Running a Mini as a daily

Running a Mini as a daily

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Ambleton

Original Poster:

4,949 posts

148 months

Wednesday 17th July 2019
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Hi all,

A bit of advice if you don't mind. My other half wants a mini. Always has, always will. She's used to small cars (currently has a smart) and nippy little little cars (C2 Loeb previous). She's also aware of the woes that classic motoring can bring. She's had her fair share of unreliable cars and I currently have various classic "projects" on the go for myself.

She wants a mini as her Daily. She commutes 5 miles to work each day through the town centre, so she's not doing long and arduous journeys. It will be kept outside on the drive.

I've seen a few locally and it seems that you either buy a rotbox of a shell + a box of bits and do it yourself, spend £3k and have one that has an MOT but needs immanent work, or you spend >£8k and buy one that's immaculate.

If we do it, we'd sell the shart car and probably get the best we could afford. It's always cheaper spending more and getting the best one than doing it yourself. I've seen such a car that's had a full rebuild with new bonnet, doors etc and a bare metal shell that's been fully cavity prepped and undersealed etc. It looks like a new car if I'm honest and it's almost completely standard.

so... the question... is it a bad idea?

PH5121

1,682 posts

169 months

Wednesday 17th July 2019
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I ran minis as my only cars for 5 or 6 years at the start of my motoring adventure, they required continuous on going maintenance as they were a product of a by gone age.

If you're not familiar with minis or classic cars I'd recommend getting the Lyndsay Porter 'Step by Step Mini Service Guide and owner's manual' to give you an overview of the maintenance regime. It's an old book from the 1980's but dog eared editions are in the £10 - £12 region on Amazon and ebay. I bought one recently for my 12 year old son who wants to be a mechanic to give him an idea on what we need to do to our mini.

The biggest issue I had back in the day was fighting rust. In winter I cleaned and pressure washed my cars every day to wash the salt off and in summer waxoyled them, but they still rusted. The other issue I had was wheel bearings, but that was due to the over sized wheels that I'd fit.
Luckily mine never had any rot, but rust crept from the seams. Due to my 'enthusiatic' yet unskilled driving this wasn't too much of a problem as both had regular new panels and paint work due to my numerous 'incidents' (crashes).

Something else which has struck me with my return to mini motoring after a 23 year absence is how vulnerable you feel. When I was young and daft it never occurred to me that I was in a very small tin box with very little protection.
Now I'm sensible and with my own kids I drive the mini in a much more sedate, sensible and safe manner.



Ambleton

Original Poster:

4,949 posts

148 months

Wednesday 17th July 2019
quotequote all
Thanks for the input. I had not anticipated quite such an involvement of washing after salty winter days etc. I might have a look at the bilt hamber range of products they're supposed to be one of the best for cavity and under body protection.

Are you aware if anyone has designed/sells a set of wheel arch and under body protection covers like you get on modern cars?

A500leroy

1,663 posts

74 months

Wednesday 17th July 2019
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if its just on the drive get some good security , there are specialist groups that target old minis and they are very easy to take.

V7SLR

454 posts

142 months

Friday 19th July 2019
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Depending upon the year there are arch-liners available.

The biggest source for info is The Mini Forum

GTRMikie

854 posts

204 months

Saturday 20th July 2019
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Pre injections cars had a choke. If your wife has never driven a car with a choke, go for a fuel injected model, preferably a twin point!

Kit352

103 posts

26 months

Sunday 21st July 2019
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I daily my mini and its a constant struggle. I cant go a couple months before something needs to done. Even just lubing the chassis every few months is something you need to consider. Its not a great drive and the smart car is worlds better than it. I daily it mostly to get my moneys worth out of it before i sell it. It is not a practical car to daily but can be done. If you can work on it yourself your ahead of the game.

ph9

95 posts

50 months

Wednesday 31st July 2019
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I had a Clubman as my first car, and I remember that it always seemed to need its drum brakes adjusting - a real pain! Also, the points needed to be set fairly regularly. Then there was the suspension/subframe replacement etc. etc.

Mine looked quite smart when I bought it, but it was actually rotten, and I think the garage had stuffed the sills and floor with paper then given the car a quick spray and polish.

I recently watched a Youtube video which highlighted what to look for when buying a Mini. It seemed to be a 360 degree walk around the car, with each panel being pointed at while the presenter warned, "This can rust"! There were also warnings about regular oil changes - apparently a fluffed gear change should really be followed by an oil change.

I still fancy getting another one (I was always under the impression that mine was a 'bad one' and that a different one would be fantastic) but I do a high mileage, and I know I probably wouldn't be able to keep on top of all the required maintenance.

Lotobear

2,207 posts

84 months

Thursday 1st August 2019
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.....the only way to be sure of a rot free Mini is to start from scratch - 67 Mk1 project

P5BNij

5,914 posts

62 months

Thursday 1st August 2019
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A good place to start certainly... 850 / Cooper / Cooper S...?

I ran Minis as everyday cars for over twenty years, mostly Mk1s and Mk2s with a few later BL and Rover era cars, every single one of them started 'going' in the usual places, around the headlamps, A-Panels, sills, rear valance etc, even the scuttle area below the front screen goes eventually. The first proper Cooper I bought was a '69 Mk2 in El Paso Beige and White which I ran daily for about five years until one day I opened the garage door and noticed a line of rust below the sills on the floor, I could put my fist through one of the holes, I had every intention of restoring it properly but another one came along which also needed restoring (for the second time in its life) a few years later. Oddly it was the '60s cars which took the longest to rot, the 2000 Cooper Sportpack I had dissolved much quicker, they didn't bother painting behind the door or boot hinges in the factory.

