1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - kim2006
Thinking of buying a 1986 Austin Mini Piccadily. Car is to be used daily for a 10 mile commute to and from home to work by me (although boyfriend would technically own the car).

Has 65k and six months MOT remaining - last MOT only cost the £45 odd plus a new bulb so I'm guessing it's in pretty good nick. It has no service book but has 20 years of receipts and documentation to show that it's been looked after. It has been garaged for most of its life and although is a little lazy starting in the recent cold weather it certainly seemed to go okay once fired up.

Person selling is a Mini enthusiast and had two or three on his drive. The one he is selling was purchased last November for his daughter but as she now travels an hour a day the car is a little impractical to say the least.

What worries me is that it's 21 years old (or as good as) and obviously has started to show one or two rust bubbles in the usual places.

As it's always been my dream to own a 'proper' mini this could be my last chance but I don't want to waste the £800 they're asking (plus inevitable repairs on a car this age).

I will definatly get the car checked over by my local, trustworthy, garage before agreeing anything but should I let my heart rule my head?


1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - yorkiebar
In my day every one "had" to have owned a mini to have even been considered a proper driver !

But was a while ago!

Fantastic cars in their day but really wouldn't want my daughter owning 1 now. Outclassed, no safety features, heavily prone to rust, temperamental etc.

Don't buy 1 unless you really must I think is my best advice !
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Xileno {P}
If it's got one or two rust bubbles then buy it. Usually terminal rot is more likely.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Lud
Usually terminal rot is more likely.


Which means, get your expert to check it very thoroughly for rust if you really fancy it, and be prepared to buy new drive shafts, rubber-cone springs etc.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - DavidHM
If the car's what you say it is, for £800 it's a bargain.

Now I wouldn't necessarily want to drive an old Mini every day, wonderful as they are as collector's pieces, but a nice limited edition in apparently good condition with only minor rust... that's an easy £800 of anyone's money.

If you know someone knowledgeable about cars, or better still, Minis and their quirks, you should get them to check it out though.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Mapmaker
Well, there's a very similar thread to this last week - where somebody was spending about £800 on a 1960s Mini that hadn't run for years - (and frankly wasn't likely to).

I was going to write 'head, not heart'.

But if you REALLY have found one for £800, that - as David says - is in fair nick, well buy it. And loathe every mile you drive in it, and sell it again (or keep it forever).

As for being a lazy starter, well I'm always an optimist, and reckon that an oil change, some new plugs and new HT leads, and a new rotor arm will sort it. They might not. :0
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - bell boy
8< SNIP comment removed due to it's double entendre meaning - DD
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Kevin
I wouldn't even consider an '86 mini for a daily 10 mile commute.

By today's standards they are noisy, uncomfortable and not particularly economical or reliable. They also provide very little protection if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident.

As a weekend toy it might be fun but using it every day I think you'll get tired of it very quickly.

Kevin...
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - kim2006
re lazy starting: Should point out that the car had been in the garage for 6 weeks (according to seller) and started on the second attempt. It just needed a bit of a 'point in the right direction'. It had a new battery (well, one off his cooper which is off the road at the minute) a few months ago apparently so it's obviously been cared for.

I appreciate the opinions so far but am still no clearer as to my decision. It's for sale at £925 but the seller said he would be willing to drop that and hinted that £800 cash would be enough to get it. Taking it to my usual mechanic (who has been used by the family for 20+ years) should highlight any faults and I was hoping I could use this visit to knock the price down a bit.

How much would the likely bushes etc mentioned above be likely to set me back?

The thought of an accident in any 20 year old car scares me but I take the point!
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - kim2006
8< SNIP nothing offensive here. Just removing the post as it was in reply to an earlier post that was removed - DD
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - frazerjp
I was going to consider one of them a few years ago myself, after checking a few out at the mini show at Sandown park & coming home in my own Ka, i decided not to.
I pulled away from a set of lights on the way home before joining the M25 & said to myself: "I wouldn't be able to do that in a mini will i?"
End of storey & still have my Ford Ka.
--
Its not what you drive, its how you drive it! :-)
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - stunorthants26
Make totally sure you can cope with it on a day to day basis - if you love one then you must love its faults aswell as its fun factor.

