loading Loading please wait....

Austin Mini: Buying guide and review (1959-2000)

Austin Mini: Buying guide and review (1959-2000) Classic and Performance Car
Austin/Morris Mini buying guide Austin/Morris Mini buying guide
Of all the thousands of cars in the history of motoring, none has ever united the classes in the same way as the BMC Mini. From students to pop stars, wealth (or lack of) has never been a barrier to Mini ownership – and nothing has changed since the car’s demise in 2000. 
 
Whether you’re loaded or strapped for cash, a Mini makes sense because it’s such huge fun to drive and easy to maintain; running costs can also be astonishingly low. But the best part is the social side; buying a Mini opens up all sorts of opportunities for your social life thanks to the massive number of clubs that cater for the car. You might think all this would be enough, but there are also unlimited possibilities to personalise your Mini; which must make this tiny buzzbox one of the most appealing and versatile cars ever created. 
 
While there are a number of joys to be had with a classic Mini, there is also potential heartbreak when it comes to buying a car needing a lot of work, or hiding serious problems. Many cars have been badly restored, while others might be in need of serious mechanical work. While most things are cheap and easy to fix, it’s worth seeking out a good car to avoid unnecessary worry in the future.
 
Which one to buy?
 
The obvious answer to the question of which Mini to buy is a Cooper or Cooper S, but these are worthy of a separate guide so we’ll focus on all of the other derivatives here. Read the full Cooper and Cooper S buying guide here. The thing is, there’s no shortage of derivatives as there were 848cc, 998cc and 1275cc engines, saloon, estate, pick-up and van bodystyles and later on there was a handful of cabriolets created too. 
 
All but the saloon are rather specialised and relatively rare too, so the chances are you’ll be homing in on a saloon of some kind. Anything with an 848cc engine is now pretty collectable – especially if it’s an early car in good, original condition. The MkIs (built between 1959 and 1967) are the most sought after, but the MkII (made from 1967 to 1969 and offered with a 998cc engine option) is also covetable too. 
 
By the time the MkIII arrived in 1969 the Mini was less cute, with its concealed door hinges and winding windows. But the fitment of a 998cc engine (there was still an 848cc option) makes the car more usable. Mini saloons from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s are generally much less collectable, unless they’re Cooper editions – which is why they’re perfect if you’re buying your Mini to use rather than as an investment. 
 
If you want to consider something a little bit more unusual, then there is of course the Mini Moke. While it’s based on the Mini’s underpinnings, the body is completely different, and a whole lot of fun! If you can’t think where you’ve seen a Moke, the fun little beach car featured in all sorts of cult TV series such as The Prisoner, and even a few James Bond films. Read the full Moke buying guide here.
 
Performance and specs
 
Mini 850 MkI 
Engine 848cc, in-line four-cylinder
Power 34bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 44lb ft @ 2900rpm
Top speed 75mph
0-60mph 29.7sec
Fuel consumption 40mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2038mm
Length 3054mm
Width 1410mm
Height 1346mm
Kerb weight 650kg
 
Common problems
 
• All Minis rust, often spectacularly. Check everything you can see, with the main areas to watch including the A-pillars, scuttle panels, sills and front subframe mounting points. The floorpan will most likely be corroded, so pull back the carpets and rear seat to inspect. Front and rear shock absorber mounts can become corroded while the rear subframes are a common MoT failure. 
 
• The A-series engine is one of the simplest and durable engines in classic motoring, and you can expect a well serviced example to last 100,000 miles before it needs a rebuild. Problems are easy to diagnose and repair at home, while spares are plentiful and cheap.
 
• Oil leaks are to be expected. With the larger capacity 1275cc engines, expect more rapid wear to the valve stem seals and valve guides. If you can hear a noisy timing chain, especially a problem on the Mini 1000, then be prepared to fit an uprated duplex chain assembly to cure it. 
 
• The standard four-speed manual gearboxes can last for over 100,000 miles before a rebuild, if the oil (shared with the engine) is changed every 3000 miles. A three-speed automatic transmission was offered from 1965. 
 
• One of the defining aspects of the Mini is its rubber-cone suspension system, which requires very little maintenance. Most Minis, if not modified, will come with this great set-up apart from saloons built from the mid-to-late 1960s that feature a considerably different Hydrolastic system. 
 
• If the car has been owned by a careless parker, the rear suspension alignment will most likely be out of whack. Damages radius arms will occur if the wheels are knocked, but thankfully parts are readily available to set it right again.
 
