What to look for when buying
a Classic / Old Style Mini
This is a insiders guide on what
to look for when buying a classic Mini, as cute as they are,the
classic Mini does like to rust.
Firstly look at the scuttle, this
is the area under the windscreen where the wipers reside, if this
area is rusty it can be replaced, the panel alone is around £70.00,
but remember to replace this panel the wings need to be cut off,
so that starts getting expensive. Next the front panel, this is
below the headlights and often corrodes excessively, again welded
on as are all Mini panels so again not cheap to replace. The bonnet
is a bolt on panel so nothing too difficult to replace.
it should look like
Here is an image of the front scuttle where
it meets the front wing, this image is taken on a car
that is totally original, note the lack of corrosion and
how the wing meets the scuttle.
What it shouldn't
Note in this image, the panel joint between
the wing and scuttle is totally smoothed over. This is
a sure fire guarantee that filler has been used, also
note the over spray on the side strips. This is the sort
of car to be avoided unless it is very cheap
Next the A panels, these A shaped
little panels reside between the wings and doors again a favourite
rust spot. So if the Mini you are looking at needs all these panels
replaced this we would class as a restoration project depending
on the severity of the corrosion. Remember paint bubbling means
rust underneath. If is for you to decide how bad the rust has
advanced and can you live with it. Many people want there Mini
as near pristine as possible. But if you have access to a mig
welder or a friend that can weld this can de a distinct advantage!
Note the rust on these A panels
Doors - do they fit correctly?,
are the hinges worn?, if the door skin is rusty that can be replaced,
but if the frame is rusted you need to consider new doors. Again
Rear wings - again not a expensive
panel to buy but a major job to replace, in our experience these
are normally not too bad.
Boot - a bolt on panel, so no issues
there, but look under the rear bumper at the valance to check
Most of above is cosmetic and will
not effect you during an MOT test unless its really excessive.
Cheaper cars i.e. under £1,000 will invariably have rust
in some or all of these areas
Inside the car
Lift all carpets up to see if the
front and rear floors are rusted, check the inner sills, either
pull away the carpet or tap with a light metallic object. Be careful
here, any rust inside is usually an MOT failure issue. Rear compartments
next to the rear seats, lift up the cardboard liners, that must
be rust free in side as it is part of the inner sill section.
Inside the Boot
The subframe mounts are in here,
so be vigilant, check the boot floor in total, paying attention
to the top shock absorber mounts, any corrosion here is expensive
to repair and dangerous. Check the boot floor at the rear near
the boot lip, also where the subframe bolts to the boot floor.
Lastly remove the battery to check the battery box.
||This is the area exposed of the
boot floor once the petrol tank is removed. Note how close
the corrosion is to the two silver bolts that connect the
subframe to the boot floor. This will most certainly fail
any MOT. This was not an old Mini either - this image was
from a 1996 P registered Mini Cooper 1.3i that had covered
just 27,000 miles! This to repair properly and neatly is
not a cheap exercise!
Underside Front Section
Jack up the front of the car and
remove both road wheels, check for corrosion near the front shockers,
again an MOT failure, prod around the top of the inner wing where
the fresh air vent pipe enters the car, both sides, excessive
rust here will guarantee water leaks. Now check where the front
subframe mounts to the floor, rust here again is very dangerous.
Also check the front subframe, but usually these are OK as most
Minis leak oil as standard.
Underside - Sides
Yes its time to check the sills,
not dear to buy but still expensive to get fitted correctly and
neatly, also check the floor pans for rust.
Underside - Rear
Have a prod in the inner wheel arch,
at the top where the shocker mounts and the areas in front and
behind the road wheel. Next the rear subframe, if that is corroded
that can be a fairly horrendous task to replace and expensive.
Check for colour match and overspray
inside door shuts and under wheel arches. If the car you are looking
at shows the paint is bubbling the panel is starting to rust,
whatever the seller says!