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Looking For A Classic Mini.


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#1 steve1978

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 05:28 PM

Hi

 

I have been looking at buying a mini now for about.... 20 years. I think I am going to do it this time though. 

 

I currently drive a VW T6 which I plan on keeping but 90% of the time I drive it on my own. its a 8 seater!

 

The thing i hate most about cars is that they are a depreciating asset and cost a fortune to run. a mini on the other hand is an appreciating asset and you can work on it yourself. 

 

So with that in mind...

 

A car that I would do a very occasional commute in, like once a month if that. nipping to the shops in or dropping a kid of at a club.  probably about 1k miles a year all town miles. I would like it to be a historic so I don't have to pay road tax. I would like to spend up to about 5k (i know this isn't much) and don;t mind if it needs a bit of work on it.

 

I live in a bit of a hilly area, nothing crazy just a few steepish but short hills. 

 

So, Can anyone make any recommendations? are the rover minis £210 a year tax?

 

would the 850 Austins be too slow?  I know a lot of questions here. Sorry!



#2 Richard e

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 05:49 PM

I’ve also got a van (t5) and the mini - which is brilliant around town. £5k might be enough - rust and bad body repairs in this territory. Had an 850 and it was a sweet engine, current is a 998 with stage 1 which is cheapish to upgrade and gives more go (47 hp so not a lot) - but it’s a hoot around town and quick enough for me and goes up the hills fine - and cheaper road tax - I think … had ours from new (39 years old) so coming up to free tax - and whilst spent a bit more than your budget getting back on the road - it’s a sub £10k car that’s reliable and all panels done - so finding someone’s resto project that they have got bored with may be the mini you are looking for - just be prepared to walk away. Best of luck finding one.

#3 wingnut

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Posted 08 April 2024 - 07:06 PM

I have an 850 cc pickup and as much as I love it, when it comes to hills it basically runs out of puff.If I where you  I would look out for a nice 1275 0r a nice 998 thats been tuned



#4 steve1978

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 06:51 AM

Thanks. I have seen a 1275gt that looks to be complete but will possibly need a full engine overhaul.

I’m no mechanic but I can turn a spanner and watch a YouTube video so I reckon I could take an engine out of a mini if needed. (Im probably over simplifying it, I usually do!)

Have a look at this, what’s are your thoughts?

https://www.facebook...mibextid=79PoIi

#5 some1158

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 08:58 AM

Thanks. I have seen a 1275gt that looks to be complete but will possibly need a full engine overhaul.

I’m no mechanic but I can turn a spanner and watch a YouTube video so I reckon I could take an engine out of a mini if needed. (Im probably over simplifying it, I usually do!)

Have a look at this, what’s are your thoughts?

https://www.facebook...mibextid=79PoIi

 

1275GTs in good condition are pricy - so that one looks very cheap. It clearly needs work (and hasn't had an MOT since 2017, which is the only MOT it's had in the period covered by the online records). The current logbook/V5 has only just been issued.

 

I'm personally not keen on the flip front conversion but others on here would probably disagree with me about that.

 

The main piece of advice to keep in mind when buying a Mini is to buy the one with the best bodywork you can afford, as the mechanical stuff is easier to fix than the body (unless you want a bodywork project). Check everywhere for rust, as they rust from the inside out, and be especially careful to look out for bodges, patches and oversills. Good luck!



#6 steve1978

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 10:55 AM

I’ve accepted that it’s going to need work to be fair. But I do plan on getting it done. I want it to be a car I can drive and use for the next 20 years so I want a good one and then I want to do it right.

Flip front I agree I prefer original. I’ve contacted the guy but he says it’s sold already which is a pity. 78 1275gt I think is my ideal car and year. (When I was born)

#7 stuart bowes

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Posted 09 April 2024 - 12:05 PM

My gut reaction looking at that was, with the flip front, the way the inner wings were done, the clearly aftermarket wheels, I'd be wondering what else has been done to it over the years

I'm not against modifications per se but I'd rather they be relatively minimal and ideally start with standard and do the changes myself

It's probably not unreasonable to say it would be double the value when sorted out but how much would it cost you to do that sorting out

The outer question I would ask is are you willing to to get involved with repairs including welding.. with a budget of 5k it's likely you'll be doing at least some minor metalwork replacements here and there, that's not to say you won't find something worth doing the work on


Edited by stuart bowes, 09 April 2024 - 09:08 PM.


#8 steve1978

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 06:22 AM

So I’m not a welder but I have welded in the past, it’s another bucket list thing.

I would love to be able to weld (well!) as a youngster I wanted a mini to teach myself some mechanics. It’s probably the easiest engine to get started on. Life got in the way and now I’m a bit quite a bit older (45) but I still have that itch.

