It’s a Mini, but not as we know it!
Maybe it was the refined post Dynamat hush. Maybe it was the crystal clarity of Raido 2’s Ken Bruce from the new Alpine S-S65 speakers, as installed in issue 272, coaxing the MoT tester into a relaxed state, but I needn’t have worried when dropping the Tomcat off for it’s annual test, as it flew threw with barely an advisory.
I’d already completed an oil and filter change and checked all I could at home, but I was pleasantly surprised when the test didn’t throw up any hidden horrors of brakes, sensors or chassis rust. In celebration, I treated the Rover to an overdue four-wheel alignment to get the best out of the lowered suspension and it now drives beautifully.
If you missed that guide about the soundproofing, I stripped the interior and fitted noise deadening to the doors and parcel shelf and installed a pair of premium speakers in place of the tatty OEM items and the difference has been astonishing. The car’s far more relaxing to drive with less road noise and I can enjoy the radio now that its not just audible but actually clear and loud.
I recently discovered a secret of the ‘New’ MINI world – a
I drove the 100 miles to look at the MINI and found that although it was a solid example with no running issues, the interior stank and it had four mismatched ditch finding tyres
R50 Y reg version. Whilst on a recent shoot at the Oxford factory, I learnt that during the build up to re-launching the brand, BMW had to build cars for dealers, technical training and press demonstrators before the public reveal. So when the public could buy a new MINI Cooper or One, the earliest would have been the new ‘51 plate. So any Mini with an old ‘ Y’ prefix would be interesting.
They also have a few differences, as the cars were still be finalised. Little things like ‘ Sixties style Mini logo pedals, different scuttle vents and a lack of roof bracing among them. I started looking around and found one in the Fens. As with many of these when re- discovered it wasn’t in perfect shape as the dealer had taken it in part- ex and the car was looking a little unloved.
It was the perfect spec and was what I’d nearly bought in 2001 – a Cooper in Chilli Red with white roof, mirrors and 15- inch wheels and as I later found out had a BMW build code 999 – Order Control First Dealer Cars.
I drove the 100 miles to look at the car and found that although it was a solid example with no running issues, the interior stank and it had four mismatched, close to the limit ditch finding tyres, an exhaust held on by hope and had clearly had a low speed knock, as the bonnet had been pulled back into shape and hand painted. The bumper was cracked and fixed on with cable ties, so I haggled and got over half of the price off. But it had that Good Car vibe you sometimes get and had the early pedals, early red interior and the build date sticker of May 1st really appealed. So without so much as a test drive, I handed over £600 and drove the car home. It made the first 90 miles with no issues, until the back box dropped off the exhaust system on the motorway, and my MINI Adventure had begun!
The MINI’s build code shows it was one of the first dealer cars.
My newly purchased MINI’s first fuel stop. Doesn’t look too bad.
Tomcat oil change was carried out before the car’s annual MoT test.
Sound proofing the Rover 200 Tomcat has made a huge difference.
Rover’s door after fitting sound proofing. Inset: Rover door before.
New speakers have improved the Rover’s sound system no end.