Friday, 22 March 2013

Fab Four-wheelers

Beep-beep yeah! Today 50 years ago the Beatles launched their first album. And after that it didn't take long before they all had their own coachbuilt Mini by Harold Radford coachbuilders of London. Paul's (GGJ 382C) came in Aston Martin California Sage Green Metallic and with Aston Martin rear lights; Ringo's (LLO 836D) became a hatchback conversion to carry his drum kit; John's (LGF 696D) was black with pitch black windows and George's (LGF 695D) was metallic black but famously repainted in a more psychedelic scheme in the Summer of Love. Three of them survive as John's car hasn't been seen since ages. There is, however, a fourth Radford Mini that has a bit of Beatle heritage attached to it as Beatle manager Brian Epstein was a fan, too. His car is now in a private Beatles Museum in Hawaii.

UPDATE 16:00: Pete Flanagan commented: "Epstein's car in Hawaii is a Wood & Pickett, not a Radford. W&P poached most of Radford's loyal Mini customers such as Epstein, Sellers etc. when their chief sales team defected there in 1966. The interior of Epstein's car is much less refined than a Radford which shows how persuasive that sales team was! Seller's last two coachbuilt Minis came from W&P including the silver Britt Eckland car which sadly was vandalised and burnt in the 1980's." Thanks Pete!

George's Mini under construction at Radford's. It was black before the psychedelic scheme

Paul and Linda in the Aston Martin Green Radford. Linda later had a pink Wood & Pickett Mini

Ringo's Radford Mini was famously converted into a hatchback. Note velours door trim

John is seen here in George's Mini. His own black Radford is shrouded in mystery

Paul's Mini was based on a 1965 Cooper 'S' and was a very early Radford conversion


  1. hi ,this might help,ive been into coachbulit minis for over 35 years,ive follewed up stories about this special breed of cars for years,as far as lennons 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 due to rust.and it was scrapped.thats one story i heard. then about 20 years ago i answered an ad about a half restored radford mini for sale in holmfirth ( where they film ) last of the summer wine. the guy wanted 4500 and once i was interested, told me if i gave him the asking price ,he had the reg docs and logbook for lennons car , after that i never heard from him again.

  2. Hi Anonymus, The story I had, was that the car given by John Lennon to a imploie, was a std Mini (850 I think?) not the Raddie.

    But there are many people with "stories" so who knows what is the truth ?

    I had a reply on one of my letters I send to a British car magazine.
    The guy told me he owned several Wood & Pickett,s and some with famues X owners (one was a King) but he stopped answering my letters, and phone calls. I heard from other Coachbuild personaleties, that they also knew of him, but that he had vanished :( shame that people dont show what they have/share the stories.

    Jens Christian / Denmark

    1. Well it seems that the "Mecca" car in USA, has a little explanation to do ? .

      I did a little search, and this came up = ... rtney.html

      Apart from one being wrong about Jaggers Margrave, and the other where Paul was, they explains the accident in details.

      More here =

      Quote from the tekst =

      " Additionally, on 7 January 1967 McCartney's Mini Cooper was involved in an accident on the M1 motorway outside London, as a result of which it was written off "

      So was it rebuilt back then ? the tekst say "written off" this would account for all the wrong details on the car in USA.

      Nick from min-e-bitz helped with the rear lights, but the grill - wheels - interior mirror are still wrong/missing.

      Now I know this car is old, but dont forget this is a rare & well pampered for car,
      so dont tell me it was once owned, by some one who didnt knew who its previus owner was.

      Jens Christian / Denamrk

  3. McCartney's Radford was never written off and the current restored car has a strong paper trail and photos going way back. It does look silly on Rosepetals though but no more silly than Harrison's car looks on 100+ alloys !!