Considering a Classic Mini for your first car?

Lets start with the advantages

Cheap to Insure
Economical
Parts are cheap
Way better than average residual values
Hey its a mini – so its cool!
Plenty of specialist suppliers for parts

Now the disadvantages

Minis are no longer cheap
No modern extras
Prone to rust
Parts are often not as accessible locally as a mainstream car
No real safety features – like air bags on the earlier cars
Not ideal for long distance
Not as reliable as a modern car
Want Air Con – open the window!

We really wrote this page for guys and girls who are soon seeking a Mini as their first car and dropping serious hints to “the olds”. So please be aware a Classic mini will not be as reliable as a modern car, so if you hate getting your hands dirty or have not got a pot full of money to finance garage repairs, be prepared.

The ideal owner is someone who likes the hands on approach to under the bonnet activities and will want tools for Birthday and Christmas presents. He or she is also responsible in their driving techniques. These cars do not come with ABS brakes, side impact bars, Air bags etc. Some of the earlier cars were drum brakes all round, it was not until around 1983 that Minis came out with disc brakes and a servo as standard. For new drivers we would suggest buying a post 1983 model.

The most important aspect of buying a Mini for your first car, is to take your time in choosing it, what glitters on first inspection may not be all its cracked up to be. Take someone who knows Minis or at least read and digest the contents on our what to look for page.

We would never recommend buying a car “at on line auction sites”, often the sellers do not know what they should be looking for, thus the description is often inaccurate. So before parting with your money go and see the car first. Especially avoid cars that have little or no descriptive text and poorly taken pictures.

These are things that we seek when buying a Mini

All old MOT certificates to substantiate mileage
Service history
Standard is way better than modified, cars with whale fins & huge wheel arches are hard to sell on
If the car is modified from standard specification we like, nice alloys, walnut dashboards, chrome additions under the bonnet, ancillary lighting, extra dials.

We do not like
Oversized ill fitting wheel arches, oversized wheels, weird coloured interiors, sunroofs – as they always leak – unless they are new, cars sprayed in non standard colours, and our pet hate – fibreglass body kits
Huge plates welded onto the floor to hide rust holes