• If aftermarket wheels have been fitted it's worth checking the width of them. Anything over six inches wide will put an undue strain on the bearings, and will probably foul the bodywork. 
 
• The lack of electrical goodies means that wiring issues are very easy to fix. If it's not properly secured, the boot-mounted battery can cause fireworks, just like if the live lead to the starter motor is allowed to short out. Most starting issues can be traced back to issues with this lead. The bulkhead-mounted fusebox is often laced with poor connections, and bullet connectors fitted to early cars will cause troubles if not replaced. 
 
Model history 
 
1959: Mini 848cc saloon debuts, in Austin Se7en and Morris Mini-Minor forms. A van and pick-up arrive soon after, along with Countryman and Traveller estates. 
1967: The MkII Mini goes on sale, with larger rear windows and back lights. The Super Deluxe and estate get a 998cc engine. 
1969: Mini MkIII launched in 850 and 1000 forms. There are saloon, van and pick-up options plus a 1275GT and Clubman, the latter in saloon or estate guises. 
1979: Mini City and 850 Deluxe introduced. 
1980: The Mini 850, Clubman and 1275GT are discontinued. 
1989: Cooper conversion introduced 
1990: Cooper limited edition arrives; 1000 are made 
1991: Cooper is now part of the standard range. There’s also a Cooper S conversion available. 
1991: Low-volume independently-built LAMM convertible announced. 
1991: Cooper gets injected engine and catalytic converter. 
1993: Mini Cabriolet introduced. 
2000: Final run of Cooper Sport 500s is made before the Mini ceases production on 4 October, after 5,387,862 Minis had been produced.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.britishminiclub.co.uk
• www.miniownersclub.co.uk
• www.minicooper.org
• www.theminiforum.co.uk
• Minispares.com
• www.moss-europe.co.uk
• www.minisport.com
 
Summary and prices
 
Early Mk1 Minis are the rarest, as well as the most expensive of the non-Cooper models. The very first ‘59 cars in good condition can easily fetch in excess of £20,000, with later Mk1 cars commanding closer to £10,000 in good condition. There are plenty of projects around, as well as fakes, so be sure you know what you are buying.
 
Budget around £6000 for a later Mini in fine fettle, with usable cars coming in at £2000-£4500. As always with cheaper cars, be sure to know what problems could be lurking within, as repair costs can quickly spiral out of control. The Clubman remains a great value way into Mini ownership. 
Austin/Morris Mini buying guide Austin/Morris Mini buying guide
Last updated: 9th Aug 2016
collapse this

Austin Mini cars for sale

15 Search results
Austin Mini
3200 39950 GBP
  • 1966 Austin Mini 850

    £15,500 £15,500

    Age: 1966 Transmission: Manual Engine: Size Restored

    For sale
    Duncan Hamilton
  • Austin and Morris Mk 1 Mini Cooper S Selection Available

    POA POA

    Mayfair 020 7125 1400 | Maldon 01621 879579 We currently have five Mk1 Mini Cooper S cars available. All cars are factory matching numbers and have been restored to factory correct original specification. These are THE FINAL BATCH of fully restored Mk1 Mini Cooper S cars from a total of thirteen. Car #1 is a 1964 Austin Mk 1 1071 'S' RHD UK car in Almond Green with OEW roof. 4.5" wheels, 3.44 final drive. Original UK 3 letter, 3 number registration. This car is pictured above. Car # 2 is a 1965 Austin Mk1 1275 ‘S’ RHD UK car in Almond Green with OEW roof. Dove Grey/Porcelain Green trim with grey carpets. 3.5” wheels. This Mk1 S is under restoration by our in house, well-known Mini Cooper expert, Scott Turner. Scott has restored three of the previous cars completed. Car #3 is a 1965 Morris Mk1 1275 'S' RHD UK car in Fiesta Yellow with OEW roof. Powder Blue/Gold Brocade trim with Blue carpets. Car #4 is a 1964 Morris Mk1 970 'S' RHD UK car in Almond Green with OEW roof, Porcelain Green and Dove Grey interior. 1 of 354 Morris 970's built in 1964 from a total of 705 home market UK cars. Car #5 is a 1966 Morris Mk1 1275 'S' RHD UK car, one family owned from new in Old English White with

