This car’s exceptionally low mileage is attributed to its ‘shady’ past. Research at the national Archives in Kew has established that the vehicle was purchased by an East London bank robber (Ronald Dark) using cash from an armed aid in Ilford on the 9th February 1970. Ronald Dark had the car put in the name of an accomplice Alfred John and delivered to his Plaistow address in an attempt to cover up his tracks. Subsequent to the raid the robber also acquired a farmhouse in Devon from where the car was recovered by the Police. The Ilford bank robber was considered to be of such significance with his gang including one of the great train robbers – netting in excess of £3.5 million in today’s money – that the met commissioned the RAF to gather photographic evidence of the farmhouse prior to the robber’s arrest on the 15th July 1970.
In November 1970 the robber was sentenced to 28 years imprisonment whilst the Mini Cooper ‘S’ acquired using proceeds from the bank raid was impounded by the Police. On the 14th August 1970 the car was transported to a compound at Wanstead Police Station in East London from where it was sold in October 1976 as robber’s property at General Auctions, 63 Garratt Lane, Wandsworth. The original Police recovery tag, the car’s original green log book – which was produced as evidence in court – and copies of trial papers, which include witness statements from the robber, the garage who sold the car and the agent who arranged its insurance. Also included are original newspapers from the period detailing the bank raid, the gang’s arrest and their subsequent trial.
The car was then to remain in storage until 10th December 1988 when it received its first MOT having covered only 6,800 miles. The vehicle is finished in the correct Snowberry White bodywork with a contrasting Black roof, these being the factory standard colours for this marque. All identification numbers, including the Triplex glass date codes, are correct and consistent with the build date of the 26th August 1969. The car is fitted with an exceptionally rare Downton Touring Conversion No. 5 as specified when new which includes a Downton cylinder head with correct identification marking and matching twin H4 carburettors.
The car’s bodywork and sub-frames remain in excellent condition commensurate with the low mileage and de-humidified careful storage. The interior is also in first class condition and uses the standard black vinyl upholstery. The car is equipped with factory option reclining seats, which are considered to be highly desirable, as are the factory option fit Britax inertia seat belts. The original steering wheel is in first class condition as is all instrumentation which is without evidence of damage. Given the exceptionally low mileage the car is also provided with its original carpet set as supplied when new. All chrome parts on the vehicle are in first class condition as are ancillary components such as lights, lenses, the radiator grille and external trims. The car also sits on its original and extremely rare ventilated Cooper 3.5J x 10 steel rims which again are presented in first class condition.
Due to the low mileage and the beautiful Downton Conversion this car accelerates and drives superbly and goes like a new car.
It is currently kept in a specially designed car bubble that ensures no condensation and keeps it at the correct temperature.
The Mark I Mini (1959-1967) was the first version of British Motor Corporation's Mini. It is characterized by its sliding windows, external door hinges and "moustache" grille. The Mark I was produced.....