Hi, I've finally got around to joining the Mini forum after owning my latest mini for 12 years! (Sometimes I can be so slow.) The main reason for doing so is to ask if anyone can add to what I've been told about my car (above) because ever since I bought it people keep telling me tales about it. Some of the stuff I hear sounds true, some confusing, and some I find quite amusing but maybe a little dubious? But to begin with...
After owning three BMW Minis successively, and after feeling unhappy with each of them, I decided to look around for an affordible Mini like the ones I'd spent half my youth under - but, just for a change, a new one would have to be rust free. However, each time I found one I liked (having been promised it was indeed rust free) I traipsed along to see it, only to find each one was full of rust. Frankly, after looking for over eighteen months, and after driving around the UK twice, I had begun to despair. I had almost quit looking when I spotted this 'Blue Mini MPI Sportspack' as it was described, 'completely rust free!' Also, I could afford it! So I rang, and the guy promised me that this absolutely was as described. So I drove about three hundred miles round trip to see it. And, lo and behold, it was indeed true. So I did buy it!.
Chuffed, I drove it back and immediately joined a local Mini club. And it was there that I was immediately hit with, 'Wow, it's a Monza!' Now maybe I should have done a bit more homework before I bought it, but I'd always assumed that all later Minis were a limited edition of one name or another. Like I said, I thought it was simply a blue Mini in pretty nifty condition (although it had been given the boy raced treatment - bucket seats, unfeasibly lowered suspension and nasty wheels, hideously noisy trombones for tailpipes, etc. It was only when I told the club why I'd bought it that my exact plans for it were met with consternation though: to strip it down, fully recondition everything, then rebuild it as a retro Monte Carlo Rally replica - in red. 'But you can't do that...' the members warned, 'it's sacrilege! This is one of a very limited edition!' 'But they all are, aren't they?' I argued. (Which didn't go down well.)
Nevertheless, that was when I, and they, decided to do some digging around, and this what we found. The Monza was exclusive to the German market - 200 were made - leather seats - wooden dash etc. (Not that mine was exactly like that!!!) So, upon reflection, I decided not to continue with my planned vandalism. Instead, I decided to rebuild it to it's original spec, which, after all this time, I've finally, more or less finished. Which brings me back to the point I started to make earlier...
Over the years since then I've had so many conversations about the Mini Monza, all of which I appreciate, but as a result have picked up so many snippets, some of which I take as true, some 'facts' quite a few of which clearly contradict themselves, and others that, although I'd love to believe, I take simply as apocryphal, or schoolboy tales. Viz:
There were 200 made, there were 400 made, there were 100, or 250, or 500, or even 200 plus another 200 months later. Also, it is generally agreed that very few of them were reimported to the UK. After a very enlightening/entertaining conversation with someone at a Mini specialist, I was told that that company had bought several and swapped them from LHD to RHD because of the 'superior build quality'. Apparently, I was told, The pesky Germans, having just bought Rover out, decided to show the Brits how the cars should have been built all along! ie: much improved rust-proofing? improved steel spec?? better shut lines??? Really?!
Simply put, I honestly don't know how much of this is true. Despite my efforts to validate some of these tales from time to time, I'm not convinced about any of it. The only thing that I can confirm is that in all these years, whilst adding about 30,000 miles to the odometer, until last year, for some reason there were no apparent signs of rust on it. Sadly, this year I've had to get the weakened front floor sections replaced (chiefly because tyre fitters constantly have repeatedly jacked the bloody thing up in the wrong places!) Everything else seems remarkably good. (Oh, apart from that iniquitous rear subframe mounting point in the boot which, despite being identified as a massive design flaw from the outset, was never redressed until now.)
So there we have it. Can anyone enlighten me further about why the car is apparently held in such high esteem? Does anyone have first hand knowlege; maybe worked in the offices who could confirm the production run or the factory specs, worked on its design, or actually put the cars together?
I'd especially appreciate it because, frankly, I'm getting on a bit, and I have a few significant health issues. I'd dearly love to bottom it out in case, for one reason or another, not to put to fine a point on it, I'm forced 'give up driving'. = /
Regards, Matt, the Mini adventurer