Events : Mini to tackle Peking to Paris


A 1972 Mini 1000 has been entered on this year’s Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, as a last minute replacement for Paul and Chris Hartfield’s pre-war Packard, which wasn’t ready in time.

Concerned for the Packard’s readiness in the lead-up to the event, Paul contacted Owen Turner from the Rover Centre for some advice. However, on seeing just how much work still needed to be done on the Packard, Owen’s advice was simple: don’t take it on the gruelling 36-day 8500-mile event and, instead, buy the Mini which Owen had himself prepared for the last year’s Sahara Challenge as well as LeJog.

The Mini 1000 has a 1300 engine and uses a 1991 bodyshell, sprayed in its original colour – not bad considering it was built in two weeks. Owen said: ‘The Packard needed a lot of work still doing and would not have coped with the likes of Mongolia at all in its current condition. It will be a challenge for the Mini, especially the Gobi Desert, but at least you can fix it fast and get moving again.’

The sixth Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, organised by the Endurance Rally Association, will begin on Sunday, 12 June 2016 as 110 crews cross the start line at the Great Wall of China in Beijing. Competitors will cross 11 countries including Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, Russia and Belarus before entering Europe to reach the finish line in the centre of Paris on Sunday, 17 July.

More crews are taking part in the 2016 outing than ever before, with 50 cars dated pre-1942 in the Vintageant class and 60 in the Classic class dated pre-1977. You can follow the Mini’s fortunes on AROnline, as well as get regular event updates on the Endurance Rally Association’s website via this link.

Keith Adams


  1. Tough as Old Boots in my direct experience.

    Bought a new Mini 1000 back in October 1970 when downsizing from a more expensive to run and less practical MG. Did this needing to save for a deposit on a house as planned to settle down with my then G/F now wife. Used that little car to travel for my job. 100,000 miles plus covered in six years. Fitted Spax adjustable Dampers all round which improved the already legendary basic Mini handling. For the next six years that little car was subjected to a hard life for my job. Except when trying to drive through deep flood water following massive rainfall Nr. Bristol in 1972, never let me down. Water got inside the Distributor cap. Soon got going once the Cap was dried using my handkerchief. A 75 pence plastic/rubber shield fitted later and never a problem again with rainwater.

    Yes, tough as old boots that car. That P-to-P trip should be a doddle for it … I hope …:-).

    By the way, I sold that Mini 1000 for £400 in 1977. I threw out the new Sales Invoice for it when having a clear out a few years ago. £702 new On-The-road!

    • The problem with Minis is that the distributor is exposed towards the grille, with no radiator in between…

    • So after 7 years and 100000 miles of hard use it retained over 50% of its value. No doubt double digit inflation during that period – peaking at around 30% in 1975 helped!

      • It did indeed Paul. However those are the truthful figures. Back then, at the peak of those inflation excesses, some folks actually P/X-ed their Minis against a new one and got more in P/X than they paid for it new!

        The value of my house more than doubled in that time too… Whoopee… er, no… so did the interest rates on my hefty mortgage. I took the option to make the increased interest payments rather than extend the duration. A struggle but, I feel that was a shrewd move. Yes, quite a struggle at the time. I was however at the peak of my earning power which continued for some years, as it did with my good lady. We were the typical DINKY couple. Double Income No Kids. I was forty two when we decided we could afford kids on only one income … mine.

        I sold my new cars ~ correction ~ they sold themselves ever since being one owner from new and well maintained. Then, with no p/x obtained the best discount for the exact car I required, even if a new one did not exist in any UK dealer showroom. OK that meant a wait of at least a month… five weeks for the last new MG I bought in 2003. Which we still have and is my better half’s daily means of getting about. Still looks good and drives as well as it looks. I have mainly bought and run the products of Cowley, Abingdon and Longbridge. Never had an unreliable car in my life. Some say I’ve been lucky. I know there’s more to it than that… 😉

    • I too purchased a succession of Mini 1000’s in the early 70’s. Paying £796 for a new 1000 in August 1973. After 12 months, 8000 miles I sold it privately for £840. In August 1974 I paid £942 for my next one, selling privately a year later for £950.
      I was effectively very cheap motoring even with high inflation rates. The good old days.

  2. I wish them luck. Not a Mini expert myself but I recall being told that the transfer gears are a week link on the larger engine versions. I guess the builder of this car knows that and has acted accordingly.

  3. Any engine, gearbox or other key component will soon become a weak link if routine checking and maintenance recommended by all manufacturers is not followed. All too easy to blame the car when things go wrong. When more often than not, the real blame lies elsewhere. Here I include negigent or uncaring pro-work. This is all too common by car users and many of those professionals entrusted to the vehicle’s well being. Try running any car with poor old lubricant or insufficient lubricant in the engine or gearbox and see how long it lasts before things go wrong. Yet many user never lift their car’s bonnet to check things as they should.

    In my experience over many years than I care to remember, there are far more unreliable car users than unreliable cars.

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