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The driver who never grew out of his Mini ... and still has it 43 year later!

Daily Mail : 4th August 2017

Motorist, 61, still has model he bought brand new as a teenager

- Simon Crowfoot, 61, fell in love with the dark red Mini 1000 when he was 17
- He asked his father for a loan to pay the £1,050 asking price in 1974
- And 43 years later, he is still able to drive it, though now for special occasions 

A motorist who bought a Mini on April Fools Day 1974 is having the last laugh - because he is still driving it 43 years later. Simon Crowfoot, 61, fell in love with the dark red Mini 1000 as a 17-year-old when he visited an Austin showroom. He successfully begged his father Horace for a loan so he could afford the £1,050 asking price and drove the brand new car away there and then. It has been his pride and joy ever since and he has taken great care of it.

Picture of Classic Mini in 1974

Simon Crowfoot aged 17 with his brand new Austin Mini, which cost him £1,050 and was bought with a loan from his father - image courtesy & © of AdrianFlux/ForeverCars/BNPS as seen in the Daily Mail

He used it as his day-to-day runner in the 1970s and '80s but in more recent years he has stored in a garage and now only takes it out in sunny weather and on special occasions. Mr Crowfoot, a computer technician from Poole, Dorset, has taken care to keep hold of as many original components as possible including its engine, transmission, bodywork, seats and even the Motorola cassette player. The carpets have been replaced, although in their original colour, and there are new Dunlop Aquajet tyres, the same as it left the factory with.

1974 Mini in 2017

And now 43 years later, he can still drive the classic car, though mostly just on sunny days or for special occasions - image courtesy & © of AdrianFlux/ForeverCars/BNPS as seen in the Daily Mail

It has a mere 82,000 miles on the clock - an average of 1,900 miles a year.

Speedometer in 1974 Mini

The car has fewer than 82,000 miles on the clock, working out at 1,900 a year, as Mr Crowfoot used it as a run around - image courtesy & © of AdrianFlux/ForeverCars/BNPS as seen in the Daily Mail

Mr Crowfoot, who now drives a Volkswagen Up, said: 'When I was 17 I had an old Ford Anglia but was fed up with it continually breaking down so I headed down to an Austin garage where my older brother worked. 'There was this brand new red Mini in the showroom and it was love at first sight. Even though it was one of the cheapest cars around I couldn't afford it so I had to plead with my dad. 'After a lengthy conversation I convinced him it was a good idea and ended up driving away in my new car, which I spent a few years paying every penny back for. 'At the time I never imagined I'd have it for the rest of my life. I've always loved the car and it wasn't worth very much money for a long time so I've never been tempted to sell it. 'Funnily enough over the years it has become a beloved classic. I can't see myself ever parting with the car, it's part of my life - wherever I go it comes with me. 'I have had it since I was 17 and when I get back inside it I feel like I'm a teenager again - it's incredible.

1974 Mini engine

Because the car wasn't worth much money for a long time, he was never tempted to sell it - image courtesy & © of AdrianFlux/ForeverCars/BNPS as seen in the Daily Mail

It's hard to judge the greatest car of all time but in my opinion it's the Mini - a true British icon.'

Mr Crowfoot's Mini has been featured on the popular blog Forever Cars, which follows the personal stories of car enthusiasts who have owned their vehicles for 20 years or more. The Mini, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, is one of the most recognisable cars in the world was voted the second 'most influential car of the 20th century', behind the Ford Model T. 'They are also immensely collectible, with the record price for one standing at over £100,000.

Pool Table Minis

Classic Mini as a pool table

Apparently all the rage in some hostelries now!

So Sad - 'Rotting in Peace' somewhere!

Mini Graveyard

Image courtesy of Vintage Minis, Netherlands

Carnage on the streets of London 1982

Seven horses killed by 1982 IRA bombing

The senseless killing of seven horses and sacrifice of at least two Classic Minis when a bomb went off in London 1982 - image courtesy & © of the Associated Press

Now then, where did I put the keys? Classic Mini found after being locked in a garage for 36 years

By Alex Ward | Published: 16:56, 24 October 2012 | 20:30, 25 October 2012

Thank you to the Daily Mail for this story. All images courtesy and copyright of Bournemouth News and Picture Service

A classic Mini Cooper car has been discovered, 36 years after it was locked away. The family of the late Brian Smith recently found the car he had hidden away in his garage in 1976 - ten years after he bought it. Now the classic car is up for sale and expected to fetch £12,000.

