‘Buyers will pay a premium for cars that are as they left the factory’
The Mini has always been easy to recommend and is highly collectable, but values of some early models are now pushing this brilliant machine out of reach for most. That’s especially the case with the MkI and MkII editions, so if you’re after a major Mini bargain, your search should start with the MkIII, launched in 1969.
It was at this point that Mini became a brand in its own right, British Leyland ditching the previous Austin and Morris tags. What didn’t change was the fun, agility, practicality and value, and it’s these editions which can now offer spectacular value for money.
But low values bring the problem of cars being run on a shoestring, which means there’s no shortage of dogs.
If you’re confused by the various marks, it’s all pretty straightforward. The MkIII was launched in October 1969 in 850 and 1000 forms. There were saloon, van and pick-up options plus a 1275GT and Clubman. The latter came in saloon or estate guises with a 998cc engine as standard, but from 1975 a 1098cc powerplant could be specified. The MkIV followed in May 1976 with the adoption of a new rubbermounted subframe while the rear subframe now incorporated more substantial mounting bushes. The suspension was also recalibrated, there was new switchgear and a steering lock became standard issue. The MkV debuted in October 1984 with 12in wheels, behind which were 210mm disc brakes; the 850, 1275GT and Clubman had bitten the dust in August 1980, leaving the Mini 1000 to soldier on alongside the new Mini Metro. The 1000 was killed off in May 1992, with the van and pick-up having been discontinued in May 1983. One of the key attractions of Mini ownership has always been personalisation. But many owners are now returning their Minis to original spec, and buyers will pay a premium for cars that are largely as they left the factory. So while upgrading older Minis with aftermarket parts – or components from later models – used to be common, it’s now less so.
You may be pleasantly surprised by how roomy the front is.