You never forget your first mini.......

New :

'Bespoke Minis'

Mini with UJ Doors

BBC 'Why do we love the Mini'

iWonder

TV & Film Mini

Bourne Identity Mini

Celebrity Mini

Pathe News

Visit the Mini curiosities on this site by following the links or clicking on images.

Mini Museum Logo

The Mini on-line Museum has ceased to exist!

Keep Calm Mini

Visit the Gallery and see the above popular design by Jessy in its full splendour!

Chanel Logo

Fashionable Mini as an icon amongst icons like Chanel and Mary Quant!

Mary Quant Logo

Honestly, how can you lose a Mini for 36 years? Click on the tax disc to find out!

Tax Disc link to curiosities page link to curiosities page

Television and film fame

Lonk to Dr Who page

For more pictures of the Doctor Who Mini click on the image above.

Surf Blue Logo

Thanks to the team for keeping my car going for the past few years, although sad to say, the business is now defunct owing to the ill-health of the owner. See My Mini and take a look at the Surf Blue Mini page on which the name of the garage was based.

From the Daily Telegraph (online)

The Mini has been voted the greatest British car of all time, ahead of the Range Rover, Jaguar E-type, Land Rover and McLaren F1.

That’s according to a poll carried out by Autocar in response to news that British car manufacturing output is set to eclipse its highest ever level by 2015, when more than two million cars are expected to be built. At present the record stands at 1.92 million cars in 1972.

Last year 1.34 million cars were produced in Britain (more than 80 per cent of which were exported), as increasing numbers of foreign car makers have invested in manufacturing facilities. These include Nissan, which built 480,485 cars at its Sunderland Plant, Land Rover (238,237 at Halewood and Solihull) and BMW Mini (191,474 at Oxford).

Despite many newer, faster and more expensive cars being made in Britain, it was the original Mini that grabbed the title of the country’s greatest car in the Autocar poll. Launched in 1959, the Austin Mini was designed by Alec Issigonis, who had joined BMC from Alvis in 1956. BMC chairman, Leonard Lord, wanted somebody who could design a vehicle to beat the new wave of bubble cars that were appearing in Britain as a result of the petrol rationing caused by the Suez petrol crisis. Issigonis had previously overseen the development of the Morris Minor, and it was a miniature version of this car that Lord had requested.

Working with a small team, which included Jack Daniels, Chris Kingham and Charles Griffin, Issigonis set about sketching designs for the new car, which would use a transverse-mounted engine and front-wheel drive in a body that was no more than 10-foot long and yet would be able to seat four adults.

Within the design were some completely new ideas, such as running the four-cylinder engine and gearbox on the same sump oil (the gearbox was mounted in the sump) to save space, and the rubber cone suspension, designed by Alex Moulton. Later, a cheaper, fluid-based hydrolastic system, also designed by Moulton, would replace the rubber cones.

The finished car used front and rear subframes to improve refinement (until they rusted away in wet weather) and was, without doubt, a triumph of packaging. Eventually it would notch up 5.4 million sales in a 41-year-old production run, although initial take-up was slow. It wasn’t, in fact, until famous faces began using the little Mini that the public really began to take notice, the initial interest boosted as success followed on the motorsport circuit, both on track and rally stages. Meanwhile, its role in The Italian Job (1969), ensured its place in popular culture forever.

Commenting on the Mini's victory, Steve Cropley, Autocar’s editor-in-chief said: “The Mini had many faults and was never profitable, but it rewrote the rules and had the biggest impact on Britain’s car industry that any car has had.

“It was one of the most remarkable cars ever built, what with its seating for four plus a decent boot in its mere 10-foot length, revolutionary drive-train and gearbox and its ultra-compact suspension.

“Then there was the whole Mini Cooper thing, and the enormous driving pleasure. The Mini’s influence is highly visible in every VW Golf or Ford Focus today, and the legend will live forever.”

From the Birmingham Mail (online)

Sir Michael Caine backs Birmingham display as city wins gold at Chelsea Flower Show
By Brett Gibbons May 23 2012
THIS Mini’s motoring on flower power – with the backing of movie legend Sir Michael Caine.
The actor, no stranger to the classic car after his turn in The Italian Job, gave Birmingham’s Chelsea Flower Show display his seal of approval.
And the accolades kept on coming, with the exhibit handed a gold award at the prestigious event.
Council parks staff joined forces with sponsors Retail Birmingham to create a spectacular chunk of the city in the capital, featuring replicas of the Town Hall, the Bullring bull, a canal barge, lock gates and Selfridges along with the Mini. The authority’s strategic director environment and culture Sharon Lea said: “Sir Michael saw the Mini and decided to come along for a closer look at our wonderful display.
“To follow that with a gold award is fantastic. Birmingham has taken over a corner of Chelsea this week and yet again our team has made its mark on a world famous stage. With support from Retail Birmingham we’ve produced another spectacular display that will now add a splash of colour to the city centre and attract visitors from across the UK.”
Jonathan Cheetham, chairman of Retail Birmingham and general manager at The Pallasades shopping centre, said: “Retail Birmingham is proud to be sponsoring such a wonderful display this year. It showcases the breadth of what Birmingham has to offer on an international stage.”

Nautilus Blue Colour Swatch

For more colour swatches click here

What became of The Italian Job mob? As the cult film turns 50, we reveal the cast's VERY colourful lives - including Noel Coward's lover, a disgraced BBC star and a screen idol who left his wife for a young fan

Original film The Italian Job was first released on June 2nd 1969 to rave reviews
Directed by Peter Collinson, film cemented Michael Caine's status as screen idol
The movie follows crook Charlie Croker (Caine) as he attempts to steal a heist of gold ingots in Italy, leading a gang of criminals looking to get rich quick
Caine led an ensemble Italian and English cast including names such as Benny Hill, Noel Coward and even his little brother Stanley, who played 'Coco'
While Caine's career soared following the film's release, other cast members didn't fare so well, with tumultuous love lives, mental health problems and alcohol addiction affecting some of the stars

By Jo Tweedy For Mailonline |Published: 5th June 2019 | Updated: 6th June 2019

It's 50 years this week since The Italian Job first hit screens in June 1969.

