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A LOVELY STORY BEHIND A 1969 MORRIS MINI MATIC CAR.

Australia’s MINI community is a tight-knit one.

That means there are certain cars, and stories, that have become the stuff of Australian MINI fame.

It’s not unusual to find cars that have been sold, restored, and sold back to their original owners, or for enthusiasts to recognise particular cars at motor shows and events.

That’s the case with one Mini-Matic, an incredibly rare example of a car that was a first for the brand.

Australia was one of only two markets (the other being Italy) where the automatic Mini was referred to as its own model, instead of an automatic option on a regular Mini.

The automatic Mini was also a frontrunner in terms of the automatic transmission, in that the car could be used as a conventional automatic or like a manual with no clutch, where the car remained in the selected gear.

engine of Ian's 1969 Morris Mini MaticIn 1969, a woman named Laura Wallace, from northern New South Wales, bought a Morris Mini-Matic. 

Mrs Wallace would only drive her car on fine days, and only from home to the shops – a distance of no more than one kilometre.

She had the car regularly serviced by a local mechanic in the town, and when Mrs Wallace was no longer able to drive the Mini-Matic, he would take her for short drives around town in her beloved “Minnie”.

When Mrs Wallace passed away, the car was left to the mechanic, because she knew it would be taken care of properly.

He had the car for around 25 years, keeping in under covers in a garage, before it was put on display in a motor museum and then sold on to two more MINI enthusiasts.

The car, which is still in perfect condition, has only recorded around 8,000 miles and still has Mrs Wallace’s white umbrella in the door pocket.

The Mini-Matic’s 4th owner, Ian Oliver, said the story behind the car was just as significant to him as the car’s pristine condition.

Ian's 1969 Morris Mini Matic parked on the street sideImage credit: John Alternator

“I would refuse to buy a car just for the sake of it,” Ian says.

“That car not only has exceptionally low mileage, it’s got an incredible story behind it.”

The Mini-Matic is Ian’s only Mini – but his interest in MINIs goes beyond just cars.

“I’m English by birth so I have always been fascinated by MINI,” he says.

“I used to love Mini Coopers because they went quick and were very sporty.

“And I love the stories about how many people can fit in them and all of those quirky facts.

Ian says his love for all things MINI has grown to include new models and he keeps a close eye on engineering developments including electric technology.

“They’ve lasted this long and I think they’re definitely here to stay,” he says.

Image credit: John Alternator