I’m not precious about getting an original mini that will go through the roof in value, I want a car that is going to cost me very little to run, tax and mot (40years or more) so ideally a pre 1985. I want to use the car, probably a couple of times a week all year round. And do things like put new bright work on if needed, basic fixing jobs like brakes and suspension no problem.

Possibly get a full respray if needed. I like the look of the rover mini coopers and the look of the Austin 1275gt

#9 steve1978

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 07:59 AM

What are your thoughts on this, super charged mini?

 

https://www.facebook...40996018463177/



#10 some1158

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 08:28 AM

The line in the advert 'it does need welding in the usual mini places' will either appeal or not! If there is obvious rust there will be more problems lurking. It would need a very close look. You say you are up for basic fixing jobs: this one might involve more than that.

 

Can't comment on the supercharging but then I'm happy with a stock 998 and 40bhp.

 

There are a couple of reasonable-looking Minis under 5k on Carandclassic at the moment (look under Austin and Rover as well as Mini). I take the point regarding 40+ years but a late 80s car is almost in that category.



#11 steve1978

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 08:31 AM

In my head, I might be wrong, but the cost to repair say a wing, or valance is the same regardless of how badly it has gone? 
cost of an interior is the same. Etc. so if you have 5k for a car and 5k for a resto, which is what I’m kind of looking at then if you get a 1970 or a 1990 the cost of the resto will be the same? 
 

here is another one, so if I could get this for say 1k it needs a lot I know but if could get back on the road for 5k then this would be a decent motor?

https://www.facebook...07552193366517/



#12 stuart bowes

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 08:46 AM

it's won't be just the valance or just the wings though, if the valance is grotty there's probably a good 80-90% chance there's rot on the boot floor as well which you could repair (i did) or just replace the whole thing (which in some ways is actually easier in the long run and I would have preferred to do) and as you start looking you'll think well I might as well replace the wheel arches while im there.. etc

 

the front end is reasonably simple but again, if you're doing the wings well then why not go one step further and replace the scuttle, at least that means you can clean up underneath, and unless you can rescue the front panel that will be a replacement as well...  A panels are cheap so you might as well do them but then you'll see the state of the A pillars and that will probably need a bit of work .. then you'll see the door gaps and think well I might as well re skin those if I'm doing things properly anyway.. 

 

the rear quarter panels will rot at the bottom corners of the wheel arch and it's easier to replace them than repair them, again you get to clean up underneath with them out of the way..

 

sills are almost always grotty, and how much of the main floor pan needs doing (guaranteed it will be at least a minor patching somewhere)..

 

in terms of comparing different years no there probably isn't a lot of difference in repair cost but there are some years that suffer worst for rot, all in all I'd go mostly by overall condition and fingers crossed you'll get something that's close to MOT retirement if not already free

 

buying for 5k and repairing bodywork for a further 5k does sound roughly in the right ballpark I guess assuming you do all the work yourself and depending how much needs doing


Edited by stuart bowes, 11 April 2024 - 11:05 AM.


#13 steve1978

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 09:07 AM

Well, I have zero experience in mechanics but I can operate a spanner and I can use the internet, this won’t make things quick or even good but it’s what I want to be doing with my free time. 
 

I think if I had a choice of any mini within my budget I really like the original Austin mini 1275 gt from 78/79.

 

are these good cars for a resto? Is it a good choice for me to be looking at or am I picking the worst car to start with?



#14 stuart bowes

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 09:13 AM

if you can stretch to a spot welder and having a suitable circuit installed to an outdoor commando socket (research correct circuit type) replacing panels will be a lot easier

 

you can hire them but if you run it off a normal 13a socket you'll be tripping your breakers constantly

 

I'd have to leave others to comment on which years are better / worse with any degree of accuracy


Edited by stuart bowes, 11 April 2024 - 09:15 AM.


#15 some1158

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 09:28 AM

What are the best cars? Difficult to say. At this time any classic Mini is at least 23 years old! Some will have had a hard life, others will have been taken out infrequently by an elderly owner and kept in a heated garage. What that means is that, in some ways, age is less important than condition - which is why it is key to buy the best you can find and afford, rather than being too wedded to a particular model. Often the automatic models have the best bodywork due to older, careful owners and low mileages; they can be driven like a manual and I would definitely consider one if I was looking now. Japanese imports are often good, body-wise, as they won't have seen road salt, but they are pricy and have additional complications such as air conditioning.

 

998 and 850 engines are fairly bulletproof, though a well-maintained 1275 is fine too. Injection models from 91-92 on add a new layer of complexity.

 

That said, it is generally accepted that late 90s Rover MPI models rust worse than earlier cars due to cost-cutting (though many of them will now have been restored), and there are various tales about certain colours from the 80s (silver?) being more prone to rust than others!






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