The comedy caper, directed by Peter Collinson, left cinema-goers on the edge of their seats with its nerve-jangling cliff-edge crescendo, and for some of the cast the real life drama continued long into the future.

English actor Graham Payn starred alongside his real-life lover Noel Coward in the film, and the pair went on to spend 30 years together, with Payn helping playwright Coward throw his famous naked pool parties at their lavish home in Jamaica.

Meanwhile, Italian actor Rossano Brazzi (Roger Beckerman), ended up leaving his wife for an infatuated German fan.

Many of the film's stars have already ascended to the great cinema in the sky, with those still alive almost all now octogenarians. Here's how their lives off-screen played out.

KEATS : PLAYED BY: GRAHAM PAYN

Payn played the confidant of powerful crime lord Mr. Bridger, who was portrayed by his real-life lover Noel Coward. It was to be his final film role, but the former child star still found lifelong fame - only it was thanks to his life off-screen. He and Noel spent 30 years together and Payn was privy to the excesses enjoyed by Coward, including his 'bathing suits banned' pool parties at his Jamaican home. Famous faces including Bette Davis, Errol Flynn and Claudette Colbert became friends of the couple. But Coward 's contemporaries felt Payn 'cynically used' him in order to advance his acting career. Even the Queen Mother - a close friend of Coward - advised him not to help Payn anymore, telling him 'never to allow your emotions to become entangled in your career'. As the romance died between Coward and him, it seems that their relationship fizzled out into a platonic friendship. Following Coward's death in Jamaica in 1973, Payn ran his partner's estate for the next 22 years. He died aged 87 in November 2005.

FRANK - PLAYED BY: JOHN FORGEHAM

Actor John Forgeham, who died at the age of 75 in 2017, played blonde-haired radio operator Frank in The Italian Job, who was tasked with listening in on the Turin police. He only hit the mainstream in the UK with his role in eighties soap, Crossroads. Appearing at the height of the show's success, he became a household name playing characterful mechanic Jim Baines. Fans of nineties trash telly might also recognise him as Frank Laslett in Footballer's Wives. He also appeared in films including Mean Machine and Crossroads and dramas such as Doctors, The Bill and Casualty. Born in the West Midlands, he fell into acting after joining an am-dram group which led to a RADA scholarship. His family revealed that the actor had struggled with serious mental health issues in the four years prior to his sudden death. After Footballers' Wives stopped running in 2006, he struggled to get work and fell into a deep depression and would sit in his flat 'staring at the wall'. His daughter said at the time of his death: 'He had psychotic tendencies and was put under section. He spent a year in a mental institution.'

MR BECKERMAN : PLAYED BY: ROSSANO BRAZZI

One of the few Italian actors in the film, Rossano Brazzi played Roger Beckermann, a convict who met a grisly end in the Italian Alps, after it was discovered he was planning a robbery in Turin.
Off screen, there was colour galore too in Brazzi's own life. A genuine Italian film star of the fifties, the Bologna-born actor made it big in Hollywood with roles in Summertime opposite Katherine Hepburn and Three Coins in the Fountain. One of his best known roles was as Emile De Becque in South Pacific. In 1940 her married an Italian baroness, Lidia Bertolini, whom he stayed with until her death of liver cancer in 1981. After her death, Brazzi fathered a son with a 20-year-old named Llewella Humphreys, the daughter of American gangster Murray Humphreys, known as The Camel or The Hump. Llewella later changed her surname to Brady, an anglecised version of Brazzi. However their relationship was not to last. Brazzi found love with their housekeeper, Ilse Fischer, a German fan whom the film had met when she was just 24. The couple married in 1984 and remained together until Brazzi's death on Christmas Eve 1994 at the age of 74.

ALTABANI : PLAYED BY: RAF VALLONE

The Italian star had already enjoyed a richly varied career before he appeared on screen as mafia boss, Altabani. After murdering Croker's pal Roger Beckermann, he warns the the thief that he knows about the gang's intentions to carry out the heist palled by their late pal. He smashed up their Jaguar E-Type cars and sends Croker's personal Aston Martin DB4 drophead off a cliff. Vallone was a lawyer and professional footballer before World War II broke out, and became editor of the culture section of L'Unita, which was then the official newspaper of the Communist Party, and a film critic for La Stampa, a Turin-based newspaper. During the war, he served with the Communist resistance and made his first screen appearance in 1942 as a sailor in We The Living. By the time The Italian Job came around, he'd starred in almost 50 films and had become a big star in the '60s, and went on to appear in several dozen more. He was often cast as a priest or other religious figure in films and one of his later role was playing a cardinal who became Michael Corleone's confessor in The Godfather Part 3 (1990).

MISS PEACH : PLAYED BY: IRENE HANDL

After taking up acting at the age of 36, The Italian Job came relatively late in Irene Handl's career. She starred in over 100 British films, and was known for usually playing the supporting role of an eccentric landlady, relative or servant. Although she was never the leading lady, she appeared in notable films such as Brief Encounter and The Belles of St Trinian's. In the Italian job, she played a small role as Professor Peach's (Benny Hill) sister. Her last role was in 1987, when she appeared on In Sickness And In Health, shortly before she died at the age of 85.

'SHIRTMAKER' : PLAYED BY: SIMON DEE

Real-name Cyril Nicholas Henty-Dodd, Simon Dee took on the cameo role of a shirtmaker... but his acting roles didn't get much bigger when the cameras stopped rolling on The Italian Job. It didn't matter, though, for Dee - one of the first DJs on pirate radio station Radio Caroline - forged a glittering career as a presenter. Hailed Britain's 'first celebrity chat-show host', Dee was given his own prime-time show on the BBC, Dee Time, that was regularly watched by 15 million people. He interviewed everyone from Sophia Lauren to Sammy Davis Jr, and in the programme's memorable closing credits, he swept away in a soft top car with a woman in a mini skirt. However once he moved to ITV, Dee soon a swift change in his fortunes. Like many of The Italian Jobs characters, the father-of-four ended up doing porridge himself after falling into heavy debt and being unable to pay the rent on his Chelsea pad. An act of vandalism also blotted his copybook. Outraged that singer Petula Clark's face had been put on a loo seat, he promptly defaced it...and found himself back in court. Dee died from bone cancer aged 74 in 2009.

