1991 Mini Classic
The classic Mini is essentially a scaled up go-kart. Designed in the late 1950's by Sir Alex Isagonnis, this vehicle was produced with few changes for forty years. Noted for its short stout stance, low overhangs, and grippy front-wheel drive, with the underdog persona that have kept Classic Minis a hit. This 1991 Rover example, finished in a Obsidian Black, comes with some special performance and aesthetic upgrades. Rolling on ten inch SSR FL-II wheels set over 2.5" body painted fenders, the body is straights without any major dings, scratches or dents. The white "press-on" style roof competes the iconic look with it's matching colored mirrors.
When entering the cockpit, it becomes clear this isn't the average 1991 model. Plenty of upgrades have been done, most notably a center mounted gauge suite and custom upholstery. Equipped as a Mayfair trimmed vehicle, the little saloon has ventilated rear windows and additional storage in the rear and passenger front door cards. The cards are done in a black vinyl and are nicely upholstered. The door handles and window cranks have been upgraded to a classier set of dark burl wood examples. The normal plastic ridden, glossy dash bits have been done away with. The 1960's were the heyday of mini's best interiors, and Smith black faced gauges with chrome trim have been mounted in the middle of the dash. These units monitor oil pressure, water temps, fuel level, and speed. Convenient for us here in the States as the cluster is an original English one so it reads in MPH opposed to KMH. Tan, molded, retro bucket seats have perhaps the most visual impact. The bolstering is fantastic for cornering support, and they slide and adjust with ease. The rear occupants have a matching seat cover, although the fitment isn't perfect. Other small interior gripes would be a seam split on the passenger seat, missing door lock bezel, and the lack of a spare tire. The original AM/FM radio has been taken out, and a newer Pioneer head unit with radio and CD functionality has been relocated to the drivers side within reach. The rear deck lid has two improved speakers mounted to the deck cover, and they pump out the tunes. Lastly, the four speed shift knob has been replaced with a polished metal one, and feels great in the palm of your left hand.
Mechanically, this is one of the best driving mini's that we have imported. Unlike most of our classic coopers, the hydro elastic suspension has underwent a spring conversion. The benefit to this setup is flatter handling, more predictable steering inputs, and much smoother ride quality. New outer and inner tie rods have been replaced, ensuring less play in the steering. As handling isn't everything, the 1275cc engine does make a considerable amount more power than the 998cc standard mill. Although we couldn't verify mileage due to dash conversion, it reads 21k miles. To help protect the low oil pan a stainless skid plate was mounted as an extra layer of defense. A new oil and filter service has been performed, ensuring the engine stays lubricated for the next 3000 miles. The low end torque provides brisk acceleration at city speeds, and enough pep to get this saloon up to 80 mph. The transmission shifts well, and doesn't grind or grumble when rowing through the cogs. Making all the rights sounds while accelerating, the carbureted fours soundtrack pumps through a custom center exhaust. The brakes stop the bantam weight car quickly, but don't expect any anti lock systems to kick in. The steering is unassisted and very direct.
With more personality than your average econobox. This is by all means a true drivers car; the no frills motoring experience delivers serious smiles. The zingy four banger, do it yourself transmission, and legendary styling makes this Mini a great turn-key Japanese Classics.
*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.