1965 Morris Mini Minor scoots into ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’

The charm is how quick the car is even today because of its small size and light weight, which Leno appreciated

Jay Leno’s Garage took a step back into the swinging 1960s in its latest episode with a 1965 Morris Mini Minor that’s been with its current owner for more than four decades.

Steve Nelson purchased the car from what he believes is the original owner when he was 17 years old. He had a fascination with British cars as a kid and decided he wanted to own one, right-hand drive and all. He told Leno the car was in poor shape when he bought it and he slowly accumulated parts and purchased things when he could with the intention that, one day, he would restore the Mini to its original glory.

The latest car to appear on Jay Leno's Garage was a 1965 Morris Mini Minor that has been restored. | Screenshot

The latest car to appear on Jay Leno’s Garage was a 1965 Morris Mini Minor that has been restored. | Screenshot

In 1995, an exhaust valve seat fell out and exited through the tailpipe, which took the car off of the road until 2013. It sat parked for almost two decades before Nelson decided it was time for a restoration.

He took it to Graham Reid and Heritage Garage, who is a Mini expert and restores classics Minis to perfection. Now, it’s a shining example of what the car (nearly) looked like when it left the factory decades ago. We say nearly because there are some modern touches, such as disc brakes from a Mini Cooper S. Nelson said the original drum brakes hardly conjured a love affair after spirited driving. The car also makes around 60 horsepower now, up from around 34 hp when it was new.

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  • Greg Bloomfield
    February 28, 2019, 6:53 AM

    Oh, yeah, Jay…one of our family’s friends in Cheyenne had one of these tiny cars. When they parked behind our ’65 Pontiac Star Chief, my dad, Cliff looked hi ch hly amused…later stating that he w as s certain that we all could have lifted it into the beige Pontiac’s capacious trunk.
    Sure would have been a near-death trap in a head-on collision with the vast majority of our neighbors’ full sized Detroit-built tanks. We kids loved it..just like a "toy car"!

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