In 1966 I came home from active duty with the US Navy. I got a job with the Post Office, saved my money and in 1967 I bought my first car, a 1931 Model A Ford Pickup. It was painted purple, needed a lot of work, but when it ran it was my daily driver. We used to drive it up and down Haight Street during that Summer of Love. I had it running pretty well when a friend of mine from high school drove up and said "look what I just bought".
Out in the street was an Almond Green Mini Cooper S. I looked at the A, and then back at the Mini. I said "I need one of these !" So I sold the A and went to SF BMC on Van Ness Ave. This was 1969 and there were still a few Mini Repos and Trade-ins available at the dealers. I bought a '67 MKII Austin Cooper S.
I was supposed to be attending CCSF, but to support my car habit I got a job with Standard Oil at the company station at 19th Ave. and Irving St. in the Sunset District of San Francisco. One day a guy came in and encouraged me to join the "Mini Touring Association". The MTA was a SF/Peninsula based club. I attended the MTA meetings which were held at the BMC Dealer in Palo Alto. Not long after that John Casado drove into the station for some gas. He had just moved from LA for a job working as a commercial artist in SF. I went with him to his first meeting.
We were all active with MTA, but John still kept in touch with his friends in MOA. At one meeting John suggested we join MOA since they were more established; they had a great logo and a decent newsletter etc. We all agreed. John set up the first gathering with LA (first ever Mini Meet ?) in Cambria, Ca. Everything after April 1970 can be read in the newsletters that are posted on the MOALA website. The first newsletter (Vol. 1 No.1 April 1970) coincides with our beginning involvement with MOA.
- Neil Blank, 2017