SMALL WON­DERS

It’s no longer just the old­est Minis that are com­mand­ing prof­its

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics -

The Mini might be small in stature, but as with so many cars, what it lacks in size it makes up for in per­son­al­ity. That’s why the Mini, in all its in­car­na­tions, is a favourite within the clas­sic move­ment.

While its ac­cep­tance in the clas­sic scene was grad­ual – no doubt slowed by the fact that it was still in pro­duc­tion – the Mini makes great sense, whether as an in­tro­duc­tory clas­sic, some­thing a bit older but still en­tirely us­able or, in the case of the ear­li­est cars, some­thing that’s rare and em­i­nently col­lectable. And while the BMC-era Coop­ers are in a seg­ment all of their own, the later Rover Cooper mod­els are still affordable, un­less they’re in ul­tra­fine, ul­tra low-mileage form.

The old­est mod­els have been in cult ap­pre­ci­a­tion since the late 1970s. While there are per­haps a hand­ful still to be dis­cov­ered, their strong val­ues have had a knock-on ef­fect, not only on the 1960 mod­els, but on all MkIs. And while first-gen­er­a­tion Minis con­tinue to in­crease in value, so too do those from the early 1970s, a pe­riod that un­til re­cently was ig­nored by the clas­sic mar­ket. Early 1970s Club­mans, along with 850s and 1000s, have suf­fered worst, but Brightwells of­fered a 29,500-miles­from-new 850, fresh out of 33 years stor­age, with a £3.5-4.5k es­ti­mate on 17 May. The same sale saw a re­stored 1969 Mor­ris Mini Cooper S es­ti­mated at £30.5-34.5k.

Any­one want­ing to buy any half­sen­si­ble Mini, what­ever its age, needs to for­get the pocket-money prices of re­cent years. As num­bers have dwin­dled, val­ues have moved up, with even the scruffi­est late Rover mod­els com­fort­ably draw­ing more than £2000.

This year has seen sev­eral at auction. Last month’s Barons sale of­fered a 1964 Austin Mini in fair con­di­tion – it made £3850. A 1970 Mini 1000 in bet­ter or­der achieved £4968 at Char­ter­house, which also man­aged to secure £4305 for a tidy 1995 Mini Side­walk.

‘They still make great sense’

ACA’s 1990 May­fair was on the money at £2520, but one buyer was con­tent to stump up a strong £10,185 for a stun­ning, low-mileage Mini 30. DVCA wasn’t to be out­done, see­ing a good-or­der 1978 (this decade is the Dark Ages for Mini col­lectabil­ity) 1000 off at £5000.

Riley Elf and Wolse­ley Hor­nets are still affordable and make a good, slightly left-field al­ter­na­tive. Cl­wyd Auc­tions sold a 1967 Hor­net project for a com­mend­able £1500, while Brightwells’ first Bices­ter sale saw a pleas­ing, older restora­tion 1966 Hor­net make £5500.

Brightwells’ low-mileage 1972 Mini 850 car­ried a £3.5-4.5k es­ti­mate, but even­tu­ally sold for £4800. This 1966 Cooper sold for £14,700 at Ch­effins’ 22 April sale, but prices are ris­ing for other MkI Minis.

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