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Stored for 30 Years: 1966 Austin Mini

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

With the proliferation of late production Minis showing up on our shores as a result of the 25 year importation rule, genuine Austin Minis are becoming more collectible by the day. This long-stored 1966 model located in Florida looks largely undisturbed, still wearing its Euro-market H4 lighting and original chrome hubcaps. It is rusty, however, and the reserve remains unmet. Find it here on eBay with bidding just over $800.

The Mini wears old-school South Carolina license plates and looks to be parked in a RV storage facility. Weather and time have not been kind to it, with rust perforating the roof, floors and likely other areas we can’t see. The Mini does not run but the seller confirms the engine is not stuck; still, a complete fuel system clean-out will be required and the seller also references the ignition system needing work.

The interior is likely one of the brighter spots, despite the holes in the floor. It looks relatively complete, even if the dash is in need of recovering. The classic three-spoke steering wheel is always a welcome site, as is the centered gauge pod. While the seller does try to downplay just how significant of a restoration this car requires, he’s not incorrect that many of the body panels, interior components and more are still available in reproduction form.

Door panels and seat upholstery both look serviceable for the time being, but will likely need replacement due to light warping and wear. Although it’s certainly a positive that this Mini and its sensitive sheet metal aren’t located in a northern state, it could also be a snowbird’s car that got licked by road salt and slush over many years of interstate driving. Should this car be restored? If the reserve is below $3-$4K, our hope is that it gets the rebuild it deserves.

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Comments

  1. Dave Wright

    Jeff, We never had any trouble importing anything 1967 or older. 1968 was the first year of mandatory smog laws……..anything prior to that doesn’t have an issue. This old girl is pretty rough and isn’t a Cooper. It would off course be fun. She needs to be rotisseried and brought back up. These are simple fun cars ideal for a young person with more energy than cash.

    3+
  2. Richie Rich

    Correct on these being restorable with a global supply market for virtually anything this car will need. Unfortunately the bodywork is the most expensive part and you can easily spend way more than the car is worth to get rotisserie rust removal, steel panels welded in, and rustproofing so you don’t need to do it all over again in five years. They have as many different body parts as any large car – they are just smaller. And remember as this is tub construction, getting it squared off and aligned is critical. It might be less to buy a new shell and rebuild the working parts off the old car to complete it. If you have to pay a bodyshop or restoration house the numbers will go against you very quickly. The mechanical parts will be less than $10k from soup to nuts. The body work is just nuts. Figure over $10k. Interior and miscellaneous another $2-4K. Ask me how I know ☹. Unless it is a very rare Cooper S in the right years, you’ll have a long wait until the market value catches up to your spend.

    3+
    • Dave Wright

      This is not a project for anyone that needs to hire the work done. Can easily be done by an ambitious amateur. If you striped and brought this chassis into my shop, we would sandblast and prime it for 500.00

      3+
      • Richie Rich

        Dave – are you anywhere near the east coast?

        0
      • Dave Wright

        No……I am in Western Idaho.

        0
      • Brakeservo

        How much more damage would sand blasting do? A number of years ago I took a Bentley Mark VI to a blasting shop in Portland for soda blasting. Unbeknownst to me, when the soda powder failed to remove the 50 year old British paint the guy turned to sand! Every single panel was warped and distorted by the time he was through. My insurance company “totalled” the car.

        0
  3. Ken

    Fun cars to play with. Our 1960 Morris was a much less complete car when we hauled it home but had far less rust than this one. Given the crustiness of this one, I’d wonder if the subframes are equally rusty. Doing everything ourselves except paint, we were 5 years and $10k in the mid 90s turning a few hundred dollar ex-racer parts car into a superb Mini done just the way my wife wanted it. After 20 years and about 70k miles, it remains my wife’s favorite, looks good and runs like a top. Hope this finds a good home and someone as crazy as we were 25 years ago.

    5+
  4. Sparkster

    I just watched Jason Bourne drive the wheels off of one of these in his movie. Great car and great driving.

    2+

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