Minis dont really depreciate, which is good, but check ever so carefully for rust as it can be well hidden but terminal.
Anywhere near body seams should be checked aswell as the subframe as this is a common rust issue.
If its genuinely solid, first waxoyl the whole underside so it stays that way, then enjoy it.

Its a reasonable price and if you didnt like it, you could easily get that money back, plus buying off an enthusiast is never a bad thing.
Just get it checked over and make sure you can live with it - this nonsense about it not being able to do any kind of mileage is totally false. Minis can do high mileage ( if you look after it properly )and long trips, you just need a little backbone and ear plugs - Ive heard the same said about Reliant Rialtos yet ive done long trips in them without much discomfort ( in a car fitted with Mini seats I might add! ).
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Baskerville
At 65,000 miles there's not much left in this engine before a rebuild. Bear in mind these are essentially the same as they were in the 1960s when very few people put cars through the kind of abuse you propose for this one. The engine dates back much further, to shortly after the dawn of time when owning a piece of flint was considered to be putting on airs. The day in, day out battering of a commute would always have been hard on a car this size, never mind at 20 years old. It will need very regular and very annoying maintenance to keep it reliable, which it will have to be if you are to keep your job. It's not the car for this and you will kill it very quickly if you try, but at £800 if it's a good one and you want it, keep it for sunny days. You'll only regret it otherwise.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - DavidHM
At 65,000 miles there's not much left in this engine before a rebuild.

My mate's car, also a 1986 1.0, ran to 206k before his cousin (to whom he had sold the car with 188k, for £800) killed it by driving it 15 miles with no coolant whatsoever. Mainenance is a necessity but I would be more worried about 200 miles a week being too much for a new driver used to modern cars, than about the mileage killing a well maintained 20-year-old Mini in short order.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Baskerville
My mate's car, also a 1986 1.0, ran to 206k before
his cousin (to whom he had sold the car with 188k,
for £800) killed it by driving it 15 miles with no
coolant whatsoever.


Experience with Metros of similar vintage tells me they are hard work to keep running well beyond about 60,000. Everything seems to wear out simultaneously between 60 and 70K and there's always something not quite right. That's fine in a weekend car, but not in a commuter. And the Metros I'm talking about were less than half the age of this Mini. The notoriously leaky gearbox seals (was this also a feature of Minis?) means they do get to run on fresh oil all the time, but still I've been acquainted with three of these engines, none of them abused, and they were all smoky by 80-90K, apart from being just generally troublesome in anything other than blazing sunshine. That 206K must have been a lot of effort. Reliable in the sense of not actually breaking down though, I'll give them that.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Avant
Kim - I think this depends on what your budget is. If you've only got £800, anything at this price is a gamble, and a looked-after Mini is probably no more or less of a gamble than anything else - plus of course a lot of fun to drive and the fulfilment of your dream.

If you were going to spend more, you'd find that a Ford Ka is just as much fun to drive. As they've been in production for 10 years there should be one to suit any budget: but a 10-year-old one might be just as likely to go wrong as a 20-year-old Mini.

Try a Ka and see if it could fulfil your dream in the same way.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - jc2
If it's got minor rust now,it'll be major rust by spring.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Micky
Buy carefully, you might be paying £800 for the privilege of paying another £800 in repairs. Minis belong to a different era, but they're still good fun to drive. Minimal crash protection though, noisy and endless rust problems. In balance, don't buy it unless you are an enthusiast. And then you can put an R1 engine in the boot, and fit a rollcage, and wear a Sparco suit. Now that would make the commute a bit of an occasion.

Check the name and address on the V5, does the daughter live at the seller's address?
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - kim2006
Yes the seller lives with his daughter although she was at work when I went to view the car. It has had three owners and the seller even has copies of the original document stating who purchased it new etc. All owners live(d) locally and I intend to try and track them down before agreeing anything so that I can ask them about any known problems with it.

