1978 Rover - Austin Mini Clubman 1.1 from UK and Ireland
Oil line split and painted the engine compartment black.
Three front wheel punctures.
Steering column broke on a mini-roundabout.
Passenger floor and foot-well rusted through. You could see the road through the hole in the carpet.
I gave up replacing the head gasket, it broke so often.
Battery box rusted away - had to build a new one out of fiberglass.
The brakes were abysmal when newly replaced, but kept on working even when there was no lining left on the pads at all.
This car was a lot of fun to drive, but completely unpredictable, even in the dry.
It had the wide 16cm alloys, which did mean it took longer to reach the break-away point. However once the car started to slide, it went very violently.
The engine was wonderful. The power after my previous Citroen was fun. However I had to stop replacing the head gasket (it was getting to the stage of me doing it every 3 months) and simply glue it shut and tighten the bolts.
Until I permanently fixed the head gasket problem, I was replacing over a liter of oil a month... no need for oil changes when you own a mini.
The brakes were interesting. Basically, you had to push the pedal and wait for something to happen, which often took a second or two. Emergency braking required first gear and the handbrake.
The club-man just looks so much better than the normal mini shape. Also the black and white checked roof is much more unusual and stylish than the white bonnet stripes on a cooper!
I wouldn't touch another mini. I wouldn't recommend buying one to anyone I cared about, because they are dangerous as anything on the road. I am happy to have had the experience though.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 29th November, 2004