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Thread: Your first Mini......

Discuss the beloved little Mini here!

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    Your first Mini......

    OK, nostalgia time for all you Mini owners & lovers. They say "you never forget your first Mini..."

    How about you tell us all about your first Mini. Year, make, model, color, any adventures in it? Fun stories, etc.?

    For you Mini lovers who don't own a Mini yet, how about you tell us about your first ride or drive in one?

    C'mon.....let's get this joint jumpin'!

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    Moderator Steve's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    My first.....and only.....Mini. It was a 1965 850 Deluxe with the over-riders and corner guards. Blue with grey interior. Two of my friends had 1000cc Minis, and one had another 850, even older than mine, with the push-button starter on the floor in green. The number plate was EBF486C, and this was the first car that I ever bought for myself [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

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    Jedi Warrior BEEJAY7's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    My first Mini was a red 850, I bought when I was a strippling of seventeen. It had a floor start and long "wand" gear change. Registration number 477 DXO.

    I taught my then girlfiend, (now long suffering wife), to drive and she somehow managed to break the gearlever clean off whilst trying to change into first gear. Being short of cash I couldn't afford a new one, (gear lever or girlfriend!), so I retapped what was left of the shaft to accept the gearknob. Worked out really well as i had to lean right over into the passenger to change gear!!.

    Great little cars.

    Cheers

    [img]graemlins/savewave.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/england.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/savewave.gif[/img]

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    Great Pumpkin aeronca65t's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    First one was “partly-owned” by me and a friend. We were 15 and didn’t have driver’s licenses, insurance, or any other legal “details”. We drove it in the rural woods of the southern New Jersey pine barrens. It was an early ‘60s car that his Dad got for free (he ran a gas station). We blew it up in short order, but it promoted my interest in front-drive and I ended up co-purchasing a SAAB 93B with another buddy (he still owns it).
    About 10 years later I bought a red ’61 850 Mini and dropped a 1275 in it. It was fun, but I was busy with a young family and grad school, so it got replaced by a VW Rabbit (Golf).
    Later I bought a Clubman (which my ex still owns…we have this joke: I have "visitation rights").
    A buddy of mine recently bought a red ’61 850 Mini on e-Bay and I got a ride in it last weekend. They are neat, but I can’t keep up with the toys I already have.

    [ 09-10-2003: Message edited by: aeronca65t ]</p>

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    Jedi Hopeful t8nwa's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    Well, the 2002 MCS is my first but I grew up with Mini's. My parents had a Austin Mini back when I was a kid and my grandparent's had a travler that we stuffed three adults, two kids and a week's worth of luggage for a trip to the beach at Sheringham.

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    Re: Your first Mini......

    My 2003 MINI S is my first Mini, I compare it to my old GT6 MKIII, except it has Air, sunroof, and front wheel drive, and seats 4, loved the GT6 and the MINI is getting to grow on me after a day on a roadcoarse.
    Larry

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    Re: Your first Mini......

    My first mini was'nt really mine it was my girlfriends at the time a 64 850 that got the treatment ,head job twin su's s xtractors lowerd etc. we had a lot of fun in that till i went to pick her up from work one wet after noon in a big hurry lined up this paticular corner that i loved pulling around 6grand in 2nd and hit a little puddle then all **** broke loose,big bang instant lock up. coasted around the corner lifted the bonnet to find one very ventelated engine .standing there trying to think what happened and realised i had left the air cleaners off. ooopps, in my hurry to pick her up and had swallowed a belly full of water when i hit the puddle and instant hydraulic and bang,have owned many since. then in 79 i built and raced a 1071 powered riley elf on the dirt,1/4 mile, and was lucky enough to win N.Z saloon title in 1980 season with it. fantastic little motor car with a lot of special memories for me
    red baron,no 56

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    Re: Your first Mini......

    Well, my first Mini is the 1975 that I just picked up. Not too many stories to tell yet, but I'm sure there will be alot to come. One thing that I don't think I was prepared for was the size of it. I pulled up outside the guys house, and thought that it was tiny!!

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    Senior Member Alan Black's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    My first was an Orange '79 Clubman Saloon that I had while I was living over in England. I loved that car and drove it for about 1 year until it was written off by a Cocker Spaniel. Last year I picked up a 1960 Mini that I am looking to do a full restore on sometime next year. I can't wait until I get it going so I can be driving a Mini again.

