These are the two original Minis that circumnavigated the world in 1980 as part of the “Around The World” expedition that was completed in aid of the Stop Polio charity.
BBC TV’s Nationwide current affairs programme covered the trip and it was endorsed by both Princess Anne and rock star Ian Dury, who had contracted polio as a child. The cars were nicknamed Jack and Jill, and they were recently rediscovered and restored – they’re now being offered for sale.
Fast Facts – The “Around The World” Minis
- These two Minis were bought new in England and equipped for what was to be a 60,000 mile journey around the world driven by Tony Clarke and Tim Ferris.
- Both vehicles were fitted with a snorkel, which is not something we normally see on Minis, and they were given ample spare wheels, jerry cans for fuel, and plenty of spare parts.
- As the journey unfolded both cars needed new engines, so more powerful 1,275cc units were fitted in South Africa. They retain these same engines today.
- The cars are now fresh off a two year restoration after being brought back to their original condition. They’re now due to be offered for sale as a pair with a price guide of £40,000 – £45,000.
60,000 Miles Around The World In A Pair Of Minis
After completing a preview tour of the UK, the two Minis embarked on their journey in the summer of 1980, starting from the BBC’s Lime Grove studios and heading towards France.
The Minis were then driven south to Marseilles before being transported by ship to Algeria, where they joined a convoy for a challenging trek across the Sahara Desert.
Crossing The Sahara Desert
In an interview later with Classic & Sports Car magazine in 2021, Ferris remembered: “The Minis were completely unsuitable and got stuck in the sand constantly – we had to stop over 50 times to dig them out.” Eventually, two ex-military 4×4 trucks owned by German missionaries had to tow the Minis out to safety.
Both the crew and the cars endured the harsh conditions of the desert, and by the time they reached Lagos, Nigeria, the Minis required numerous replacement parts. Unfortunately, flooding prevented the delivery of the spare parts by road to Lagos, so the decision was made to fly the two Minis to Nairobi, Kenya.
Continuing their journey, they successfully reached Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, passing through Tanzania and Malawi. However, both Minis needed new engines, which were installed in South Africa. The replacement engines were more powerful 1,275cc units, and additional upgrades such as sump guards and truck-type air filters were also fitted.
The American Leg Of The Journey
Next, the Minis were shipped by sea to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, while the drivers flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina. They then traveled through Brazil, encountering the challenging Trans-Amazonian Highway, which transitioned from Tarmac to dirt tracks for the next 3,000 miles.
Reflecting on this part of the journey, Ferris shared, “The Amazon adventure and the friendly people were the highlight of the trip. It was dangerous, but I was young and loved obstacles such as the river crossings.” The extreme temperatures in the region caused the engines to overheat, and one of the Minis suffered from a melted piston due to poor-quality petrol. Repairs in Manaus, Brazil, took six weeks to complete.
Continuing through Venezuela, another dramatic incident occurred when Jack’s brakes failed on the Cerro El Àvila mountain range. The car could only be slowed down by using the transmission, which eventually also failed. Jill had to tow Jack for the final 1,250 kilometers to Caracas, from where they were shipped to Miami, marking the start of the United States leg of the journey, which would ultimately lead them to Los Angeles.
Onto Asia And Then Home To England
Afterward, the Minis were transported to Singapore for extensive repairs. They then traversed Thailand and Malaysia before being shipped across the Indian Ocean to India.
From there, they traveled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and mainland Europe, finally arriving back in the UK after an incredible 13 month adventure, where they were greeted by Nationwide reporters.
Jack and Jill had covered an astonishing 60,000 miles during their journey and raised £25,000 for the Stop Polio charity.
The Original “Around The World” Minis Shown Here
These are the two Minis used on the original adventure around the world, they have consecutive registration and chassis numbers and they were bought from the British Leyland dealership Mumfords of Truro and s noted above, they were nicknamed “Jack” and “Jill” for the expedition.
You can read the story above of their extraordinary adventure, once the two cars were back in England they went into storage at Mumfords and later spent time on display in a local car museum. After the museum closed down the two Minis were sold off to a private owner, then later bought by Valentine Lindsay in 2017.
Lindsay commissioned Lenny Thackray to undertake a full restoration of both cars, with a special request to save as many of the original features as possible.
The restoration included having the body blasted back to bare metal, a professional sign writer was then hired to perfectly replicate the original livery adorning both cars. Almost all of the original sheet metal remained on the cars, with just one boot lid needing to be replaced.
New wheels were fitted, and the engines and gearboxes were both rebuilt. A pair of Corbeau bucket seats complete with four-point harnesses were fitted in place of the originals, but the original seats were retained and remain with the cars now.
After the two year restoration was completed the cars were shown to the public at the London Classic Car Show in 2019. Tim Ferris was a guest of honor, and was quoted as saying:
“I was over the moon when I saw them and finally sitting in the driving seat brought back all the amazing memories. They’d done a fantastic restoration job – far better than new!”
The cars are now coming up for sale as a pair with Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on the 14th of July. The price guide is £40,000 – £45,000 which works out to approximately $50,500 – $56,900 USD, if you’d like to read more about them or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Bonhams
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