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Buyers Guide to:

Austin Mini – 1959 to 1967

Useful Info

Manufactured

1959 to 1967

Fuel Type

Petrol

Engine Size

848cc

Engine Type

Water-Cooled

Drive Configuration

FWD

British Mini Club

www.britishminiclub.co.uk

National Mini Owners Club

www.miniownersclub.co.uk

Just Kampers

Odiham,
Hampshire,
RG291JE,
01256 862288,
www.justkampers.com

Background

Few cars are as famous as the Mini, and it’s one that needs little in the way of introduction. Launched in 1959, the design was the work of Alec Issigonis and it was to revolutionise the world of family motoring. Just ten feet in length and with a tiny wheel at each corner, there was still room for four, and the car also benefitted from the brilliant A-Series engine that was mounted transversely and with the gearbox incorporated in the sump for even greater space saving. Early sales were slow, though, and the company lost money thanks to an amazingly low purchase price, but that wouldn’t stop the Mini becoming a legend. There were plenty of changes and revised models over the years, and by the time production ended in October 2000, 5.5 million examples had been made.

  1. 1. Front wings, especially around headlamps
  2. 2. Front scuttle
  3. 3. Front and rear screen surrounds
  4. 4. Front and rear valance
  5. 5. A-panels/A-posts
  6. 6. Doors
  7. 7. Sills
  8. 8. Rear wheel arches
  9. 9. Boot lid

The Checklist

  • Whether the example you’re looking at has been restored previously. If so, it’s important to know how well the work was done as it’s not uncommon to find filler-laden bodges
  • Every bit of the metalwork for corrosion as full restoration will cost more than you think. As well as the hotspots listed, examine the area around the door hinges (from inside the front wheel arch); the front and rear inner wings; and the floor of the cabin and boot. Lift the base of the rear seat to check the floor area
  • That rust hasn’t attacked the battery tray (it’s in the boot) or the area around the fuel tank. Get underneath and check for corroded subframes and mountings, although oil leaks tend to protect the front one
  • The A-Series engine for wear and neglect, although it’s both cheap and easy to re-build. The latter will almost certainly be needed if you find excessive exhaust smoke, low oil pressure, or rumbling from the bottom end of the engine. Listen for the rattle of a badly worn timing chain, too
  • For oil leaks and signs of overheating. The former is very hard to cure completely, so don’t worry unless it’s excessive, while the latter is often caused by a silted radiator or leaking water pump. An electric cooling fan is a useful upgrade so consider it a bonus if one is fitted
  • That the gearbox doesn’t whine excessively or jump out of gear. Being mounted in the sump it shares the same oil as the engine, so fresh lubricant every 3000 miles is best for longevity
  • The clutch for signs of slippage or juddering, although the latter may just be caused by perished engine stabiliser bar bushes. And listen for the clicking of worn CV joints when turning on full lock
  • The suspension carefully. Minis made before 1971 used the hydrolastic (or ‘wet’) system which can suffer from fluid leaks and corroded pipework. Replacement hydrolastic units are hard to source, too. A previous owner may have converted the car to the later rubber cone suspension – it costs around £500 to do
  • For signs of corrosion around the suspension mountings, especially at the rear. Impacts with kerbs or potholes could also have damaged the rear radius arms
  • That the brakes aren’t worn, or suffering from leaking wheel cylinders. An overhaul is cheap and easy to do on a DIY basis, though
  • For vague steering which indicates wear. Vertical movement of the steering wheel points to worn column bushes which are easy to replace
  • The interior for worn, damaged, or unoriginal trim. Just about every part is available so a scruffy cabin shouldn’t be a deal-breaker if the bodywork is sound
  • That all the electrics are working correctly. The system is very simple, but bodged or perished wiring isn’t uncommon
  • Whether the car has been modified. It’s a popular pastime with Minis but early ones are rising in value so originality is usually best

Everything Check Out?

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