Lost Mini garaged for 36 years Link to BNPS

Park but no ride: The Mini was left in this garage for 36 years and completely forgotten

Neil Piper, 44, Mr Smith’s nephew, said: ‘It is a classic car and hopefully it will move to a place where it can be restored to its former glory. ‘There are no real car enthusiasts in the family so we decided to put it up for auction. The car needs renovation and we don’t have the expertise to do it. My uncle loved driving it but, for health reasons, he just put it away in the garage and there it stayed.’

Mr Smith, who never married and had no children, died in May aged 76. His family found the car in the garage at his former home in Christchurch, Dorset. It was purchased new in 1966 from Stringers Garage in Portsmouth, Hampshire. And it has only 22,270 miles on the clock, adding to its popularity at auction. The car does not start up and will need some repair work to restore it to working order. Matthew Whitney, from Charterhouse Auctioneers of Sherborne, Dorset, said: ‘Mini Coopers are synonymous with the swinging sixties and an icon of British motoring. ‘So often classic Mini’s have covered intergalactic miles or had panels and engines replaced, but this Cooper is a matching numbers car in totally original condition. It is probably the most important Mini Cooper I have been instructed to sell. It was purchased new in 1966 by Mr Smith and he drove it until the hot summer of 1976, when it was driven into the garage where it did not turn another wheel until earlier this year when relatives started to clear his house after he passed away.’

The Mini Cooper will be sold by Charterhouse, in Sherborne, Dorset on November 4.

Found Mini after 36 years front

Green machine: The Mini Cooper has been tucked away in this garage for 36 years

Found Mini after 36 years rear

Nice little earner: The small car is expected to sell for £12,000

Found Mini after 36 years  mileometer

Plenty of miles left to go: The mileometer shows the car has travelled less than 23,000 miles

The first Mini Cooper made its debut in 1959 and was the first mass-produced car with a transversally-placed engine. Queen Elizabeth II was seen behind the wheel and after a series of celebrities bought them, sales took off. It has become the most popular British car ever made with more than 5.3million cars sold.

The Tallest Man

Let me introduce you to the 'Tallest Man' - George Gracie. I happened to be reading an article in a weekend magazine when this extraordinary picture caught my attention. The article did not provide too much specific information as the subject matter centred on the area rather than the individual and so I looked up the tallest man and am grateful to the web-site for providing the following information:

George Gracie

"George Gracie was born in 1938. He came from Forth in Lanarkshire. George was the tallest of 5 brothers at 7 ft 3. Hugh "Huge Hugh" Gracie born 1941 was 2.5 inches shorter. George Gracie was the tallest man of Scotland, but he was also briefly Britain's tallest man. After Ted Evans died in 1958 Guinness listed Ian Spofforth at 7 ft 1 as Britain's Tallest Man (Ian's brother Michael being 6 ft 10). Later on George would replace Ian as Britain's Tallest Man, until he was replaced in turn by Christopher Greener. George would be listed as Scotland's Tallest Man until his passing at the age of 54. For years Guinness listed George at 28 stones but George had weighed above 34 stone at one time and was 32 stone just before he died. George exhibited himself with his promoter Wheatley's and appeared at Nottingham Goose Fair, The Town Moor Fair at Newcastle upon Tyne, Hull Fair, The Links Market in Kirkcaldy and other Fairs. Big George enjoyed smoking a pipe and when you went in to see him he would slap his thigh and go into his spiel. He was a real character, a very likeable man and deserved his billing as "George the Gentle Giant".

Many thanks to Ray White for the info on George Gracie."

I was especially astonished at the link to our very own Goose Fair especially as this picture was taken on location there!

Guiness Book of Records Entry - for all the wrong reasons!

John Evans Mini on Head Guinees Book of Records link

From the fastest tortoise in the West to the woman with 2,042 gnomes, meet the host of glorious eccentrics who have had their peculiar talents added to Guinness World Records - as described by the Daily Mail

"They are some of the most dedicated home-grown eccentrics - and they all have a starring role in Guinness World Records 2016, the annual round-up of joyously quirky achievements which is published today. As well as the Usain Bolt of tortoises, this year's crop of winners includes the world's oldest abseiler, and an amateur gardener who is the unrivalled king of monster vegetables. The Guinness World Records 2016 edition also includes an unabashed gnome-fancier - and an OAP strongman whose claim to fame is balancing a Mini on his head. "

String man lifting mini

John Evans, 70, faces little competition in the 33 weight-bearing categories for which he repeatedly sets records. Honoured here for ‘heaviest car balanced on the head’ (a gutted 352 lb Mini for 33 seconds), the one-eyed diabetic — who avoids the gym — explains: ‘I’ve got strong legs and a strong neck’

The description 'a gutted 352 lb Mini' speaks for itself - a curiosity maybe - an irrelevance definitely!

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