View Full Version : Mini as a daily driver

02-23-2004, 10:52 PM
Since I'm graduating college and looking for a fun commuter car, I've been looking at getting a Mini (non German).

Just how tuned does the engine need to be to make it safe for highway driving, how do they rate in a crash (and would a full cage help) and am I completely out of my mind?

I was thinking about snagging a 1275 and putting in a cage, seat and 4pt harness.

02-23-2004, 11:29 PM
A regular Mini 1000 is perfectly fine for highway driving, I had a daily commute of 100+ miles in my '76 Mini 1000 many years ago and kept up well with traffic. I then ran a 1380cc Mini on the same commute and while it was a fair bit quicker at the stop lights, at constant highway speed the difference was not great.
The crash rating for a Mini must be on par with that of a cardboard box, a full cage might help in certain circumstances...
A Mini with a 1275, cage and 4 point harness sounds like a brilliant way of getting around with a silly grin on your face.
Enjoy the drive! graemlins/driving.gif

Joel Simmons
02-25-2004, 02:46 AM

I've been thinking of doing the same thing!


02-25-2004, 10:29 AM
You'd want to make sure the bottom end of the engine is healthy. They rev pretty high on the highway, and tend to overheat quite easily in warm weather. I burned a 1000 out on the highway(65mph) pretty quickly. But definitely a fun city car, and if you're diligant with engine bearing replacements, probably ok for freeway/highway use.

02-26-2004, 12:47 PM
I am in the same boat, although I do have a non-highway option that might make the commute more fun than it is in my Wrangler.

Ernst Blofeld
03-14-2004, 06:43 PM
I'm from the UK. I have a 1971 1275cc rollcaged Mini.

I use it pretty much every day.

You might like to invest in a set of earplugs, but then my Mini does without soundproofing.

Another thing you might like to consider is the Smootharide kit from MiniSport in Lancashire (if you have a non-hydrolastic car.) It was developed by Dr Alex Moulton, the man who invented the Mini's rubber cone sping suspension, hydrolastic, and the later Hydragas system. His Smootharide springs take the sting out of the Mini's choppy ride.

I've got Smootharide fitted to my car and it does make a real difference to the car's ride comfort, without really affecting the handling.

Joel Simmons
03-18-2004, 09:27 AM
Does anyone know what the process is like for registering a Mini that has been imported from the UK? Just wondering since I was browsing the "Mini Guy" webpage and the "Go Mini" webpages where a lot of the cars seem to be later models imported to the US.



03-18-2004, 11:52 AM
Joel....in order to be legally imported, a Mini must be 25 years old, or older.

Cars 25 years old (and older) are exempt from the U.S. Gov't safety and emission stndards.

Now, there are newer Minis running around, but you can bet that they're titled as 1979 or earlier.

If you're thinking of buying a Mini from a dealer, be very careful......there are sharks in these here waters.

Michael Lewis (MiniGuy) is one of the good ones. Any car he sells can be registered, has the proper paperwork, and is exactly as described. Several of our club members have bought cars from Michael and have been very satisfied.

If you know Minis, know what to look for, and can examine and drive the car, you're fine to buy from a private seller.

If not, you're probably better off buying one from Michael.

Bruce Bowker
03-18-2004, 09:40 PM
I have a 1967 Cooper S that can keep up with anything on the highway, doesn't overheat and is fun to drive. Tad noisy (not true - very noisy)compared to modern cars. BUT I look at classics as fun to drive and new cars as comfortable to drive. I'd rather have fun.

Maybe stay off highways as much as you can???? Minis love corners.

Joel Simmons
03-19-2004, 05:14 AM

Thanks for the advice. I really don't know the first thing about Minis. I like them, but due to the fact that there are so many different versions made over the years in the U.K. it gets confusing when I look through MiniWorld and other sources.

MiniGuy seems to be a pretty good place to start. I asked a few questions over on the MiniMania forums a few months back and they pointed me in his direction.

These little cars can be kind of expensive when compared to the Spridgets, being that they share the same engine and some other parts.



03-19-2004, 11:20 AM
It's a matter of supply and demand, Joel. For one reason or another, Minis seem to be in bigger demand than Spridgets.

Although....in your mild Hawaiian climate, a Spridget would make a nice comuter car also.

For short distance commuting, a 1,000cc engine is all you need. It's also probably the most reliable of the Mini engines over the long haul.

When you give Michael a call, tell him what you're looking for and how you're going to use the car, so he can steer you to the right car.

If you want, you can tell him Jim B. of Mini-Sota Minis suggested you call him.

03-19-2004, 01:22 PM
... And don't forget Canada too

There is still an excellent supply of the Mini 1000 (Mk 3 versions) sold here in the 1970's, many still come up on the market. There are lots of them on Canadian west coast, British Columbia, which would be easy shipping over to you Joel. Plus lots more of them all over the country. I suppose the one consideration is that you might not be able to legally drive/title any of the 1978, 1979 or 1980 cars, but there are still the years 1970 to 1977 and also that exemption rule is a rolling number.

For a great Canadian website for Mini's check out www.miniportal.ca (https://www.miniportal.ca) and look up Craig's website under classifieds, plus just browse around.

[ 03-19-2004: Message edited by: Sherlock ]</p>