Daffodil Mini’s new owner Jo Johnston is loving her car. Photo: Andrew Board.

Daffodil Mini back in Nelson


Nelson’s rather large Mini fascination has been piqued again with news the region’s famous Daffodil Mini is back in town.

The Daffodil Mini was fully restored by the Caffeine Crew of Wakefield and businesses that they were able to rope in to help.

The Mini was raffled off in early 2014 with $110,000 raised and donated to the Nelson Cancer Society.

The Mini became a community project and was wheeled throughout town so people could get a close look at it and buy raffle tickets at $50 a pop.

Among the businesses that supported the project were Bowater Motor Group and Sun City Paint and Panel.

Sun City’s owner Tony Johnston spent hours working on it in evenings and weekends and his wife Jo says she was delighted to see the back of it.

“He did it in evenings and weekends and it took months and months to finish. It got to the point that we were just glad to get it out of the shed. It was so much work,” says Jo.

The raffle for the car was won by a North Island man who then sold it. Since it was raffled, the car has had a tough few years and been owned by five different people. In that time, it was raced, used in a car rally and even had its roof jumped on causing extensive damage.

Then it was sent back to Nelson to have the roof fixed and was bought by Jo.

“When we were given the opportunity to buy it we jumped at it because I really liked it,” she says. “I bought five tickets when it was raffled so I’m so happy to have it now.”

The Mini wasn’t perfect when it came back to Nelson, meaning more work for Tony.

“The roof leaks because it was jumped on, it needs a new engine mount, shock absorbers and the passenger door doesn’t open from the outside, which is really sad considering how much work went into it at the start,” says Jo.

“But Tony sees how much I really enjoy driving it so he doesn’t mind working on it. But he reckons he’s created a monster because now everything is just Minis – I love them.”

Nelson Mini Club president Andy Wallace says she’s delighted to see the Mini back in town.

“As a club we saw it advertised on TradeMe and thought ‘how could we bring it back to Nelson?’ So we’re really happy it’s back now and that it’s in such good hands.”

The yellow Mini and its number plate “D4FDIL” has been getting plenty of feedback from around town says Jo.

“A lot of people comment on it, it’s great. I love it and so do people that see it out and about.”