    • Year: 1964
    For sale
  • 1986 Austin Mini Mayfair Automatic

    £6,995 £6,995

    This fabulous Austin Mini Mayfair Automatic has covered just 22000 miles from new and had just one owner from 1986 to 2013. D251 GWW was supplied new by Appleyard of Harrogate, first registered on 1st August 1986. The Mini still retains its original Appleyard After Sales Care passport with service book, handbook, consumer guide and entertainment handbooks. Having spent its entire life in Yorkshire, the Mini changed hands for the first time in 2013, heading to an elderly retired gentleman in North London. The car only spent 18 months in the Capital, covering in the region of 500 miles and being treated to over £1000 work to include new engine mountings, new front brake discs and pads, new front calipers, flexi hoses, inner and outer CV boots, new radiator, stabiliser bushes, shock absorbers, steering rack boots, track rod ends and full service to include new HT leads and distributor cap. We sold the Mini to its third owner, a long term regular customer in York who has covered local mileage in the York area, enjoying using the car during summer months with several trips to the Golf Club. We serviced the car and prepared it for a new MOT, finding no significant work being required. Ha

    • Year: 1986
    • Mileage: 22000 mi
    For sale
  • 1972 AUSTIN MINI COOPER SPORT

    $27,500(£21,428) $27,500(£21,428)

    --Tahiti Blue with Black leather interior piped Tan, Mini Sport Package, 1.3 liter fuel injected engine, 2,000 miles, 4-speed manual, Wide sport flares, Burlwood Dash, White gauges, 13” Sport Minilite wheels, 4 spotlight rally lights, Uprated stereo with CD and Full length Webasto electric sunroof.

    • Year: 1972
    • Mileage: 2000 mi
    For sale
  • 1969 Austin Mini Cooper MKII

    POA POA

    Mileage: 17090 Exterior Color: white/black Interior Color: black Body Style: Coupe Engine: 1340 cc 4-cyl Transmission: 4-speed manual Drive Type: FWD Fuel Type: Gasoline Doors: Two Vin: CA2SB12334878A The original Mini Cooper was made by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 until 2000. This highly prepared Mini is a high performance “Pocket Rocket”, presently configured for track use and could easily be reconfigured for Rally and street use. Great looks with exceptional build quality. The original is considered a British icon of the 1960s, and its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout (which allowed 80% of the area of the car’s floorplan to be used for passengers and luggage) influenced a generation of car makers. The vehicle is in some ways considered the British equivalent to its German contemporary, the Volkswagen Beetle, which enjoyed similar popularity in North America. In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, behind the Ford Model T. Designed as project ADO15 (Austin Drawing Office project number 15), the Mini came about because of a fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. Sliding windows allowed storage

    • Year: 1969
    • Mileage: 17090 mi
    For sale
  • AUSTIN MINI Pickup 1972

    £19,995 £19,995

    1972 Austin Mini Pickup 1275cc. Glacier White with Blue leather upholstery and white piping. This stunning Mini Pickup was subject to a full nut and bolt restoration in 2015 and has covered just 200 miles since. The Mini has been upgraded with a freshly built 1275cc engine, and we have photographs of the rebuild. Absolutely no expense has been spared and we think this must be one of the best pickups available in the UK today. The upholstery has been trimmed in full piped leather and brand new matching door cards and carpets fitted. The rear load area has had a bespoke wooden bed made and the van sits on period correct 10" steel wheels. The Mini drives just as you would expect with no faults, a very strong engine and smooth gearbox and a wonderful tone from the sports exhaust. The cost required to reproduce this car would be huge. This pickup is perfect for any collection and would stand out on any showground. The whole concept of purchasing a light commercial for private classic motoring combined with its advertising potential is one we have enjoyed for many years and proved to be an enormous success. Without doubt the most economical and successful form of advertising known to man. In summary if you want the best available then this is well worth a look. We think this is a car that any collector or enthusiast would be pleased to own. Absolutely any inspection is welcome. All major debit and credit cards accepted. Please contact us for any further information. Delivery to mainland UK included in the asking price. Shipping can be arranged.

