When Alec Issigonis' Mini first hit the market
in 1959, motoring - indeed, the world - changed forever.
Here was a tiny car, on 10" (25.4cm) wheels,
with rubber suspension, that offered room for four adults with
well-packed luggage. It handled like a go-kart and was at home on
the gravel drives of mansions or outside backstreet terraces.
The public must have wondered how those
suddenly old fashioned, front engine/rear wheel drive and rear
engine/rear wheel drive layouts had lasted so long. In a single
stroke, the Mini made virtually the whole of the British motor
industry obsolete, and killed off many a micro-car manufacturer
Badged originally as the Austin Se7en or
Morris Mini Minor, over the next 50 years we were introduced to the
Cooper, Mk2, Clubman, Countryman, Moke, pick-up and van variants
but the car was always unmistakably a Mini.
The 1071cc Mini Cooper S is probably the most
desirable model, but there are plenty of fakes out there, so read
up on the cars or consult an expert from one of the dedicated
Mini Countryman or Traveller models, with
their signature glued-on wood disguising a traditional rear
structure, are very rare. And the commercial variants, such as the
pick-up and van, are also thin on the ground.
Even later Minis have all exceeded their
design lives by now, so you can expect to find a few blemishes on
all but the most recently restored examples.
You will also find that none of the Minis
excel on the motorway, but all of them, apart from the van and
pick-up, have seats for four people.
BUYING AND OWNING
Check out sills, seams, floors and sub-frame
mountings. If the car is unrestored, it may well be showing signs
of corrosion around these areas. Rear sub-frames can also corrode
badly if not well protected.
Don't expect phenomenal mileages from the
engine and gearbox. The latter sits in the engine's sump and shares
the oil with it. As a result, very frequent engine oil and filter
changes are both expected and strongly recommended.
New body shells are available for later cars
and these can be a useful way of starting from scratch on
particularly corroded or damaged vehicles.
If you're buying one of the rarer versions,
make sure that you learn about the cars before making a purchase
or, alternatively, enlist the help of a marque expert.
Modified Minis are common, often with changes
such as the 998cc engine being replaced with a 1275cc or parts
being changed to emulate the more successful cars from the rally
circuit. If your Mini is modified, always tell your insurers to
ensure that you are fully covered. UK owners should be able to get
a discount when choosing Mini classic car insurance with limited
Arrange a callback by clicking here
or, give us a call today on 0800 093 2950 for further
insurance advice for your Mini.
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to our mobile-friendly Mini insurance page.