1985 Rover - Austin Mini Reviews

1985 Rover - Austin Mini Mayfair 1.0 petrol from UK and Ireland

Model year1984
Year of manufacture1985
First year of ownership1985
Most recent year of ownership1991
Engine and transmission 1.0 petrol Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 2 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance35000 miles

Summary:

This car was charming, but mediocre

Faults:

To be honest, not much really. Other than rust developing along the bottom of both doors, it was always a reliable little runner.

General Comments:

My mother bought this car in the autumn of 1985. I strongly urged her to buy a Ford Fiesta, but the Mini was familiar to her, and so that is what we ended up with. On the plus side, it had an appealing appearance, silver grey with blue velour seats, and it actually had tinted windows. This gave the car a cozy and slightly upmarket feeling, slightly enhanced by everything smelling new. Its cheeky familiar front end was quite endearing, which probably explains why Austin Rover did so much better out of this model than what they maybe deserved to.

The beauty was however, only skin-deep. Protection from rust was poor, and within five years, rust was starting to ripple along the bottom edge of the doors. The driver’s seat, I kid you not, felt like it had a block of wood placed at an angle just below the backrest. I could feel something jabbing into me slightly, which was all the more tedious on long journeys. On this issue, when we did two journeys a week apart, one from Bedford to Abergele, and one from Bedford to Glasgow, I made sure we went in my 1978 Escort with its significantly superior comfort. Despite the fact it had a sunroof, the Mini was not an option.

As far as I can remember, reliability was good. It never broke down as such. One poor design feature it had was that the bonnet release was on the front of the grille. This meant that anybody could come along and help himself to anything from the engine bay, which he may desire. The dashboard had a very kit-car look about it, in that everything appeared to be bolted on. There was a clash in appearance between the 1960s style of front shelf and the very 80s speedometer and other dials. Sadly there was no rev-counter, and the entire dashboard had something of an amateur’s kit car appearance about it. The car had flared black plastic wheel-arches, which stuck out from the sides of the car further than the wheels. I imagine provision of these was to give the car the appearance of a rally Cooper, but they merely resembled an after thought, with all the sophistication of fixtures on a child’s go-kart.

Because of its small wheels, the car also had bumpers and headlights, lower than those of other cars, making it all the more vulnerable in an accident.

I guess this little car had something of a personality with its cheeky looks, which is possibly why British Leyland, Austin Rover and the Rover Group kept on milking this design in its various guises such as Mayfair, City and Park Lane. It is seemed slightly desperate that the names of such fashionable parts of London should be applied to what was basically an austerity car. In my view, it was in the same league as an early Fiat 500, Trabant or 2CV. The Mini was often seen as a 60s icon, but it was actually introduced in the 50s remember, and boy did it feel it!

Even when my mother bought it, our Mini seemed to be hopelessly outclassed. A friend of mine had a Cooper version. It hadn’t even got a fifth gear. This would have made cruising a more rewarding and quiet affair. It was as though Austin Rover was completely unaware of there being any competition out there.

However, whenever I borrowed the Mini, I felt quite proud driving a long in it. It was quite well liked by my friends, and was quite respectable in its modesty and frugality. This was a car for young people who maybe didn’t mind its ‘pea on a drum ride’, or for older people who refused to believe there was anything better out there, and would rather drive a British car, no matter how insufferable, than buy Japanese.

Long may existing examples live on though, if only to remind future generations what motoring was like in the Dark Ages! It’s always quite amusing to see one, and yet quite sad in that maybe they still represent a more innocent attitude to motoring, free of any need for status or a need to be keeping up with the neighbours next door.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th May, 2012

1985 Rover - Austin Mini Mayfair 1.0 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1985
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1.0 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.3 / 10
Distance when acquired47000 miles
Most recent distance50000 miles

Summary:

A little car, a lot of fun

Faults:

Cylinder head gasket went.

Fitted a 1300cc engine head, larger exhaust, air induction kit and lots of chrome.

Car badly pulled to the left under heavy braking.

General Comments:

A mini has some very good points and very bad points.

On the plus side it was great fun to drive, excellent handling and it felt pretty quick for such a small engine.

There's a down side, comfort has to be a pretty low priority to own a mini because the standard seats are awful and noise means talking to passengers isn't easy.

The ride is also very firm so you feel every bump and pot hole.

It is great fun, but better as a second car so you don't have to live with it every day.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 26th August, 2002

11th Oct 2002, 10:58

The Mini is a true pleasure to drive, it's small and easy to drive. The engine could use a little tuning up, and a new suspension, but other than that it's a little devil.

Race on, A.G.

1985 Rover - Austin Mini Mayfair 1.0 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1985
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 1.0 Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired24000 miles
Most recent distance30000 miles
Previous carCitroen BX

Summary:

Puts a smile on your face!

Faults:

Only problem in 6,000 miles is the front wheel bearing needing to be replaced.

General Comments:

My friend and I drove this car from Aberdeen to London in a weekend - 1000 miles! The only thing that broke was the stereo!

A bit cramped though.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th March, 2001

1985 Rover - Austin Mini Cooper 1.0 injection petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1985
Engine and transmission 1.0 injection petrol
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 2 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10

Faults:

New engine, clutch, handbrake, no gearstick.

Rust on doors.

General Comments:

You're goin' a 30 but it feels like 100.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 26th September, 1998

Average review marks: 6.5 / 10, based on 4 reviews