In Ted’s garage

by Ted Atkins

regarding the ongoing restoration of a first-generation SAMOA Mini

I’ve been working in the boot of the Dick Christie 1967 Cooper S, and removed some material from beneath the rear parcel shelf that was turning into powder.  This black material had an adhesive on the back.  The car had a sound proofing kit installed, which was the thick hairy mats under the carpet, on the front bulkhead, above the headliner and even on the bottom of the boot floor. So this black, stick on material seems incongruous with the rest of the “kit”. Have you encountered this? Is it “period correct” / installed at the dealership / factory? Thanks for you consideration of this important issue.parcel-shelf


Can’t describe the sound deadening material that was under the rear shelf, but it was there at least on the later Mk I Cooper S Minis like Dick’s. (And under the bonnet you left out in your list.) It had a black surface facing down and was glued up to the bottom of the shelf…and didn’t last long. Notorious for coming unglued, falling down, and often thrown away. Same with that under the bonnet.

    Pretty sure is was factory installed. Might have been an option one ordered. Don’t know for sure. I don’t remember whether Dick’s car had all the original sound deadening or if I installed new for him. Any info in the information you got with the car?

– Chuck

Thanks, Chuck.   I always feel bad pulling original stuff off a car, but it was turning to dust. I hope I can come up with something similar but modern to replace it with. I am re-installing the Penny Bourdon era turn signal/stop lamps on the parcel shelf.   There is nothing left under the bonnet, but residue of brushed on glue is evident, probably a different product than in the boot. I don’t recall any information in Dick’s paperwork regarding the sound deadening. The only equipment listed on the Heritage form is the fresh air heater.  Were the hairy mats what the factory/dealers installed on new cars?  Also, there is Orange paint under the Cadillac Silver and on top of the Almond Green. I have an invoice for the Silver paint job – code 94 – ’80 Cad. from September 4 1985.  Do you have a recollection of this car in Orange?  Did Penny do that?  The original “passport to service” book lists R. Wendall Hedges, 16509 NE 28th, Bellevue, as the first owner ( purchased from Brit. Mtr. Car Dist.,Inc. Seattle ). I assume Penny was the second owner and Dick the third. Have you any idea whether this is accurate? The first record of your (Chuck’s ) work on the car is from January 1973.  I assume Dick was the owner at that time, although his name is not referenced on the receipts.  What a rabbit hole!  Anyway, Thanks for all your help and information over the years and hope you are well.

OK  I think I can help. There was a factory installed sound deadening in the boot under the parcel shelf. It was the same material as the rest of the car would have had. Kind of a very thick felt like they used under the carpet. It was the same color, kind of a brownish tan. The black stuff you removed was an aftermarket version that was installed at some point in the cars life. insulationI knew the car when Penny and Dick owned it and don’t know if she ever had it repainted. Dick Christie however had a habit of painting his cars frequently. He had an Avanti that he had painted several times just because he would get tired of the color and wanted something different. As Chuck said the same material was used under the bonnet and had a black surface facing the engine. The material in the boot did not.  All for now  -Chris Miller

Thanks Chris, That is great information. The car had a lot of extra gizmos and gadgets when I bought it from Dick, so I could believe he painted the car a few times. I think I might re-install the under dash ashtray I removed to reference his ownership. Any further insights or photos you might have would be appreciated. As a Seattle guy, I’m pleased to own this long time Seattle car. On another topic   —  The Grape  —   the engine is ready to assemble, just need the flywheel from Autosport. Gear box is done.