Here's that first Mk2 Cooper, it's now in Northern Ireland being restored, I wish I'd kept it and done the resto myself...


Lotobear

2,207 posts

84 months

Thursday 1st August 2019
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Not a Cooper unfortunately - a humble 850 Super Deluxe but being built as an S 'evocation'

Going to be Smoke Grey with a white roof and lots of period goodies including a 'tear drop' binnacle with tacho, Microcell seats etc. 1300GT based 1310 with 276 cam, lightened flywheel/clutch and twin HS4's

Shell stands me around 7k as you see it in the photo so it's not a cheap process!

P5BNij

5,914 posts

62 months

Thursday 1st August 2019
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I like the sound of that and smoke grey is a lovely shade with a contrasting white roof. In all I spent about £12.5k on my Mk2 S, it started off as a 'new front end and a blowover' job which I thought would take a couple of months but ended up as a bare metal resto which took fourteen months. It was at that point I decided to change the colour as stripping the shell revealed it had been repainted several times in its first twenty years, from Island Blue & White to black, then green, then maroon, then black again and back to Island blue. It's purple now!


Lotobear

2,207 posts

84 months

Thursday 1st August 2019
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I like Island Blue and I also like El Paso Beige. Tweed Grey is a super colour as well and it was a toss up between that and smoke grey

One of my biggest car regrets was selling my Snowberry White and black roof Mk2 S in the late 80's for £700 - LGR 555G. It seems to have disappeared off the database but I heard from someone it was bought buy a Dutchman who spent a fortune restoring it and then sadly topped himself!

..you always come back to Minis!

P5BNij

5,914 posts

62 months

Friday 2nd August 2019
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A mate of mine sold his Mk2 S (same colour combo as yours) for £28k a couple of years ago, it's up for sale again at £40k, bonkers really isn't it. I regret selling my unrestored '65 Island Blue & Old English White Mk1 S a few years ago, I really should have kept it. I'm trying to talk myself out of buying another '60s Mini but I've got my beady eye on a very nice 997 Cooper.... rolleyes

Edited by P5BNij on Friday 2nd August 12:38

Drooles

170 posts

12 months

Friday 2nd August 2019
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My first car was a Mini and got used daily. I would say that I ended up working on it every weekend - granted, some of the work (such as Peco centre exit big bore exhaust) was chosen but a lot wasn’t. Dealing with rust was an ongoing battle.

My second car was also a Mini, this time a ‘68,(still have it 20odd years later) and this was a similar story, although as P5Bnij says, the 60s one didn’t seem to rot as badly. Having said that, after 5 years of regular use through all seasons, I needed to have inner and outer sills replaced and half the floor. After the time, effort and cost of this, I decided that the Mini would be semi-retired. I’ve only driven it weekends through the summer since and currently it’s sitting in the garage with a partly dismantled engine!

I’d say you can run them daily but it’s got to be a hobby...

DKL

3,741 posts

178 months

Saturday 10th August 2019
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Lotobear said:
I like Island Blue and I also like El Paso Beige. Tweed Grey is a super colour as well and it was a toss up between that and smoke grey

One of my biggest car regrets was selling my Snowberry White and black roof Mk2 S in the late 80's for £700 - LGR 555G. It seems to have disappeared off the database but I heard from someone it was bought buy a Dutchman who spent a fortune restoring it and then sadly topped himself!

..you always come back to Minis!
My first car was a mk2 cooper, used most days. Island blue but was originally el paso beige. S discs but a blue not black interior.
Sadly this too has disappeared off the list but I did find some pictures of it post rally crash in Italy a while back. No idea if it eve got fixed.
I always promised myself a mk 2 S but there is an awful lot of other things I would rather have at their current daft prices. Anyone seen any signs of a readjustment (by quite alot)?

klsx

1 posts

2 months

Tuesday 9th June
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Lotobear said:
One of my biggest car regrets was selling my Snowberry White and black roof Mk2 S in the late 80's for £700 - LGR 555G. It seems to have disappeared off the database but I heard from someone it was bought buy a Dutchman who spent a fortune restoring it and then sadly topped himself!
I hope you're still active on this forum Lotobear as I am trying to find more details on the recent history of LGR 555G due myself and my late father owning & restoring this car in the very early 2000's. The car was unfortunately sold after my father's death in 2004 before we could finish the restoration, and we intended to use it for road-going rallying as part of a nearby classic car club.

Lotobear

2,207 posts

84 months

Tuesday 9th June
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klsx said:
I hope you're still active on this forum Lotobear as I am trying to find more details on the recent history of LGR 555G due myself and my late father owning & restoring this car in the very early 2000's. The car was unfortunately sold after my father's death in 2004 before we could finish the restoration, and we intended to use it for road-going rallying as part of a nearby classic car club.
Yes, I'm still here and remember the car well, though I sold it over 30 years ago to a guy from Darras Hall, Newcastle. My understanding was it went to Holland?

I bought it from a guy called Dennis Snow in Sunderland in around 1986. It had been owned by Swift Motorsport in Peterlee during the 70's and campaigned in some form (road rallies I think).

here are some pics from around 1988 - it was sporting a Cooper nose badge at that time as it was minus it's S badge when I got it and I could not afford a new badge at the time.

PM me if you want any more info - I have a few more photos somewhere

Lotobear

2,207 posts

84 months

Tuesday 9th June
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interior (1988)

WhatamIgettingmyselfinto

44 posts

40 months

Monday 29th June
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If you get a decent well maintained mini, odds are you'll be fine. They are not fragile museum pieces, they were designed to be driven every day. I drove my 1983 mini for 5 years without major problems including a 1500 mile road trip around Europe.

Get breakdown cover as a precaution. Carry out preventative maintenance. Don't use cheap Chinese ignition parts.