I spoke to my boyfriend who 'pretends to know' about cars and he said he'd have a look at it with me and take it for a test drive etc. His first comments were rust, reliability of a 20 year old car and zero accident protection. He did state that they were pretty much as reliable as any car of that era (and within that price range) but that I would be better off looking at something less fashionable and more reliable like a Hyundai or a Toyota. He suggested a Ka but said that his mate had all sorts of problems with spark plugs getting stuck(?) so said that we should be carefu. Only trouble is to him reliability is key - to me I prefer it to be fashionable.

He suggested waiting six months as he hopes to get a company car soon then we could sell his for £5k and for that, he reckon, he'd get me a top notch old style Cooper?
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Pugugly {P}
Don't do it, SWMBO had a C plate and an F plate from new as company cars. Horrible little things. They went old before their time. People on this site and others knock the new MINI but take it from me, these are from a different time/space continuum. Look at it like this SWMBO's is 5 plus years old, it has never broken down, it doesn't have any rust even where stones have have chipped the paintwork and she never ever washes it. everything still works on it, it is serviced on the book and never sees a garage or maintenance beyond oil and tyre checks in between, I am comforted to think if she had a bump in it that she'd have a sporting chance in a modern car which has structural integrity as standard equipment and is uncompromised by poor quality steel,indifferent build quality and rot in structural members. I WOULD NOT ALLOW MY LOVED ONE OUT IN ONE ! Ask any of the Traffic Police officers that visit this site about Mini related bumps. If that doesn't persuade you just imagine this in a bump with an SUV, just imagine where that lump of an engine goes in a crash, these cars have no crumple zones, you will take the full brunt of it - they are not real world transport.

PS SWMBO's car is now nudging 85k a mileage that Minis could only dream of !
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Nickdm
Alas, a 20-year old Mini is a museum piece, not a tool for a daily commute.

You need reliability and safety above any other qualities, surely? I wouldn't expect the Mini to offer much of either. Especially not with damp Winter mornings just starting. (Maybe that's why the seller is getting rid?)

At least scan the local ads and garages to get an idea of what alternative cars you could get for your 800 quid? Bet there are loads of sub-10 year old Euroboxes with crumple zones and no rust.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - menu du jour
Having owned two minis over a period of 6 years, I would say "do not do it". They are delightful cars in many respects, but the day-to-day maintenance will get you down. I never relied on mine for work and on many occasions I had to cancel trips because of the latest problem. My recommendation would be a down payment on a Smart fortwo. The repayments will be less than the constant work the mini will require. The endless problems of owning my minis made me buy my first new car [Nissan Micra] and the relief was worth the monthly repayments, believe me. If fashion matters to you, then I would think the Smart is ideal.
Culmhead
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - LeePower
If your looking cheap & cheerful motoring them get a late 1994 onwards facelifted ( Airbag / seatbelt pretensioners / side impact bars ) Fiesta.

Cheap to run, any garage can fix them, parts cheap & much better then a Mini for everyday driving, so a Mini would run rings around it handling wise but thats no big loss.

Pick out a decent one to start with & you can get a few years motoring out of it & build up your own no claims discount at the same time before moving on to something better / newer.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - madf
If you have back problems do not buy one.
If you want back problems , get one.

Very harsh ride, lousy seats.

We had 3 - the last 25 years ago.

They really belong to a different era.

And if it has minor rust, it WILL have major rust (hidden in sills etc).

And at 10 miles/day , the rubber bushes and seals will all collpase as they are >20 years old... That's all the subframes - fron and rear, the front tie rods, the suspension cones.. the drive shafts..

And if you are doing 10 miles a day that's a complete brake overhaul replacing all rubber pipes (perished) , all brake pipes (rust) and all wheel cylinders. You don't want your first emergency stop to be your last?


Great for fun days? Yes.

For regular reliable commuting ? Not without a comprehensive rebuild...


madf
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - stunorthants26
Any car with 3 star NCAP rating or less will kill you in a moderate accident looking at how a Freelander crumples up, yet idiots still buy them and put children in them, so if your gonna die or get seriously injured in either, why is the Mini any worse?
Ok, at very low speeds, your likely to be better off in the LR, but at anything above 40mph, the earlier Freelander folds up like tin foil, buckling in the middle of the roof - this isnt just from watching Top Gear either - I worked on site with a LR bodyshop - even a moderate accident could mean a new shell if its value was high enough as they are poorly designed.
There should be a national campaign to stop people driving them surely?