After I finish the Nash Healy I’m working on and 2 Porsche 356’s, I’ll repair the body…hopefully around the beginning of next year.   Is there any word about the progress on Jim Dawson’s “Downton Car”?
Jim’s Downton Mini. Sigh. Something Chris and I often talk about.  -Chuck
Chuck,  I have the BMIHT  report for CA2S7L/1012687A—it reads—blah, blah, LHD, North American Export–Almond Green with Old English White Roof, blah, Built- 15 June 1967, Dispatched- 21 June 1967, Details of Equipment- Fresh-Air Heater.   This is dated 27 February 1987 and you passed this information on to Dick. You mention in your letter to Dick accompanying the report that Chris had a similar car one serial number earlier, I hope Dick remembered to reimburse you the 5$ for the report.  Please put your Penny stories to paper!  I’m enjoying these exchanges of stories and information.
I have the BMIHT  report for CA2S7L/1012687A—it reads—blah, blah, LHD, North American Export–Almond Green with Old English White Roof, blah, Built- 15 June 1967, Dispatched- 21 June 1967, Details of Equipment- Fresh-Air Heater.   This is dated 27 February 1987 and you passed this information on to Dick. You mention in your letter to Dick accompanying the report that Chris had a similar car one serial number earlier, I hope Dick remembered to reimburse you the 5$ for the report.  Please put your Penny stories to paper!  I’m enjoying these exchanges of stories and information.
To be fair, I found my original to-do list dated 12-9-90, and it doesn’t list the boot lid as a priority. It was a “mental” list. The paperwork I have on the car lists R. Wendell Hedges as the first owner, delivery date 10/18/67. I believe the next owner was Penny Bourdon and then Dick Christie bought it, perhaps in 1973. I purchased the car in March 1990. I’m trying to refine the history with Chuck and Chris. Chuck has a story about Penny that he hasn’t told me yet. Some of the original SAMOA members that spoke at the 50th anniversary–I can’t remember their names– know Penny and the car and  recognized it by the holes for those auxiliary lamps on the parcel shelf. Apparently she had them installed for safety reasons. Hearing that story inspired me to reinstall them. We believe the car was still Almond Green until Dick got it and he painted it orange sometime and then silver in 1985. I would love to see some photos of it in those other colors. It attended the Mini Meet in Renton so there may be photos from that event. I’m appealing to longtime members for photos.

Looked this up in Parnell’s book. The boot lid used the single skin version with the black fiberboard liner up to December 1966 (body number 60003). Then switched to the double skinned lid. As with everything else on switched points, take with a grain of salt.  Parnell’s book is generally accurate.  -Chris Miller

Thanks Chris. That is the same information I saw. There may be some differences between the original boot lid and this aftermarket version, but I think it’s the best I canchristie-boot do for now. One of my cars had the wires to the license plate lamp crossed. It usually was fine, but sometimes, at night, with the lights on, everything would go dim and an electric arc would burn away some of the swinging plate. I realized what the problem was on the side of I-5 near Tukwila. Good times.  Reproduction–non-heritage- MK1  bootlid on the Dick Christie Cooper S with Ravenna Motors – courtesy of Bert – plate surround. It’s been on my list of things to do on this car for many years – it had a MK 3 lid.  I was waiting for the MK1 bootlid skins to become available, but went ahead and bought the complete lid. Some clean up was required and I had to slot the holes in the plate hinges to get them to work. You can see Penny Bourdon’s auxiliary tails lamps on the parcel shelf. I’ve cleaned up Dick’s supplemental ash tray and will be re-installing that as well.

Regarding early boot lids, I no longer remember when the boot lids stayed the same on the exterior (“flapping license plate”) but changed to solid on the inside instead of having the black, screwed on cover. Something for you to figure out to make sure you have the right type of boot lid.  -Chuck
Perhaps it was Del that I was talking with at the 50th. He was in contact with Penny. I asked him if she might be interested in seeing the car or might have any old photos or stories to tell. He discouraged me from contacting her and said he would mention seeing the car if/when he saw her again. Apparently a fragile relationship. I wish I had paid more attention when I bought the car from Dick Christie. I have some of his paperwork but no stories. I would love to see it orange, maybe at Mini Meet ’76, there have got to be some photos.

SAMOA Inspiration Award History

Compiled by Chuck Heleker, last revised November 02, 2017

Recent History

The award had not been presented for many years until I, Chuck Heleker, as newly elected club president, revived it at the January 2003 SAMOA meeting by presenting it to retiring president Kelley Mascher for the year 2002. Because the original plaque representing the award had been missing for many years no physical award was made.