    Alan

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    Luke Skywalker Roger's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    HJC 94 was a 1960/61 blue 850 originally, bought at an auction in Liverpool for 40 pounds in 1968.
    Immediately taken home, rear subframe replaced, new brake and fuel lines (inside), engine replaced by 998 with 731 cam, home re-worked head, Lucas comp distributor, Janspeed inlet & exhaust manifolds, 1.5 in SU carb.
    Front brakes became 2LS (better than all disks at at that time apart from Cooper 'S') with vacuum servo and hard linings. 4.5"J x 10" wheels with Dunlop SP3 tyres.
    That's better - now it goes a bit. Or at least it did until my wife argued with a Bl**dy great red letterbox in the snow in the winter of '69, and lost. She was o.k. - a bit bruised and stiff - but the Mini was done.
    I saved the best bits for the next one....

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    Moderator Steve's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    Those letterboxes were (are?) substantial peices of work, cast iron if I remember right? You would lose any argument with one of those, in a Mini or not [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

    I once dealt with a head-on accident in Edgbaston, Birmingham, involving a Mini van.....it had hit one of those old Rover P4s, and lost! The Rover had a dented front grille, the Mini was toast! No serious injuries thogh, it was at a relatively slow speed.

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    Re: Your first Mini......

    They say you never forget your first Mini....and how true it is. My first Mini was a used 1071 "S", and I'll never forget it.....and partularly my first trip in it, from Hartford, CT to Sebring, FL and back. Three Thousand Miles In A Mini.
    This was back around '67 or '68...in addition to doing some racing, I was also an SCCA Flagman. Every year I used to take some vacation from work and drive down to Sebring to work the 12 hour Grand Prix of Endurance.
    This particular year, I had just picked up a used '64 Morris Mini-Cooper 1071 "S" and thought that would make a grand little car for the trip.....oh, to be so young and stupid again!
    Another flagging buddy of mine decided he'd like to come along, and we left a bit early so that we could take the "scenic route" down. So, the two of us 6+ footers squeezed 2 weeks worth camping gear into the back of the Mini, and off we went.
    We took the Garden State Parkway down to the southern tip of "New Joisey" and camped overnight at a State Park near Cape May. In the morning we took the Cape May Ferry over to Delaware.....then trundled along the Delaware Coast, thru Maryland, into Virginia and crossed Chesapeake Bay on the Kiptopeke Ferry.
    We decided to take the "real costal route" and drive down thru the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We camped overnight at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. In the morning took the ferry to another island, then another ferry to the mainland. As I started the Mini up to drive off the ferry.....SMOKE! Lots of SMOKE! Drove off the ferry and popped the bonnet. The fan belt had self destructed.
    Well, this was in early April, and the weather was pretty cool, so we soldiered on to the first available help. It was a small gas station/garage in absolutley the middle of nowhere! The "mechanic" discovered that the water pump had seized......solid! His southern accent was so strong we could barely understand him, but he said something like: "If'n this here thang is anythin' like the old Furds, mebbe I can squeeze some grease in there to free it up so's you can get a bit futher." Well he did....and it worked! He even found a fan belt (for a garden tractor, or something) that fit......sort of.
    So......off we went, buzzin' right along down the coast of North Carolina, into South Carolina on two lane roads (the Interstates hadn't been built yet)....thru the rural south with it's billboards "Help Save America. Impeach Earl Warren. Join the John Burch Society"....and it's many small "Jesus Saves" signs (under which, one wag had scribbled "S&H Green Stamps" ).....until we got to Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, just before Charleston.....the......SMOKE! Again! Well, we pulled into the nearest gas station and inquired as to where we might find a water pump for the Mini.
    Now, mind you, the Deep South in the '60's was not exactly a hotbed of LBC activity.
    The gas station owner (after the usual "We don't see many of them furrin' cars around hyar") allowed as how "Snarling Ed's Auto Parts" (or some such) over in Charleston would be the only place that "jest might" have some furrin' car parts.
    Off we went, steaming, to see Snarling Ed. Well, of course Ed didn't have a water pump for a Mini 1071,......said he might be able to order one, but it would probably take a week or so to get here. But he said, "If'n you boys is in a hurry, you might try "Sneaky Sam's (or some such) Junkyard" about 10 miles south of town. He's got a few furrin' wrecks over there." He gave us directions, and off we went.
    Sneaky Sam's was way out in the boonies, but after getting lost a few times, we finally got there.....after closing time. So, we camped outside the gates for the night.
    In the morning, Sam showed up in a beat up old Ford pickup. "You boys need sumthin?" (S**t no, Sam. We like camping out at junkyards!)