LORNA : PLAYED BY: MARGARET BLYE

Margaret, known as Maggie, played beautiful blonde Lorna, the groovy girlfriend and partner-in-crime to Caine's lovable criminal Charlie Croker. Born in Houston in 1942, Maggie studied at the University of Texas before moving to Los Angeles to study at UCLA. She landed her first role in the Tennessee Williams adaptation, Summer And Smoke, in 1961 at the age of 18 after being spotted by an agent in Los Angeles. The film was later nominated for an Oscar, boosting the young actress' profile. Maggie went on to have a career spanning 50 years and starred in some 53 films and television shows, appearing opposite some of Hollywood's biggest stars. She appeared in Hombre with Paul Newman; Hard Times with James Coburn and Charles Bronson; Waterhole #3 with Coburn and Carroll O'Connor; The Entity with Barbara Hershey and Ron Silver; Diamonds For Breakfast with Marcello Mastroianni, and Man In The Chair with Christopher Plummer. But despite her on screen magnatism, Maggie never married. She died of cancer in March 2016 at the age of 73 at her home in West Hollywood after a two-year battle.

CAMP FREDDIE : PLAYED BY: TONY BECKLEY

Southampton-born Beckley appeared in the Italian Job as Camp Freddie, who looked after Mr Bridger's operations outside of jail. The role is typical for Beckley, who carved out a niche for himself playing characters with a villainous streak in more than 1,000 plays, films and TV shows. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Beckley appeared in classics including Romeo and Juliet, War and Peace and Julius Caesar for the BBC. Two years after The Italian Job, Beckley was reunited with Michael Caine on the set of 1971s Get Carter, in which he played Peter the Dutchman. His life ended at the age of just 50 at a hospital in Los Angeles and the official cause was listed as cancer. However, his close friend Sheila Hancock speculated that he had possibly succumbed to an AIDS-related illness. His final role before his death was in An Inspector Calls in 1979. Off-screen, Beckley enjoyed a 15-year relationship with film producer Barry Krost.

ARTHUR : PLAYED BY MICHAEL STANDING

Arthur was a jobber in the film, who gave rise to perhaps the most famous line. After he totally destroyed a van with gelignite, Michael Caine's character Croker observed that he was 'only supposed to blow the bloody doors off'. He went on to appear in the BBC children's sci-fi series, The Tomorrow People, in 1973, and Aftershock a sci-fi film, which he also wrote, in 1990. While living in America, he was briefly married to Sherri Spillane, the ex-wife of crime novelist Mickey Spillane. Now 79, he is retired and believed to be living in London.

PROFESSOR SIMON PEACH : PLAYED BY: BENNY HILL

Professor Peach, a deaf computer expert was tasked with creating an almighty traffic jam by gang leader Charlie Croker. He also couldn't resist a curvaceous woman. The role was played by British funnyman Benny Hill, who by the time The Italian Job premiered was already a household name thanks to The Benny Hill Show, which first aired in 1955. Hill, known for his slapstick, risqué humour, was drawn to showbiz from a young age but his blossoming theatre talents were initially cut short by the Second World War. After serving in the British Army he was drawn to the bright lights of London, where he appeared in variety shows and first adopted the stage name Benny Hill. It was his talent for impressions that gave him his first big TV break with Hi There in 1949. The success of The Benny Hill Show - which was exported around the world and ran for almost 40 years - made Hill a multi-millionaire and led to him being offered cameos in Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machine and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. But Hill was by all accounts a troubled soul, riddled with insecurities about his self-worth and had a morbid fear of spending money - he didn't own a property, preferring to just rent. He remained single despite proposing twice, and rumours circulated that he was gay...something that Hill always denied. He died in April 2002.

MRS BECKERMANN : PLAYED BY: LEILA GOLDONI

Mrs Beckermann was the wife, later widow, of Roger Beckermann, the convict who met a grisly end in the Italian Alps. She was played by Leila Goldoni, now 82. Born in New York in 1936, her career began with a series of cameos in a flurry of 1940s film roles including Joseph L. Mankiewicz's House of Strangers and John Huston's We Were Strangers. Her role in The Italian Job was fleeting but still made enough of an impression to warrant a song being penned about her character, entitled Oh Mrs Beckerman. Following the film, her career peaked with roles in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and Martin Scorcese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Married to actor Bob Carruthers, the couple divorced in 1960. Leila has one son, Aaron, who followed his mother into film, albeit behind the scenes.

UNNAMED OFFICER/INMATE : PLAYED BY: FRANK KELLY

Frank Kelly played a bit part in The Italian Job, although there is a dispute over whether this is an 'unnamed officer' who escorts Charlie Croker out of prison, or an unnamed inmate in the prison. Born in Dublin in 1938, Kelly landed his first role in the movie aged 31, and led a successful acting career following its release. In Ireland, Kelly made a name for himself with the children's show Wanderly Wagon and rose to fame with his work on Hall's Pictorial Weekly. But perhaps the role Kelly is best known for is Father Jack Hackett on the sitcom Father Ted. Kelly played the irreverent - and often drunk - clergyman from 1995 to May 1998. Later on, Kelly appeared on Emmerdale for 43 episodes in the role of Dermot Macey between 2010 and 2011. On top of his acting work, Kelly was also a successful stage and voice actor and published author. In 1982, he reached 8th place in the the Irish charts with his song 'Christmas Countdown,' which peaked in 24th position in the UK charts two years later in 1984. The actor, who also suffered from Parkinson's Disease, died of a heart attack on 28 February 2016. Kelly had seven children with his wife Bairbre, to whom he was married to for 51 years.

