A classic Mini Cooper S once owned by Ringo Starr is going on auction on 2 December 2017 at Bonhams in London – and it could fetch more than £120,000.
In 1967, The Beatles manager Brian Epstein provided a Mini for each member of the most famous band in the world.
Like all of The Beatles’ Minis, ‘LLO 836D’ was purchased new by band manager Brian Epstein’s company, to which it was first registered in May 1966. Registration passed to Richard Starkey (Ringo’s actual name) on 15th June 1967. Ringo kept the car until it was sold in December 1968. Nothing is known of its subsequent history until 1977, when the ex-Starr Mini Cooper S was purchased by the current owner’s father.
While it is relatively easy to carry your guitar around in a Mini, a set of drums is another matter entirely. It is said that Ringo stipulated that his must be able to accommodate a drum kit, making it different from those purchased for the other members of the ‘Fab Four’. The solution to the lack-of-space/accessibility problem was a hatchback conversion, which coachbuilder Harold Radford was offering as an option on its up-market Mini de Ville GT, introduced in October 1965.
Radford Minis featured bespoke leather seats, a sliding sun roof, a new radiator grille (with two additional recessed lights), lambs wool carpets, additional sound insulation, electric windows, walnut dashboards with all manner of additional instrumentation, and last but not least – a cigar lighter.
The interior was beautifully appointed with sports bucket seats in the front, a thick leather rimmed Moto-Lita steering wheel, electric windows, a wooden dash and door tops, twin petrol tanks, a sunroof, a high-performance Mini Cooper S engine, and significantly upgraded instrumentation over the typically minimalist Mini offerings.
Finished in two-tone Rolls-Royce Regal Red/silver-grey, this fabulous piece of Beatles-related motoring history is offered with sundry restoration invoices and the original logbook signed by both Brian Epstein and Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr).
Original Harold Radford & Co. converted Minis are considered hugely collectible, and this one has the obvious significance of being one of the original Beatles’ Minis ordered by Epstein. Radford Minis don’t come up for sale very often, so this one is likely to attract a significant amount of attention when it rolls up onto the block at Bonhams’ Bond Street Sale in London on the 2nd of December
If you’d like to read more about the car or register to bid, you can click here to visit the listing on Bonhams website.