1966 Austin Mini Mk1

Highlights


• Fantastic Mk1 Mini project
• Original grille and sliding windows
• Complete and ready for re-commissioning
• All import duties paid

The Background


As classic cars go, the Mini is one that needs very little in the way of an introduction. Voted Car of the Century by Autocar magazine, Alec Issigonis’s motoring masterpiece is revered the world over – and not without good reason. 

After all, over four million were sold, and there are very few people in the UK who don’t have a Mini memory of one form or another, be it through owning one, having a family member with one or simply fond memories of seeing them on every street corner.

Such is its popularity that the Mini has spawned its own culture, with fans of the car from all over the world using Minis as blank canvases to place their own individual mark on the model. 

And as if to prove its global appeal, this example has just arrived in the UK from South Africa, where it has spent its entire life – the dry climate helping to preserve the car’s notoriously rust-prone bodywork, at least to a point.

The vendor is very keen to point out that it’s a project car – it needs a couple of small areas of welding and some cosmetic attention, but it’s a blank canvas for whoever buys it and would make a perfect car to put back to standard Mk 1 condition. 

The Mk 1 is, of course, the most desirable of standard Minis. With some TLC, this will be a fabulous example of an early car. It’s in running order and drives well, but it will need a small amount of welding and some cosmetic work. As a blank canvas for a straightforward restoration, it has a lot going for it.

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The History 


Not much is known about the Mini’s early life, but the Mk3 rear lights, non-standard colour and refitted interior suggest that it has seen a restoration or at least a refurbishment in the past, though it must have been a while ago now. 

The car came to the UK as part of a batch of cars bought by the vendor and is being sold for refurbishment, not as a road legal car despite being MOT exempt.

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The Paperwork


There isn’t much in the way of service history with the Mini, largely because it isn’t South African custom to retain bills and receipts in the same way that UK owners often do. 

There is a copy of the South African registration document and import papers, though.

The vendor specialises in importing vehicles from the country having lived there for many years, and knows the process inside-out. The cars he brings in are sourced via classic car contacts he has in ZA and are imported with all of the duties paid and NOVA paperwork (port notifications) complete. 

All that’s left is to complete an application for first registration – something the owner is happy to help with and which is a very straightforward process.

The Exterior 


Overall, this is a sound and presentable car and the floors are very solid, but it will require welded repairs to both sills. They’re not disastrous and the photos show all of the repair work the seller believes is needed. 

The metallic blue respray is from an older restoration and there are a few imperfections close up, notably some bubbling in the body seams as is common for an old Mini, and some rust on the inner edges of the boot lid and door bottoms. It’s all there, though, and nowhere near as rough as some of the British climate Minis you see. 

The car is sold without MOT and will need the sills mending before it can pass one, although in age terms it is MOT-exempt. It will require a full check over and repairs before it can be driven away so please factor in collection.

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The Interior 


Inside, the Mini has more modern high back seats than the rather rudimentary ones fitted to early Minis so is a lot more comfortable, though if you want originality you might choose to change them. 

If not, they’re in great condition, as are the carpets and roof lining. There’s not much to go wrong inside a Mini anyway, and this one is smart and tidy.

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The Mechanics 


The Mini is in running order and starts on the button, the little 848cc A-Series engine proving willing and eager. It holds good oil pressure, has no timing chain rattle and isn’t smoky, so aside from a  good service it should be good to go. 

The “magic wand” gear lever engages all gears easily, and while the clutch is a little sharp we believe this to be due to a lack of recent use and it should free up quite easily.

We were able to drive it a short distance around a yard and it appears to steer and stop as it should. 

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The Appeal 


So what we have here is a complete and mostly original Mk1 Mini with some neat Mk 1 features such as the magic wand gear stick, sliding door windows and external bonnet release. 

A purist might want to find some earlier style rear lights, but otherwise it’s a complete Mk 1, which makes it a very desirable thing. It’s in need of a relatively straightforward restoration, but the South African climate has made it a lot less of a challenge than a 55-year old British Mini would be. 

It’s a fantastic project, to which you can add your own style, or restore back to neat Mk1 colours and create a show-winner out of. A blank canvas, to do with as you choose, and a brilliant basis for a stunning restoration.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1966
  • Make Austin
  • Model Mini Mk1
  • Colour Blue
  • Odometer 100,999 Miles
  • Engine size 848
  • Location Norfolk
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
18 bids
  • Jo•••• £5,700 21/01/22
  • ja•••• £5,600 21/01/22
  • Re•••• £5,500 20/01/22
  • Vi•••• £5,350 20/01/22
  • Ro•••• £5,250 20/01/22
  • Re•••• £4,950 19/01/22
  • Vi•••• £4,700 19/01/22
  • ar•••• £4,600 18/01/22
  • Vi•••• £4,400 17/01/22
  • ni•••• £4,200 17/01/22

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