The 2 star Citroen Saxo, of which there are thousands, is a death trap looking at the crash photos. Does this mean that nobody should buy one?

Buying any £800 car is unlikely to get you anything very safe and at the age of cars we are talking about ( mid 90's or older ), I wouldnt want to trust the airbag systems to work properly either.

I think the point that people are missing is regardless of how safe or reliable a Mini is, thousands of people own them because only a Mini will do. Its a calculated risk, down to the individual, just like almost any car over 10 years old. I dont know of any reliable, very safe car you can get for £800 - a Ford Ka of this price will be rusting pretty bad too with a lovely rattly engine.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - LeePower
Ive knocked a tree over in a 3 star 1998 Fiesta & walked away without injury.

Airbags, seatbelt pretensioners & crumple zones worked perfectly.

I would rather crash a Saxo then a Mini, At least the Saxo has side impact bars, seatbelt pretensioners & at least one airbag, Things the Mini never got untill around 1998 when it was facelifted.

I still think a mid 1990s Fiesta / Punto would be better then a Mini.

Corsa is worth a look but Vauxhall where very mean on safety kit & some dont even have a drivers airbag on a R reg.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - madf
Anyone who suggests a car designed in the mid 1950s and built 20 years ago will have any crash protection left - if any was designed in in the first case - after rust has taken its toll has never looked at a Mini design.
Just look at the steeing column for a start. And if you think 20 year old seatbelt anchorages will survive a crash..

But then that's all irrelevant. If you crash in a Mini at any speed into any large and bulky object, it's likely to be death or serious injury. And to suggest a 50 year old design is safe in today's traffic compared to a Saxo or any car designed 30 years later is just stooopid.

I recall Minis crashing in the 1970s when 10 years old - I saw enough in scrapyards.. Driver and passenegr protection? Joke...

"I wouldn't be seen dead in one " - well if you drove one and crashed badly I'm afraid you would.:-(
madf
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - stunorthants26
Im not suggesting it is safer in a Mini, but past a certain speed, you will die either way.

With that logic though, if you ride a bike, and especially take your children out on the back of a bike, surely thats even more dangerous than in any car, so what kind of parents does that make them?

Thats working on the 'If you crash in a Mini at any speed into any large and bulky object, it's likely to be death or serious injury' logic applied to cycles which are also used on the road. Yet Im quite sure many of these parents seek out the safest car they can.

You have to decide whether what your choosing is an acceptable risk - crossing a road can be quite a risk - these things we do without a second thought, exposing ourselves to risk from being knocked down, yet we are unhappy unless our cars will save us from almost any eventuality.



1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - T Lucas
All this talk of safety is surely just nonsense,who ever thinks about crashing,airbags and crumple zones just there for the marketing men.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - LeePower
Until you have been saved by an airbag & crumple zones you cant really coment on the matter can you!
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Mapmaker
>>If you've only got £800, anything at this price is a gamble, and a looked-after Mini is probably no more or less of a gamble than anything else

Oh so not true, Avant! A nice modern car is much less of a gamble. This car is twenty years old, and was never designed to be an 'icon'/'long life'/'whatever'. Compare it to a Merc of the same vintage.

1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Micky
">Any car with 3 star NCAP rating or less will kill you in a moderate accident <" No.

Volvo 244/240 (or even 144)

Mk2 Granada

Elderly Merc

XJ series Jag

No NCAP but survivability, 244/240 and Mk2 Granny estate can survive rear end shunts better than most modern cars. Why? Big seats and rigidity to keep the boy racers behind the back axle, Lots of box section to crumple if a lorry tries to get in via the rear end. XJ Jag probably offers the best combination of primary and secondary crash protection amongst the elderly brigade. Big elderly cars offer more protection in multiple shunts than smaller, modern cars.

">Buying any £800 car is unlikely to get you anything very safe<" No.