SAMOA Inspirational Award

The original award plaque was found late in 2009 by Ed Sauer and had the names of 10 SAMOA members on it, missing only the 11th for Ed Sauer, the recipient for 1979. As well as being labeled the SAMOA Inspirational Award, it also had been labeled as the “Dick & Carmen Penna Memorial Trophy.”  The first name and date on the plaque is: Jerry Everett, 1969, and the last, Ed Sauer, 1979.

There was no room for more names so a second version was made and first presented in 2011 to Dan Berglund, the recipient for 2010. This version made up for those missed prior to Dan Berglund and had all the recipients’ names back to 2002.

This second plaque was full with the presentation of the award in 2016 to Noreen Cloft for 2015 so a third plaque was started in 2017 with the presentation of the award for 2016 to Chris Miller.

Origin of the Award

Dick Penna was one of the founding members of SAMOA and married Carmen on March 28, 1970. On a return trip from eastern Washington in May 1970, where Dick and Carmen  had attended Dick’s father’s funeral, their car, a Fiat 124 Coupe driven at the time by Carmen, was involved in an accident killing both of them.

The first mention I have found of the award is in the April 1970 newsletter, in what is a summary of the high points of the March 1970 meeting:

“One of our new members brought up the subject of club points and awards for member participation. It is possible that the newer members don’t know about the Inspirational Award which is given out at the time of election of officers. There are no nominations for this award, but each voter writes in the name of the person he feels has done the most for the club during the past year, and who has been an inspiration to him. Jerry Everett was the recipient for 1969. There is a question that should be decided. Since the last time this award was given out was July 1969, should we have an election in July of this year or wait until January of 1971 when our new officers will be elected?”

Also in the April 1970 newsletter is another award mentioned in Mike Howze’s column, “From the Head Table” when discussing club awards: “…an inspirational award which you the members decide on who in your mind represents SAMOA during the club year.”

The next mention I find of the award in is the August 1970 newsletter, again, in President Mike Howze’s column, “From the Head Table.” It was referred to as the Inspirational Award and mention was made of its being awarded in the near future. In Mike’s column in the September 1970 newsletter, he suggested that the Inspirational Award be renamed the Dick Penna Memorial Trophy, and in his October newsletter column he indicated that there will not be nominations for the award, just a ballot process at the November meeting.

The December 1970 newsletter contains the minutes from the November meeting. Those minutes indicate that I was the newly elected President of the club as well as the recipient of the newly named Dick Penna Memorial Inspirational award.

Although I seem to be the first recipient of the Memorial award, it appears that an Inspirational award had been presented by the club late in 1969 or early 1970 to Jerry Everett because Jerry’s name is the first one on the plaque. [There is no mention of this award in the December 1969 newsletter and I do not have copies of the November 1968 or January 1969 newsletters.] If the Inspiration award had been presented for years prior to 1969, there is no indication in those few early newsletters that I have and no names are on the plaque itself prior to Jerry’s for 1969.

Miscellaneous History Post 1970

December 1971 Newsletter –  First referral to the award as the Dick and Carmen Penna Inspirational Award. (Notice, not “Memorial” award). Recipient to be determined by a secret ballot. [Nov. 16, 1971, meeting minutes]

January 1972 Newsletter – I received the award for 1971 as the first recipient of the “Memorial” award. [Dec. 21, 1971, meeting minutes.]

January 1978 Newsletter – Penna Inspirational Award for 1977 went to Ed Sauer. [Dec. 15, 1977, meeting minutes.]

December 1978 Newsletter – Member of the Year points accumulated will determine dollar amounts awarded. No mention of inspirational or memorial award. [November 16, 1978, meeting minutes]

January 1979 Newsletter – Winner of the “Member of the Year” award for 1978 went to Karen Corbett.

Member of the Year award for 1979 to Ed Sauer.

There is no mention of a Member of the Year award given to anyone for 1980 in the December 1980 or January 1981 meeting minutes.

March 1981 Newsletter. The points system for determining the Member of the Year was dropped for 1981. [February 19, 1981, meeting minutes]

It is likely that no Member of the Year (or Inspirational member, or Memorial award winner) was chosen for 1980. The last recipient (1979, Ed Sauer) still had the award stored away in 2009 and he likely still had it because he was never requested to bring it back so any new recipient could have it. No mention has been found of the award, in any format, being awarded after 1979 until it was resurrected in January 2003 and awarded for the year 2002.

