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BMC Mini

BMC Mini Published: 25th Sep 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

BMC Mini
BMC Mini
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Why should I buy one?

Every motoring enthusiast should own a Mini at least once in their lives to sample pure back to basic fun, irrespective of the model or year. Minis are one of the few classics that can be used with impunity on today’s roads as many later cars (made to 2000) still are. Produced for more than 40 years, you’re knee deep in choice and all are oh so simple and cheap to maintain at home with top club and specialist support. As a starter classic, they make great buys and are also ideal young learner drivers’ cars who don’t want to go down the modern Corsa/Fiesta road. Other benefits include classic car insurance and lowly running costs.

What can I get?

With seven generations there’s something for everyone. Most popular, and desired, is the boxy saloon but there’s also the longer wheel-based estate (Countryman and Traveller) plus a van and pick-up offshoot. Masses of changes over the decades, naturally, with later Minis sporting bigger, more powerful engines of up to 1.3-litres, and better interiors, especially square-fronted Clubmans and 1275GTs of 1969. If you want something different, consider the suited and booted upmarket 998cc Riley and Wolseley derivatives (see pic). Can’t leave out sporting Coopers of course, but in terms of prices, these sell way, above normal Mini values (over £20 grand and more for a Cooper S), unlike the 1990 1.3-litre Rover Mini Coopers which enjoy a good 80 per cent of their original character yet can be bought for around £4000. Unless you hanker for an early car, later 1990 alternatives are better suited for the roads, and cheaper, as Mk1s can easily sell for five figures if half good.

What are they like to drive?

What’s the difference between a Mini and an Imp? Well, back in their boy-racer days, it was said that if you overdid it in a Mini then you’d go head first into the scenery, while in an Imp you’d get rear-engined oversteer and so be looking back out of the rear window for the inevitable! An exaggeration… of course because both cars feel agile and safe when driven sensibly, as classics usually are, although the Mini is inherently the more foolproof as well as being more ‘chuckable’. Minis also do not suffer in crosswinds like Imps, or feel light at the front end at speed but, on the other hand, the ride is distinctly inferior. Where the Mini does score is with their A-Series engines and their lusty low-rev pull, plus the fact that later models benefited with the 1098cc and 1275cc power packs and taller, less fussy gearing.

What are they like to live with?

Along with the MGB and Morris Minor, few classics are as easy to run as a Mini. Everything you require, right down to complete new bodyshells, is available. In addition, the Mini’s simplicity makes DIY easy, if not exactly pleasurable. Rust remains a big worry but new panels and new subframes are all available, albeit at a cost. Happily, the mechanicals are well proven and fairly inexpensive to fix. Best of all, after 60 years, fiendishly new ways of tuning and improving Minis are still being concocted.

We reckon

The Mini is a hit… for being a Mini and there’s no rival for some enthusiasts. Owners’ clubs and specialist back up couldn’t be better and, in its 60th, no better time to buy.

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