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Author Topic: Original Austin mini ,is it suitable as a toad?  (Read 1426 times)
bigtim44
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« on: September 12, 2006, 11:57:39 PM »

Does anyone know if an Austin mini (old shape mini) is towable.I'm looking at a stick shift(manual) car for this purpose.They are front wheel drive with a tranverse mounted engine and gearbox.
 Grin
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2006, 05:19:24 AM »

IIRC the Austin Mini had a lot of experience being towed on a hook. They had a terrible reputation in Canada. It seemed to be designed for low speed, short distance driving in England, and total engine failure was common when driven hard. Even the A-40 model was sold as having an engine that could possibly last for 40k miles. This was in the late 50s and early 60s when a big three junker would last 40k miles.
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Jeremy
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2006, 02:21:44 AM »

"It seemed to be designed for low speed, short distance driving in England" - Of course it was - it's a housewife's shopping trolley, not a sports car or grand tourer. It's ridiculous to compare it to anything built by the big three (even a 'junker'), which probably weighed four times as much and had V8 engines of at least 5 times the capacity.

"and total engine failure was common when driven hard." I've not heard that, so I won't comment. The engine is certainly comparitively low-tech (but then the design is 50 years old). On the other hand, the same engine was used for years and years in LARGER vehicles, and is regarded as highly tunable and raceable, so I don't think it is that overstressed in a Mini.

Personally I think they are horrible little cars, but they certainly have a huge fan base in Britain and Japan. They are probably out of their element in Canada or the USA. As a 'runaround' on camping trips they would be ideal, and I'm sure you could tow one fine - although if it were me I would be looking to chop the roof off and put it in the baggage bay

Jeremy
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2006, 04:30:33 AM »

Jeremy,

They have a pretty good fan base in the colonies too!

Or should I say the Mini Cooper does?

Are these two related in any way?

Cliff
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2006, 05:23:37 AM »



    I don't think it would make a good toad  so just bring it up to me. Would love to have one to go with my MG"S.  also would fit right in with my old  gm buses

ned sanders
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Jeremy
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2006, 05:48:47 AM »

Cooper (John Cooper) was (is) an independant tuning company that tuned and raced Minis. They became very popular as road-rockets too, so Austin (Rover as it is now) did a deal with Cooper to offer badged Mini Coopers straight from the factory - so 99% of 'Mini Coopers' are not really Coopers at all.

Mini Coopers (even real ones) are still 90% standard Mini (including that standard engine), and of course were formidable race and rally cars in their day (including winning the Monte Carlo rally etc). Today the term 'Mini Cooper' has evolved into a type of brand used by trendy types who have little or no knowledge of it's background - just like all those hippie VW Beetle fans who don't have any idea about the Nazi history of their favourite car.

Jeremy

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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2006, 07:47:03 AM »

I was try'n to be good and stay out of this one as I have no helpful info! But since this whole time I was thinking hey why not get a convertable an hinge the windscreen and put it in the bay? And well since Jeremy started it, I have to ask . Why not? BK Grin
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2006, 09:59:22 AM »

From the comments posted on the Austin Mini, I don't think we are talking about the same car. 'Original Austin Mini' may mean different things to different people or in different countries. My comments applied to cars that were imported into Canada about 1960.  These may not have been the originals. I don't know how suitable it would be to two a fifty year old car or were the originals older than that?

BTW: A couple of days ago I was in traffic behind a car marked Mini Cooper and it was about the size of a Honda Civic. No similarity to the old minis.
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Jeremy
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2006, 10:52:36 AM »

There were basically only two Minis - the 'original' that was in production from the 1960's to the 1990's, and the current one which really shares only the name. 'Austin' as a company hasn't existed for decades, but the term 'Austin Mini' seems to remain in common use overseas as that was what the model was called when first introduced and made such an impact worldwide. Austin, Triumph, MG, Jaguar, Riley, Wolsley, Rover etc were all once seperate companies (just like Pontiac, Cadillac, Buick etc etc), but all were eventually taken over and became one entity. The name of this entity change over the years (Austin-Morris, British Leyland, Rover etc), but during the whole of that time the Mini continued to be built in the same factory to largely the same design (not many models can last 30 years with only minor updates, which shows how good the design was). Jaguar was sold off as a separate company at some point, and eventually BMW bought the whole of of the rest of Rover (and indeed Land Rover). Then after a few years of losing money BMW sold most of it off again (Land Rover went to Ford, the LDV vans business is jointly owned by the Dutch and American companies, Rover and MG went back into private British hands, but have since been bought by the Chinese). The only bit that BMW kept was the Mini brand and the factory it was built in, so although it's still built in the same place by the same people it's hard to think of the current Mini as anything other than a German car.

I happened to go to University in Coventry, which is like the British version of Detroit in terms of being the traditional centre of the car industry here. I did a business course, and a couple of our lecturers were strategy consultants to the car companies, so we often got a fascinating inside-view of what was going on in the industry

Jeremy

Original Mini (a genuine 'Cooper'):



Later 'Factory badged' Cooper:



Not really a Mini at all:

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bigtim44
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2006, 05:32:37 PM »

Jeremy
  Thanks for clarifying which mini I was talking about ,me being a limey(geordie) an all I just presume everybody knows which mini I'm talking about. Grin
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Basalt Colorado
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RJ
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2006, 11:47:54 PM »

Ah yes, Sir Alec Issigonis's marvelous creation, the original Mini.   Smiley

I remember when I went on holiday to visit family in Ireland in 1967, and seeing all three incarnations of Sir Alec's infamous design:

The Mini (850 cc)  Morris Mini Minor, Austin Seven, or just plain Mini.

The Midi (1100 cc) MG Sports Sedan (in the US), Morris 1100 or Austin 1100 in the UK.

The Maxi (1800 cc) Austin 1800 or Morris 1800 in the UK.


I have colour slides of all three models taken while I was overseas, but they're buried in a closet somewhere. . .


Anyway, back to the original post:  IMHO, because of it's delicacy here in the States, plus the issue of part availability, towing an original Mini might be ri$ky.  A Mini-Moke might be a better choice, if you could find one. 

FWIW & HTH. . .
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RJ Long
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