The number plate was just a coincidence – we saw an advert in the local paper for a mini of the right price and didn’t see the registration until we got there. Perhaps that should have been a warning.. still, I couldn’t resist.
I hadn’t had it long, and was driving home from my summer job in Rochdale when there was a particularly large crack from underneath. The subframe at the back had broken. When we looked closer, it had obviously been cracked already and covered up with filler. With my Dad’s help and a visit to the scrapyard we replaced the subframe. The really fun part was replacing the hydrolastic suspension pipes. Apparently, the method recommended for home repairs is to put some tyres down and tip the car on its side whilst you thread the pipes in. We left them on the outside.
There was always a leak in the coolant system. In fact, it came with a 5 litre water canister in the boot. You could tell it was time to top it up when the heater started blowing cold air.
I think the finest hour was a trip from Leeds to Hull (to see Magazine at Hull College of Further Education, March 1979) with Fat Tim and four other engineering students – two in the front seat, and three in the back!
I did manage some minor repairs – I fixed the gear linkage once – but eventually it all got out of whack at once and was just too short of power.