A birthday roadtrip

by Helen Hooker August. 09, 2019 383 views
Morris on our driveway, ready for the big roadtrip

Morris on our driveway, ready for the big roadtrip

In 1959, a ground breaking car design rolled off the production line in Cowley, Oxfordshire – Sir Alec Issigonis’s Mini. Sixty years later, the ten millionth Mini has just been made in the very same factory and we were invited to take Morris there to celebrate this iconic car’s 60th birthday. We set off from home on Wednesday evening, heading west with headlights only slightly more powerful than candles in jam jars illuminating our way.

Surrounded by Minis!

Surrounded by Minis!

After staying overnight with friends nearby we arrived at the Mini factory in Cowley at lunchtime and found ourselves surrounded by Minis of all vintages. The plan was to hold a photoshoot, featuring a Mini from every year of production, with Morris representing 1965. Given that so many Minis have been made it felt a real honour to be there as one of just sixty vehicles. We waited patiently to join the other cars in Q Gardens, a grassy area in the centre of the factory, overlooked by a massive Mini mural.

Queuing up to join the other Minis

Queuing up to join the other Minis

Finally, Morris’s moment came and we took up our spot on the back row. Before the photoshoot took place we had a little time to look around the other cars, which included 621AOK, the very first Mini, lined up alongside the ten millionth car.

Kevin and the very first Mini - this is where it all started!

Kevin and the very first Mini - this is where it all started!

The photographer for the birthday photoshoot was Amy Shore. I’ve liked Amy’s work for a while now and met her when she gave a talk at the Photography Show last year. Finally, it was time for us to get into the photos so we all joined our cars and obligingly waved at Amy’s camera as she shot from the dizzy heights of a scissor lift. If you’d like to see Amy’s photos of the assembled cars you can find them here, on the BMW press page. You can even download high res images to see if you can spot us!

Amy Shore, sizing up her next photo

Amy Shore, sizing up her next photo

The ten millionth and first Minis sitting side by side

The ten millionth and first Minis sitting side by side

We eventually got to join our Minis in the photos

We eventually got to join our Minis in the photos

Morris and friends

Morris and friends

On Friday morning we gathered at the Mini factory once again, for more celebrations, including Mini cupcakes, before heading back to Q Gardens. As we mingled among the cars we were joined by a film crew, who busied themselves capturing video of individual cars. Morris had his film star moment so I made sure I captured the team in action.

Mini birthday cake!

Mini birthday cake!

Morris's film star moment

Morris's film star moment

Finally, it was time to leave – a convoy of Minis to celebrate six decades. Once we’d all lined up in the road we were off, onto the open road. Many of the cars were heading for the International Mini Meeting in Bristol but we had a different destination in mind.

Ready for the off....

Ready for the off....

Patiently queuing to leave the factory

Patiently queuing to leave the factory

The machinery inside the Mini factory may be state of the art, but the old buildings show their long history

The machinery inside the Mini factory may be state of the art, but the old buildings show their long history

More photography and filming as we head out of the gate

More photography and filming as we head out of the gate

Our ultimate destination was Goodwood, for a mini photoshoot of our own at the motor circuit – our first opportunity since we got Morris, three and a half years ago. Naturally this included a picture by the Goodwood sign, as well as a number of shots around the paddocks.

Finally, we made our way to stay with Kevin’s Dad. En-route we met yet another Mini, so naturally a photo had to be taken, and the day’s Mini adventure finished with a picture of Kevin and his Dad with Morris.

Morris's new friend at Bosham Farm Shop

Morris's new friend at Bosham Farm Shop

9 August 2019

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