    Turns out that Sam was a really nice fellow. "Wal.....I've prob'ly got sumptin' at'll fit, and if not, we'll make it fit." We pulled the water pump from the Mini, and he pulled the water pumps off every BMC car he had in the yard (about 7 or 8) until we found one that looked pretty close. He even made us a new gasket out of some gasket cork he had. I put it on, found an old fan belt that fit, and when we were finished, asked him how much. "Walllllll.......would 5 dollars be too much?" Sneaky Sam, we love you!
    Onward to bigger and better things. We had another taste of southern hospitality in Claxton, GA ("Fruitcake Capital Of The World...Home Of The Famous Claxton Fruitcakes"). We stopped at a State Campground for the night. There was nobody at the gate, so we went in and spent the night. As we came out in the morning there was a Ranger at the gate, so we stopped to pay. "Walllll.....I didn't catch ya comin' in, and ya couldn'ta taken up much room in somethin' that small......so I guess I didn't catch ya comin' out either. Have a nice trip." And added, "If you boys are goin' south, be careful goin' thru Ludowiki......they got some mean speed traps there."
    Stopped for breakfast in Claxton, and on the way out, the girl at the cash register told us, "If you're goin' south, go real slow thru Ludowiki.....they run a speed trap there." And....as we were headed out of town, a cop that was directing traffic motioned us over, and told us the same thing. Nice town, Claxton, Georgia. If you ever need a fruitcake, make sure you buy one made in Claxton.
    Well, we crawled thru Ludowiki (I think we got passed by an old lady using a walker) , resumed speed and continued southward toward Florida.....and got nabbed for speeding at some other flyspeck town. Fined 25 bucks on the spot, and off we went.....poorer, but wiser.
    We finally made into Florida, and picked up the Sunshine State Parkway. The traffic consisted almost entirely of blue-haired old ladies in Cadillacs going 40 miles over the speed limit. We pulled off into a rest area for a stretch, and in came a beautiful BRG Ford GT-40 with Pennsylvania plates. We asked about the car and the man and his wife told us they had to stop every half-hour because of the heat. "Does the engine overheat?" "No, the engine's fine....but the **** cockpit gets so hot, we can't stand it".
    Off we went again and came upon a shiny red MGA by the side of the road with it's bonnet up. Young guy and his wife...newlyweds on their honeymoon. "We just bought the car last week. It's been going just fine, and then it stopped." Got in and turned the key. Dreaded silence. "Have you got a jack and a knockoff hammer?"
    "Yes", he had. I jacked up the right rear, took off the wire wheel, and gave the SU fuel pump a whack with the knockoff hammer. "Ticka....ticka....ticka....". Problem solved.
    We continued south, playing leapfrog with the GT-40. We'd be cruising at about 80 and they'd give a little honk and a wave as they blew our doors off.....then at the next rest area, there they'd be, out of the car, parked with the doors open. We'd give a toodle on the horn and a wave......and a few minutes later, Zoooooom, there they'd go again.
    We finally got to Sebring at about 9 in the evening and drove the Mini out to Highland Hammock State Park where we had camping reservations.
    A large contingent of flaggers from New York and New England Regions of the SCCA usually went down to Sebring every year to work the race, and we all made reservations for the same area at the campground.
    We entered the park, past the large "No Alcoholic Beverages Allowed" sign, and checked at the Park Ranger's Office. "Are you part of that group down from the Northeast?" I said we were. "Well, when you get over there, please tell those guys to keep the noise down....or we'll have to go over there and confiscate all that cheap wine they don't have."
    As we pulled in, the annual "Great Armadillo Hunt" was underway. Since Duncan and I were sober, we were unanimously selected as scorekeepers. The game usually took place as the sun was going down, and the contestant's blood alcohol level was going up.
    Now, for you who don't know what an armadillo is.....it's a small four legged critter with an armored hide (sort of like a miniature Sherman Tank) that, when frightened, rolls up tightly into a ball. The rules were thus: with a piece of chalk, mark out a bunch of squares on the top of a picnic table, and put a contestant's name in each square. Each contestant would then take a flashlight and go hunting their prey. When they found one, they'd rush back to the table and place the armadillo in their square and go search for another one. Of course, after a couple of minutes, the armadillo would poke his head out, see he was safe, uncoil, hop off the table, and trundle off into the night. When the tipsy contestant returned with another capture, he'd see his square empty and accuse all and sundry of having stolen his armadillo.
    The night air was rent with song...."Praise the Lord, and pass the armadillo"...and saying..."An armadillo a day, keeps the doctor away!" Eventually, with enthusiasm and energy spent, the contestants would stumble off to their respective tents and pass out.
    The next morning we went over to the course, registered, and were assigned our corners. We worked the three days of practice and the 12 hour race.
    To tell you the truth, I don't remember that much about the race.....and the trip back to Connecticut was (relatively) uneventful.....but I'll never forget that trip down.
    After all, getting there is half the fun....isn't it?

