Some nice people in Yorkshire have asked me to sell their little orange Mini. I knew these were quite scarce and even my very battered examples often sell for £50 so I realised that this was something a little special, despite the annoying Whizzwheels.
It did come as some surprise, however, to see just how much one of these in A+ condition with a pretty good late box was worth. QDT had one for £450 a few years ago. The buyer paid £335 which would have finished up as a cheque for not far off £450 by the time the usual auction fees, tax and delivery had been added.
So this is one little valuable item indeed.
I have to say, though, that I didn't know why. The 204 Whizzwheels Mini was first issued in February 1972, accompanied at the time by the Chevrolet Camaro, Mini Marcos and Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Whizzwheels editions, all of which had seriously short production periods and are now some of the most expensive to buy in good condition. None quite make the heights of the Mini's figures (ignoring for now the blue Mini Marcos which probably would if ever one were to appear).
I can only imagine that the production numbers for the Mini in this short space of time have had to be divided between the three different bases (matt black, glossier black and silver), the different colours (metallic blue, non-metallic blue, orange with a black roof and all orange), the different screens (clear or tinted), the different interiors (yellow or red) and, yes, even different wheel styles (4 or 5 spoke).
OK. Now I understand. In theory that could lead to 96 different models but I am pretty sure that some of these combinations don't exist. Let's say there would be just 20 editions. Even for a production run of a quite massive 100,000 (for those times) that would be a mere 5,000 of each of the different models. Naturally some would be rather more and some rather less but my best guess as to the maximum that could possibly have been made of this particular (more 'normal') model would be 10,000. That is not very many at all. It's very likely that it is a lot less and other people have done the same sums at some time and that, friends, must be why we're now talking about such high price for this little orange car.
Collectors also like Minis. And complete collections. So they'll need this one. Available now. At a price.