Com­pul­sive shop­per

With the red May­fair nearly done, Jeff in­ex­pli­ca­bly buys an­other Mini...

Mini Magazine - - Our Minis -

With the hot­ter months fast ap­proach­ing, my thoughts have turned to po­ten­tial sum­mer Mini ad­ven­tures. Reg­u­lar readers will know I'm par­tial to the odd road­trip into the far reaches of Eastern Europe, and I'm hop­ing this year will be no ex­cep­tion. Now I could take the Sprite as I've done in pre­vi­ous years, but hav­ing owned it for 10 years now it's like a mem­ber of the fam­ily, and I'm al­ways ner­vous that some­thing might hap­pen to it. That's why I've been build­ing the red May­fair up – some­thing that's still tidy, but I'm a lit­tle less at­tached too. A good three or four days work should eas­ily see it fin­ished, too.

So that's why the fol­low­ing makes no sense what­so­ever. I'd been search­ing on­line to find a Mini for my friend James, who has a han­ker­ing to get back into the game af­ter a decade away. The re­quire­ments were a rea­son­ably cheap 1275 car that didn't need much body­work, which is a lot more dif­fi­cult than it sounds. I found a suit­able can­di­date on the Isle of Wight, and as James didn't re­ally fancy it, I popped over for a look my­self. An hour later, I was driv­ing it on to the ferry home...

To make this de­ci­sion sound even less ra­tio­nal, it was nowhere near as good as I'd hoped. The seats had col­lapsed, the rear hinge panel was knack­ered, the doors rusty and the throt­tle pedal ca­ble so loose it would barely do 30mph. It wasn't even that cheap, but my judge­ment was clouded by the fact it was a Ja­panese im­port, and I've al­ways wanted one. The air con has long gone from this one, but it is a man­ual and does have some funky JDM parts. The seller claimed it was a May­fair and it prob­a­bly is, but it could also be a Clas­sic 35 LE – the posher one made for ex­port. It's the right colour, it was reg­is­tered in the right month and it has the right trim, but there's no real way to tell. The Bri­tish Mo­tor Mu­seum doesn't keep any records for Rover Mi­nis, and my con­tacts in Ja­pan can't help me ei­ther. Answers on a post­card...

With no need for an­other Mini and no space to store it ei­ther, I've de­cided the best so­lu­tion is to keep this one no­madic and use it for my Euro jaunts. The ini­tial plan was to take it to IMM in Bel­gium, but there was no chance of get­ting the car done in time. Ryan Cow­ley at Re­store My Mini in Hur­ley

The strip­down of the Ja­panese May­fair be­gins at Ryan's place.

The new pur­chase parked up on the Isle of Wight ferry.

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