Award Recipients Over the Years

The dates represent the period for which the award covered, not the year it was awarded. The recipients were allowed to keep the plaque during the year in which it was awarded, just making sure it was returned in time for the next year’s presentation.

First Plaque:

1969 Jerry Everett (July 1968 – June 1969)

1970 Chuck Heleker (July 1969 – December 1970)

1971 Chuck Heleker

1972 Bert Lobberegt

1973 Jim Kirbach

1974 Steve Ludwig

1975 Steve Ludwig

1976 Lois Ludwig

1977 Ed Sauer

1978 Karen Corbett

1979 Ed Sauer


1980 – 2001. No awards given


Second Plaque:

2002 Kelley Mascher

2003 George Thompson

2004 Oly Jensen and Peter Larson

2005 Toby May

2006 Dave Baughman

2007 Tim Boyd

2008 Barbara Praefke

2009 Chuck Heleker

2010 Dan Berglund

2011 Ryan and Lisa Love


2012 – 2013. No awards given


2014 Don Dixon

2015 Noreen Cloft


Third Plaque:

2016 Chris Miller


Related Award

The MGCC (M.G. Car Club) introduced the Dick Penna Memorial Challenge Cup trophy at the MG Challenge autocross held April 18 1970. It was to be awarded to the club with the most participation at the autocross. (No winning club was announced in the article.)  Dick was an avid and well known autocrosser which surely prompted the MGCC trophy. [Newsletter, June 1970]

Information Source –  Information to compile the history of this award was taken from copies of SAMOA newsletters collected over the years. The collection was not complete at the time this document was put together and revised in November 2017 (many 1967 and 1968 newsletters were missing from the collection). More information may be revealed as missing newsletters are found, and as a more thorough reading of the available newsletters is carried out.  – Chuck Heleker, club historian


Another brilliant 60s film on the Mini

Thanks to Bill Wecker for noticing this on Hemmings:



Bashing about on Vashon Island

The first Bash on Vashon was 1997 with a total of just four cars.  Todd Fitch (brown Canadian Mini), Ed Toledo (MK1/2 Automatic), Illes Bognar (mk1 Cooper) and Peter Larsen (85o Innocenti).

Illes and I met the other two at the Vashon Ferry Terminal and from there we toured around and also stopped at the Roasterie.

There was no offical “paid by Samoa” lunch, this was just shooting from the hip.

From then on we did it almost every Year.  We missed two years I think and normally the date was in June but then the weather became suspect and we moved it to August more or less.

The most we had was  25 cars!!!  Normally an average of 15 to 20 cars but last year only 12 cars.  2008 was a good one with a professional photographer who got a nice shot at The Roasterie of the 18 cars.

In the early years we would include our monthly meeting at The Roasterie even with Chuck Heleker being the president.

We’ve been doing it for so many years I’m running out of roads, so it will always seem kind of a duplicate, but not quite.    -Peter Larsen


A long run of East-side picnic meetings


Steve and Kim Gay moved into their house in Woodinville in 2001 and held their first SAMOA club meeting there on Tuesday night, August 20, 2002.

Starting in 2003, meetings at the Gay’s house were moved to Saturdays and held in the late morning or afternoon followed by a BBQ. There are no records of meetings being held there in 2006 or 2007 so the meeting scheduled for 2019 will be the 15th running of the picnic/meeting.     – Chuck Heleker


20 years of Minis at Greenwood show…or is it 21?

For the first time ever, maybe, SAMOA participated in the Greenwood Car Show in 1998 with at least three cars.   No idea where I came up with this information, but it wasn’t from the newsletter.

The first accurate information of club participation the date is June 26, 1999.  Nine Minis, one non-Mini.  Even with the first few years having less than 10 club cars, we’ve averaged just over 17 Minis through 2017.

The most ever? 27.  Twenty or more? 10 times through 2017.

