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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
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Austin Mini
2995 79500 GBP
  • Austin Mini

    £12,995 £12,995

    FOR SALE An eye-catching Austin Mini Cooper Recreation built by a motoring fanatic. EQUIPMENT Bumper overriders, black wheel-arch extensions, black door mirrors, bonnet and boot strap, headlamp covers, Lucus 576 spot and fog lamps, Lucas rear fog lamp, Lucus reverse lamp, FIAMM air horns, twin Smiths stopwatches, Brantz International 2 Pro + Rally timer with remote, Smiths Tachometer, Pea light, JJC Lifeline fire extinguisher, battery cut-out switch, Moto Lita steering wheel, fresh air heater, oil pressure gauge, water temperature gauge, hazard lights, interior light. EXTERIOR This stunning re-creation of an Austin Mini Cooper Rally car is finished in Austin Yellow and Gloss Black (Code FAP /668). Meticulous attention to detail can be seen in everything from original Lucus lamps to the Mk1 grille and surround. Fabulous accessories such as the black lightweight aluminium door mirrors and brackets, competition petrol filler cap, perspex headlamp covers and wheel-arch extensions set this car apart from the crowd. Neat touches such as the Austin Cooper bonnet badge, centre fixing Rangefinder spot lamp and door number squares will please visual spectators. Presented in excellent condition with Motip Anti Rust waxoil and fully detailed. A splendid show piece. INTERIOR A no expense spared mentality is clearly visible with the interior to enhance the rally format. An accurate replica of the 60’s Microcell Contour rally seats supplied by Derek Taylor of Classic Porsche and the black crackle finish rally dash panels look tremendous. An original Mk1 oval centre consol is supplemented by beautiful period gauges such as rare twin Smiths stopwatches on a silver baseplate and a Smiths tachometer. A working Brantz rally timer with an adjacent remote control facility combined with a fully refurbished Moto Lita woodrim steering wheel and Mk 1 gear knob mix old and new harmoniously. All carpeting is protected by hardwearing rubber over mats and spotlessly clean along with the door cards and headlining. A Mk1 style plywood carpeted boot board made by Brian Purves has attached a scissor jack and wheel brace. A delightful period 60’s rally cockpit. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The time proven 998cc ’A’ Series engine is presented in an immaculate engine bay and benefits from a Stage 1 engine kit comprising of a Maniflow Cooper Freeflow exhaust manifold and a Torquemaster inlet manifold breathing through a RC40 twin exhaust box. The 1.5 SU carb was rebuilt, re-jetted and needled and electric ignition fitted with a U.S Flamethrower coil and a new set of Bumblebee HT leads with NGK caps and NGK plugs. A competition water pump and and alternator were fitted and the vehicle was set up by CCK Historics where the rolling road took it to a comfortable 57bhp. Beautiful attention to detail can be seen with the correct BMC EP3A green engine paint being used and even a new aluminium Austin badges being riveted to the rocker cover. The 4-speed synchromesh is smooth, light and precise. A real joy. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES This super little car sits on 10 inch Minator alloy wheels with Dunlop wheel centres shod in Kumho 145/80 R10 tyres. All have excellent tread with no damage to the alloy and the car has been tracked and aligned by Classic Cars of Worthing. Hydraulically operated front disc brakes and drums to the rear. HISTORY FILE The current owner and creator of this delightful Mini Cooper Recreation is Roy Parmenter. An absolute motoring fanatic and at the age of 76 years has even published a book featuring all the cars he has owned. With cars such as an Aston Martin DB5, Carrera Panamerica Porsche 356 and ’36 Le Mans MG PB it is great to see this latest personal indulgence featured. Registered new on the 21st October 1982 as a humble Mini City, Roy purchased the car from Richard Williams of Devon for a large sum of money due to its fantastic structural and low mileage credentials. Bizarrely after paying such a large sum of money the intention was to always build a vanity project, namely a Austin Mini Cooper Recreation. This was done over a two year period to a fantastic build specification and thorough knowledge thanks to Roy having owned a number of original Mini Coopers over the years! A file of invoices, costings and a personal written account with leave no doubt in the next owners mind how meticulous Roy is. With the original 1960’s Austin Mini Cooper Mk1 an icon of the British motoring history and as such fine examples can command figures in excess of £40k and the ‘S’ equivalent far more, this recreation is a combination of improved engineering expertise with 60’s elements that represents a rare opportunity to acquire a truly remarkable one off. MOT September 2019, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/q5NJqb7pZjg To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kgfclassiccars/albums/72157673402064228 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1982
    • Mileage: 57928 mi
    • Engine size: 1
    For sale
    £12,995 £12,995
    KGF Classic Cars
    01733425140 View contact number
  • Austin Mini