    • Mileage: 79000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.275
    For sale
  • AUSTIN MINI MAYFAIR 1986

    £8,995 £8,995

    1986 Austin Mini Mayfair Automatic. Sea Mist Blue with grey upholstery. This Mini was owned by the same family from new until 2015 and 1 lady since. The 11,200 miles on the clock can therefore be warranted as correct, supported as they are by the original service book which contains 8 stamps. Its most recent service was undertaken just a few miles ago. As one would expect of such a low mileage vehicle, it drives beautifully and the automatic gearbox performs well. The Mayfair retains its original book-pack and spare spare set of keys. This car is a "BL" era car and features items such as a rev counter, servo front disc brakes, plastic wheel arch covers, opening rear side windows and plush velour seating. Known as the "Mayfair Edition". Seldom do such low mileage examples come to market so this is a great opportunity to obtain a very collectable car. This is a car that any enthusiast would be pleased to own and would be a welcome addition to any collection or purely as a usable classic. Absolutely any inspection is welcome. Viewing is highly recommended. All major debit and credit cards accepted. Please contact us for any further information. Delivery included in mainland UK.

    • Mileage: 11000 mi
    • Engine size: 998
    For sale
  • Austin Mini Van 1962

    €39,950(£34,021.42) €39,950(£34,021.42)

    Austin Mini Van LHD in a very good unrestored condition very rare Very rare this 1962 Austin Mini Van. Originally delivered in Brussels, Belgium so also original LHD. Both the in- and outside are in a very good original and unrestored condition. The paint is in colour ‘Farina Grey’with a brown interior. The car has a 848CC 37 HP engine and a 4-speed manual gearbox. Runs and drives very good. An early Austin Mini Van in this original and unrestored condition, LHD is really very rare. Car has Belgian title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1962
    For sale
  • 1971 Austin Mini Cooper

    POA POA

    (SOLD) This left-hand drive Mini was originally produced during the late-1990s and it is titled as a 1971 model, thereby making it emissions-exempt in California. With approximately 500 miles from new, it is highly equipped with a fuel-injected 1,300 cc engine, a four-speed gearbox, an oil cooler, power brakes with front discs, driving lights, hydraulic steering, Minilite wheels with Bridgestone Potenza tires, plus such late-production features as a driver’s side airbag and a sporting two-tone interior. It also features a new full-size spare tire, two keys with remote entry, a complete alarm system, tools, and a washer bottle in the rear. It is also radio-prepped with speakers and antenna already installed and ready for your favorite stereo unit. Simply put, this amazing Mini perfectly combines iconic styling with the comfort and performance of today! Please note: While this vehicle was originally produced circa 1998/1999, it is currently titled in California as a 1971 model.

    • Year: 1971
    • Mileage: 500 mi
    For sale
  • 1964 Austin Mini Cooper S

    POA POA

    (SOLD) The Austin Mini Cooper S offered here was the subject of a no-expense-spared, bare-shell restoration by renowned Mini expert and European rallyist Peter Valentine, who prepared the car for International Historic Rally competition to Group II Appendix J regulations. It competed successfully in Europe, earning a prestigious class win at the Belgian Historic Rally (a Vimeo video of the car at the Belgian Rally may be seen here, and scans of the logbook and other info are shown below) The Mini features a racy color combination of Tartan Red with a white roof, complimented by a Red and Gray interior with it's original glass kept intact. Since it's importation Stateside, the car has been extremely well cared for, and has been a frequent participant at Shows and Concours events. The Mini contains a vast assortment of Rally options and equipment including: twin fuel tanks, (2) spare tires, (4) 7" Lucas auxiliary lights, and a 5" reversing light; for additional safety, a roll cage, competition seats, fire extinguishers and a 4-point harness were added. The car has complete build and service records, an FIA Historic Vehicle Identity form, a RACMSA logbook, and a copy of the Brit V5 re

    • Year: 1964
    • Mileage: 5227 mi
    For sale
  • Austin Mini

    £3,995 £3,995

    This fabulous 1975 Mini 1000 Automatic is a real delight. This practical classic is in exceptional condition and fitted with the very rare automatic gearbox. A perfect incarnation of the legendary Mini Icon. Fantastic to own and drive.

    • Mileage: 54000 mi
    • Engine size: 1000
    For sale
  • Austin Mini

    £3,200 £3,200

    Recent service,no advisories on MOT drives well.Repair work done well and generally in good order with less rust than you would expect for a 26 year old car.We are unsure of the exact mileage of this car.

    • Mileage: 105000 mi
    • Engine size: 998
    For sale
  • Austin Mini

    £10,495 £10,495

    Full Leather, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Sports Seats, Alloy wheels, Service history Has bill of £18000 spent

    • Engine size: 1275
    For sale
Related Specification
Related content