'YELLOW' : PLAYED BY: ROBERT POWELL

Yellow was a young upstart jobber in the film. The role might have been small but it still kick-started a career for Robert Powell that has endured 50 years. His biggest role would come less than a decade after playing Yellow, with a loftier role - playing the Lord in Franco Zeffirelli's mini series Jesus of Nazareth in 1977. In the eighties, Powell, now 75, teamed up with comedian Jasper Carrott to make The Detectives and starred in hospital soap Holby City for six years. Married to former Pans People dancer Babs, the couple live in West London and have two grown-up children, Kate and Barney.

FAMILY AFFAIR: A CAMEO FOR CAINE'S LITTLE BROTHER...

Hanging on to the coat-tails of his older brother who was by the late Sixties a fully fledged movie star, Stanley Micklewhite bagged himself a part in the comedy. Playing 'Coco' in the film, Stanley's own career never quite reached the heady heights of his sibling but he did appear in Billion Dollar Brain and Play Dirty. Eventually, he took a job at Selfridges before turning his hand to writing. Stanley died in 2008 at the age of 77 after battling leukaemia.

THE RECEPTIONIST : PLAYED BY: VALERIE LEON

Screen siren Valerie Leon played the receptionist at the Royal Lancaster hotel that Croker checked into after being released from prison. Born in November 1943 in Hampstead, Leon managed to score small roles in several high profile films, including seven of the Carry On films, including Carry on Christmas: Carry on Stuffing, in which she is credited as 'Serving Wench.' Her attractive looks no doubt helped when it came to bagging roles in two different James Bond films. Leon appeared in 1977s The Spy Who Loved Me as a receptionist and returned to the franchise six years later as another bit part, Lady in Bahamas, in Never Say Never Again. On the personal side, Leon was married to the television comedy producer Michael Mills from 1974 until his death in 1988. They had two children together, Leon, born in 1975 and Merope, born in 1977. Valerie now conducts Q&As and takes part in film events, as documented on her Twitter account.

THE GOVERNOR : PLAYED BY: JOHN LE MESURIER

Simply known as the Governor, John Le Mesurier played the Prison Govenor at Mr Bridger's prison. Starring in over 120 films, the actor, who died in 1983, was perhaps best known for his roles in classic film Ben Hur (1959), and as Sergeant Arthur Wilson in Dad's Army. Le Mesurier started acting as a young man before enlisting in the Armed Forces during the Second World War. He was posted to India as a captain with the Royal Tank Regiment. But he returned to acting before the end of the world and made his film debut in 1948, starring in the feature comedy short Death in the Hand, opposite Esme Percy and Ernest Jay. The actor appeared mostly in comedies and usually in roles of authority - as seen in both Dad's Army and The Italian Job. His private life was almost as tumultuous as his varied screen roles. He was married to Hattie Jacques, and later Joan Malin, both of whom started affairs with other men during their relationships with Le Mesurier. Malin became involved with actor Tony Hancock who would eventually take his own life over his tangled private life. A battle with alcohol saw Le Meurier diagnosed with liver problems and ordered not to drink. He eventually lost his life in 1983 after failing health. His final words were 'It's all been rather lovely' and he even penned his own death notice in The Times.

STUNT DOUBLE/DAVE : PLAYED BY: JOHNNY MORRIS

Johnny Morris was not credited for his role in the Italian Job however, he had one of the most important tasks of all: Being Michael Caine's body and stunt-double. He also claims he played a bit-part character called 'Dave', although no details are known about him. Morris, who was raised in Shepherd's Bush, London, was not just Caine's stand-in, he was also his minder, fixer for and friend. And while filling in for one of the 1960's most lucrative actors may sound exciting, Morris' big break came thanks to another giant of pop culture: John Lennon. Morris worked as the Beatles' body double on a Hard Day's Night. Taking Lennon's place on stage, he would help the lighting and camera crews get their angles just right. The stunt double took a risk by leaving Lennon for Caine and worked with the beloved actor for most of the 1960's until they parted way in 1973. In 2015, Morris published his book The Fall Guy, where he reminisced about his time working with Caine and Lennon. In a 2017 interview with the Express, Morris revealed that his favourite Caine Movie was still The Italian Job, because of the scene with the Mini Coopers.

CROKER : PLAYED BY: MICHAEL CAINE

Born and raised in poverty in London in the 1930s, Caine's career soared after he played the charismatic lead role in Alfie in 1966, by which time he had already starred in a string of blockbusters including Zulu (1964) and The Iprcess File (1965). Arguably the biggest star from the film, Caine, who's now 86, has continued to be a box office hit, with major movie roles in every decade including Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), Little Voice (1998) and The Dark Knight (2008). The actor has won two Oscars - for Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), and The Cider House Rules (1999), both for Supporting Actor - and been nominated for six, taking in turns in Alfie, Sleuth (1973), Educating Rita (1984), and The Quiet American (2002). Recently, Caine has formed a close working relationship with Christopher Nolan, appearing in the director's films The Prestige (2006), Inception (2010) and Interstellar (2014), in addition to The Dark Night. He is set to appear next in Christopher Nolan's Tenet, due for release in 2020. The star's first marriage, to fellow actor Patricia Haines, produced a daughter, Dominique but the couple separated in 1962. In 1973, he wed current wife Shakira, after he spotted her in an advert for Maxwell House coffee. The couple, who have one daughter, Natasha, have enjoyed a successful marriage and live mostly at their home in Leatherhead, Surrey.

What about these characters?

Noel Coward - Mr Bridger

Noel Coward, who played Mr Bridger in the cult movie died four year after the Italian Job's release. He was one of the biggest playwrights before the second World War but his works failed to pick up the same success after the international conflict ended. He passed away on 26 March 1973 of heart failure

Fred Emney - Birkinshaw

Fred Emney played Birkinshaw, the man who put electronic gadgets in bins to knock out the traffic cameras during the Italian Job. Emney was mostly famous on the circuit scene, and starred in the Peter Collinson movie aged 69. He died eleven years later aged 80.

