New to minis options and advice please

General Chat with an emphasis on BMC Minis & Other iconic cars of the 1960's. Includes information on MK1 Action days.
phib
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Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2023 12:52 pm

New to minis options and advice please

Post by phib »

Thanks for letting me join, I have a mini on my list of classic to own !

This will be my first foray into mini's, have a few other classics but fancy experiencing a mini.

like all things, prices are all over the place !! I am looking at either a classic 60's one or a back dated one (1990's made to look like a cooper or coopers S)

Just going to be occasional use and local driviing really.

Prices seem to be comming down for the last couple of years so dont want to overpay but dont mind doing a little bit of work ... so long as its not welding!

Does anyone have any advice on where to start!

Budget £8-£12k dependent on what it is, money ready to go !!

Thanks

Phib
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mk1
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Re: New to minis options and advice please

Post by mk1 »

Hi, And welcome to the forum.

I see you have already seen the grey one being advertised by Al. I haven't seen this one, but Al's workmanship is second to none & I think it is being offered at a VERY good price indeed!

In general, I would say that buying a good early (external hinge, sliding window) car will always be a better bet than the later Wind up window ones. Also, you get a far "purer" Mini driving experience. But having said that. Try & drive a few examples before you buy, you may prefer the more "civilised" ride of the later cars.

For the sort of money you are looking at spending, you should be able to get a really good standard 850, or a tastefully modified 850 but with a bigger engine & a few refinements / modifications.

Try and get personal recommendations & personally, I would avoid buying from FB Market place, it's a bit like the wild west. If you have any specific questions, I am sure that folks on here would be happy to help.

Good luck,

M
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Peter Laidler
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Re: New to minis options and advice please

Post by Peter Laidler »

If I was starting this mini cooper game again (and I might be soon if things pan out.......), and I wasn't concourse orientated I'd start by briowsing throgh a thread on this foryum, OUR CARS. A few down from the top a sub-thread titled '.....just bought.....' by one of our Dutch contributors called Kees. Better known as UHR850

Great little car, started off as a '70 or so early Mk3 and........ Go on, have a look. That';s where I'd be heading. Nothinbg flash, no prize winnings or concourse stuff, Just a good looking earlyish car
gs.davies
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Re: New to minis options and advice please

Post by gs.davies »

I'm not a fan of the 'backdated' cars, and more often than not, some folks take the backdating a little too far, with tall tales of 'reshelling' that was apparently rife in the 1980's using 1990's shells. Funnily enough, reselling didn't happen prior to 1bout 1996 when the government made cars over 25 years old road tax exempt, leading to lots of pre 1971 log books being applied for, chassis plates being stamped and attached to unassuming cars from the 90's.. Its one thing welding up the later square taillight holes to accept the smaller Mk1 lamps and fitting a moustache grille, but the blatant ringing that's gone on over the years is probably the cause of a lot of the headaches some owners are now experiencing with registering their cars. Watch out for ringers, more or less everyone on here will be able to spot one a mile off if you're unsure, so just ask.

Mk1 pre-hydro cars offer the purest driving experience, and all are fun, even the humble 850. So many have been 'Cooperised' to the point that actually seeing am 850 with a magic wand change in place is almost a rarity. All Mk2 will have started life on wet suspension and that brings some challenges as some of those parts are becoming hard to find. Early Mk3 probably offer the next closest level of simplicity to the Mk1, with some of them retaining the magic wand box whilst some had the Cooper type remote. After 1973, they all had the more common and plentiful rod-change gearbox. By the time you get to 1976, rubber mounted subframes took a little bit of the razor sharpness away and they get a bit easier to live with with slightly more modern switchgear. Having recently driven significant amounts of miles in all weathers in a 1961 car with it's recirculating heater, non-self parking, single speed wipers on a switch by the passenger's kneecap, dynamo electrics and floor operated dipswitch, I can attest that these can be challenging cars to live with. Charming, but a royal pain in the arse when you're tired and just want to get home!

Getting a Mini to go well enough to keep up with traffic isn't too difficult, seems a few of us have swapped out the 850 for the torquey and surprisingly quick 1100. Starting from scratch, unless you had one lying around, I wouldn't bother with the 998 (yes, many will disagree!) I retained the magic wand box on mine but geared it up a bit to make it easier to live with on motorway runs. I also ditched the really early single leading shoe brakes for the perfectly adequate if not amazing 7 inch Cooper set up. 1300 is a common engine swap, and if going down that route and you want to drive like your backside is on fire, probably best to fit the 7.5 Cooper S brakes. There are some other options that fit under the 10 inch wheel (though watch the track width and offset if going 7.5 S brakes, wider front track..). Later Minis on 12 inch wheels in my opinion don't drive as nicely, but usually come with the 8.4 inch brake, which is cheap and plentiful. 13 inch wheels.. well, your tastes may vary, that's all I'll say!

