The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
5/15/17 11:45 a.m.

Story by Don Racine
Photography as credited

Don Racine, the owner of Mini Mania, has been serving the Mini enthusiast community since 1974.

While most Mini sedans look the same to the casual observer, many prospective—and even current—owners truly have no idea how to identify the model year of one…

Read the rest of the story

TR8owner HalfDork
5/16/17 10:13 p.m.

Learned to drive as a teenager on my mom's Austin mini 850 (and dad's 65 Corvair). Had a 998 Cooper and rare 1071 Cooper S. If I ever got another one it has to have the sliding windows.

Cosworth1 New Reader
2/25/20 6:59 p.m.

You state that "MKI, MKII, etc." designations were not penned by the factory. Then why does my (legitimate) '69 Morris Cooper have a factory (at that time, BMC) fitted chrome badge on the bootlid that says "MKII"?

2/26/20 4:58 p.m.

Interesting reading this today 2/26/2020. This is the 60th birthday of my Mini. It was built on this day 60 years ago and dispatched to St. Louis Mo. on the 29th of 1960, according to its Heritage Trust Birth certificate.

When I purchased it in 1964 I had no idea about the adventures to come. More than I can remember, for sure.  And more to come still.

Tim McGinn 

Bardan New Reader
3/24/21 12:46 p.m.

The Mini I had was titled as a 76, yet I found some date codes on it for 81. Yes it made for some confusion. I think it was brought back by a returning vet so it may have had a little assistance in the paperwork generation. My experience with Brit and Euro cars in general is the title and birth year may not match. Maybe the title year was picked to meet the 25 year old import? IDK

mr2s2000elise UltraDork
3/24/21 12:53 p.m.

Dons built new 1380 has been in my 67 Cooper S since 2007. 

however, last 10 years, I prefer Graham at Heritage Garage than Minimania.

bkwanab New Reader
3/24/21 9:12 p.m.

In reply to TR8owner

I too owned a 1071 S, reg APH109B (1964).  I traded it to an American student studying at Cambridge in exchange for a Frog Eye Sprite and cash.  Was that you?  I would give my eye teeth to get either or both of them back.  My mother-in-law, who didn't drive, would happily sit calmly in the passenger seat while I transported her around the English country lanes at speed over 90 mph at times.  The Frog eye was gifted to some people that came to get it in a hurry when we moved to the US in 1977.  It was serial #003 and Donald Healey was the first recorded owner with his name clearly written in the first entry position in the vehicle Log Book.  It also had an aluminium back half that had been built at Aston Martin to include a trunk lid.  The car was shown on the 1959 London Motor Show to gauge interest for a trunk lid.  I can find no trace of the Sprite.

Seeing your 'handle', one of my current vehicles is a TR7 Spider with Buick V6 and Chevrolet TH700R4 transmission.  I call it my TR 7.5.

ddavidv UltimaDork
3/25/21 9:46 p.m.

Lots of Minis were imported to the USA using old VINs on newer cars. We call them re-VINs in the Mini community. Technically illegal but a pretty common occurrence. The thing is, the newer cars weren't all that great and actually seemed to be more rust prone than the early Mk1 and Mk2 cars.

ProDarwin MegaDork
3/25/21 9:52 p.m.

My buddy has a Rover produced Mini from the Japanese market from ~93ish.  Its a werid car.  Automatic transmission, and the dash config looks out of place.


GeoWeb New Reader
6/14/22 12:58 p.m.

In addition, I believe that one can purchase a complete new body shell in the UK. The shell with its accessories (like doors) is built up into a 'new' car (perhaps with the VIN from a donor car) in the UK.

For example, I'm guessing that many of the 'vintage' Minis seen racing at Goodwood are actually rebuilds using these replacement body parts, etc.

I wonder if any of these 'reborn' Minis have made it to the US?

Of course, in vintage car racing is it not common for the car (which may have once been a write-off) to have pretty much completely new frame and bodywork -- but the original VIN

MiniDave New Reader
6/14/22 11:29 p.m.

Reshells are not particularly common because they cost a buttload of money to do - but I know at least two guys who have reshelled a Moke. Think about it, the cost of the shell is about $10-12K plus shipping, it costs at least $8-10K for a decent paint job (you have to paint the entire shell, inside and out as it comes bare - well, it's in primer but my body shop guy says that's just for shipping, it's not well done and you're best to remove it and start over)  then it's a full new interior - cause you can't put the old crap back in a newly painted shell. And of course, rebuild the engine, transmission, all the suspension and brakes, all the chrome, electrics and on and on and a thousand other things.

There are a few re-vins around, but not a huge number.....your best bet if you buy one is just to plan on keeping it, cause unless you find a like minded buyer who's buying it to get the car and doesn't really care, you'll probably have a hard time selling it anyway.

The one that hit BaT last week is a good case in point, he paid a bunch of money to buy it at a high priced auction and now he can't sell it because it's been outed for what it is.....a 2000 model with air bags and EFi - he should have known better, there were neither of those things in 1970!


Don2001l New Reader
11/29/22 12:45 p.m.
Cosworth1 said:

You state that "MKI, MKII, etc." designations were not penned by the factory. Then why does my (legitimate) '69 Morris Cooper have a factory (at that time, BMC) fitted chrome badge on the bootlid that says "MKII"?

A lot of time and things can have happened to it, since the time since it left the factory gates...

I wanted a Ford Police Interceptor badge on the back of my 1989 Miata devil but that wouldn't make it one.

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