    £4,995 £4,995

    CD Player, Radio A true British Icon, AUTOMATIC Mini Mayfair - Appreciating Asset - We are Selling on behalf of current local Lady Keeper - New Exhaust fitted April 2018 - Major Service, February 2018 - Lovingly restored to its current pristine condition.

    • Mileage: 50500 mi
    • Engine size: 998
    For sale
    £4,995 £4,995
  • 1965 Austin Mini Cooper S Sedan

    $79,500(£0) $79,500(£0)

    In Europe and England in the 1950s, skyrocketing fuel prices brought on by the Suez Crisis were driving sales of microcars and so-called “bubble cars”. BMC chief Leonard Lord considered these motorbike-powered cars dangerous and uncivilized, so he charged his team to develop a compact car capable of carrying a family of four with a level of refinement not found in micro cars. Alex Issigonis was lured away from Alvis to spearhead the engineering team and his only limitations were that the car should fit in a 10 x 4 x 4 foot box, and be powered by an existing engine to keep costs low. Issigonis’ resulting front-drive, transverse-engine Mini would soon prove to be one of the most influential cars of all time. More than 5 million were built between 1959 and 2000, along the way becoming a cultural icon and symbol of British pride. The Austin Mini is a truly classless automobile that was embraced by everyone from the working man to the Royal Family. Despite its pragmatic purpose, the Mini’s innovative hydrolastic suspension and “square” stance gave it tremendous kart-like cornering ability. This captured the attention of Issigonis’ friend, racing car builder John Cooper. Together the pair persuaded reluctant BMC management to allow them to develop a hot version of the Mini for homologation purposes. The resulting Mini-Cooper featured a larger engine, front disc brakes, twin SU carbs and a close ratio gearbox. The Cooper was followed by the Cooper S, with 1,071 cc or 1,275 cc engines to homologate the car for the Under-1100 and Under-1300 classes, respectively. The Cooper and Cooper S took the rallying world by storm, and could also be seen handily whipping much larger competition in the British Saloon Car championship. In the same way the standard Mini was a British pop-culture Icon, the Cooper S became an icon in the world of motorsports. This fabulous 1965 Austin Mini Mk1 is one of just 2,384 originally built to the hottest 1275 cc Cooper S specification. The accompanying British Motor Industry Heritage Certificate shows this car was special-ordered via Wimbledon Motor Works, Ltd of London with a build date of September 22, 1964 and that it is one of just 1,060 of its type built for the home market. It was finished as it is today in Tweed Gray with an Old English White roof and despatched on October 5th 1964, registered “FLO 979C”. The first owner was an advertising executive named Roger John Paterson, who registered the car through his company, S.P.M. Advertising, Ltd. Mr. Paterson specified his Mini in the same configuration as the Works racers, and it is clear that he was quite fond it, retaining the car for nearly four decades. Unlike so many examples of the Cooper S, Mr. Paterson kept his car in road trim and never raced it, so it has survived the years remarkably intact, down to the correct original engine, body and hydrolastic suspension. It was used regularly before being taken off the road between 1976 and 1981, when it was treated to a light restoration and returned to duty with the Patersons. The Cooper S would stay in the family until Mr. Paterson’s death in 2003. At that time, Mrs. Paterson consigned the car with UK specialist Sussex Sports Cars. Following the sale, the second owner returned “FLO” to Sussex Sports Cars for a more comprehensive restoration. Part way through the project, he sold the car and the new Italian owner had it converted to left hand drive and the interior updated with red highlights, though he never took delivery. Now fully restored, FLO 979C would pass through the hands of respected dealer Duncan Hamilton before crossing the pond to join the personal collection of noted dealer and enthusiast Bill Noon in 2006. Mr. Noon would have the Cooper S sympathetically prepped for historic rallying. It was issued an FIA passport and in 2008, Noon and his co-driver would compete in the legendary Tour Auto in France. The car performed very well, even winning one of the hillclimb stages outright. Mr. Noon parted with “FLO” in 2011, when it joined a large collection of English and European sports cars. Recently refreshed and presented in fast-road specification, this Mini Cooper S remains in excellent condition, wearing its original livery of Tweed Gray with Old English White roof. The paint is in excellent condition, and the body is straight and tidy. Chrome and bright fittings are in fine order, and the car rides on correct original steel wheels wrapped in sticky 165/70R-10 Avon CR6 ZZ tires that are equally suited for road or rally duty. The interior remains in excellent condition, in left drive and with red and gray trim using correct type materials and patterns. It presents in fine fettle throughout, with very good detailing. Should the next owner want to participate in more serious events, a pair of color-keyed racing bucket seats will be included, as will the Safety Devices roll bar and a discreetly installed on-board fire system. The 1,275 cc Austin A-Series engine presents in beautiful condition in factory correct dark green paint and topped by twin S.U. carburetors complete with original air cleaner intact. The engine runs well and delivers a healthy punch, propelling the tiny Cooper along the road at surprising speed. Combined with the hydrolastic suspension and grippy Avon rubber, the driving experience is an absolute thrill. This is rare opportunity to acquire a genuine, documented Mk1 1275 S with matching numbers and excellent history from new. Discreet modifications make it ready for the road or for use in any number of driving events worldwide. A sheer delight to experience, this is a wonderful example John Cooper’s legendary giant-slayer.