Volvo 244/240 (or even 144)

Mk2 Granada

(Are there any roadworthy Jags or Mercs below £800?)
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - kim2006
Tbh I'm not really buying a car (whether it's a mini or not) for the safety aspect. Most of the driving will be in urban areas so at low speed. I want someting small, fashionable, nippy and unique. For me a Ford Ka or any of the other suggestions so far only fulfill one - possibly two- of those desires. I appreciate a Mini is not the most sensible, or safe, car to purchase but it does fulfil my criteria. I forgot to add that I need it to be cheap.

There is no way that I would consider a Volvo or the like for a ten mile, twice a day commute! Whilst I'm sure the cars are excellent suggestions for safety, reliability and practicality for soley urban driving they just don't seem right for me to drive to work and back in - not to mention their lack of style (which I appreciate is relative)!
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Micky
"> Tbh I'm not really buying a car (whether it's a mini or not) for the safety aspect.<"

Ah, the innocence of the young!

Urban is more risky than motorway.

Have you considered an Ariel Atom?
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - bell boy
im not going into the inns an outs of safety in old bangors except to say what ive said before but will say again for new members
go to a breakers yard/ salvage auction/ accident holding yard /etc and look at what older cars like minis really look like in a small time accident they arent pleasant at all.
As powerlee and others have said at least something like a fiesta has an airbag and crash bars in the doors
nobody goes out to have an accident do they?.......................the accidents come to you
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - bell boy
sorry kim2006 i was writing my post before your last post and was talking to others in general and not as a direct answer to you
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - none
Go for it girl. It's what you want to try and I don't blame you. Millions of mini's were made, but not everyone died as a result of being in one. If you really want to be vulnerable, try a motorbike, or a pushbike or even walking !
If you're used to driving a modern car, you'll find that a mini feeds back a lot more of what's going on around you, from engine noise to road conditions. Within a couple of hours of driving you'll find that you and the car become 'as one'.
Well worth buying, good experience - and you'll end up being a more 'aware' driver.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - frazerjp
Mind you reading some of the posts, i'd feel very vunerable on the motorway in an old mini, especially whilst on the middle lane & a LHD truck pulls into your lane because they wasn't been able to see you. The aftermath would be unimaginable...
Unless your mini is bright yellow ;-)
--
Its not what you drive, its how you drive it! :-)
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Avant
Good point, None. Old Minis obviously score badly for passive safety, but they're most unlikely to overturn, and rarely skid off the road.

The passive safety issue is curious - clearly a 2006 car is many times safer than one from 1986 - and yet I can remember friends of my parents saying in the 1960s that their lives had been saved in a head-on crash by the stout bodywork of their 1940s Wolseley. It was one of those huge solid ones that the police used until the 6/80 came in. It may be something to do with having a separate chassis, but it does seem that passive safety took a dip and has now recovered.

Mapmaker - we'll agree to disagree! A looked-after Mini, that Kim is going to have checked over (in cluding the subframe we hope) by a trustworthy garage, could well be less of a gamble than a neglected 10-year-old banger going for the same price.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - bell boy
avant i cant get the ding a ling ling ding a ling lin out of my head from that wolseley now :-(
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Kevin
Kim,

If you really have your heart set on a Mini nothing we say here is going to change your mind I guess. Do get the garage that you trust to confirm that it doesn't need much work before you part with your cash though.

Kevin...

PS Have you thought about an MG Midget? All the same faults as a Mini but more fun in summer.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Bagpuss
Someone once said "I don't believe it!"

Honestly, I can't believe the number of killjoys on here. If you want an old style Mini, go for it and enjoy it. So to answer your question, yes, let your heart rule your head.

You'll get sick of it eventually and maybe want to buy something with some vague concessions towards creature comforts. But at least you've been there and done that. When you get old, maybe you'll want something with airbags.

