Rover Mini 1.3 MPi

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK - Grant Ford

EN­GINE 1275cc/4-cyl/OHV POWER 62bhp@5500rpm TORQUE 70lb ft@3000rpm MAX­I­MUM SPEED 92mph 0-60MPH 12.2sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 34-44mpg TRANS­MIS­SION FWD, four-speed man­ual MoT 12 months from sale ODOME­TER 9496 miles

This Mini’s multi-point in­jec­tion brings the ven­er­a­ble 1275cc A-se­ries to life in­stantly and makes for smooth ac­cel­er­a­tion at low revs. It han­dles like a Mini should too, with di­rect, play-free steer­ing and a ride that’s bouncy but unim­peded by bangs and rat­tles. Ex­cel­lent brakes of­fer con­fi­dence to push the firm sus­pen­sion through coun­try lanes with am­ple grip from the Pirelli tyres. Gear se­lec­tion is slick and the ride is free from creaks and knocks.

BODY­WORK CHECK

The odd blem­ish has ap­peared in the Plat­inum Sil­ver paint; say­ing that, they are all mi­nor and re­quire a keen eye to spot. The off­side front wing has a cou­ple of small marks in it and the near­side one has one or two mi­nor chips on the front fac­ing edge. The chrome is ex­cel­lent, with only slight marks on the head­light rings, while the un­der­side has a fac­tory fin­ish, con­firm­ing the lack of use. A rear ex­haust box has also been fit­ted re­cently. With ex­act panel gaps and a bright sil­ver fin­ish, this ex­te­rior re­quires lit­tle more than reg­u­lar clean­ing and the con­trast­ing black wheel arches, door mir­rors and halo­gen head­light con­ver­sion com­plete the pack­age.

HOW’S THE IN­TE­RIOR?

The ivory half-leather/tweed seat­ing was a pop­u­lar op­tion from 1997; it blends well with the un­marked bright red car­pets and bold ve­neer dash in­set with at­trac­tive cream di­als. All work cor­rectly, as do the switches and re­mote im­mo­biliser. The fac­tory ra­dio/cas­sette gives away the vin­tage of this Mini, as does the driver’s airbag. The in­te­rior has suf­fered neg­li­gi­ble wear; only the leather gear knob shows any ev­i­dence of real use. It is easy to un­der­stand why this in­te­rior was so pop­u­lar in pe­riod.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

En­gine bay space is lim­ited, with the large box of elec­tron­ics la­belled ‘Rover’ squeezed over to the off­side. They cer­tainly shoe-horned the fi­nal vari­ant of the 1275cc en­gine into the en­gine bay and close in­spec­tion re­veals no oil or wa­ter leaks. The area is clean and re­quires lit­tle at­ten­tion. Un­like ear­lier Minis, mod­ern tech­nol­ogy and plas­tics re­strict any gar­ish home mod­i­fi­ca­tions. A sin­gle fam­i­ly­owned ex­am­ple that re­mained in stor­age since 2011 af­ter the pass­ing of the first cus­to­dian, this Mini was recom­mis­sioned re­cently with £3000 of in­voices to con­firm. The MoT his­tory goes back to 2006 and the fi­nal tax disc ex­pired in 2010. With the in­voice file comes an owner’s man­ual and a fresh MoT with no ad­vi­sories.

THE CCW VIEW

This would be ideal for any­one look­ing for the Mini ex­pe­ri­ence with none of the tinker­ing de­manded by early mod­els. Not only is it a low-mileage ex­am­ple, but it’s had plenty spent on it to make it drive as well as it looks. Def­i­nitely worth a closer in­spec­tion.

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