Firstly, thank you to those of you who offered to help with the 'orange mini' problem. In the continued absence of any in either reasonable condition (I found one very poor example at £5) or at a reasonable price (immaculate in box, £275) I made one myself. I had one that I had resprayed black some time ago so had another go with that. Finding the right colour wasn't easy and I finished up having to order some from Amazon and hoping that it was actually fairly pale. All the examples I found in stores nearby were too dark. Luckily, the Amazon guess was a good one and the customer can now proceed with the birthday celebrations.
On the topic of Minis, though, there has been an interesting development this morning. I have four blue Morris Minis. Here they are:
The first is a very nice early edition in classic pale blue with flat, fixed wheels and a red interior. Note the holes showing the axles and the two floor panels. The text reads Morris Mini-Minor.
Now here is a fairly scarce light blue edition with free spinning wheels and a lemon interior. The base is also different with no floor panels and the text has moved towards the centre on what looks like a correction panel. You'll see this sort of device on many models where a base is re-used for a later edition. Why it was changed for the same model, though, I don't know.
Later editions had cast wheels with a spoke effect design and a red interior. I have not seen a cast wheel version with a lemon interior although I expect that will exist. The base is unchanged from the previous example.
Now look at this one. At first glance it looks like the early edition but with free spinning shaped wheels. Ah, but there are no axle holes and, wait a moment... what is that text? It reads Morris Mini Cooper! Cooper??
The rivets are genuine original fittings and the car has not been taken apart of changed in any way. I saw this advertised last week and it was titled Mini Cooper. I queried this with the seller, assuming that he had simply misread the base but he replied to confirm that that was what it said on the base. I was still not totally convinced, as people do tend to read what they think they see sometimes and the chap's online 'name' was brail with a number. The thought that he may be blind did occur to me! I decided to buy this anyway. It was only a few pounds as no-one else seemed very interested. I thought I could always paint it orange if it was nothing of interest.
It arrived this morning (in a package not much bigger than the size of the car itself so that was a bit of luck that it actually made it!) and I was delighted to find that the base does, indeed, read Morris Mini-Cooper. It is in pretty good condition, just a few marks on the paintwork but the screens are clean and the suspension sound. The tyres are not normal Corgi types - I am guessing that they have been replaced but I won't change them back to the old original style just in case this was an experiment and the tyres were, indeed, meant to be like that.
So this is an odd one. I am guessing that it has been a factory mistake, using a #227 base, which does seem to have the same rivet places and the two floor panels. An interesting and, I suspect, rather scarce item.