Monday, 10 August 2020

Morris Beach Car barn find (UPDATED)

Yet another Beach Car has turned up in the US! And this is a bit of an oddball. Based on the data from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust we know that between December 1961 and March 1962, fourteen Minis with consecutive chassis numbers were converted into Beach Cars. All of these were Austins and all of them left-hand-driven and with destination 'USA'. Apart from these fourteen production cars, there were two earlier prototypes, but that's it.

Or not? As it now appears now there have been four more Minis converted into Beach Cars. Earlier this summer, a fifteenth Beach Car resurfaced in the US. And unlike all the others, this car was based on a Morris Mini and is believed to have been one of a later series of another four, built in November 1963. The car found was sold new to August 'Gussie' Bush junior, known for his brewing empire (Budweiser) and baseball career (St Louis Cardinals). Bush drove the car for twenty years, after which it ended up in a barn in Iowa, from which it was only rescued now.

From the Heritage certificate we learn that the car was originally Snowberry White with a Tartan Red roof in colour, with red wicker basket seats. As the owner Steve Myers says in this video, it's possible that the red seat frames were meant here? The wicker is still hidden under white covers, but certainly doesn't seem to be red. Could this one be the same car? Who knows more?

UPDATE 14:00 - there is uncertainty about the car's identity. It is a genuine Mini Beach car but despite the Morris badging is probably an Austin, too, just like its siblings. 

Found in an Iowa barn recently - a Mini Beach Car, but not as we know it
Picture This Week with Cars / Youtube

Badged as a Morris, and built a year later than the other (Austin) Beach Cars
Picture This Week with Cars / Youtube

Believed to be 1 of 4 made in November 1963, this one sold new to August 'Gussie' Busch jr.
Picture This Week with Cars / Youtube

Wicker seats are hidden behind white covers. Heritage certificate mentions them being red
Picture This Week with Cars / Youtube

...The frames are, but the wicker itself seems to be similar to the other cars known
Picture This Week with Cars / Youtube


  1. I don't see how to get ahold of you but I can confirm that this is a Morris and not an Austin. Morris and Austins are designated in the first digit of the Chassis Number and this one has a M and not an A. Also they original title from 1964 lists it as a Morris and not at Austin. It was also confirmed by the Heritage Trust that one of the four cars built in the last run was built as a Morris and not an Austin.