Derek Ware - Rozzer

While he played Rozzer in the Italian Job, Ware's business flourished thanks to his stunt man work. Prior to the Italina job, he worked with the BBC on several projects, and contributed to the stunt work on early seasons of Doctor Who. After the 1969 movie Ware enjoyed a good career, which included work on Eastenders. He died on 22 September 2015.

George Innis - Bill Bailey

Innis played Bill Bailey in the Italian Job, Croker's number 2. He enjoyed an accomplished career after the movie and is still an active actor today, aged 81 alhtough his last movies, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Stardust, were filmed in 2007.

Tony Beckley - Camp Freddie

As criminal Freddie, Beckley's job was to look after Bridger's operations outside the nick in the Italian Job. And this infamous image stuck with throughout his career, as he tended to e cast in villainous roles in the 1960's and 1970's. Classic Doctor Who fans will recognise him as Harrison Chase, the villain in a six-part Dr Who serial The Seeds of Doom. The circumstances surrounding his death in 1980 are mysterious to this day. It was reported he died of brain cancer, but a close friend said he could have also died of AIDS.

Harry Baird - Big William

Harry Baird - the brother of Michael Caine's wife Shakira, played Big William in the Italian job He became blind following a glaucoma diagnosis in the 1970's and sadly died in 2005 from cancer.

Richard Essame - Tony

After playing Tony, the cooper driver in the Italian Job, Richard went back to his modelling career. He was offered a role in the Italian Job by chance, having driven the reg jag 848 CRY featured in the movie. It is unknown whether he is still alive.

Frank Jarvis - getaway car driver

The driver of Croker's getaway car went on to enjoy a prolific acting career after the 1969 and until his sudden death, aged 69 in 2019. He made a name for himself throughout the 60's and 70's in crime movies. Later in life he blossomed as a stage actor. He died on 15 September 2010.

See which cinemas showed this Classic in its Anniversary year by visiting ModCulture.co.uk

 

Mini Top 10 British Stamps

Mini 1959 to 2000

Popular 'Gonk' style legend proclaiming "I love (using symbol ) my Mini"

Made in England

Production may have ended in the year 2000 but, in 2012 the Mini is still going strong:

Only one car can pull it off

Need I say more?

2019 - Mini Curiosities remembered!

Classic Mini being hurdled by former football star

Duncan McKenzie hurdling (or is that hurtling?) over a Mini - image sourced from Leeds United

2019 - Top Gear Salutes the Mini

Transmitted on 16th June 2019

Top Gear Salutes Mini

Top Gear Programme narrative from Radio TimesTop Gear Programme narrative from Radio Times

Screenshot from the programme

2019 - 'The Italian Job' celebrates 50th Anniversary

Radio Times write up for the Diamond Geezers

Radio Times write-up for the "Diamond Year Geezers"

The full cast of the Italian Job plus the Minis and the Bus and the Gold bars

The Italian Job mob! Left to right: Peter Collinson, David Salamone, Fred Emney, John Morris, Stanley Caine, Michael Standing, Derek Ware, Benny Hill, George Innis, Michael Caine, Tony Beckley, John Forgeham, Barry Cox, Robert Powell, Harry Baird, Richard Essame and Frank Jarvis
Image sourced from and © of Paramount/Oakhurst Productions/K

2019 - Mini celebrates 60

Mini Cancellation

So where are the other 400 Minis?

2019 - Mini Police Car Sells for £31k

Mini Police Van sells for £31k

Scan of article in The Telegraph - 11th April 2019

2019 - 'Mission Ignition' - Channel 4

Channel 4 launches 'Mission Ignition' on Saturday, 30th March 2019 - the Classic Mini featured in episode two transmitted on Saturday, 6th April.

Mission Ignition new Channel 4 Motoring Show featuring the Classic Mini

'Mission Ignition' the new Channel 4 Motoring Show featuring the Classic Mini - screen dump from Channel 4 website

The Classic Mini Challenge revealed in episode 2 transmitted 060419

The Classic Mini Challenge revealed in episode 2 transmitted 6th April 2019 - screen dump from Channel 4 replay

The Blue Team who will be rebuilding the Classic Mini

The Blue Team who will be rebuilding the Classic Mini - screen dump from Channel 4 replay

Although the VW 'Beetle' Red Team beat the Blues, there is no doubt that there is genuine love for the Classic Mini by the Blue Team who were only a few seconds in completing, behind the Reds. Apart from the race to reconstruct the vehicles (winners keep the car) there were interesting historical insights presented about both cars including archive film of Sir Alec Issigonis and John Cooper and the inevitable link of the 'People's Wagon' to the Nazis and Adolf Hitler. One thing I didn't know but which is fascinating, is that when Germany was partitioned after WWII the factory producing the Beetle ended up in the British sector. The factory, regrettably was being run using slave labour, but the British turned this around by keeping the workforce, building them up physically and giving them a trade and employment for life. I shall look at the Beetle with more respect from now on.

2018 - "From Ocean's 11 to The Italian Job we're suckers for a heist movie"

Detail of Catch them if you Can article

BBC Film Article dated 2018 still talking about the original Italian JobBBC Film Article dated 2018 still talking about the original Italian Job

"Catch them if you can" article by Andrew Collins as it appeared in the 1 - 7 December edition of the Radio Times

Well if the Radio Times says it, it must be true and of course it features our favourite movie 'The (original) Italian Job!

