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1970 Morris Mini Cooper S MKII Wood & Pickett Margrave

Lot 83 (Imperial War Museum Duxford, 26th July 2017)

Estimate
£40,000 - £50,000
 

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Lot details
Registration No: YYU292H
Chassis No: KA2S6-1321285
Mot Expiry: Nov 2017

- Reputedly the sole Morris Mini Cooper S MKII converted by Wood & Pickett to Margrave specification (built on 19th August 1969, it was not road registered until 11th September 1970)

- Previously owned by Leonard of Mayfair, Denny Laine of the Moody Blues / Wings and John Hammel, Sir Paul McCartney's guitar technician (the latter buying it back on several occasions)

- Winner of the London to Brighton Mini Run 'Car of the Show' in 2009 and the subject of various magazine articles

Reputedly the only Morris Mini Cooper S to be converted to Margrave specification by coachbuilder Wood & Pickett, chassis K-A2S6/1321285 was despatched to dealer Stewart & Arden Ltd of Acton, London on 9th December 1969 but not road registered as 'YYU 292H' until 11th September 1970. The ten-month gap was understandable given the craftsmanship that went into its subtly reworked exterior and thoroughly remodelled interior. Both front wings were given modest peaks (something of a W&P trademark), the headlamps gained hooded chrome surrounds (Riley 1.5 litre items) and the doors were modified to accept James Young-fabricated opening quarterlights, Piper electric windows and repositioned Princess 1100 handles. The Benelite front grille played host to Lucas LR9 spotlights, while a full-length Webasto sunroof and sleeker MKIII Mini boot lid were both added. A more aggressive stance came courtesy of wheelarch extensions housing wider wheels / tyres. Inside, the diminutive sports saloon was treated to Aston Martin DB6-style Black leather seats to complement its Aston Martin electric window switches, Rolls-Royce cigarette lighter, Rolls-Royce door handles and Jaguar / MG instrumentation. A drop bracket allowed the steering column to be repositioned and a padded central armrest with cubby nestled between the front seats. Left in standard Cooper S tune, 'YYU 292H' thus boasted a twin-carburettor fed 1275cc engine, four-speed manual transmission, hydrolastic independent suspension and disc/drum brakes.

An accompanying copy of its original logbook reveals that the Margrave was initially finished in Beige / White and first registered to David Weir of 154 Pavilion Rd, London SW1 (which runs behind Sloane Street). It is pure supposition but we believe the Mr Weir in question to have been the American playboy millionaire David Manson Weir II who was living in London at the time and racing cars with Alain de Cadenet under the Ecurie Evergreen and Team Snake Speed banners. Heir to the National Steel Corporation fortune, David M. Weir II took his motorsport seriously (achieving a career best 4th overall at the 1971 Le Mans 24-hours) but was no stranger to the London party scene and would certainly have had the means to buy a coachbuilt Mini.

If there is some doubt as to which Mr Weir first owned the car, the identity of its second keeper - Leonard Albert Lewis - is a certainty. Better known as Leonard of Mayfair, he converted 6 Upper Grosvenor Street, London W1 into a five-storey hairdressing salon and counted the following as clients: President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Tony Curtis, Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Marley, Marie Helvin, Jerry Hall, David Bowie, Warren Beatty, Audrey Hepburn, Liza Minelli, Meryl Streep, Faye Dunaway, Barbara Streisand, Christine Keeler, Reggie Kray, Grace Kelly, Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick. Responsible for the haircuts in the latter's Clockwork Orange film, Lewis also helped transform Lesley Hornby into 'Twiggy' via a bold Eton Crop.

Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick became lifelong friends as did the society writer Richard Compton Miller who described Lewis thus: 'He was the first hairdressing superstar, who taught John Frieda, Daniel Galvin, Nicky Clarke and many more household names. Leonard could barely read or write and yet created some of the unique styles of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. He was so renowned he was known only by his Christian name'. A bona fide trend setter and confidant of the rich and famous, it was Lewis who had the Margrave painted Pacific Dark Blue in 1971 (its copy logbook indicating the colour change took place in October that year). Given his status it is not difficult to imagine 'YYU 292H' roaring around London's hippest streets with some of the twentieth century's most famous people aboard!

The sports saloon's third keeper is listed as Clive Arrowsmith of Abingdon Rd, London W8 who we presume to be the internationally renowned fashion and music industry photographer. Thereafter it was registered to Music Lore Ltd of 36 King's Road, London SW3 before being acquired by the musician John Frederick Hammel in 1974. Reportedly swapped for a BMW and £300 in cash and showing some 21,000 miles to its odometer at the time, the Cooper S was repainted Claret shortly thereafter. Hammel sold the Margrave to Denny Laine (formerly of The Moody Blues and then a member of Wings) in 1978 for the latter's wife JoJo to use but soon found himself asking to buy it back. His second tenure lasted until 1998 when Andy Stewart purchased 'YYU 292H'. Passing to Hammel for a third time in the early 2000s, he subsequently had the Margrave restored to its former glory such that it won the MiniWorld Car of the Show Trophy at the 2009 London to Brighton Mini Run. Perhaps best known as Sir Paul McCartney's long-time guitar technician, Mr Hammel has owned numerous classics over the years but had a particular affinity for this one which his friend Steve Marriott of Humble Pie apparently referred to as 'a 100-miles per hour pair of shades'. Purchased by its penultimate custodian during late 2012, the Cooper S had its original engine and gearbox thoroughly overhauled by Mini Speed of Byfleet the following year at a cost of some £3,698.95.

Further improved since entering the current ownership, 'YYU 292H' has had its fuel lines renewed, hydrolastic suspension recharged, wiring fettled and electronic ignition installed. The work which also included some general servicing and MOT preparation etc was carried out by R.E. Mills Motor Engineers of Rothley at a cost of £3,689.70. Believed but not warranted to have covered just 72,000 miles from new, the Margrave pleasingly retains its original Wood & Pickett crafted Black leather upholstery. Said to retain its original bodyshell and factory powerplant, this unique Mini makes one wish cars could talk!

Offered for sale with history file, Heritage Certificate, V5C Registration Document, copy Mini World feature article and MOT certificate valid until November 2017.

 

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