From time to time we email people who have registered their cars for invites to shows etc.
Unfortunately we receive a lot of "bounced" emails.
Would you be sure to send us an update if you change your email address via the contact form please?
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No MOT for our 1959 Minis

As from the 18th November 2012 it will not be necessary to MOT pre 1960 cars.

For full details please read this letter recently sent to us by the DVLA.

Steve Gregory

Steve Gregory in Christchurch New Zealand found an early Mini in a barn that had been laid up for 30 years. It had turned up on the back of a borrowed trailer in 1980 and with nowhere to keep it the guy asked the owner of the trailer if it could be looked after until he got some storage sorted out. That was the last he saw of the Mini owner.

In October 2010, 30 years later in steps Steve, recognising it as a very early Mini he posted some questions and photographs on the Early Forum on Specialist Mini Forums.

The other members were able to confirm Steve’s suspicion that the Clipper Blue Morris Mini Minor Steve had found whilst talking to a chap at a car boot sale about early Mini seats was in fact a September 1959 CKD. It was part of the first batch sent out to New Zealand, the kits being recorded as produced on 29th September that year. Of the 59’s known of in New Zealand Steve’s find was the earliest Morris known to survive and is still the earliest Morris CKD on record surviving anywhere in the world.

A deal was hastily done and AM 4535 was Steve’s!


Now for the restoration.

Steve stripped it down and found a remarkably solid, original, and complete car, his stories of sourcing body shops and parts makes any UK restoration look easy. Still undeterred on went the rebuild, by April 2011 the welding was done and the car being prepped for paint, a hurry up phone call from Steve to the panel beater/painter revealed a worrying turn of events, he’d been evicted from his workshop and had a breakdown!!

By May 2011 with the 59 now rescued and at the same body shop that was working on Steve’s 997 Cooper is was progressing to paint well and was back at home by the end of May in a fresh coat of Clipper Blue.


On 13th June 2011 a large earthquake struck Christchurch with Steve’s house being very badly damaged, Steve wrote at the time,

I went home to check everything and pick up the kids from school. Then remembered the 59 was painted and up on very high axle stands (which I must admit were a bit wobbly) I felt sick as I opened the garage do to check the carnage.. it was fine! Wow.. close shave..

Plenty of other mess all round the garage and something had decided to go through the rear garage glass door putting glass everywhere.

By the end of June Steve was back working on the car, a house move in November 2011 saw AM 4535 out on the road (on a trailer anyway) and off to a new undamaged house.

Again Steve writes about the home they’ve just left and been living in since the quake’s started in September 2010,

Our whole street has been written off (about 120 houses) in total two fifths of the town I live in has been ‘red zoned’ our street has stretched over 3 meters also creating cracks you can jump into never to be seen again!! (450 homes) meaning the land is too damaged to economically repair.. In places land has sunk over a meter creating massive flood risks..

The subframes where all newly painted and going back on the car along with the new wiring loom. By the middle of December 2011 the engine was back in only for more quakes to strike a week later.

More from Steve,

They (the quakes) were felt all over the South Island. We moved only 2 miles from the last house to keep the kids at school. This new “Fault Line” has moved further up the coast to us this time. They were centred about 10 miles away.

When the 1st one hit I was driving with the kids and thought a wheel had come off, I quickly pulled over but the whole car was rocking and rolling still. We jumped out and hit the deck. You could see the waves coming through the ground.

When the 3rd and largest one hit we were back in the house.. It was very violent and we ran in different directions before heading under the kitchen table. We were lucky this time as there appear to be no damage to the new house. Its going to cost us in rates though as the council can’t get insurance these days and there was a lot of new infrastructure damage.

Into the New Year of 2012 and Steve is fitting doors, glass and restoring other parts like the heater.


The quality of work Steve is putting in to this rebuild would be impressive for any of us to be rightly proud of, but to be doing all this under such conditions and the stress all this must bring is something super human! Well done Steve and keep up the good work, I’m sure all the members and fellow 59 owners can watch with admiration as AM 4535 returns to life!!