In terms of the car, I personally think they are rubbish. My sister on the other hand loves them, proving that taste is a subjective matter. Whether you'll be wasting your money is therefore also subjective. In terms of resale, I think you'll always be able to sell it on. In Germany there are mad people who import right hand drive versions of classic (ahem) British cars and pay serious money for them. Right hand drive is apparently important for authenticity reasons (no sniggering at the back there).
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - nick
Backroomers must be paranoid about being killed in a car. Get real. Yes, people get killed an injured every year but as a percentage of journeys made, your chance of being killed or seriously injured is pretty small. Especially if you drive defensively. I've been driving old cars all my life and amazingly I've reached 50 years old. You make going for a drive in a Morris Minor sound like russian roulette!
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - madf
I'm not paranoid..

Statistically the chances of being killed are very small.

Driving defensively is great.

However, we are not masters of our own destiny when driving. There are lots of reckless uninsured and banned nuppets driving.

Yes I know the chances of being hit by one are small.

But the wise person is the one who takes reasonable precautions that, in the event one is hit, they are driving a car with a reasonable resistance to being killed or badly injured.

For anyone to suggest is Mini is such a car - let alone a 20 year old one - is ludicrous.

I like the probabilities to stack in my favour.. which is what safety is all about....

And anyone who drives a 20 year old car daily without a complete brake overhaul first is just being criminally stupid. And I chose my words advisedly.

(see prior threads on restoring old cars to driveability)




madf
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - yorkiebar
And anybody who doesnt service their car regularly even though its only 4 years old, (but done 100 k miles) is just as guilty !

The car is legal to drive on the roads if it is mot'd and serviceable etc.

I wouldn't want my daughter driving 1, but kim is aware of our concersn etc. The road saftey brigade is getting a little ott I think !

Trees fall on people, people kill each other, cars collide, etc etc tec School trips get cancelled now because of fears that travelling can be too risky! Yes !

Life is a balance of enjoyment/danger/care etc. Sometihngs just have to be done !

Just take a proper balanced view kim !
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - DP
I bought one at 17 and had a year's reliable and enjoyable use out of it. Rotting to hell (the MOT it had on it when I bought it was clearly stolen or done by someone with a white stick), but it cost me next to nothing and was a riot to drive. Did some incredibly stupid and reckless things in it, left the road twice, and still have all my fingers and toes intact.

Traffic conditions in 1993 weren't that much different to now. Just fewer Gatsos and better road surfaces.

In reply to your subject title, I don't believe it's possible to buy an original Mini with anything other than your heart.

Go for it if you want it, and if it's a good one.

Cheers
DP
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - nick
I'd best stay at home wrapped in cotton wool then. Better to be safe than sorry. Just in case. Fingers crossed. Touch wood.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Lud
Yes nick, best to stay under your bed in the dark and keep quiet.

I agree with you about this passive safety thing. I have reached an age even greater than yours and often shudder when I remember the things I and others have got away with in motor vehicles over the years. Largely luck of course. But in this context nearly everyone is lucky most of the time. Never ceases to amaze me.

Primary safety - brakes, roadholding and handling - seems much more important if you like driving. The indestructible-box-on-wheels idea only appeals to those who fear the road. Nature's Volvo drivers so to speak, although I know Volvo's image has shifted a bit in recent years. Of course only a few of nature's Volvo drivers actually drive Volvos. The others waddling about in the way and trying to cause accidents by thrusting their behinds aggressively in your face are 'driving' everything from BMWs to Dacias.

What I always do is try to nip round them and leave them behind. Where they belong. Even while doing that I don't expect to be involved in crashes.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - The Gingerous One
also trying stick my oar in on the subject, I had an Austin Allegro which has the same engine as the Mini and is similar in several aspects (except in styling!) and that always required some TLC at the weekend & evening. I used to commute 30 miles/day in it and did 2 engine rebuilds on it in 3 yrs/45k miles, replaced most of the braking system in that time, ditto clutch seals etc. That was with a car that had 1 previous owner and hadn't been 'butchered' with in the previous 9 years.

Here there's 20 years' worth of things to have all been attacked by various owners and garages.

The main thing with a mini of this age is to see if the rear subframe has been changed yet. If it hasn't then I'd walk away. It's a very labour intensive job and I got dragged into assisting 2 friends' with their rear subframe swaps in the early 90's on 10yr old minis. As you do the job, loads of other things crop up and it all gets horribly protracted.
For the record, the front subframe doesn't rot cos it gets covered in oil from the engine/box, it's the back one that rots.
Also remember it's only got a 4 spd gearbox, doing anything over 65mph is no fun as it's revving its' buns off.

