Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Ringo Starr's hatchback Mini restored

Right before the world got acquainted with Covid early last year, I was in the UK to speak to Steve Burkinshaw, the master restorer of coachbuilt Minis. Steve showed me around his workshop where one of the cars under restoration was the famous Hooper hatchback of Ringo Starr.

He usually doesn't restore cars for others, but when a Mini with a strong connection to The Beatles comes around he'll make an exception, so the Ringo Starr hatchback ticked all the boxes. As a real Beatles-fan it is a car he has loved for decades, but one he could never afford. But when the famous Mini was sold a few years ago, it was nothing more than logical that it ended up here after all. It was urgently in need of a restoration and Burkinshaw turned out to be the only one with the expertise. 

Steve told me: "It was bought by Geri Halliwell, you know, from The Spice Girls, and together with her husband Christian Horner they sometimes come here in one of those very special Aston Martins, to see how things are going. The whole street comes out to have a look then!” Previously, the couple also bought Paul McCartney's Radford Mini, which was restored in this workshop also. Steve: "Ringo only had his Mini from 1966 to 1968 and after him there were several owners who gave it a number of modifications of their own. I first saw it when it was owned by an antiques dealer, but by that time someone had already given it a makeover somewhere in the early seventies, all in the fashion of the day. They had removed the rain gutters; the original wheel arches and put it on polished Wolfrace wheels. The sidelights in the b-pillars were also removed with the holes filled, while the original Regal Red, a Rolls-Royce colour, was changed to blue with silver and later to red with silver. It was in a very bad state. A 1992 magazine article mentions how they carried out an earlier restoration and it's interesting to read how they got it wrong then”. 

That's all been put back now, and last week he dropped me another line: "I’ve now finished the work on the Ringo Hooper, which is being collected this Friday, I thought I’d never finish it!" It looks marvelous in pictures and I can't wait to see the real thing when traveling is allowed once more. Thanks Steve!

LLO 836D - Ringo Starr's Mini is fully restored to its original condition again
Picture courtesy Steve Burkinshaw

The hatchback conversion was famously made so that Starr could carry his drumming gear
Picture courtesy Steve Burkinshaw

The car has had a number of colour changes in the past and was restored at least once before
Picture courtesy Steve Burkinshaw

1275 Cooper 'S' power, naturally. Steve's attention to detail is fantastic
Picture courtesy Steve Burkinshaw

The car's interior is luxurious but not over the top, typical for a Hooper  
Picture courtesy Steve Burkinshaw

'Mister Margrave' Steve Burkinshaw in his workshop last year. Ringo's Mini at the back
Picture Jeroen Booij

"It was in a very bad state and it's interesting to read how they got it wrong earlier"
Picture Jeroen Booij

3 comments:

  1. Hi Steve, what a fantastic job, back to how it should look so much, better than when looked at it all those years ago at the Hard Rock Cafe in the 1990. Rog "The Hat".

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  2. Under bonnet detail is quite poor....shame

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  3. I concur, the engine bay detail is dissapointing - no inner wing shroud for the rad - copper brake pipes - heater tap - ht leads - air intake hose - hose clips. Not good enough for a car of such value/interest - must try harder !!!

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