Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Researching some History

One of the nice thing about British built minis is that the factory records were retained in an archive and its still possible to have access to the details for your particular car. These come in the form of a heritage certificate supplied (at quite a lot of expense) by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust archive service. Almost as soon as I got the Traveller I applied for a certificate and received it a few weeks later. It isn't much for the money, but its a fascinating glimpse of the car's early days and provides some clues to its history.

The heritage certificate gives me a few useful bits of information. It lists the car/chassis number and the engine number confirming the original numbers on the car and it gives me a date of manufacture, which will help when it comes time to replace missing parts. It also lists the heater as a factory option and describes the original trim and colour scheme.

The heritage certificate also tells me that the Traveller was built for the UK home market and was despatched to Derbyshire Motors Limited on the 31st of January 1961. Derbyshire Motors were aparently part of a larger company that were Morris dealers in Derbyshire, UK. Thanks to a member of the Mk1 Conversions Forum I've found their showroom in Google maps, unfortunately there's not much to show what it was.

Apart from being my father's 19th birthday, the date of despatch is significant in that it is about 8 weeks before the Mini went on sale in Australia. Manufacturing was already underway here at that time, but the Mini was not officially released until 23 March 1961. Assuming my Traveller was exported early in its life, it was one of the first Minis of any body style in Australia.

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