Do you have more Greenwood Mini memories you’d like to share?  Please do!  – Chuck Heleker


Decades of White Elephant Auction Action

Forty White Elephant Auctions have been held over the past forty one years.  The first was held in 1978 at the house of somebody named Ed from Ballard and only one event in the 41 years through 2018 has been missed – 1988.  It was decided late in 1988 to have the WEA early in the coming year so the 1988 WEA was held over until Jan 14, 1989 meaning there was no WEA in 1988.

Of the 39 WEAs through Jan. 27, 2018, sixteen have been held at George Thompson’s house. All the work George did for the WEAs and the Greenwood Car Show was the reason why George was chosen in 2003 as winner of the Dick and Carmen Penna Memorial Trophy, SAMOA’s annual inspiration award.

Early events were generally held at member’s homes then, starting in 1990, the event location W-elephantchanged to larger sites. George Thompson’s very large garage became the preferred site from 1997 through 2011 but the event has also occurred at a ‘sportsmans’ club on Vashon Island, an auto-electric shop in Graham, an unholstery shop near the Ballard Bridge, a church in Crown Hill and a slot-car racing facility in Tacoma.

A “silent” auction was added to the event in 1998.  New, Mini-related items donated by retail establishments were featured.  It ran concurrently with the “live” white elephant auction.  This dual-action auction continued through 2017.


The largest attendance for the event came in 2018 at Pingrey’s Garage with “over 50” members and guests on hand and in 2015 the largest amount of money donated – $3,425.50 – happened at Alan Smith’s Scale Racing Center in Tacoma.  -facts and figures researched by Chuck Heleker, club historian


The Mini, according to Readers Digest, 1970

Submitted by Don Dixon.  Thanks, Don!






SAMOA hosts Mini Meet West 1985

Text and photos by Shelly Staatz Thiessen:

Earlier this week I was going through some of my slides and came across these photos from the 1985 Mini Meet West in Olympia. TP (Tony Pearson) and I drove around Olympia so I could take pictures our Minis. He had a very nice, red woody and I was driving my blue sedan.  What a fun meet.

Located at the west end of Capitol Lake, The Westwater was the site for Mini Meet West ’85.

More details:  From 1982 to ’84 I was going to school at BIOLA in Los Angeles and became active in MOA-Los Angeles and got to know Tony Pearson.

Shelly Staatz’ Mini and the State Capitol Building in Olympia.

He  was the club president most of the time that I was there.  (I think that his car later ended up in Oregon).   I used to write SAMOA about what the LA club was doing.  Tony was good friends with Tony Swisler and Bill Gilcrease.  He was on the pit crew for Bill’s Mincomp Mini.

Tony lived in Huntington Beach when I was in LA.  Nice, single guy.  He was very much into motorcycles and had too many for his garage.  When I was there, he drove a newer (for back then) white Mini and was working on restoring the Woodie.  He was club president for a number of years.  As long as I have known him, he has worked in some area of the auto industry.  George Thomas (a long-time Mini owner from Portland who  was at this years MMW) still talks with TP on a regular basis.  -Shelly Staatz Thiessen

Tony Pearson and his Countryman.  Tony and several other SoCal Mini owners mad the trip to Olympia.
Minis gather for the group photo.  Back in ’85 a circuit camera was the way to go.  After fixing the camera to a huge step ladder (right center in photo) it rotated over 180 degrees to get all the Minis in the one shot.
Sinbad the parrot and his owner Patrick (hand blocking his face) from Vancouver BC were in attendance.  With a perch for Sinbad afixed between the front seats, they also had made the trip in Patrick’s blue Mini a year earlier to Denver for the first East-Meets-West Mini Meet.
A super-rare Heinz Hornet was in attendance.  Owned by Chuck Heleker, it had been given as a prize, along with 56 others, in a contest held by the Heinz company of catsup and pickle fame.


At the steps of the State Capitol Building, Tony and Shelly’s Minis look quite stately.


When is the last time you saw five Mokes in one place?
A mirror-image autocross allowed two Minis to run simultaneously.


Race Minis of Al Beebe and Steve Ludwig on display in the Concours.
Thoughts of The Italian Job came to mind…..

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