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Strange Storage: 1959 Morris Mini-Minor

While certain projects can cause its owner to climb the walls, it’s not often we see the car already running for higher ground. This 1959 Morris Mini is certainly far from being a garage centerpiece, but we think it deserves a little better than its upright perch in this cramped workshop. Featuring a host of body-related restoration work already performed, this classic runabout is available here on craigslist for $4,500 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Sir Alec Issigonis was the brainchild behind the Mini, and his compact design spurred the production of over 5 million examples. It was a well-timed concept, as the Suez Crisis depleted Britain’s gas reserves and forced consumers to shop for economical vehicles. The Mini changed perceptions of a small car, as it could still hold four adults and swallow their luggage, all while delivering predictable, if not sporty, handling. Engineering-wise, it was a revelation: a front-engine, front-wheel drive car, with the water-cooled motor mounted sideways and the carburetor mounted on the back of the block. The gears were located in the engine’s sump, making it possible for both the 848 cc unit and transmission to fit on the subframe.

Although a special edition Mini was produced in 2000 and the new BMW-manufactured Mini Cooper has been a hit, the styling of the original still makes heads turn today. Its popularity was helped by pop-star ownership in the 60s, as well as its big-screen debut (and catching some air) in the classic gearhead film, The Italian Job. In fact, once drivers realized just how capable the car was, the legendary John Cooper Racing Team produced a series of hotted-up models, most recognizable in rally trim and beating up on cars twice its size in the legendary Monte Carlo race. Although it didn’t pack tremendous power, its impressive power-to-weight ratio made it a force to be reckoned with on the tarmac and in the dirt.

Though this example’s storage situation is unique, the seller doesn’t think much of it and brushes aside any concern for its precarious position. He also notes that the floors have been replaced with factory-correct units and that the shell is straight and true. The engine is out of the car but was rebuilt and has zero miles. Not many details are offered about the car’s other mechanical systems, or  if the engine is even original to the chassis. However, we suspect there’s a fair amount of work yet to be done – not to mention sourcing an interior. It’d be worth it, though, to see the rare Cosmic wheels poking out from beneath some tastefully flared fenders.

With a robust enthusiast community behind it, finding replacement parts shouldn’t be a deterrent. The price of entry isn’t too high, but we think there’s still room to bargain when one takes into consideration just how much more work lies ahead. Yet, given the reputation British electrical systems have, perhaps a clean slate isn’t the worst way to start a project born in the U.K. In the meantime, we’d just like to see it in the proper seating position. Anyone here interested in freeing this Mini from this space-saving situation?


  1. Ron Southan

    The price is absurd. I’ve owned a true 1961, 998 Cooper and a highly modified 1972, 1380 Mini. There are much better deals out there. It’s got the sliding windows but it needs too much work.

    Like 1
  2. jtrier1

    The picture is hilarious. The little thing is just propped up in a corner.

    Like 0

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