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 Purchasing Guide?

 Created by: DesertTiny
Orig. Posting Date User Name Edit Date
May 12, 2023 09:56AM Dan Moffet  
May 12, 2023 06:39AM DesertTiny  
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 Posted: May 12, 2023 09:56AM
Total posts: 9366
Last post: May 31, 2023
Member since:Aug 14, 2002
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You are beginning to ask the right questions.

1. Shops: that is a tall order. Most shops want to plug in a computer to find out what to load into the parts cannon. If you are lucky there may be one or two "old school" garages around with someone who knows about cars that are over 30 years old. Then there's the factor of it being a British car. Old British cars had points ignitions and carburettors.Later Minis like you are contemplating have electronic ignition and fuel injection, but again they are old versions. Best bet is to ask other owners of Minis or British cars who they know in your area.

2. Parts Source. You are looking at the website for the best in the USA and closest to you.

3. Find a car. Tough one. First place to look is this website's Cars for Sale section. In my opinion don't fixate on a 90's car from Japan. They were built in the UK specific for that market, including right hand drive (if I recall correctly). It may have fuel injection, which at first seems like a good idea... until something goes wrong with it. If lucky you might get limp-in mode, or it might need to be towed. A carb car keeps ignition systems and fuel systems separate, so most problems can be diagnosed at the side of the road, and a repair or work-around effected. (Mw: I'm old school and prefer a carb and a simpler ignition system.) AC in a Mini is another potential headache. They are not common, so neither are parts to fix them. From what I've read, Japanese Mini owners like to trick them up with gadgets and doodads, which can result in wiring or other nightmares. Later cars also tend to be more rust-worthy - thinner, cheaper metal. (The older ones were bad enough!)

Much better to look into a car that is on US soil, that can be inspected and test-driven by you, or better someone familiar with Minis that you  trust. Be pre4pared to travel to see it in person. Importation is not for the faint of heart. An older car may also be "smog-exempt" because they were made before smog regulations existed. [See California!]

4 and 5: your other thread is covering those issues.

6. There is no real, current buyer's guide, You either have to know yourself what to look for or know someone who does.

A Mini can be a daily driver, but you need to have a back-up vehicle and plan. And a AAA membership!


"Hang on a minute lads....I've got a great idea."

 Posted: May 12, 2023 06:39AM
Total posts: 3
Last post: May 12, 2023
Member since:Dec 10, 2021
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Ok Y'all, I'm a newb and struggling with the search function here, so apologies if this has been asked and answered a million and five times.

I'm just starting down the journey of researching a 1990's era Japanese market Rover Mini to possibly use as a daily driver.  Here is my amateur checklist thus far:

1. find a couple of shops that can work on it
2. find parts sources
3. find a car
4. registering the car (I previously posted here about this, specifically the smog check issue)
5. Insurance

My question is this:  is there a buyers guide for Minis?  things to look out for when inspecting?  rare parts that are impossible to find?  other things I don't even know enough to ask about?  

I'm specifically looking at the 90's japanese cars for two reasons:  they are a bit newer and they have a/c.  But of course I'm also concerned with any features that are specific to the japanese cars that will give me trouble in the future. and of course, if I have to import one, I have no experience with that process so any gotchas would be good to hear about.

Any guidance you want to chime in with would be greatly appreciated, either about the cars in general or anything on my list of concerns!