2018 - 'Legends of Tomorrow'

Police 'Panda' Mini in Legends of Tomorrow

Legends of tomorrow poster

Image sourced from space.ca Episode synopsis here

Telephone Kiosk, Classic Mini and character from Legends

So who is the secret Mini fan in the 'Legends of Tomorrow' sci-fi series? Season 4 episode 3 entitled 'Dancing Queen' treated us to a Police Panda Mini, a red mini and telephone kiosk in an episode set in London 1977 and it's not the first time! Season 3 featured a mini as a backdrop to a romantic scene! - images used to illustrate the storyline are screen dumps from the actual episode

2018 - Paul McCartney's customised Mini Cooper from The Beatles' 1967 Magical Mystery Tour sells for £182k

Singer Paul McCartney was brought the Mini Cooper S DeVille by Brian Epstein - the manager of The Beatles. Finished in California Sage Green paintwork, this original right-hand drive UK Home Market car was UK-registered 'GGJ382C' and shown in the Beatles' 1967 Magical Mystery Tour movie with Paul in the background.

McCartney's Car 2018

This classic Mini built specially for Sir Paul McCartney has been sold at auction for a staggering £182,000 - image courtesy & © of World Wide Auctioneers

By Zoie O'brien For Mailonline | Published: 20:49, 6th September 2018 | Updated: 09:22, 7th September 2018

- All you need is petrol! Paul McCartney's customised Morris Mini Cooper from The Beatles' 1967 Magical Mystery Tour movie sells for £182,000
- Sir Paul McCartney's Mini Cooper has been sold for an eye-watering £182,000
- The Beatle's Morris Mini Cooper S DeVille was one of four made in the Sixties
- The Mini was in Hollywood in the 1970s and has remained in the USA for 40 years

Interior of McCartney's Mini

The luxurious Mini was kitted out a with a sunroof, twin fog lights mounted within the grille, Aston Martin rear lights, a three-spoke steering wheel, power windows, a walnut dashboard and leather seats

Engine in McCartney's Car

Under the bonnet was the top-spec 1275cc engine which would have given the Mini a top speed approaching 100mph. - Images © of World Wide Auctioneers and SWNS.com

A classic Mini built specially for Sir Paul McCartney has been sold at auction for a staggering £182,000.
It was the Swinging Sixties when Beatles manager Brian Epstein ordered four Minis for the band, with three customised by Radford and one by British coachbuilder Hooper. McCartney took delivery of an ultra-cool Morris Mini Cooper S DeVille which had been overhauled by South Kensington-based Radford. The luxurious Mini was kitted out a with a sunroof, twin fog lights mounted within the grille, Aston Martin rear lights, a three-spoke steering wheel, power windows, a walnut dashboard and leather seats.

2018 - 18th August - Mini in new BBC2 Reality Show 'Eight Go Rallying'

Mini adventure: Shirlie and Martin Kemp before their crash - image courtesy & © of the BBC/Optomen Television Limited via the Daily Telegraph

1973 Mini with Shirlie and Martin Kemp sourced from the Daily Telegraph

As covered by the Daily Mail

- Our very own Wacky Races: Zipping 2,500 miles through Asia in a celebrity rally sounds crazy - but Martin and Shirlie Kemp loved every minute of it (even when they rolled the car over in a paddy field!)
- The BBC2 series Eight Go Rallying: The Road To Saigon follows four celeb duos
- They join a classic car rally from Chiang Mai in Thailand to Saigon in Vietnam
- Martin Kemp and wife Shirlie discuss the highs and lows of their adventure

The new BBC2 series Eight Go Rallying: The Road To Saigon, which started on 18th, August, follows four celebrity duos who join a classic car rally from Chiang Mai in Thailand to Saigon in Vietnam, covering 2,500 miles. The reality TV show is part race, part travelogue and part the story of how famous people get along when invited to compete in a public event (not so much Love Island, more Murder On The Orient Express). The main interest is in the interaction of the duos: with each other and also with the other pairs. There's Noel Edmonds and his wife Liz; Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet) and wife Shirlie (Wham!); chef Andi Oliver and her TV presenter daughter Miquita; and singer Tinchy Stryder and close friend Jordan Stephens (Rizzle Kicks).

So what persuaded them to take part and what were the highlights?

- Shirlie: It wasn't the car and the driving that appealed. I have never been a 'petrol-head'. What I loved was the prospect of seeing South-East Asia: I'd never been to Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia, so the chance of discovering them in one 12-day journey grabbed me. It wasn't the sort of holiday I'd been dreaming of – not something I'd have wanted to pay for as a holiday, but as a journey, it sounded incredible.
- Martin: I was excited by the idea of the rally. I'd never been to Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam either. I'm more into cars than Shirlie: I've been lucky enough to own nice cars and have an addiction to Porsche 911s. I've had about 15 of them.

A long drive seemed so much fun – but what really appealed was doing it with Shirlie – just the two of us together. The only time we ever argue is because of the satnav in the car. But on this journey: no satnav!

- Shirlie: I knew we would get on. The only thing that worried me is that the journey would involve spending lots of time together – days and nights – with no real break. Our car was an old-fashioned Mini: a 1972 canary yellow Mini 1000. What surprised me was the number of cameras mounted all over the place. That was hard to get used to – it makes you very self-conscious.
- Martin: The Mini is a small car and I'm over 6ft tall. We couldn't have known it then but this would become a very big problem on our second day. When we had the…
- Shirlie: …the accident! | Read the full article here

2018 - The 'Hoff' in Farmfoods Ad

The Hoff in Fam Foods Ad

The Hoffon Fam Foods Ad

"The Hoff returns! Famous for his TV roles in Baywatch and Night Rider, David Hasselhoff stars in the latest Farmfoods campaign in a series of funny commercials." - View on YouTube

2018 - 28th March - all Electric Classic Mini in New York!

Mini all electric in NY

Mini all electric in NY

Engineers have turned the classic model into an electric car. Images courtesy & © of SWNS as used by The Independent

Mini has unveiled a one-off electric version of its iconic original car, as the British firm showcases its zero-emissions technology. The classic Mini is one of the world’s most recognisable city cars, with more than five million sold between 1959 and 2000. Now engineers at the Oxford-based manufacturer have transported a classic model into the 21st century by turning it into an electric car. The road-legal car is fitted with 30 lithium-iron phosphate batteries to give it a range of 65 miles and a top speed of 75mph.

