Diesel Swap: 1980 Austin Mini

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On a global scale, the Mini and its many variations are one of the more iconic compact vehicles of all time, though safety standards barred the Mini from the United States after 1968. However, since the cute hatchback is older than 25 years old, it is legally available for importation into the States, as seen by this interesting 1980 Austin Mini that is for sale here on Craigslist.

This Mini is available in Portland, Oregon, though it was originally imported from the United Kingdom in 2005. Upon arrival, the car received a full body restoration and repaint, while the interior received various new items, such as a new headliner, door panels, carpeting, and seat covers. Supposedly, the vehicle has only seen the road during fair weather months, and due to being unable to drive it on a regular basis, it has only been driven a few hundred miles during the last handful of years.

The exterior does feature some upgrades, such as Hella fog lights and 13” aluminum wheels.

Inside of the Mini, you’ll find a wooden dash panel and glovebox, as well as a woodgrain steering wheel – which is on the right-hand side, of course. For a modern touch, there are USB charging ports and a stereo system with CD player and iPod compatibility. And hey, if you’re concerned about riding in a car that was originally deemed too unsafe for the States, there’s a fire extinguisher on board, which will hopefully alleviate some of those worries.

Under the hood, there’s a 1.5-liter diesel engine from an Austin Metro that pairs to a 5-speed manual transmission to drive the front wheels. Though the ad does not state how many miles are on the diesel drivetrain, it benefits from various recent maintenance items, such new glow plugs, fuel filter, serpentine belt, radiator, and an oil and filter change. Additionally, this Mini features a Greasecar vegetable fuel system conversion, allowing the engine to run on filtered frying oil, a fuel source which willing restaurants often offer for cheap (or even free) in order to avoid disposal costs.

The asking price for this unique Mini is $14,500. The seller claims that the “sporty car is a super fun ride and great for commuting or driving around town,” which is definitely a believable statement. Could you see yourself owning this diesel Mini?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Richard Hines

    I’d love to have it. For about 10k less.

    Like 8
  2. JBP

    This wasnt a normal Mini. Its the more rare Clubmann. You can se it has lux dashboard. Normal speedo sits in the middle. Thats a car there can corner, in high speed. Like a gocard
    Funny with a Metro diesel, but a 1275 cooper is more fun

    Like 2
    • John

      But it is NOT a hatchback.

      Like 1
    • Doug

      It doesn’t look like this one will corner very well – it sits pretty high. The originals had 10 inch wheels, and the performance wheels and tyres used mainly for racing were 12″ with a pretty low profile.

      Like 0
  3. Robert A

    Actually the Clubman models all had a 2-dial instrument pod in front of the driver, except for the GT which had a 3-dial setup.

    Like 0
    • Martin Horrocks


      Like 1
  4. local_sheriff

    Sorry Kevin to inform you that the Mini is rightfully not a hatchback; its trunk lid pivots backwards-down almost like a rumble seat!
    The Greasecar conversion is a cool ‘green’ feature, however given such a Mini is an extremely light and nimble car, I’m thinking an E85 converted high-revving high compression Cooper mill would be more in style with the Mini legacy?

    Like 4
  5. Rod444

    With the GreaseCar conversion I’d love to own it just to tick off my local Tesla owners so I could ask them how much they were “throwing away” on electricity costs every month and why they didnt do more for the environment like getting rid of waste vegetable oil instead of burning coal that’s just “out of sight out of mind.” Pretty sure I could ignite some hefty road rage :)

    Like 7
  6. Chunk

    That is a Peugeot diesel with 58 horsepower and 81 lb/ft of torque.

    For what that’s worth…

    Like 0

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