John Bolster was a racing driver, commentator and motoring journalist. He was most famous for his “Bloody Mary” special which was a twin-engined JAP powered sprint and hillclimb car that he built with his brother in 1929. Eventually running on methanol based fuel, Bolster once said “she seems to enjoy her alcohol as much as her owner does his”. He also raced at Donnington and other British circuits in the 1930s and 1940s. His motor racing career ended after he suffered serious injuries in a crash whilst driving Peter Bell’s ERA at Stowe during the British Grand Prix in 1949. Subsequently he turned to broadcasting and served as Technical Editor for Autosport for many years and became renowned as an extrovert and all-round motoring enthusiast.
The Mark 1 Mini was the first version of British Motor Corporation’s Mini. It was marketed under a number of different names including the Morris Mini Minor. It is characterised by its sliding windows, external door hinges and moustache shaped grille. It was a car that would be produced for many years to come in various forms and end up as an icon of British motoring heritage.
The Mini Minor we have for sale is one of the very early press cars which was loaned to John Bolster at Autosport to road test for 1 year. He raced it in the Journalist’s race at Goodwood in 1960 as well as several other well-known 850 GFC press car races. The car was also taken abroad a number of times to race for Autosport. John Bolster loved the little Mini so much that even before the 1 year road test came to an end, he bought it from the British Motor Corporation. He kept it for his personal use and eventually used it to follow the Monte Carlo Rally.
After 10,000 miles the magnesium gearbox was replaced after it had caused the engine to seize. The Mini had an SPQR gear remote fitted, a new wood rimmed steering wheel and a demister fitted in the rear parcel shelf. All of these adjustments were carried out around 1960. After many years of ownership John Bolster sold the Mini to the present owner who is a specialist Mini tuner and restorer. It was then the subject of a restoration including an engine and gearbox rebuild. Thankfully, the car retains its original number plates, suspension, interior trim, wood-rim steering wheel and the longer corner bumpers front and rear.
This car featured in James Rupert’s book ‘Mini: The Complete Story’ as well as in features and adverts in Autosport between 1959 and 1960. It comes complete with a British Motor Heritage Industry Heritage Certificate. This is a very rare opportunity to own a piece of motoring history previously owned by one of the most colourful characters in racing and motor sport journalism.