Big Brother To Minis: 1965 MG 1100 Sedan

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As the seller notes in their auction listing here on eBay, Americans might not even know the original Mini had a “big brother.” This former Florida car has been relocated to San Pedro, California and current bids are up to just over $3,000 but have not yet met the reserve. I’ve seen quite a few of these ADO13 derivatives like the Austin America, and I grew up with a Morris 1300 in the UK, but I’ve never seen one that looked as nice as this one.

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If you looked closely at that first picture, you probably noticed that the driver’s side grille bars are somewhat bent. I’m thinking some careful work would straighten them out, and that’s the only major cosmetic flaw in this car. Although I don’t believe the sub 9,000 mile odometer reading, especially since the floors have been replaced, I can easily believe that the car was put away for a long time and cared about.

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Our own Scotty G. was really enthusiastic about this one, and we thank Jim S. for sending it in! I know I’d love to have it as a family car to take to shows, because I can tell you from experience that despite it’s diminutive external dimensions, reasonable-sized folks can actually fit in the back seat of this car. Take a look at this picture from the auction if you don’t believe me.

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Holy cow, this interior is in gorgeous shape! Ok, for you perfectionists, it needs a brake pedal pad. Here’s a set of all three pads for $22.63 including shipping from the UK. Solved that problem quickly, didn’t we? I really love the red with white piping seats and they absolutely look gorgeous. I think I would fit a set of three point seats rather than just lap belts, but I’m being really, really picky.

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If you were expecting the underside or engine compartment to look bad, well, you were wrong. This car really does look nice. Which brings up the question of why? Why would someone either keep a little, generally unloved economy car like this so nicely, or conversely why would someone restore one (and then sell it)? I can’t answer those questions, but I can sure tell you that whomever ends up with this car will be getting a nice one! I hope they decide to attend our shows in North Carolina so that I get to see it in person!

 

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Comments

  1. Puhnto

    The original Mini didn’t really have this as a big brother because I believe these came out after the Mini. Like the Mini though, they are bigger on the inside than they look, on the outside. And, like the Mini, they are fun to drive. (Just not quite as much fun as a Mini!) Nice to see. Haven’t seen one in years.

  2. Dave Wright

    Mini’s never competed well in the us market with the beetle and these were an attempt to do better. They were heavily advertised and promoted when new. Not a bad little urban car but the VW was well ahead of them by the time they were introduced. As I remember they were a bit pricy as well.

    • boxdin

      I remember the Austin America ads, they compared it to a greyhound bus with large windows. They did promote them heavily.

  3. Art Fink

    We had a 1966 MG 1100 Sedan just like this one many years ago. We ran the “Daylights” out of it for a while then traded it off for a 1968 Austin America. My father use to say the AA was “as slow as whale poop” (cleaned that up a bit). But, it was such a fun car for a bunch of college kids. I would love to have this one.

  4. Bruce

    I just sold my 67 MG 1100 with my 67 Austin 1100. The MG was a running driving car that was fun to take to shows and such.

    LJ

  5. Rufus

    Back in the early 70’s we would buy these and Austin America’s for $50 – $100, pull the engine/gearbox and drop it into $50 – $100, 850 Mini’s. Then, you had something!
    I don’t remember ever driving one around the block, although I’ve probably had a dozen of them.
    This appears to be a nice car, but my mind set only allows me to see it as a donor.
    Have fun

  6. David L Member

    The had two weaknesses. The clutches were bad and the main bearings were weak. I know this because I had one and both went out on me back in the 60’s. The clutch went out at an intersection in Berkeley Calif. I also had the gearshift pull out half way up Hyde St. in San Francisco (One of the steepest!) w/ a cable car behind me. Still, I loved that car. Handled like a sports car, was comfortable to drive and was just fun.

  7. Graham Line

    When BMC introduced these, VW was muddling along with improvements like the Squareback and Notchback. The Golf/Rabbit didn’t turn up until the 1970s.
    Friend of mine bought an Austin America (dead cheep used, then) for each of his daughters as they got old enough to drive, and probably had a better parts stock in his garage than some BMC dealers.
    These run and drive quite well when they are maintained by the book — which very few were.

  8. Tony Waters

    I admire the belief, common in the U.S., that certain British cars which were dreadful when new, somehow improve with age. The original Mini was fondly known as ‘a coffin on castors.’ The Issigonis Harpoon, which doubles as the steering column, delivered the coup de grace. The larger car never did induce such fondness.

    • Chris In Australia

      Actually, no. The steering column in the Mini/1100/1800 cars came up at a 45 deg (roughly) angle and the steering rack was behind the transverse engine.
      Their column setup was one of the better ones of the era, from a safety perspective. That said, if you’re in a Mini hit by an Electra 225 at speed, steering column device/setup is going to save you………..

      • Tony Waters

        TO CHRIS in Australia: The Hillman Imp, of the same era, was safer. It was rear engined and if hit in the front, the front collapsed. And then there was the Bond Minicar…

  9. Matt Tritt

    Very nice example for sure. Not to sound snarky, but compared to a contemporary VW kaefer, they weren’t all that great. If you other old guys recall, VWs were rattle and squeek-free, would go just about anywhere and were completely reliable (providing the fuel pump to carb line was replaced according to requirements). None of these traits were shared with the BMC products, unfortunately,

  10. puhnto

    Yeah, but when they were new, they were roomier, a lot more comfortable, and a lot more fun to drive! (Even if, they didn’t last as long!)

    • Tony Waters

      I thought the fact that they would fall apart was a drawback. But admittedly, they would often start in the morning. I live in the U S where domestically made cars, Ford, Chrysler and GM at their best are not very good. Fit & finish and handling do not compare with the best European cars. Every affluent neighborhood is full of BMW’s, Audis, Lexuses, a few Jags and Range Rovers (now owned by Tata). I do remember from my London childhood (born 1946) that the sight of cars broken down by the side of the road was commonplace. The RAC and AA (whose only function, originally, was to warn members when they were approaching a speed trap, by seeing the badge and faiing to salute) had men on motorbikes with sidecars full of tools to assist members whose cars had broken down, constantly on patrol. That may reflect the state of horseless carriage technology at the time, rather than anything about British cars in particular. But the problem was that British cars mass produced by British companies never got beyond that stage.

  11. Matt Tritt

    I think that the war might have had something to do with that. My experiences with every British car I ever had anything to do with were mainly good – except for the rubber and electrics. I got the feeling that traditions were so strongly held that positive improvements to keep in pace with German, French and Japanese brands just never happened, when all posibilities were open. It’s too damn bad! I agree about the quality of American makes being way under the mark – clear through the early 90’s – and I’m constantly amazed that people are willing to pay big bucks for mass produced 2d rate machinery these days. Probaly has something to do with so few survivors because of poor corrosion protection.

  12. 2ManyCars1

    Whenever I see one of these, my mind immediately pulls up an image of Basil Fawlty (as played by John Cleese) beating on his dead by the side of the road 1100 with a small shrub!

  13. Michael Moore

    I drove my MG1100 sports sedan to the junk yard after attempting to drive it home from being stored. The alternator started smoking. I said enough is enough. I replaced the floors, motor mounts, brake lines and rotors, heater core, speedometer cable and more. Cool car, but I was too busy renovating my old house to keep working on it. My wife bought a used mini in the early eighties which was cool.

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