Classic Mini As First Car
Posted 01 August 2020 - 12:42 PM
Posted 01 August 2020 - 02:14 PM
Posted 01 August 2020 - 03:33 PM
If you're not handy with tools, I would say that a Classic Mini isn't the best choice for a first car. The days when they were are long gone.
That said, if you are willing to learn to work on your Mini, then that view changes dramatically....
Posted 01 August 2020 - 04:04 PM
Posted 01 August 2020 - 06:40 PM
If I had £4-5K for my first car in 2020 I would not buy a classic mini. Insurance is likely to cost £1-2K in your first year regardless of what you buy. Having a newer car will be an advantage as some of the big companies won't insure cars over say 20 years; instead sell 'classic' insurance. Same goes with breakdown cover.
I'm going to be blasted for saying this here but IMHO a first gen R50/R53 MINI would be a better choice. Easier to insure, easier to live with, less rust, readily available 2nd parts, and a much bigger 'scene' with loads of peps your age.
Posted 01 August 2020 - 07:22 PM
Posted 01 August 2020 - 08:57 PM
Edited by beardylondon, 01 August 2020 - 09:02 PM.
Posted 01 August 2020 - 09:35 PM
My Grandson, who is now 26, has been working on Minis with me since he was 4-years-old. He did his first Mini full restoration of a 1986 Mayfair 998 when he was 14 to 16, with a bit of help from 'Grandad'. When finished it was absolutelky 'mint' and he sold it to buy a 1997 Cooper MPI as his first road car. He paid £1700 for it 8 years ago and it neded a comprehensive rebuild including a lot of bodywork, an engine rebuild, some work on the brakes and a complete repaint. Since we do everything ourselves, it only cost us then materials. He ran it as his forst car, but quickly got fed up with the constant attention, the lack of modern comforts and performance, so he sold it an bought a Fiesta 1.25 Zetec. The Ford had air con, power seering, very compliant suspension, twin-speed wipers, a heating system which worked, a good radio/audio system, excellent road-holding, good handling, fantastic ABS brakes, comfortable seats and, above all, it was reliable. It cost not a lot to run and anything requiring doing was really easy. I think we changed a front lower arm and that was about all.
Last year he bought back the 998 Mayfair from the guy to whom he sold it. It was in very poor condition and I am just finishing a very full body restoration. The final painting is complete and today I started on the check and re-freash of the engine & gearbox. It is being restored as a tribute to the 1960's Austin-Cooper 998 and will have full Cooper mechanical specification engine-wise. It will also have a Mk.1 grille, boot-lid, rear lights & central spedo.Colour is Ford Radiant Red with a Black Roof and Gold 4.5" x 10" alloy.
My feelings are that if you choose a classic Mini as a first car you need to be either rich or able to do everything, from an oil change to welding on new body panels, yourself. When your friends are driving lots of miles in their totally reliable and smooth-to-drive modern small cars you will not be wanting to be underneath the bonnet of a Mini adjusting it (again)! Do you really want to start off with a car which was designed 62 years ago? Minis are really for the true 'retro driving' experience.
Posted 01 August 2020 - 09:51 PM
Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:05 PM
My wife's 2015 Fiesta Diesel Titanium, which we bought at the end of last year,cost under £6000 and had only done 39,000 miles.
It is simply great to drive and so far I have not had to put a spanner on it. It is simply a great little car with every extra she needs, inc. 'Bluetooth' and super climate control.
You won't get much of a reliable Mini for that price and any you find for less may well need body welding, engine and gearbox work.
Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:18 PM
None of us want to put you off the classic mini but unless you have someone handy with the spanners and knows their way around minis (preferably for cheap rates(unless you're loaded)) you will struggle. The forum will help you out with technical bits but it might take time to get an answer - not what you want when you're stranded.
Try your insurance agent (you might have to go to a specialist insurance company such as Adrian Flux) with a, say, 1988 998cc Mini City E worth £5k and see what they come back with, then compare it to a 1 litre 'modern' car.
Posted 02 August 2020 - 01:12 AM
Posted 02 August 2020 - 06:23 AM
Yes, the later ones are essentially the same.
Ebay's a good place to sound out what you can get for your money. See what comes up in your budget & also see what the spares & parts availability is like.
As above, if you have the space, time & money you'd most likely get better value taking on a project Mini. How many youngsters have space, time or money though?
Posted 02 August 2020 - 06:40 AM
Also just to add, if you are really intent on getting a Mini for your budget, make sure you have a really goof poke around the whole car before handing over any money.
Just because one is advertised at £5k, doesn't mean it's not a rot box full of filler.
As said above, not trying to put you off a Mini, just want you to go into it with your eyes open.
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