“I managed to rack up 8000 miles in the first few months of ownership...”
friend informed Tom that a ‘ for sale’ sign had been taped to the window of the white wonder. “I rocketed around to the garage and had the keys in my hand within 48 hours!” he says with a laugh. “I’d always wanted a Minivan to add to my assortment of Minis, and this one struck me as being the perfect addition to my ever- growing collection.”
22- year- old Tom is a Mini fan through and through, and hails from a whole family of Mini lovers. Moreover, a variety of special edition Minis ( not to mention the occasional tractor!) can be seen parked up on and around the Parnwell family’s driveway at any given point in time. Tom’s own Mini collection includes his very first car – a treasured 1983 City E. “I love all varieties of Mini,” he says, “and I’m responsible for maintaining the wide range of models that feature in the family fleet. Even so, I felt that a Minivan was missing in my life and was thrilled to have bought one in such original condition.”
From the factory
A brief look at the van’s logbook suggests that the aforementioned Mrs Gasser held its title for well over 17 years before passing it on to a chap in the neighbouring district of Willesden. We notice that the van was then sold to the second owner’s next- door neighbour in 1992! “It certainly didn’t travel far! And it’s safe to say that inner- city living is responsible for the low mileage, which also goes some way towards explaining why the van wears so much of its original equipment,” Tom reasons.
Indeed, you’d be correct in your assumption that the stock 848cc A- Series engine and ‘ Magic Wand’ four- speed manual gearbox remain in place, but you’ll no doubt be astonished to learn that the van’s factory- spec spark plugs, ignition leads, brake drums and shoes are also sitting pretty! Apparently unchanged since their initial installation ( and continuing to operate without fault), Tom considers them to be his Minivan’s badge of honour.
That said, he does admit that the engine itself required a dose of TLC following some spirited driving: “My intention is to use the van as much as I can, and I managed to rack up 8000 miles in the first few months of ownership. Unfortunately, the engine didn’t cope too well with such a marked change of pace and promptly blew its head gasket!
The engine has been treated to new gaskets throughout, but still has its original spark plugs!
Tom has added these polished full- width hubcaps to add a touch of class to the stock steel wheels.
An early 1970 car, Tom’s van would’ve been one of the last to wear separate Austin or Morris badging.