1989 Rover Mini Mayfair
The classic Mini embodied many of the traits of the English Bulldog, ironically enough the current brand mascot for MINI North America. Noted for its short, stout stance, low overhangs, and grippy front-wheel drive -- this 1989 Rover built Mini embodies the look and sporty nature of the iconic models from the 1960's, with such modern amenities such as air conditioning. Through this vehicles four decade long production run, the tried and true formula remained the same: great fuel economy, inexpensive cost of ownership, and a knack for handling curvy back roads and constantly out punching its weight. With only 51K verified miles, and finished in a lustrous Teal Blue, with a hardtop is highlighted with an egg shell white roof. Sans the normal dings and scratches associated with daily driving, this MK V generation two door is a super clean little saloon that has been converted to appear as an MK1, setting it apart from the crowd. Complete with grill, lights, and bumpers to match, this original hot hatch is recently maintained and ready for some spirited motoring.
As surprising as this might sound, the passenger compartment is impressively roomy for this dinky exterior dimensions. The wheels were pushed out to the corners, creating a large floor plan to accommodate four adults. Both seats hinge upward to provide ample space to load passengers and cargo in the rear. A sizable boot contains a new battery, and additional cargo storage. An interesting option for the JDM models was the addition of factory air conditioning. As a Mayfair, the rear occupants do benefit from more ventilation from side glass, as the rear portion can be propped open a few inches. Door card storage, red piping on the special black cloth seats, and more premium door cards are all decent upgrades over your base model. The interior is otherwise unapologetically spartan, saving on complexities that can break in other 25 year old cars. of note, the front seats have some typical bolster wear, and the dash as a crack in the center above the change holder. Other than that, this mini has everything you need. Manual locks, fender mirrors, and roll down windows make the ownership experience relatively worry free, and parts availability is abundant here in the USA. Otherwise, the headliner is sag free, and steering wheel only has regular wear. As all classic mini owners are aware, the cute factor goes only so far, but these cars have a true sports car pedigree.
The secret sauce that was key to the success of the cooper was a combination of traits. Starting with the power plant, this 1000cc mill moves the car down the road without any issues getting up to US highway speeds. As the old British car adage goes, if there is no oil on the ground there is none in the motor. Practically, this engine does have the normal seeps and leaks that coopers traditionally have, however, there is nothing significant that would affect drivibility. To boot, a fresh oil and filter service ensures the engine is happy for another three thousand miles. Boasting a feather light curb weight, the four speed manual does wonders for acceleration compared to the autos. This stick shift, with it thimble sized shift knob, slots happily into any gear without hitch or hesitation. Besides the benefit of a more fun driving experience, the manual transmission vehicles easily achieve 40 mpg and are less temperamental. Braking happens quickly, and has always been a focal point of racing in these cars. Handling is flat, and there are few vehicles designed in this era that handle so impressively. The hydro elastic suspension gives a non nonsense connected feel, and the cooper baubles the pavement around firmly. Grip comes from four new all season tires, giving great traction in all seasons. The classic hub cab adorned steel wheels add the last bit of panache.
Owning the original road legal go kart is a blast. The reflexive chassis, fuel efficiency and legendary under dog persona make this a perfect turn-key classic.
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB complaint first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.