Mini has created the modern vehicle by combining the compact but practical old design with the new zero-emissions technology. A statement from Mini said: “With this unique vehicle, Mini sends out a clear signal demonstrating its commitment to retaining the brand’s unmistakable character whilst embracing innovative zero local emission technology. "The exterior red paint is complemented by a contrast white roof and characteristic bonnet strip, with the yellow Mini Electric logo in the brand emblem and on the wheel hubs.  “The electric classic remains true to the brand, both in terms of its visual appearance and driving characteristics. “The spontaneous power of its electric motor provides a new dimension to the unmistakable go-kart feeling that helped propel the British small car in its original form to worldwide popularity.”

Mini and BMW unveiled the electric car at the New York Auto Show. It will remain a one-off with no plans to return the classic car to production. However, Mini is currently working on an electric version of its current three-door Mini which is set to go on sale next year, marking the 60th anniversary of the original model designed by Sir Alec Issigonis. The new Mini’s electric drivetrain will be built at the BMW Group’s e-mobility centre in Bavaria, Germany, before being integrated into the car at Oxford, which is the main production location for the three-door Mini. Source : The Independent | Read more : Autocar |

Mini all-electric at the New Yourk Motor Show 2018

Original image of Brotosh Icon

Remastering a British Icon

For the remastering story visit The Independent

2018 - 8th March - Still influencing the nation!

Mini still influencing in 2018

From the Daily Mail dated Thursday, 8th March 2018 - online article

A MINI TRIUMPH  

For housewives in the Western world, the Mini sparked a revolution, enabling them to undertake the weekly shop or the school run without relying on public transport. It gave women new freedom to escape the domestic sphere, and its success spurred other manufacturers to produce smaller, cheaper cars targeted at women and the young.

Little wonder that the Mini was once voted the most significant car of the 20th century.

2018 - 3rd February - 52nd Anniversary of the 1,000,000th Mini

Daily Mail 'On this day' article

1mth Classic Mini

Longbridge factory BMC 1965. Alec Issigonis, Technical Director of BMC, oversees the millionth Mini (an Austin Mini) as it comes of the production line in the Car Assembly Building. Image & text/legend sourced from the Mk 1 Forum via the Daily Mail

2018 - 24th January on 'Quest Tv'

Restoration by Surf Blue Garage for 'Salvage Hunters' Tv Programme

See how Surf Blue/Price Engineering contributed to the 'finishing' of the Mini pictured above!

2017 - Stories/Images of the Classic Mini still grab headlines! Twice on 13th December

Ringo's Mini sells for £102,000.00 at Bonhams

Ringo Starr's Mini sold to Geri Halliwell

Always nice to know the Beatles are 'on trend' and even better that this version should have survived into the 21st century!

Mini image used in Money Mail Article highlighting (legitimate) Insurance 'scam'

Article Heading highlighting legitimate insurance scam

Read the full story here - image courtesy of Getty Images

2017 - The English expat who's gone to war with his German neighbours with a life-size Queen & Corgies, Phone Box*, Mini and Centurion Tank

Mr Bean style classic mini in Germany

To complete the scene there is an original lime green* Mini bearing the image of Mr Bean - image courtesy & © of Reuters

*Actually. I think the car is 'Limeflower' (as was the interior of my first mini bought in 1972) but what would the reporters who call a telephone kiosk a 'box' know? For the full story visit the Kiosk section or the Mail on-line.

2017 - Is 'The Italian Job' really the best British film ever?

Nearly 50 years after it was released, Michael Caine movie is still a hit

Italian Job still

Iconic image taken from the 1969 Film featuring the star of the shows - image © Stop Press

2017 - The great Mini 'Remastered'

Remastered Mini in Cheyne Row

Remastered Engine

A really souped up version of the Classic Mini currently very popular in the States - read more on Top Gear

Remastered Mini on Top Gear website

Watch the video here

2017 - Mini voted 'Best Car Ever'

Did anyone ever doubt that?

Britain's best ever car is revealed - and it's not James Bond's Aston Martin

The iconic motor – famed for its roles in classic films such as the Italian Job and The Bourne Identity – beat some much pricier competition to be given the top honour by industry chiefs

Mini voted best car ever!

  1. Mini, 1959-2000
  2. Jaguar E-Type, 1961-75
  3. Land Rover Defender, 1948-2016
  4. Aston Martin DB5, 1963-1965
  5. McLaren F1, 1992-1998
  6. Range Rover Mk1, 1970-1996
  7. Ford GT40, 1964-1969
  8. Caterham/Lotus Seven, 1957-now
  9. Ford Escort Mk1, 1967-1975
  10. Lotus Elise, 1996-2001

Forget flashy Jaguars or James Bond’s Aston Martin - the Mini has been voted Britain’s best-ever car. The iconic motor – famed for its roles in classic films such as The Italian Job and The Bourne Identity – beat some much pricier competition. The Jaguar E-Type came in second place and the Land Rover Defender in third.

The original Mini – which was in production from 1959 to 2000 – was a life changer for many and brought affordable motoring to the masses. A spokesman from Auto Express, which carried out the poll, said: “Minis were once as common as lampposts on UK roads –5.3 million were built. “Now the originals are cherished classics that raise a smile from everyone. They still dominate classic motorsport, too. No wonder our experts said the mighty Mini is the mightiest British car of all time.”

Ten top car manufacturers’ bosses, including representatives from Aston Martin, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover, created the list of the most influential models made in the UK. The judging panel was provided with a shortlist of 75 vehicles that rolled off UK production lines at one time or another, with each member asked to pick their top 10 based on sales, design and performance. Others chosen included the Aston Martin DB5, which was first used in a 007 flick in 1964’s Goldfinger, driven by Sean Connery, and most recently in Skyfall with Daniel Craig. The McLaren F1, the Lotus Elise and the Ford Escort MK1 were also near the top of the pile.

Auto Express editor-in-chief Steve Fowler said: “This survey is a reminder of how many iconic cars Britain has produced over the years. “So many of our Top 50 cars redefined segments and pushed the boundaries of what was possible. “The British automotive industry should be proud of its achievements and confident of the future.”

