MINI-MATTERS

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75

MINI-MATTERS

Apropos the letter which appears in the current issue of MOTOR SPORT from Mr. K. H.. Ross, I wonder if I may be permitted to make a few observations?

I refer in particular to that section of the letter which deals with running costs of Mr. Ross’ Mini. He makes some very sweeping statements On the subject of replacements of tyres and brake linings, and the general impression is that what is true of his vehicle is true of all other ADOt5s. Come, Mr. Ross, as a motorist of obvious experience, surely your statements were too dogmatic ? During the past 18months I have had a fair amount of experience with three different Austin Se7ens, both here and in North

America, and although the mileages in each case did not approach the 15,600 quoted the proportions were reasonable enough to show a proportionate amount of wear, had it existed.

Shortly before I went to Canada, in August 1960, my father took delivery of a Se7en saloon. On my return in July this year, this vehicle had clocked 9,200 miles without any appreciable wear of either tyres or brake linings.

In December 1960 I purchased one of the first Se7en Countryman in Eastern Canada—as far as I am aware it was only the second one to come from B.M.C.’s depot in Oshawa—and on my return to the U.K. this had covered 8,600 North American miles. Now this vehicle was troublesome from the start. It must have been the only car for miles that carried its own water supply— a steady A in. on the floor throughout the winter, but the tyres and brake linings stood up to the rigours of high-speed/long-distance driving magnificently. I had it checked before I sold it and have kept in touch with its owner since. It has now covered 13,000 miles, the tyres are still good and the brakes function perfectly.

In spite of my general dissatisfaction with the ” thing,” I was very impressed with its overall performance and so had an identical home market model waiting for me when I returned. This was delivered on July 2Ist and has so far covered 5,460 miles. Since reading Mr. Ross’ letter, I have minutely examined all the brake linings and each tyre. These items arc virtually indistinguishable from new.

Now if Mr. Ross continually drives his Mini to its limit, then very likely the tyres and brakes will require frequent attention, but I venture to suggest that this would be true of any car. It is also imperative that the manufacturer’s instructions with regard to wheel changing are =Tied out. My father and I have always done this personally as in our experience some garages “overlook ” it. I find it hard to believe that a Mini will consume seven tyres and a set Of brake linings during 55,00o miles’ normal driving.

In closing, I would like to digress somewhat. In your most excellent columns we frequently see readers’ complaints on the subject of inferior finish, poor standards of inspection, etc., which are found on current British cars. In fact •I wrote to you a somewhat lengthy missive on the subject myself in June (what did become of that letter ?). I had also written several to B.M.C. in the same vein and now I feel that, in fairness to them, I must State quite categorically how very pleased I am with my present Se7en Countryman. The general finish is excellent, nothing has come adrift and, wonder of wonders, the vehicle is waterproof, top and bottom. There is no comparison at all, apart from performance, between this one and its Canadian counterpart. For once, the home market customer is satisfied!

Middlesbrough. PETER GRAFTON.

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