Thursday, March 31, 2011

1971 Wood and Pickett Mini Margrave

I love the old British attitude about luxury cars.

Here in the US we needed a "name" on our luxury cars. Cadillac, Lincoln, Imperial, etc. We needed them to be big, chromed and scream "I paid a lot for this car!".

That didn't hold true for the Brits. They'd take pretty much any brand, any model, any size car and turn it into a luxury car. In many cases the manufacturer offered a luxury version of their cars (i.e BL's Vanden Plas badged cars), but when they didn't - or didn't offer one luxurious enough - "coachbuilders" often took on the task.

Coachbuilder Wood and Pickett specialized in Minis. They were known for their super luxurious interiors. They also offered a long list of options, which allowed the customer to personalize their car.

This Wood and Pickett Mini is based on a 1275 GT. While these were never sold in the US, this one is left-hand drive. I assume it came from somewhere on the European continent.

I may be in the minority here, but I always liked the front end of the 1275 GT and Clubman better than the standard Mini. The body of this one looks really nice with its Rolls Royce "Garnett" paint and 10" Minilites.

The interior is something else. The seats are Recaros and they, along with many of the interior surfaces are covered in Connelly leather. The dash is polished Walnut. In that dash are some great round Smiths gauges. (In a car like this they should have used gauges with chrome rings.) This car has power windows and even a power sunroof. The carpeting looks like - and probably is - Wilton wool. It even has a 1971 state-of-the-art AM/FM 8 Track player.

I was going to end this post by writing something like "it's too bad no one ever created cars like this in the US". Then I realized that it would have been impossible to create a car like this in the US. What would we have created? A luxury Chevy Vega or Chevette? A luxury Ford Pinto? This only works because the Mini is a fun car to begin with.

This car is being offered by Edenholm Motor Group in Scottsdale, AZ. Click here to see their ad.

Wood and Pickett is still in business, although they are a parts and restoration company now. You can find their website here.


Anonymous said...

"it's too bad no one ever created cars like this in the US"

Don't forget "Cimarron, by Cadillac"

Oh, wait, never mind.

Just A Car Geek said...

Great comment!


Blair Russell said...

Well played, Anonymous.

Yeah, a small luxury car just won't work in a country like the United States where "bigger is better".

Maxichamp said...

Don't forget the Canada-only Acura EL (based on a Civic).

Anonymous said...

There has been at least one "coach built" Chevette in the 70's.

Direct from Post Falls ID, the Leata Cabalero by Stinebaugh Manufacturing!

Both as coupes and pick ups. Think vinyl tops, coach lights, chrome,fins, and wire wheels.

Jalopnik (bad in the good ol'days) had Murilee post on them.

Click the link, see the pictures, have a bucket nearby.


Blair Russell said...

I learned something new today, Anonymous. I sure as heck had never heard of Leata before. After looking around online, it appears to be a fascinating story. I got the low-down via this How Stuff Works article:

In the future I'll be on the lookout for the rare chance that one gets offered for sale via something other than an auction sale (I know one was sold at Barrett-Jackson recently); once I do I'll submit it for this site, as it'd be perfect.

Enmotors said...

Dave you may get your wish . I read somewhere that Mini (BMW) plans on offering an up-market car like this in the next couple of years. $60k projected sticker with nicer paint and leather. We’ll see if it ever pans out.

Never seen a Leata. Good reads.

Anonymous said...

Hi all,
to get the whole story, and see more W&P cars, write Eurods/WP in your google search box.
Then you will find Wood & Pickett Mini History:Home.

Jens Christian