5 minute read

Introducing Chiquita

Words by Norm Nelson, photos by Ian Rae



This article is VERY short because that is what our Editor Ian Rae wanted. This is the story of my wife Jesse and I adding another Mini to our stable. The thing is, I was in the dark about it.

Our Scottish friend Chris Knox sent us a photo of a “Shorty Mini” that was for sale in Scotland. Jesse took immediate interest and began to inquire about it, e-mails and text messages were followed by photos

whereupon Jesse sent over a deposit unbeknown to me. She just said “Honey I just bought a Mini Shorty in Scotland, what do I do?” Well I said you bought it, you figure it out. I was of course kidding but had to

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give her a bit of a hard time just for the fun of it. Well within a few days we had located a transport/import company and had figured a way to get it to the USA. With a lot of help from

Chris we were able to get “Shorty” from Scotland to a warehouse near London and close to the loading docks. Within a few weeks we had a shipping date and had to have Shorty crated in wood, then loaded

into a container. We both were excited to add Shorty to our collection and started to think of how we would theme him; those of you who know us know all our cars are customized to a specific

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theme. Shorty is bright yellow so the color dictated our search for a theme. We began to think of the Beatles “Yellow Submarine”, Lemoncello, Minions, Sunkist, and many more. We posted on Facebook asking for ideas and many friends chimed in. Then our good friend Sherri Bennett came up with Chiquita as in the banana company. We loved that idea as it gave us plenty of ideas for accessories. In our business, I had worked with Chiquita Banana with their power generators that were located in Costa Rica and Panama. We furnished them parts and services for over twenty-five years. I thought, well I just might call them and ask if it would be OK to use their logo. We

made some calls and I got ahold of the right people in marketing. We sent them a photo of our Shorty along with photos of our other themed classic Minis so they would get the idea of what we were up to. We got a call back quickly and a conference call set up to discuss. Within a short few days we had a three-year agreement to use and market the Chiquita brand including logos. We will be taking “Shorty”, now “Chiquita” to their annual meeting, grand openings and trade shows. So those of you who were puzzled about Ian Rae calling me the ‘Big Banana’ on Facebook, it was his play on words for the ‘Big Kahuna’ knowing nobody would reference

Banana with Chiquita. It is a huge honor for us to work with a company like Chiquita Brands and it will also give the Mini fans out there something to get excited about. We are currently working with our good friend Jason Blake of Sign A Rama in Redding on coming up with a rendering that will work both for Chiquita and Jesse and I. Jason has done a lot of sigh work for our cars and other cars within the Shasta Minis Club. He does such a great job we are looking forward to to what he dreams up for Shorty, oops, sorry Chiquita.

So keep an eye out for the BIG (or small) Banana in your town soon.

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Make & Model: Morris Mini MinorFirst Registered: 03 March 1964

Engine: 848cc A-SeriesWheelbase: 50 inches (Std 80 inches)

Overall length: 86 inches(Std 120 inches)

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