This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Austin Mini, Great Britain’s teensy equivalent of Germany’s Volkswagen and Italy’s Fiat 500. What seemed so quirky and odd when first unveiled quickly became the emblematic British car of the go-go ’60s.
The space-saving front-wheel-drive and transverse-engine layout engineered by the brilliant Alec Issigonis turned out to be revolutionary, becoming the mainstay for most small and midsize passenger cars the world over.
The Pick of the Day celebrates that small wonder with a 1975 Mini Cooper that has been tastefully updated for sporty drivability, which underscores Mini’s reputation as a racetrack giant killer as well as a practical and inexpensive everyday car.
The 1.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is fed by a pair of SU carburetors, and the ride has been augmented with a coil-over shock-absorber conversion that replaces the factory rubber-cone suspension, according to the Denver, Colorado, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.
The Mini looks pretty sharp in Dark Red Metallic paint, fender flares and a fresh set of 8-spoke wheels, which give the car a well-planted stance. A discreet leather strap adds security to the hood (or in British, the bonnet) while adding sporty flare.
The interior has been redone in gray cloth and black carpet with red trim, with factory gauges and tachometer. The odometer shows mileage just under 38,000.
While Minis are again being produced for today’s drivers, the new ones look absolutely gargantuan compared with the originals. The classic model has an overall length of just 10 feet, with a wheelbase of about 6½ feet and a curb weight less than 1,400 pounds. Yet its innovative packaging allowed seating for four adults, as long as none were too huge.
By comparison, the current Mini coupe, which this year includes a 60th anniversary edition, measures 12 feet long with an 8-foot wheelbase and weighs about twice as much as the original.
If you love the classic Mini form, as many collectors do, this sharp-looking example has an asking price of just $13,900.
Note that the Cooper version of the classic Mini was a performance upgrade, although the term Mini Cooper has become a catch-all description for all of the cars. The seller does not indicate whether this was an authentic Cooper.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.