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Mini van held loads of memories over 45 years in Barbara’s ownership

Barbara Hardiman’s Mini van was a big part of her life, carrying loads of rubbish to the dump and full of happy memories over 45 years of ownership.

Brian and I were married in November 1960 and, by the middle of 1961, we were keen to buy our first car.

Brian admitted that he was not really mechanically minded. We had £350 which would buy us a rather rough second-hand car but it would buy us a brand new Morris Mini van complete with back seat conversion.

We took delivery of 531 EUY but then, within weeks, Brian was given a brand new A60 to go with his job – our reason for moving to Exmouth – and the Mini became mine.

In 1964 I gave birth to Louise and the Mini really came into its own. Brian built a ramp for me to push the pram up into the back, complete with Louise, the brakes were applied and off we went. It would not be allowed today.

When we bought the Mini it was exempt from purchase tax but, if you had side windows fitted before the vehicle was seven years old, the tax would become payable. When it was seven years old, and while I was in hospital having Samantha, Brian had side windows fitted. I was delighted.

During the ensuing years the Mini was used for advertising Exmouth Operatic shows with billboards lashed on to a roof rack, to carry a demolished wall, when we altered the inside of our bungalow, and what must have been hundreds of tons of rubbish to the dump over the years and, most importantly, to give both our daughters driving lessons.

By 1987 it was still in pretty good shape and we realised the Mini was now quite special and, when we learned that there was to be a South West Mini Festival, we felt the Mini should be shown here. It had 47,436 miles on the clock and caused a great deal of interest to other Mini owners. The judges awarded it second prize for the Mini in its original form. In 2003 we took it to the Crashbox and Classic Car Club gathering at Powderham Castle where it again received an award for its original condition.

In 2006 we both agreed it was time to let someone else have the pleasure of our beloved Mini so advertised in the Mini Magazine. A Japanese man wanted it as a delivery vehicle for his business and happily paid the £3,500 asking price.

It was goodbye to the Mini that had held so many happy memories over 45 years.

Tell us about the adventures you had in your first car – email your memories with a picture of the car to motoring@archant.co.uk or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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