Question:

I am considering purchasing a classic Mini. It is on consignment and I want to make an offer. Let me give you the basics.  It's on a 1972 title.  It's 1275cc fuel injected example with a driver side airbag. It has 2300 miles from new. Panoramic sunroof. Paint is mint, a dark sparkled blue. Every things appears original, no mods. Here's the VIN number: XA2SINXXXXXX.

It's a great looking car, but the co-signer wants $25,500. Said they may throw in a fluid change and tires, if needed. I can send you some pictures but I could really use an outside source to help me make a fair offer without seeming like a low-baller.

Thanks for your time. Jesse



Answer:

Hi Jesse,

We see this sort of thing happening all the time! What's not original is the car that the VIN plate it attached to! That is almost certainly a 1997-2000, known as the Rover "MPI" for multi-port-injection. You can confirm this if the radiator is mounted behind the front grille (compared to ALL earlier Minis having the radiator mounted at the left front fender! Can you think of any other cars that had an airbag in 1972?

People bought up the last of the Minis and put them away, so you find many with just a few miles from the late 90s. While there are many of these around registered "backwards" to make them "legal" in the US, a car like that does have inherent risk, as it's rather easy for an expert to show that it is falsely registered... in other words it does NOT have it's original VIN Number. Cars with altered identification numbers may be stolen, and are viewed as a "threat to public safety". As such, every now and then, one is ceremoniously crushed so US customs can make us all safe from the evil little cars!

We see lots of these late "Sportpac" cars with the big wheels and fenders sell in the mid $20K price range for VERY nice ones. You have to make the determination of how "nice" an example you are looking at. Even cars with low miles can have rust issues if they were originally used in a harsh winter climate, so look carefully at the floors and in the wheel openings. Also be aware that parts availability is very poor for any fuel injection related items, as is the availability of anyone that can work on them! They are much more difficult to modify to earlier engines, as the body is different than the vast majority of Classic Minis due to the revised radiator layout.


Kind Regards,


Jemal A Katat
Technical Support and Sales
Mini Mania, Inc.
Tel: 530-470-8300
Fax: 530-470-8388