Buy­ing Guide

Mini MkIII-MkV

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - WORDS Richard Dredge PHOTOGRAPHY Magic Car Pics

‘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.

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