1965 'The Prisoner' Mini Moke

Lot Number: 350

1965 'The Prisoner' Mini Moke

"I am not a number, I am a free man".

  • Sold for: £69,750

LIVE AUCTION: This lot was auctioned on Saturday 13th November, 2021 at 1.00pm GMT at NEC, Birmingham, B40 1NT

  • Body Colour

    BODY COLOUR
    White

  • Drive

    DRIVE
    RHD

  • Registration Number

    REG NUMBER
    HLT 709C

  • Odometer Reading

    ODOMETER READING
    34140 Miles

SUMMARY

"I am not a number, I am a free man".

DESCRIPTION

  • We are privileged to offer what is, undoubtedly, the most famous Mini Moke in the World
  • HLT 709C is one of the two surviving Mokes used in the 1968 'Cult' TV series starring Patrick McGoohan and, of course, driven in the series by the man himself
  • Four Mini Mokes were converted by Wood & Pickett in the summer of 1966 for the Prisoner series, and transported to Portmeirion in September 1966
  • The 850cc engine in HLT was replaced by a 998cc Cooper-spec unit at the time of the Wood & Picket conversion
  • After filming concluded in 1967, the Moke fleet was dissipated and the history of HLT up until 2011 is a mystery, however, it turned up in a barn in Holland and was shipped to the UK prior to being purchased, in a very sorry state, by our vendor in 2015
  • Although 2 Mokes survive from the filming back in 1966, this Moke (HLT) is the only one that is, beyond any doubt, used on screen. Due to a 'mistake' whilst filming the registration plate is seen  .
  • During its restoration, as much of the original shell was built into the replacement panels that make up the bodyshell, as well as the front bulkhead, the screen frame, bonnet, cross-member, 2 seats, dash and other parts were repaired and used
  • The distinctive striped canvas top and seat covers had to be reproduced but, pleasingly, the original 'Penny Farthing' motif, although aged, remains on the bonnet to this day
  • Since its completion by our vendor, HLT has had International magazine coverage and was subject to a several page feature in 'MiniWorld ' magazine as well as being the cover star in the September 2018 issue
  • It's fitting that HLT's first post-restoration day out was an emotional trip back to Portmeirion and according to our vendor “When I took the car back to The Village and drove it past those famous buildings, I really got the sense that it had come home.”

The Prisoner” was a 17-episode British TV series first broadcast in Canada beginning on 6th September 1967, in the UK on 29th September 1967, and finally in the US on 1st June 1968. It stars and was co-created by Patrick McGoohan and combines 'spy fiction' with elements of science fiction, allegory and psychological drama. The series follows a British former secret agent who is abducted and imprisoned in a mysterious coastal village resort, where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. Although the show was sold as a thriller in the mould of the previous series starring McGoohan, Danger Man (1960–68), its combination of 1960s countercultural themes and surrealistic setting had a far-reaching influence on science fiction and fantasy TV programming, and on narrative popular culture in general.

Four Mini Mokes were said to have been converted by Wood and Pickett in the summer of 1966 for the Prisoner series, and transported to Portmeirion in September 1966. Each were subtly different, and parts and fittings were swapped around during the course of filming. Some of the Mini Mokes, if not all, were later returned to London for use in studio filming. CFC 916C and HLT 709C were both involved in the filming (the first having been owned by Max Hora the once proprietor of the Prisoner shop at Portmeirion) however HLT is the only one that is, beyond any doubt, used on screen. The Mokes' registration numbers were normally covered by a plate reading “Taxi” but on one occasion they were left off by mistake and HLT can clearly be seen in the episode entitled ‘Living in Harmony’ driven by actor David Bauer as No.2. The car itself is seen extensively being driven by McGoohan in numerous episodes notably 'Arrival' and 'Many Happy Returns'.

After filming concluded in 1967, the Moke fleet was dissipated and the history of HLT up until 2011 is largely unknown. What is known, however, is that it spent some time in the Sheffield area in the early 1970s, and that later in the decade it was privately exported to The Netherlands.

The vehicle resurfaced several years ago, having been found in a barn in Holland, and returned to the UK where it was sold at auction in 2015. Its buyer was our vendor Phil Caunt together with his friend and fellow Moke enthusiast Jeremy Guy. At that time, its condition could be best described as challenging. The engine was not functioning, and the bodywork was in a dire state, but at least the roof and, crucially, the Penny Farthing motif on the bonnet were in situ. The latter was created by McGoohan as “an ironic symbol of progress”.

Over the following two years Phil with the invaluable assistance of various specialists, laboured to restore the Moke to the wonderful condition in which you find it today. “The mechanical side was relatively easy,” he says, “but I wanted to keep as much of the original body as possible. Given the state of the car, it would have been easier to buy a new shell, but that would have undermined the authenticity of the car.” The entire structure was acid-dipped, resulting in the once Spruce Green engine bay now being coloured white.

From our vendor. "The Chassis (Bodyshell) was substantially rotten when discovered in 2011, During my restoration as much of the original shell as possible, including the bulkhead, was built into the replacement panels that make up the bodyshell ,as well as the front bulkhead, the windscreen frame, bonnet, cross-member, 2 seats, dash and other parts were repaired and used.  The roof frame is original but the back vertical frame is a replacement, obviously all the vinyl has been replaced (I had to have this printed myself as no-one supplies it any more). The number plates are original from 1965 as is the iconic Penny Farthing logo on the bonnet.”

In terms of the interior, the car did come with some vestiges of the Wood & Pickett ‘wood’ trim remaining but “It resembled lino!” apparently. HLT is unique among the Prisoner Mokes in having a Cooper engine, and our vendor believes that the original 848cc powerplant was replaced by this 998cc unit early in its life possibly because one of its Village duties was towing a trailer, so the extra torque of the larger engine would have been useful. HLT retains this original engine but naturally it has been fully rebuilt with new pistons, crank and a rebore.

The newly restored vehicle was unveiled, fittingly, in September 2017 at Network's "Fall In" 50th Anniversary event in Portmeirion. According to Phil Caunt it was an emotional trip and "When I took the car back to The Village and drove it past those famous buildings, I really got the sense that it had come home".

The whole restoration process has been documented by our vendor and indeed the ‘story’ has been well covered in the motoring press including a multi-page feature in ‘Mini World’ magazine, a spot on the cover in the same publication in September 2018, a six-page article in 'Classic & Sportscar ' (March 2018) as well as numerous other magazine articles.

There have been a number of replica 'Prisoner' Mokes built in recent years but 'HLT' is the real thing. Fastidiously but sympathetically restored by Phil Caunt, it presents well and is enormously appealing always gathering a crowd wherever it goes. Should, one day, the Moke be parked next to James Bond's DB5 at a future "Cars of the Stars" event, you can bet that it's the Moke that would draw the most attention, so its new owner can look forward to being invited to shows and events everywhere for many years to come.



 



 

SPECIFICATION

Lot Number
350
Make
AUSTIN
Model
MINI MOKE
Registration Number
HLT 709C
Chassis Number
AAB1737950
Body Colour
White

CONSIGNOR

Consignor

For further information regarding this lot please contact Richard.

CONTACT

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