    For sale
    $79,500(£0) $79,500(£0)
  • Austin Mini 1989

    £3,200 £3,200

    Mini Thirty 1989 - been looked after by enthusiast and fitted with twin carbs like a Cooper with wide alloys etc. Has been stored in garage for a couple of years since purchase. Bodywork and engine all seems fine and have got a work history supplied from previous owner. Can't get better pics as I cant get it out of the garage atm - will update.

    • Mileage: 55000 mi
    • Engine size: 998
    For sale
    £3,200 £3,200
  • Austin Mini Countryman De-Luxe

    £24,995 £24,995

    About this Austin Mini Countryman De-Luxe This lovely looking, London supplied Mini Estate is believed to be the second oldest surviving Austin Seven Countryman, its build date of 16th June 1960 being three months before the official launch date. As the Heritage certificate confirms, it was supplied in Tartan Red (as it is today) and with the plate that it still sports (4507 MH) to a Mr John Buck by Car Mart Limited and the date of despatch was 25th July 1960. The registration document infers that the car was then listed for sale almost immediately and was purchased by the second owner, a Mr John Hurford who owned the car for the majority of its life. It subsequently made its way onto Ebay in 2011 where it was purchased by the third owner, Mr Nigel Howard who embarked on a sympathetic rebuild. The paint was refreshed to the tune of over £7000 and the woodwork removed, refinished and refitted although the interior Longstone vinyl trim and and cloth headlining have been retained. The original engine and mechanicals have been rebuilt and detailed and there are invoices for whatever was needed. The fourth and final owner part exchanged it with us and we drove it back from deepest darke

    • Mileage: 78000 mi
    For sale
    £24,995 £24,995
  • 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
    POA POA
  • 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
    POA POA
  • 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
    £3,995 £3,995
  • 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
    £3,200 £3,200
  • 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

    • Mileage: 49000 mi
    • Engine size: 1275
    For sale
    £10,495 £10,495