Good luck with choosing, looking forward to seeing your progress.
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mk1
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Re: New to minis options and advice please

Post by mk1 »

That is a great summing up GS.
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Pandora
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Re: New to minis options and advice please

Post by Pandora »

gs.davies wrote: Tue Aug 01, 2023 5:51 pm the blatant ringing that's gone on over the years is probably the cause of a lot of the headaches some owners are now experiencing with registering their cars. Watch out for ringers, more or less everyone on here will be able to spot one a mile off if you're unsure, so just ask.
Ironically, for things swept under the carpet, that's where you'll find the clue to these issues - the squarer tunnel of the later cars, as opposed to the early round tunnel.

I am increasingly thinking that early Mk3s are the way to go. All Mk1s are now overpriced for what they are, and Mk2s had such a short run they are rare (many now being mk1s....) but an early '70s 850 / 1000 or a clubman is a really nice compromise of style/ cost / real World usability. Actually, I also think early Spridgets and A40s are also the way to go, but that's a different discussion. £15k for a not very special Mk1 850???? :lol:

buy with care, and your eyes open, ask on here for any advice and opinion (some on here have plenty ;) :lol: ) and you should get something you enjoy owning and can then decide what, if anything, you want to do to make it your own. And don't forget how lucky we are with parts availability - yes, OK, some are hard to find for specific years, especially the early stuff, and some repro is not great quality, but there are few things that would keep you off the road for long.

Al
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Peter Laidler
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Re: New to minis options and advice please

Post by Peter Laidler »

I wonder if PhilB will return after his good Q. I'm sure that if he did see something and showed us - or found a local forumer - they'd always give him some good advice.

There's been a few good(?) 10 wheel Mk3's that have been auctioned recently.........

Is restoring a Mk3 front end any more difficult than Mk1 or 3? The doors rearwards look very similar
phib
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Re: New to minis options and advice please

Post by phib »

Sorry for the slow reply !!

Thank you for you all taking the time and a lot of time from a couple of members to give great information!

From reading the advice and comments I really need to work out what I am going to do with it, to give a bit of background.

I am a complete petrol head and have quite a few cars ranging from a 72rhd fiat 500 (with a 650 engine in it) through to a Taycan Turbo which is my daily and some race cars (road registered ex targa floria / monza / imola 1976 Lancia fulvia barchetta ) and bits and bobs in between.

About 20 years ago I wrote a list of the cars I wanted to own and steadily have been working through them, trying to buy sensibly have a bit of fun with them and then either sell on or keep, probably got four keepers, two sellers and one I am not sure about yet as I havent had it long!

I have restored or had cars restored in the past and a combination of lack of talent (mine) !, no time (two young kids), a manic business and loosing my shirt on one restoration puts me off that route.

The main thing for me is getting the experience of a mini!

I have to say as I have read the comments a resto mod or back date i.e. 1990's does put me off.

Ideally I would buy from an enthusiast that has a car that has good history, some fun upgrades and is a sensible price with little or no rust !

Two real options that seem to be coming to mind are a standard early car, maybe a reshelled one or a 60's / 70's one that been preped for fast road / racing / rally replica if its been done.

I am based in surrey / work i hereford and most of the cars I seem to like are way up north ... where we are from originally !

Thanks for the advice so far, need to get out and have a look at a few.

One that has caught my eye is thsi one and any views would be very helpful

https://angliacarauctions.co.uk/classic ... -mini-1275
InnoCooperExport
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Re: New to minis options and advice please

Post by InnoCooperExport »

Off topic but I'd be very interested in seeing the Fulvia barchetta, is it a FM replica?
Of course I know what a dipstick is, you get called something often enough you look it up!
haynes
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Re: New to minis options and advice please

Post by haynes »

No way is that car in the Anglia auction a 1978, its a later car. Other than how genuine the car is, the only thing that really matters is the condition of the bodyshell.

The grey 1966 cooper for sale on here is a fine looking car and i think a real bargain, it cost me that to get just the welding and paint done on mine.
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