Car of the Month : September 2009
With the 50th anniversary of the Mini being big news at the moment, we thought it was time to dip into our vault of potential CoTMs and pull out this one.
As you can see, this is a little unusual by today’s standards – an unmodified Austin Rover era Mini City E, the car the company said could top 60mpg in its advertising at the time. Wonder if its owner, Rachel Seabrook has ever managed to get close to this figure?
Words and pictures: Ian Seabrook
Fixed up and raring to go
An original 1980s Mini. Allelujah…
YES, it’s 50 years of this little motoring icon, and what better celebration could there be than to feature a black-grille, black-bumper Mini complete with Austin-Rover logo on the grille? This little Mini is the daily driver of Rachel Seabrook and has recently been treated to a thorough body restoration as it was exceedingly rotten. Almost all front panels, sills, rear wheelarches and rear quarters were fitted, before a respray in the original metallic blue, with an added touch of metal flake to allow it to really shine on sunny days.
The mechanical side of things has not been touched – the A-series engine appears to be in good health and is remarkably quiet. Dating from 1985, this is a pretty rare Mini as it retains the central speedometer, yet has the benefit of front disc brakes, though this also means 12” wheels and wheelarch extensions. The only non-original fitment is later wheeltrims. Inside, the original checked seat upholstery remains, along with the original steering wheel and lack of fresh air vents that are all part of the City package.
The biggest downside of the rebuild was the loss of the original, Evans Halshaw number plates. Those new-style font ones just don’t look right! However, Rachel uses the car as much as possible. “I like my Mini,” she says. “It fits in the smallest of car parking spaces and is nice and nippy.”
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.