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Mini Mk1 (1959 - 1967)

Last updated 19 November 2014

 
4

Buying Guide

Bodywork

  • The most common rot spot is ahead of the doors where the front wings, A-pillar and scuttle all meet.
  • Mud collects at the top of the rear of the front wheelarch, which is a pain to fix.
  • Also check the arear where the inner scuttle panel meets the inner wing behind the wheelarch.
  • Sills can rot, with corrosion spreading from the point where the inner wing, A-pillar and floorpan all meet.
  • The area the subframe is mounted to the floor often rots, too.
  • Liftt the carpets and inspect the floorpans.
  • Remove the back seat and check for rot, and also look at the state of the inner wheelarches.
  • Shock absorber mounts are also rot-prone.
  • Rust can also be found underneath the windscreen rubbers.

Engine & Gearbox

  • The A-series is proven and simple. Listen for knocking and looking for clouds of smoke from the exhaust.
  • If the engine won’t run properly it may be because of water in the distributor.
  • Valve guides and stem seals wear on the 1275cc engine so check for oil burnt on acceleration.
  • Oil leaks are common with these engine, often from around the timing chain oil seal.
  • Whine is to be expected from the gearbox, while synchromesh cones also wear.
  • Oil is shared between the engine and the gearbox so regular (3000-5000 mile) oil and filter changes are crucial.
  • Check the CV joints by turn the car on full lock and listening for clicks.

Steering & Suspension

  • The rack-and-pinion steering should be taught with no play.
  • By 1971, all Minis had reverted to the original rubber-cone set-up for cost reasons.
  • Is the car ‘crabbing’? It might be because the suspension is out of alignment – renew the radius arms.
  • Check the tracking at the front – tie rods get bent when the front wheels are kerbed.

 Electrics and trim

  • Early Minis got a dynamo, post-1971 cars have an alternator.
  • Check the connections on the boot-mounted battery to avoid electrical gremlins.
  • Dodgy electrics can sometimes be down to dodgy bullet connectors on the wiring loom.
  • Original trim is hard wearing, and many reproduction parts are available.
  • Exterior trim is often unavailable so you’ll be buying secondhand from autojumbles and the like.
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