The majority of your correspondents seem to me to take their “Mini-motoring” far too seriously – after all what is a Mini but a cheap, mass-produced, remarkable means of transport.
On January 1st this year I parted with, for one reason and another, my 1960 M.G.-A, and replaced it with an Austin Seven de luxe. From the outset I was determined that I wasn’t going to like the Mini and consequently proceeded to treat it with the contempt I considered it deserved.
Before delivery the car was fitted with Michelin “X” tyres, safety straps and a wood-rimmed steering wheel, the only “extras” I considered worthwhile.
The only running-in the Mini received was for the first 100 miles at 50 m.p.h., at which time the sump was drained and filled with B.P. Visco-static. From then on the car has been thrashed and generally ill-treated, indeed the only maintenance received has been two oil changes, three brake adjustments and five washings; incidentally, between the two oil changes not a pint has been added to the sump, the mileage now being 8,250, and the only replacements have been two door-pulls.
This poor Mini has been used for driving tests, sprints, etc., and gear-changes are normally made at valve-bounce, which in this case occurs at the following indicated speeds: 1st, 25 m.p.h.; 2nd, 42 m.p.h.; 3rd, 63 m.p.h.; 4th, 86 m.p.h.; the latter being with the help of a slope, the usual cruising speed being between 70-80, i.e., flat-out.
Although I do not consider the Mini a practical proposition for a journey non-stop of over 100 miles, due entirely to the very strange and deformed driving position, which promotes shocking cramp in the legs and back, I must now admit that any journey of a shorter duration is great fun; especially in the wet, when the braking and road-holding are somewhat unpredictable.
Since the purchase of the original A7, the subsequent acquisition of an additional model, viz. a Countryman, has led to comparisons. The Countryman was bought some four weeks after the car and has now covered approximately the same mileage. Contrary to the car, the Countryman was run-in to the manufacturer’s recommendation and has been treated generally with more care, etc. To date it has consumed four gearboxes – viz. the original, two reconditioned ones and a new unit, the front tyres lasted 4,500 miles and will again soon be due for replacement, and finally the present oil consumption is 150 m.p.p.
Arising from my experience, therefore, the answer to “Mini-motoring ” seems to be: belt it, neglect it, and change it every 12 months.
D. R. ATKINSON.