Davenport Run - Saturday July 13, 2024

Join the Norcal Minis club for an epic drive from San Jose through the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains! Enjoy stunning vistas and wine tasting a...

Simon Tildesley - Member Profile

Hi Everyone,

As we all continue to be safer at home, we thought learning about our members and how they got into MINIs would be a great way to keep connected and enjoy our club members until we can meet again on the road.  To start, please find our 1st one by Simon Tildesley, our club President.

Simon Tildesley

Simon & Nikki
Hi there. Simon here – the current NorCal MINI’s president. During this trying period related to Coronovirus I thought it would be and opportunity and fun for people to introduce themselves in a little more detail related to MINI’s.

For as long as I can remember, I have had an interest in MINI. My mother had a 1963 Austin Mini in Almond green when I was a child. This was an early mk1 which had the starter button on the floor and a ‘pudding’ stick gear change, sliding windows and natural air conditioning from the holes in the floor due to body rot.
Photo from Google
After the demise of this car, my mother bought a second MINI. A 1976 Mini 1000 in burgundy red with beige plastic seats. These were so hot to sit on in the summer that you had to use a towel. This also became my car to use to get to/from college when I passed my driving test. Even though not my own car – it was the first Mini I drove.
Photo from Google

Fast forward some years to 90’s when I met Nikki. This period in our life was before we got married. During our dating years, Nikki bought a 1988 Mary Quant Designer Mini. The stripy seats and red belts sure made a fun interior. Sadly, this car was a lemon and had many problems with it so we swiftly moved it on and bought a Citreon 2CV instead.
Photo from Google

Photo from Google

Fast forward a few more years, we are now married and have kids. After an absence of sometime from owning a Mini, I thought it about time to get another. As I was getting company cars through my job, I had the funds available for a 3rd car. Bring in Henry – my 2000 Mini Cooper Sport. This was a one previous owner car that had the limited silver leather seats and silver details on the exterior. This car prompted me to become an active member of the British Mini Club – Shropshire Branch. Only coming out of winter hibernation in the spring, Henry was often displayed at shows and would be used at weekends and occasional runs to work.

Due to a career change, I lost the access to company cars, so was now forced to use my own car for commuting on a daily basis. As my commute had increased from 20 miles each way to 81 miles each way – it was clear that driving Henry was not comfortable enough. Therefore, I took the decision to get a new MINI. Stopping on the way back from work one day, I swiftly purchased my 2006 R50 MINI Cooper complete with JCW sound kit. Now I could enjoy the fun of MINI still in more comfort for my longer commutes. Henry 2 stayed with me until we left the UK in 2012 and even with 83k on the clock looked as good the day I sold him as the day I bought him.


It was soon clear though that even though I was enjoying my new R50, my heart still lay with a classic Mini. So, I made the decision to get back to 3 cars again and bought another little gem. A 1995 Mini Mayfair with the lowest miles I had seen on the market. I made the decision to keep the car as standard as possible. Again, Charles, remained with me until we moved from the UK to the USA.

We are now in 2012 and the family are heading Stateside to start a new life. For 12 months whilst we settled, I did not have a MINI to call my own. However, in summer of 2013, I took the plunge to buy my first USA MINI. This was a 2005 R53. I had always wanted a supercharged MINI in the UK – but could never afford to run one due to a combination of high fuel costs and registration costs. So, CA gave me the opportunity to fulfill that. Since buying SCOOP, he has gone through a number of upgrades to get more speed and be used for track fun at Thunderhill. He has also partaken in many Cars and Coffee meets along with runs with NorCal Mini’s, Silicon Valley Mini’s and MOASF.


In Oct 2016, I opted to increase my MINI count here in CA from 1 to 2. Having recently owned a convertible Jaguar XKR I liked the open top driving experience. Due to the running costs of the Jag, I searched for a fun soft top car. A 2013 R59 MINI Roadster popped up at MOSC. Having the JCW interior – this was the car for me. MISSY came to the Tildesley household and is now my daily driver. Apart from switching the standard silver 16” wheels for 17” black wheels – she is as delivered but such an easy car to drive. As with SCOOP, she has partaken in many club runs across much of CA.

Through my friends in MOASF, I was now once again craving to own a classic. It is at times like this that I really wished I had held onto one of my classics in the UK and brought one of them out here. But then, I know the issues of owning post 84 car here in CA. Initially I was watching a 72 Innocenti Mini in Italy and seeking advice. Then a friend said, why import when you could get one here. My question was – where to find one then. I got referred to Jet Motors in OR and they had a cracking 1964 Mk 1 Morris Mini Minor which had been owned by the previous owner for 28 years. After receiving some pictures, I placed a deposit down over the phone and swiftly booked a flight to go and see him. It was a relationship waiting to happen. BOBBY would be leaving OR and heading south the CA. This now brings the count to 3!!! Being the age he is – he has a few projects needed – but I am enjoying finally owning a Mk1 which is where it all started with my mothers car as a child . 😊


So where from here??? Not sure to be honest. Not happy with the way MINI is going corporately. The MINI SE is under consideration but not definite. I am proud to be the President of NorCal MINI’s and love that I have a group of people and friends that are passionate for this little car. It is up to us as enthusiasts to keep the spirit of this little car going and for it to remain an iconic motor for years to come.

Want your member profile featured? Just send your write up about yourself and your MINI(s) along with attached photos to info@norcalminis.com.