The Mini Mag

Volume 1 Number 7 September 1999.

The Mini 40 Report.
Celebration of 40 years of Mini.

by Darryl Osbourne.

What a wonderful day of celebration for the Mini’s 40th birthday. To all the people who joined us at Norwell - we thank you. Our club is fortunate to have members with the vision and drive to organise such an event. It was very satisfying to see the occasion supported so enthusiastically – support that made it a very successful and memorable day.

Since its inception, the Mini 40 committee worked tirelessly on ideas for a celebration of forty years of Mini motoring that would appeal to everyone with an interest in our favourite car. At no time did a lack of funds dampen their enthusiasm - nothing was impossible. These people were on a mission: a venue was decided on, a date was chosen and it was go, go go! A large part of the success was due to the promotion of the event at every opportunity and since the beginning we had a good response from both the media and the community. On the day, we had people and cars in numbers we had only dreamt about.

Hopes were high when more than sixty cars turned out for coffee and breakfast on Saturday morning prior to the run to the Gold Coast. The talk was Minis: Who’s coming? How many? No one knew - we could only guess.

On Saturday night at the dinner expectations were high: we had racing hero Bob Holden and his wife Colleen as our special guests and we promised them a memorable weekend. Sunday was not far away, and could not come quick enough: the feeling was that we could be on a winner.

Day dawns on Sunday, a great sunny morning and away we go. A quiet drive to Norwell before turning into the complex and BINGO!! Minis and people everywhere. This was going to be a FANTASTIC day.

Having been directed to the track where the cars were being parked, I was surprised to see almost one hundred on site already, despite the fact that it was only eight o’clock. As the morning went on, the cars kept coming, even at such an early hour there were a lot of spectators. For a Mini lover this was paradise, with a wide variety of models on display ranging from the earliest 850’s right through to the later series.

There among the throng was the lonely woody wagon of Ken Nelson, who brought his NC group race car as well as a Nota Fang. Jack Reed’s Marcos also attracted much interest. One vehicle that stood out was Paul Gulson’s wild chopped Moke: this thing just couldn’t be hidden even in the company of Minis wearing GTI engines or monster wheels. Although us old blokes like to keep our cars pretty standard, for the younger owners the trend seems to be to upgrade to modern type paint and trim and sound gear and the results can be quite special: Jeff Chang’s 850 being an outstanding example. To go through all the cars here would take all day, however the range and variety was just mind boggling: this was just the best Mini show done in Australia yet.

Also drawing lots of attention was our MC, David Macgregor who tied the events together so well – David, you can take a bow for a job well done. The Rock and Rollers and line dancers were arranged by David as well, and their show really added to the carnival’s atmosphere. An attempt to break the Mini Cramming record was attempted and fell short by just 3, with 24 squeezing into a kindly donated Clubman.

Visitors spent a lot of time and money in the trade stall area and it gave the members a chance to meet suppliers they had only seen ads for in magazines. Club members were kept busy in the food area, club display and particularly on the gate where things got really hectic. Many new members joined on the day and there was a big demand for the club magazine, shirts and stickers. We had a big run on the limited edition mugs as well. Our club also promoted the limited edition calendars produced by Craig Watson who attended to take in our day. Word is that for the next big event in Melbourne in November, our day will be the yardstick for comparison. To close the day’s events the cars assembled for the Grand Parade. Following this they were parked on the skid pan area to pose for a group photograph by Craig who is doing a story on our event.

The members stayed back to dismantle the stalls and reflect on the day. We were still overwhelmed by the support we received for this event. The committee must receive a special thanks: to Tony Formosa and Bob Ward for never giving up when obstacles appeared; Glen, our president, who kept the group going in the same direction, Michael Blackman, who still has ideas he hasn’t used. Thanks also to John Heselwood for milking publicity at every opportunity. Our treasurer, Richard Marchant, will now have to organise the explanation to the auditor. Many other club members contributed in different ways to make the day a success - your help has not gone unnoticed.

I am still amazed at the response to this Mini 40 - we have achieved great success due to the members’ efforts in supporting a club that Mini owners can be proud to be part of.. Well done all!

Darryl O.