Friday, 31 May 2013

And where's James Garner's coachbuilt Cooper?

Let's have a look at one more celebrity owned coachbuilt Mini. Another one that seemingly dissappeared, just like John Lennon's, Enzo Ferrari's or Mike 'Monkees' Nesmith's (this is turning into a series or so it seems). Anyway: James Garner's Mini Cooper 'S', coachbuilt by Harold Radford of London and bought by him when filming in Europe. It must have been quite a cool car, in its gorgeous mid-blue / silver paint scheme and no doubt fully loaded, too. In an interview with Car & Driver magazine, back in May 2012 an interviewer asked Garner: "Of the cars you’ve owned over the years, is there any one you regret selling?" And Garner answered: "I wish I’d held onto my pale-blue 1966 Mini Cooper. After shooting The Great Escape in Germany, Steve McQueen and I both brought Minis home with us—they had to be among the first imported to the U.S. Steve was my next-door neighbor, and we’d race them up and down our street. I loved that little car and could do anything with it." So there we go. McQueen's does survive for a change! But anyone out there who knows what happened to 'UIL 807'?

UPDATE 29 September 2014: the car is scrapped in the 1980s. Read it here

James Garner with his pride and joy: a 1966 Morris Cooper S, coachbuilt by Radford
Picture Jeroen Booij archive
Well known picture of Garner and his 'Coop'. Wide alloys with Goodyears suit it well
Picture courtesy minimania.com
Big boy. Sun roof surely was a special request by mister Garner. Is the interior blue, too?
Picture courtesy minimania.com

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to inform you, but Garner's Mini was wrecked in the early 1980s on Mulholland Drive by a prospective buyer - he lost control and ran it into a concrete corner-edge head on, pushing the drive-train into the passenger compartment somewhat, and breaking both front wheels. Minus the engine and the surviving Mamba wheels, it was sold to a guy in the San Diego area who was poorly advised to part it out. It was restoreable, and it's a pity people were out for a quick buck. The roof was hacked off immediately and sold for the Webasto sunroof, the boot was also sawed off to make a trailer for someone, (who never did, AFAIK) the interior went one way, and gradually it was reduced to scrap. If I would've found out early enough I would've tried to stop such idiocy - it was a significant Mini, and should've been restored. I did end up buying the Morris Cooper Grill after I found out they'd whacked the car up, that was pretty rare over here back then. It's still around on one of my Minis, for sentimental reasons.

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