Build it Your Way: Austin Mini Panel Van Project

This is quite a project: what we’re looking at are the remains of an Austin Mini panel van, a variant of the classic Mini we see even less frequently than the Countryman. The latter has fancy wood trim and lots of extra glass; the panel van is just that, with no glass, exposed hinges and a thoroughly utilitarian vibe. The seller of this example here on eBay doesn’t know much about it, but what we can see looks worthy of saving. The asking price is $3,800 with the option to submit a best offer.

Some level of metal reconditioning / rust repair has occurred, but it’s hard to tell what you’re starting with given the incompleteness of the project. A variety of panels are included inside the van, and for the asking price, I’d like to see a more comprehensive overview of what you’re getting. Still, I have to believe the front fenders, hood and grill are all off-the-shelf Mini components, with the doors and rear glass being the hardest items to source.

A variety of decent looking parts are shown inside the Mini, with names on boxes indicating someone did have big plans for this project. My guess is an owner passed away or moved and didn’t want to take the Mini with them, leaving it with a local salvage yard or estate manager. There could be a fairly complete project hiding inside those barn doors, and I’d also like to know whether it’s a RHD or LHD example. No word on whether there’s an engine in pieces residing inside as well.

Image courtesy of 2040cars.com

Here’s what one of the panel vans can look like when restored, and a set of chunky 10″ wheels is a must. There’s a lot to like about the finished product, and it’s a nice change of pace from the variety of Minis that already show up at your local Cars & Coffee. The seller’s price seems a touch high to me, but for $2,500 or less, this looks like a worthy gamble to take that you’ll find a project in pieces well on its way to completion if the cargo hold proves to be a treasure-trove of spares.

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    Rare, yes. Cool, yes. Is it worth restoring, probably not, especially at that price.

    Steve R

  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’m with Steve that one would have to buy this for a lot less than the asking price.

    For comparison purposes, a complete, running and registered (and legally roadworthy – cars of this vintage get a six month vehicle inspection!) Mini van would go for around USD $7-10K in NZ, depending on condition. You could probably double that figure for a concours level restoration.

  3. pat gill

    has been spoilt by de-seaming the roof and filling in the rear lamp mounts, vans are very rare in the UK……….they have all rusted away, back in the day I used to rally a van fitted with an MG1300 engine and minifin brake drums, lots of fun..

  4. Classic Steel

    Perfect storage shed to put next to ones pool and wet bar 👍👀

  5. madbrit

    Left or right hand drive is no big deal as the Mini was designed to be an easy swap. Hope they did the de-seeming properly, shame about the other body mods but not too hard to put back to original.

  6. Drew V.

    Build a tube frame for it and install a trans axle/engine combo from a VW,Porsche, Corvair or Toronado in it… One hellova street rod…

  7. Scott Tait

    I agree with Pat Gill ruined by de-seeming the roof

  8. jdjonesdr

    Obviously the best option for this is to make a trailer out of it. But not at that price.

  9. rancher

    I had a lot of fun with this RHD Austin Mini panel van around Redding, CA http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u236/mr_bojangles500/Scan100080001.jpg.html

  10. Ian

    check out UK prices. Top ones are fetching around $21500 (@1.35)…apart from the deseaming this could be up there too – all parts are avaidable….including the front end

  11. chad

    gas filler seems miged out too?
    Odd (I’ve never been able 2 account for other folks personal tastes).

    I like what it is (better than the reg mini too, but I’m a “wagon” guy).
    The seller has a habit of never giving any information abt anything he sells…
    “Here it is, buy it or not.” Never attracted to those ppl or purchases ~

    (BTW: 20K$ is being exchanged elsewhere, by other ppl. Thnx 4 the info anyway).

  12. Pat A

    I’ve seen quite a few hot-rodded Anglia’s-why not this? Or turn it into a sickeningly cute teardrop-ish camping trailer? Tow it behind a vintage or even a new Mini.

  13. Michael.N.

    My wife and I bought a 61 Morris Minor pickup from her father he got it brand new had it for 10 years we never should have sold it .we got $2,500 back in 2006 it was a fun vehicle great on gas and we got compliments every day still wished I dropped a big block with a 9-inch in it

  14. Russ

    I would think this was a left hand drive Jeff. The windshield scuttle panel on older Minis has two sets of holes for RHD or LHD wiper set up. Along with the other body mods, the previous owner has welded up the unused holes for the RHD fitment. They normally just have rubber grommets blocking the unused holes. Unless it was part of a conversion from RHD to LHD, I suppose…

  15. bog

    That “might” be fun to restore. “Might”. No space, nor time now, though I really like the oddness and am a fan of Minis. I still kick myself for not buying a nice medium blue RHD one that was for sale by owner at Road America. Had minilites and ran just fine. Shame on me…

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