Bonhams MPH sale to feature a restored 1930 Austin Heavy Twelve Open Tourer Deluxe owned for numerous years by comedy legends Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan.
Named after one of their famous Goon Show characters, ‘Old Min,’ a pre-war 1930 Austin Heavy Twelve Open Tourer Deluxe previously owned by Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, will feature at Bonhams MPH Sale at Bicester Heritage on May 22.
Spike Milligan first acquired the 1930 Austin Heavy Twelve Open Tourer Deluxe in the 1950s when he was part of the famous radio program Goon Show, which also starred Peter Sellers. He named the car ‘Old Min’ after one of the show’s characters, an old spinster named Minnie Bannister that Milligan played himself.
Peter Sellers became internationally known for his film roles, especially for his part in the Pink Panther film series in the 1960s, where he played Inspector Clouseau. He was a renowned car connoisseur, with exotic motor cars from notable marques like Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, and Ferrari. Sellers acquired ‘Old Min’ when Milligan lost his driving license in 1968.
Sellers obtained the services of world-renowned Aston Martin specialist Richard Williams to become his fleet manager, looking after the Austin as week as his many other exotic motor cars. Until his passing in 1980, Sellers held possession of the car, though he briefly returned the car to Milligan in 1979.
“It’s pretty strange that out of all these cars, ‘Old Min’ was his favorite. He called me one day to ask me to deliver the car to Spike Milligan’s house as a present – the two were great friends. About a week later, he called me again: ‘I want you to collect ‘Old Min’ from Spike’s house, I’m having it back. He’s left it out in the rain and replaced the temperature gauge [mounted on top of the grille] with a coffee percolator”Richard Williams
‘Old Min’ and Williams were reunited years later when he was introduced to the next owner. In 2010, he purchased the Austin before conducting a very detailed ‘RS Williams quality’ three-year restoration, worthy of passing Seller’s very high standards. The restoration process involved Vintage-era Austin specialist Bob James, who rebuilt the 1,861cc engine capable of a top cruising speed of 45mph.
Since the extensive restoration, the Austin has been used sparingly and offered in a fully operational condition with an extensive history file. A unique feature of the sale will include an original handbook displaying an inscription stating, “Property of Spike Mulligan – please return.”
“Rarely do pre-war Austins get lavished with the attentions of firstly an international film star and more recently of a world-class luxury car specialist restorer. It must surely be the most desirable Heavy Twelve extant, and we are looking forward to it taking center stage when it crosses the block at Bicester,”Head of Bonhams MPH, Rob Hubbard.
The Austin will be joining several modern, historical, and popular collectors’ cars and vehicles that will be on offer on Saturday, May 22, at Bonhams MPH May sale. The sale will be held as a Live and Online drive-through auction at The Hangar at Bicester Heritage. Bonhams will be accepting online, telephone, and absentee bids. If local Covid-related guidelines allow, they will also be accepting bids from clients in the saleroom.
From Friday, May 21, all lots, including the 1930 Austin Heavy Twelve Open Tourer Deluxe ‘Old Min’, will be available to view on site. They will also be uploading live, interactive video condition reports and an enhanced online ‘walk around video’ preview content.