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December 20, 2018

The Story Behind George Harrison’s Psychedelic Mini

George Harrison owned the Mini that featured in ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. The Mini, an Austin Cooper ‘S’, LGF 695D, was built for George Harrison by Harold Radford (Coachbuilder) Ltd in late 1965 and painted in Metallic Black.

In early 1967, the car was repainted and the psychedelic pictures were added using a book, Tantra Art: Its Philosophy and Physics, for inspiration. At the same time Harrison also had the wall of his house painted in the same style, which did not go down very well with his neighbors...

“After the drive around in the rain each of us was put in a Mini with our name on,” George remembered. “John, Paul George, Jimmy individually, in huge Dayglo paint. They were advertising the British Motor Corporation. These cars were Minis, together with an Austin Princess with ‘Beatles’ right along the side in Dayglo.”

The Mini then was used in the film ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, which was screened by the BBC on the 26th December 1967 in black and white then again in color in January 1968.

George Harrison’s Mini Cooper in the racing scene for ‘Magical Mystery Tour’.

“I remember quite a bit of it, really, in the big hangar down in Kent. We were driving around this air field in the Mini Cooper, your mother should know. That was quite interesting, I quite enjoyed that...” – George on ‘Magical Mystery Tour’.

Shortly after the film, the Mini was given to Eric Clapton from whom Harrison got it back in the 1970s.

In June 1998, the Mini appeared at the ‘Goodwood Festival of Speed’ and was still owned by George Harrison.

The story was told some years ago was that the Mini had been stripped ready for painting but no one had taken photos of the paintings. The chap who had painted them wanted silly money to redo them, the car was said at this time to have belonged to Harrison’s brother. Some years later the paintings were done by someone else using old photos and the film for reference, although if you look closely some differ from when the car was in the film.

George, John, Cynthia, and Patti had their first LSD trip while driving LGF 695D (they were leaving the home of a dentist friend that had slipped it into their tea). George ended up driving the four of them back home from London to Surrey at 10 mph because they did not know what was happening to them.

Ringo Starr hitching a ride in George Harrison’s Mini driven by Damon Hill.

Stella McCartney in George Harrison’s Mini, “Olivia, thank you for the ride of a lifetime! X Stella”

John Lennon's Rolls Royce and George Harrison's Mini Cooper, 1967



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