uk/beatles/john/index.htm

    Jens Christian / Denmark

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  2. Hi again, posted a question on FB regarding this Min, apparently it lives in Dublin now, and has been seen at some local car show, and so has the Mike Nesmith Raddie. I hope the guy will get some piccies from the friend who claim to have seen them.


    Jens Christian / Denmark

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    Replies
    1. Hi again, the Nesmith Min lives in UK, and not Dublin.

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    2. Oh no it doesn't ! ;- )

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  3. I it was for sale many years ago in motor sport for a what would be now silly price l nearly bought it damn ! advertised with his name on the log book double damn !! worth bit now I guess I wold have kept it !!!

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  4. The black radford was given to jo jo johns, Lennons assistant when he was at titenhurst park, the car was destroyed in an accident by her partner Jeremy sumner, so it looks like the mini ceased to exist a long time ago.

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  5. I believe I came across the car in Norfolk in 2005. I purchased a 1330 A Series engine from a seller via eBay and when I went to collect it, was taken round to a yard containing a number of Minis in various states of disrepair. The seller raced Minis and had one particular car under a tarpaulin separate from the other cars.

    He allowed me to pull back the tarp and have a good look, as well as taking a numver of photos. The car has changed colour several times throughout its life, but was fairly solid still although could have done with a light restoration. It was a burgandy colour, with square headlights, heavily tinted windows, quarterlights and although partly disassembled, the plushest interior I have ever seen in a Mini. I think it had filled in rear side windows too with pram rails running diagonally, but I would have to dig out the snaps to be certain.

    The doors were off the car, but the n/s window was cracked. The seller told me that Yoko broke it in a fit of rage when she found out about Johns affair. The seller said he wanted to preserve it as it was because of the history and how the damage occurred.

    This was eight years ago and I don't remember the sellers username (just looked through my history but nothing jumped out at me), so it might still be in Norfolk, or who knows where!

    I'll have to dig those snaps out . . . . . . timmytronic@hotmail.com

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  6. Lennon's car had the same Aston rear light clusters as Macca's, so that should be a giveaway !

    Pete

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  7. All these reply's can be taken with a pinch of salt until the 'photos arrive'... Timini You are explaining a Wood and Pickett Margrave ...not a Radford and as can be seen it the film stills there are no Pram bars or small windows on Lennon's black Radford ;) .... I have heard all sorts over the years ... one chap even told me he had the remains of Brit Eckland's WP .... and then never heard anything from him again :/ Richard (Dikki) Nener

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  8. Pete , Do you any pics to back that up ?

    Dikki

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  9. Yes indeed I do ! :-) And in fact if you look carefully enough at the well known footage of Lennon arriving at Abbey Rd in his car you can just make out the hideous Aston rear lamp cluster.

    Pete

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