Leyland Mini Reviews

1976 Leyland Mini Clubman 99H from Australia and New Zealand

Model year1976
Year of manufacture1976
First year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 99H Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.5 / 10
Distance when acquired86000 kilometres
Most recent distance90000 kilometres

Summary:

An Aussie version of the original small car. Fun!

Faults:

Brakes worked over and shoes and cylinders replaced, cam chain replaced, various engine bits replaced, oil leak from engine cover plates etc... Not too much for a car that is 34 years old.

General Comments:

Car is seriously moderate.

Fuel consumption is low.

Gears are a bit finniky.

Really fun to drive, stops on a dime, turns flat (no body roll) just handles brilliantly.

Wish it has a lot more get-up-and-go, but the car is very original.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th May, 2010

1974 Leyland Mini S 1.0 carburettored petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Model year1974
Year of manufacture1974
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 1.0 carburettored petrol Manual
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.5 / 10
Distance when acquired200000 miles
Most recent distance210000 miles
Previous carAudi 80

Summary:

Sometimes testing, but she always brings a smile to my face

Faults:

When I bought the car the mechanical integrity was listed as "Engine could use refresh".

In the space of time I have had my Mini, I have had the following issues:

- Excessive oil consumption.

- Spark Plugs fouling due to carbon deposits of oil burning, had to drive 70km on 3 pistons.

- Contacts for fuses (there are only two fuses) cut electrics off.

- Handbrake virtually useless, brake adjustments are fairly constant.

- Double clutching to go down gears, as the syncro's aren't quite up to the job anymore.

- Water hose old and perished, leaking water on engine.

General Comments:

The issues listed are moderately superficial, fuse contacts just had to have a bit of scratching back, spark plugs need replacing, so carry spares and an appropriate spark plug socket set.

But here are some things I would have liked someone to tell me before I bought it. Firstly, you must be prepared to be an enthusiast with one of these cars, as they are getting on in age, and simply need constant attention (Not particularly in a bad way).

The first step is to check for rust. This is evident in bubbling paintwork, cracking paintwork and simply exposed rust. Check in the boot around the battery box and the clamps, the guttering and seams, and under the wheels. Rust is rust in many cars, but in Mini's - rust is death.

The second step is to check the engine. On a cold start, turn the key, listen for a rough engagement of the starter motor, as this can indicate brush wear.

Ask the seller what engine oil they use, a thicker oil is obviously a measure to counteract engine wear. Rev the engine and check (Through sight and smell) for smoke. Normal gray smoke is fine, but blue smoke is oil, and oil is pistons. If it blows smoke, expect to be thinking about anything from piston ring wear, piston cracking, cylinder wall wear etc and an engine recondition (Anywhere from $1000 - $4000 for 850cc/998cc, to $7500 for 1275cc engines) Mini's do make a lot of noise in the head, with the tappets and valves, but anything unusual should be investigated. Also check electrical wiring, and cooling system hoses for condition, including the cylinder bypass hose (Google it).

Check the brake lines and clutch lines for wear.

Next is driving. Monitor the rear constantly for smoke while driving. Also, check the valve condition by driving down a steep hill in third or second gear, and allow the gears to do the work, not the brakes. When you reach the bottom of the hill, accelerate and check for smoke. If smoke occurs, it is a good indication of valve wear. Travel up and down through the gears and pay attention to crunching or refusal of gears to enter properly, this indicates syncro wear. A juddering or slipping clutch will point to clutch renewal further down the line.

Mini's are not as temperamental as people may first assume, and make great everyday cars. Understand that small bore engines are not as up to the task of excessive speeds as large bore engines are. So constant highway use may not be so ideal, for the most part you can get away with 80km/h on the highway.

The 998cc engines are the most reliable and accessible for parts, and 1100cc through to 1300cc become progressively more expensive to service and repair as they are more sought-after/rarer cars/parts to find. Parts generally are quite easily accessible to buy, and there are many specialists around the city centres of Australia.

Mini's are a fantastic and interesting car to own, but expect to be looking after it. A good owner will replace components if and when needed, check fluid levels and warm up engine etc Mini's require frequent oil changes to dispel harmful fragmentations, so expect to be underneath her at least every 3 months.

There is plenty of literature and internet resources on owning a Mini. So read up!

My Mini is blowing smoke and I am looking at a $3500 engine rebuild. It could be anything from the piston rings, to the valve guides. This is to be expected from a 35 year old car.

There is nothing like owning one of these cars, life is to be enjoyed I say, I had to buy one, even if sometimes you feel like you're learning the hard way. It costs $30 to fill up, on premium fuel, and some lead replacement fluid (I use Flashlube) in the mix. But tearing around corners, listening to the sound of the engine screaming, jiggling in the tight suspension is priceless.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st December, 2009

9th Aug 2010, 17:19

Hi, my name is John. Read up on your page, and sounds like you know a thing or two about the old girls. Just wondering on a bit of wiring on the Leyland Mini S 76. Finding it bit hard to sort out. I got it to turn with the key, but when the key is on mode, back hazards come on, plus will turn but will not kick. Am getting spark in all plugs, but still won't kick. If you could help, please do. In need, John...

Average review marks: 6.6 / 10, based on 13 reviews