2015 - Mini - involved with Remembrance Fund Raising

Mini with Poppy livery fund raising

Mini with Poppy livery fund raisingMini with Poppy livery fund raising

Images courtesy of the British Mini Club

2015 - Mini features in 'Sexist' 1970s ads

Mini in sexist Ad from 1970s

Image copyright the Advertising Archives

'You've seen the ads from the Fifties and the Sixties, but this shocking selection from the Seventies shows that the real Mad Men of advertising learnt next to nothing about women over the years. For everything from cars to cigarettes to electric blankets, these ads show that while variety may be the spice of life, there's nothing like a semi-clad woman for bringing the customers running.'

The Daily Mail ran an article featuring 'perceived (by 21st century standards) 1970s adverts 'sexualising' women! One of those was for the Mini as shown above. As I was the very embodiment of that girl in the 1970s living in London and loving my 1972 Mini 1000 I'd like to ask, therefore, if I am seen as a 'Bimbo' some 40+ years later. A 'Bimbo' with some pretty extensive qualifications and experience of life! Lived in London in the 1970s, was a loyal 'Biba' (that's Biba not Bimbo) girl, lived and loved my Mini, even the nasty plastic seating which burnt any part of your unclothed body after time in the sun! Never suffered from an STD, travelled freely and extensively across the world (alone), had a steady job throughout, bought a house, got a mortgage and waited after I'd done all that to get married! Got married a second time too!

2015 - Mini - the villain in 'Emmerdale'

Still from Emmerdale

Honestly! How could they?

2014 - Two TV Programmes devoted to the Mini in May

Quest TV gave us Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson and Mini

Quest TV beat Channel 4 to the pip by broadcasting on Thursday, 8th May 2014

The Mini featured in Episode 1 of the series

"Whether it’s the old or new model, there’s a place in every Brit’s heart for the Mini. In this episode Brian will delve into its rich history, and get to the bottom of the world’s enduring love for this truly iconic car.

Brian heads to the Mini factory in Cowley in Oxford to witness how these loveable little cars are put together. From the assembly line he’ll get the lowdown on Mini’s big history, from the ground breaking first model to it’s more recent revamp and on‐going popularity. As well as his factory visit Brian test drives an original Mini from the Italian Job and competes in the Masters Historic Racing Festival at Brands Hatch."

Cars that Rock tv programme

Channel 4 offered Philip Glenister

Philip Glenister Mini

Philip Glenister in Channel 4's 'For the Love of Cars' broadcast on Sunday, 11th May 2014

Mini before restorationMini before restoration

Two images copyright and courtesy of Channel 4 showing the Mini before restoration

Before and after restorationRe-furbished Engine

Two images copyright and courtesy of Channel 4 showing the Mini 'before and after' and the re-built engine

The Mini featured in Episode 4 of the series

For the love of cars tv show

"The Mini Cooper Mk1 was the car that changed everything. Now it's down to Philip Glenister and internationally renowned car designer Ant Anstead to find, rescue and restore one back to its former glory.

But no ordinary model - Phil has set his hopes on an incredibly rare Mk 1 Cooper. Ant finally tracks one down in Dublin; a rusting heap at the back of a barn.

From its revolutionary design and front-wheel drive, to its conquering record as a track and rally car, the Mk 1 was the small car with the big heart driven by royalty, 60s superstars and the man and woman on the street.

Everyone loved the Mini and it is widely considered to be one of the greatest cars ever built. Philip explores the story of the Mini and meets Stirling Moss. He throws one around one of the most dangerous roads in the county and the show concludes with a Mini flash mob."

Mini voted the greatest British car of all time (Did you ever doubt it?) - 2014

Mini Best Car Ever

With car production in Britain estimated to hit record levels by 2015, a poll reveals that the original Mini is still the greatest home-grown car of all. (Full article in sidebar)

2014 - Picadilly, London

Union Jacl Mini

My friend, Ken, sent me this from the "Cool Britannia Store", Picadilly Circus, London - 04.03.2014

2012 - Chelsea Flower Show

Mini Chelsea 2012

Flowers cover a Mini Cooper at the Chelsea Flower Show in London, on May 21, 2012. The Chelsea Flower Show is the most prestigious of Britain's flower shows and is held every year in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital.

You certainly don't ................

Billboard Never forget your first Mini

This page is reserved for our interest in the Classic Mini [you know, as seen in 'The Italian Job'] - "You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" - Michael Caine

Who says?

Mini not designed for little old ladies!

1967 - Cat, Classic Mini & 'Life' Magazine

A 1967 registered Classic Mini, Cat, Model

1960s - Women in Motorsport & Social History: Mini Skirts and Mini Coopers

Rachel Harris-Gardiner explores the exciting world of 1960s saloon racers.

The start of the 1960s saw many social changes. One of the biggest was the advent of the affordable car. The Austin Mini's low price point put it in reach of more people than ever before. Other compact, price-conscious saloons followed.

Women in Motorsport 1960s

1960s poster

Images courtesy & © of the Motoring Picture Library

Women were one of the groups that really benefitted from this opening-up of the automotive market. They tended to have less earning power than men, and only wealthy women were able to purchase their own cars. In the 1960s, this began to change. Racing cars, too, were within reach of more potential drivers than ever before. A Mini Cooper could be fitted with an after-market tuning kit and made track-ready quite easily. Again, some of the biggest beneficiaries of this development were budding female racers. The daughters of women who had learned to handle cars and other machinery during the War, buoyed by the first rumblings of both youth culture and the Second Wave of feminism, were unafraid. Read more

How iconic is this?:

Original Marks and Spencer Mini Ad

A Classic and BMW Mini in harmony

Perfect Harmony - a Classic Mini and a BMW 'Mini' sporting the same livery - possibly Vermillion red bodywork with accompanying (as yet unidentified) sky blue Union Jack Roof - wow!

Another A Classic and BMW Mini in harmony

Back to Top

Page refreshed : 3rd April 2020 (G)