Paul B 1975 Morris Mini 1000

Hobbit car from Middle Earth

My wife Margaret and I have been to New Zealand several times and just love it there. The people are so warm and open and friendly. And the countryside is so beautiful, it was used as a background for Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies as Middle Earth.

The first time we went to New Zealand, we noticed the cute classic Minis driving around. Of course, we had seen some in the US, but not many, and not in a long time. Margaret even test drove one that we saw for sale along the highway on NZ's South Island.

We went back in 2009 and noticed the Minis again. We looked online for Minis for sale, and, probably due to the world economy at the time, there were lots of Minis available, and they were cheap! Again, probably due to the economy and so many people forced to sell their extra cars.

So we began looking and soon found one Margaret fell in love with. It ran great, had a good body and interior, and the price was right! So we spent a day in Wellington; we called the California DMV to make sure we could import it and register it, and we opened a bank account so our credit union back home would have somewhere to send a wire transfer, and went back and purchased the Mini. It is a 1975 Morris Mini 1000. We drove it all over the North Island, doing lots of sightseeing. It is a RHD (right hand drive) model, but so was our rental, so it was easy to get used to.

New Zealand is just beautiful. Did I say that? We visited lots of places in the Mini, including the Hobbiton movie set, Chateau Tongariro hotel, Mt. Ruapeho volcano, Whakapapa Village, Lake Taupo, etc. The Mini didn't turn any heads, because there seem to be many of them there. So many, in fact, that we joined a classic Mini club while there!

We drove it to Auckland and dropped it off for shipment to the US: Longbeach CA. A few weeks later, we picked it up and trailered it home to the SF Bay Area, where, indeed, it turns lots of heads, especially because its RHD! We found a local Mini club here, Minis Owners of America/San Francisco, and have been active with them ever since.

We have been back to New Zealand since, and kept our eyes open for another Mini. But the world economies are better, and the exchange rate is not what it was.

However, in Sept. of 2013 I found an Austin Mini Countryman Estate (woody) wagon in the US, and purchased it too. Now we have His & Hers Minis, in addition to our other not-so-classic cars we take to shows. Wouldn't you know it, its always the Minis that get all the attention!

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