The Radford Mini
one of The most exclusive club's of the 1960's
In 1960’s London, the Mini was the epitome of cool.. When you are in one of the world’s best groups, you can have anything in the world, the ultimate toy for around town was a coachbuilt Radford Mini Cooper.
Radford’s started in the 1940’s building special bodies to order, and in the 1950’s produced the Countryman conversion for Rolls and Bentley, and were also associated with Aston Martin.
They found a niche in the early 60’s for luxuriously appointed Minis, with electric windows, opening quarter lights, leather trim, walnut dashboards, a plethora of dashboard instruments, and additional lights, ( are they Quartz iodine? )
The Mini de Ville had arrived, and could be as bespoke as your imagination, oh and wallet. The conversions were very expensive, so could only be afforded by the in crowd.
George Harrison's Radford at the works, prior to its unique paint job
Brian Epstein, and the Beatles were probably Radford’s best and numerous customer, with Epstein and later Apple Corps procuring at least 5 conversions.
Initially these were supplied by Brydor Cars of Hounslow, a spin off company set up by Manager Brian Epstein and his friend, and man from the motor trade, Terry Doran.
John Lennons all Black Radford Mini
When Brian died and Apple was set up Terry was appointed head of Apple Music, and latterly worked for George Harrison, before returning to the car trade, last heard of as sales manager at Saab Piccadilly in the 1980’s.
Here are the famous Fours cars,
George Harrison LGF 695D, initially metallic Black The Psychedelic Mini, used in the filming of the Magical Mystery tour, latterly used by Eric Clapton in the 1970’s and still owned by the Harrison family
Paul McCartney GGJ382C California Sage Green Metallic with Aston Martin rear lights, the car still alive and well in the US.
John Lennon 'LGF 696D 1965 Austin Cooper 'S All black, including the windows and the bumpers, whereabouts unknown
Ringo Star LL0 863D Burgandy, converted to a hatchback, so he could get his drums in! the car still alive and well in the UK.
Paul McCartney with his early Radford.
Ringo's mini as it is today
Mike Nesmith from the Monkees and Ginger Baker from Cream also had Radfords. Other celebrity owners included George Best and Peter Sellars & Britt Ekland
Making these quite the in thing for zipping about London.
Ginger Baker from Cream / Blind Faith Also had a Radford, seen here with his son, Kofi on the bonnet
The interior of Mike Nesmith's car, showing the amount of modifications carried out from standard
Mike Nesmith's car in the US
Other tuning companies existed such as Downton, Broadspeed and of course Wood and Pickett, who carried on modifying Mini's well into the 1970's. W & P produced more modified Minis than Radford in the end, customers include Elton John, Denny Laine, Mick Jagger, Paul and Linda McCartney as well as celebrities such as Twiggy and Hayley Mills,
Mick Jaggers Mini OGO 668E outside Wood and Pickett
Colin Petersen from the Bee Gees with his 330GT and ube rare and fast Broadspeed GT Mini
If you have a similar story, some old fan pics, or maybe you own an ex Rockstars car,
Or know the whereabouts of Terry Doran, or John Lennon's Missing Radford!!!
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