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    Re: Your first Mini......

    My first Mini wasn't mine at all! It belonged to a fellow engineering student at FAU. It was a 1962 850 that had been "Cooperized". I didn't have a clue what a Mini was let alone a Cooper at the time. I figured the Mini had a 1275 and I had a 1293 in my Spitfire and at the time, the Spitfire was the reigning F production champion, so I could make this little shoe box look pretty silly.

    Here we are, two boy racers, on the campus air strip converted to parking lot. Me embaras the Mini ... NOT! It was obvious the moment we left the parking places the Mini was a car to be reconed with. He left me in the straights, he left me on the turns, it was only under braking that I had any chance. (He hadn't opted for the Cooper disks) Unfortunately, there wasn't too much braking going on; so my Spitfire and I looked pretty silly being blown off by that little shoe box.

    There's a reason Minis have a reputation. I learned that those many years ago and have respected it for all this time. I now own My first Mini: a '72 Canadian 1000 that has been "Cooperized". And yes, I did opt for the disks!!

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    Re: Your first Mini......

    My first mini is my current one, a Clubman van. And it's work in progress or more correctly a project upon which I can build up my skills. I've done a welding course but I have a long road ahead. Still, better than taking snorting coke of the stomach of a pole dancer - what a vacuous life that would be...

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    Yoda Sherlock's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    Hi Angusdog,

    Took a quick view of your website, I've never heard of a Mini Clubman panel van before. I only thought they made panel vans with the original front end Mini's.

    As far as you know, was yours originally built as a panel? maybe a converted station wagon?

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    Moderator Steve's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    The van was never produced with the Clubman nose though. It may have had the panels grafted on, or it could be one of those fibreglass pieces that were the rage for "updating" Minis back in the seventies.

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    Re: Your first Mini......

    Wrong again !
    The Mini van was definitly built with the clubman front sheetmetal in the Australian Zetland factory during the early 1970s. When they changed over to the clubman style they dropped the earlyer sheet metal and built them alongside the clubman sedan and the clubman GT
    I did an aprenticeship with the Western Australian Leyland distributors when they were released, and they built literaly thousands of them, they were on the road EVERYWHERE. As Angusdog is in New Zealand I would gues that it is probibaly one of the Australian built ones.

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    Yoda Sherlock's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    <blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr> Graham said: The Mini van was definitly built with the clubman front sheetmetal in the Australian Zetland factory during the early 1970s.
    <hr></blockquote>

    Thanks for that info, I only asked the question because I'm always after arcane automotive facts that no one probably cares about, those Aussies have always built their own style of cars just like the above example shows.

    I've always been fascinated about all the different cars they make into Ute pickups in Australia, way more than anywhere else in the world.

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    Jedi Knight racing girl's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    <blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Sherlock:

    As far as you know, was yours originally built as a panel? maybe a converted station wagon?
    <hr></blockquote>

    Sherlock,
    The Minis were definitely produced in this body style in England, looks like for export too. I remember little mini vans zipping around the streets. Popular if you were a tradesman, like an electrician for example. I've seen them with ladders strapped on top that were longer than the van!

    Here's a picture of another one...

    Mini Van

    RG [img]graemlins/england.gif[/img]

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    Jedi Knight racing girl's Avatar
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    Re: Your first Mini......

    We had two minis growing up. I learnt to drive in one of them, all I remember was that it was burgundy! But I do remember it having wonderful electrical problems if it rained hard. Especially, it seemed, if we were heading North on the M1 motorway (freeway), in the outside lane, in the pouring rain... and suddenly, the engine would cut out, and you had to negotiate two inside lanes of traffic that were now going faster than you, and you had to do it before you lost all rolling momentum! Dry out the electrics, points and such, if you could, and she'd fire right back up and away we'd go again. And just when you were getting confident that all was well and it wasn't going to cut out again, bam... there you'd be, struggling to get on the hard shoulder before the car stopped rolling! Fantastic in the dry though!!

    RG [img]graemlins/england.gif[/img]

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