If your budget is £800 then I'd ensure that you have some money left over for various repairs and be confident that you can spot problems before they materialise, e.g. checking the oil every couple of days (it will use oil, the only question is how much ?), coolant and brakes. Carry some oil & water with you, know where to put it if something crops up.

Lastly, just check that it really is pukka and that this 'mini fan' hasn't cobbled it together from several other minis. I know a friend salvaged a badly accident-damaged mini from the scrapper a few years ago and he and his dad spent some considerable time on it putting it back on the road & shifting it on You could tell it wasn't quite right because if you looked closely around the back, the swageline in the panels didn't match up as it went round the n/s/r corner cos they just couldn't re-shape the panels in that area to match up.....

cheers

Stu

PS. If I were you, I wouldn't buy it. Not for the safety reasons but for the maintenance overhead and lack of a 5spd 'box.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - DP
>>. Carry some oil
& water with you, know where to put it if something
crops up.


Good advice. I would also add a can of WD40 to the list as well to spray over the dizzy cap and HY leads when the inevitable coughing and passing wind kicks in after deep puddles / floods and heavy rain. The plastic cover between the dizzy and the grille is woefully inadequate.

Cheers
DP
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Lud
Or put a latex or kitchen rubber glove over the distributor with the HT leads going through small holes in the ends of the fingers...
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - No FM2R
If it would be your main/sole means of transport and you need available transport (commuting or whatever) then don't buy it. If it would not be your main means of transport and/or you can deal with life without it for a week from time to time then go for it, they're loads of fun.

1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - jc2
Move the front number plate up onto the front grille as well to stop water hitting the electrics.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - kim2006
Move the front number plate up onto the front grille as well to stop water hitting the electrics.>>


They've already 'fixed' that problem by fitting a piece metal. I specifically asked what this was for (I thought it might be covering something up) and the seller replied that all Mini's should have had one fitted to stop water ingress into the electronics. I guess this is a good sign?

I've told the seller I need 24hrs to think about it and that I want it checked over by my garage before I enter any agreement with him.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Mapmaker
>>Mapmaker - we'll agree to disagree! A looked-after Mini, that Kim is going to have checked over (in cluding the subframe we hope) by a trustworthy garage, could well be less of a gamble than a neglected 10-year-old banger going for the same price.


"could". Indeed. We agree to agree. "might not be" - I hope we agree there as well!
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - bell boy
i mentioned grease nipples earlier and my post was removed but my observation stands there are quite a few on minis and they do indeed need regular greasing
the oil is good for 6000 miles tops
the swivel joints are always unswiveling
the handbrakes need constant faffing
the windscreen wipers are a joke
the rust from inside out is unstoppable
i maintained one of these for a relative for two/three years and in the end i told her no more too many skinned knuckles etc
the bottom dollar line that i havent read on this thread (apologies if its here) is the fact that when the mini car was in its height of popularity a motor car was a rare sight on the road i now live on ,roll on 2007 and if i had to park on the street now it would be via pistols at dawn due to there being absolutely no room for the dozens of cars already there,the reason for my long drawl? too many cars on the road too many people on the phone why drive an egg box when a rotten fiesta will give better protection?

rest in peace mark bolan :-(
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - LeePower
Wrap a purple Mini round the big oak tree more like ;-)
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Pugugly {P}
Ah the purple Mini and the death of an icon.

I even remember the reg number FOX 661L, what more would a closet art student in the late 70s early 80s listen to on his 8 track other than Ride a White Swan................ :-(

If you buy it make sure it's got proper security on it, otherwise it'll be nicked.
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Lud
i mentioned nipples earlier and my post was removed


Ah that was it om... I knew you'd said something.

Tut tututu...
1986 Mini - go with my head or heart? - Lud
Oh dear. Meant to add, don't really go all the way with you on Minis om.... perhaps you aren't as old as one might think....
 

Value my car