1986 Rover - Austin Mini Reviews

1986 Rover - Austin Mini Chelsea 998cc from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 998cc Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired33750 miles
Most recent distance35100 miles

Summary:

A classic you can use everyday - cheaply!

Faults:

The boards used to line the boot often fell out of place because there was nothing holding them where they should be.

Structural rot in usual places; sills, A-panels, etc lead to a large MOT repair bill, although recently replaced sub-frames where fine.

Clouding appearing around the edge of the windscreen makes visibility poor in some places of the screen.

General Comments:

Apart from the aforementioned faults, this car has been perfect for myself. As a student it provided transport with relatively cheap running costs and bearable insurance premiums. Its 1.0 litre engine seemed to squeeze a lot of low-end grunt out for the size it is, making it particularly responsive for town driving/commuting in to school etc. Although once above 50mph the cars 1.0 engine fails to perform very well. Top speed is around 75 but once above 65mph the engine noise becomes unbearable! I was also disappointed to find no rear seatbelts fitted to the car, although mounting plates where fitted to the mk4 body shell as standard in preparaton for forthcoming transport laws. Clearly, Austin-Rover where trying to save money by not installing them, but it was particularly frustrating when friends simply didn't dare get in the back. I had fitted a 'Stage-1 kit' which includes a performance air filter and carb needle, and a straight through exhaust. Despite its very impressive performance gains (much, much more low end torque (+40%) and having more power (+25%), the cars fuel economy with 4 people in the car was dismal. This was however largely due to the car running slightly rich. It also makes a great sound above 2000rpm! It is very easy to work on and I would recommend it to anyone thinking of buying a first car. However you should be aware the high risk you would be taking driving such a small car on todays roads. But if you want a cheap, cheerful car that's very easy to maintain, has low running costs, but has superb handling and agility (enough to put a grin on your face, not common in most of todays driving) then this is the car for you!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th June, 2004

9th Oct 2006, 12:21

I had a Mini Chelsea for my first car. It was completely standard except for a big bore central tail silencer. I managed over 90mph from mine (downhill with following wind-i do not recommend this and when I think about it it was a pretty stupid thing to do). As the speedo only goes up to 90 I'm not sure exactly how fast I was going, but the needle was off the dial. It was a really great fun car through the corners too. Never had any trouble with the mechanics, but bodywork all needed replacing as did the sills and rear subframe.

2nd Jul 2009, 10:50

Does anyone know how many Chelseas are still about? They seem to have got very rare (haven't seen one in a mag/for sale or at any shows). I am restoring one to sale, but don't know how much it's worth. Anyone got any ideas?

1986 Rover - Austin Mini City 998 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 998 Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 2 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.4 / 10
Distance when acquired84000 miles
Most recent distance91000 miles
Previous carRover - Austin Mini

Summary:

Great car for new driver crap for experienced ones

Faults:

I got the car and a week later the sub-frame cracked so that hat to be repaired. Another week later the wiper motor broke. I fitted a brand new one which also broke the following day. The headlights went simultaneously on a dark rainy night causing me to wait till daylight to continue my journey.

About a month later the brakes went on a hill luckily I managed to slow down using the gears.

The fuel tank leaked after it had only been fitted for 2 months.

General Comments:

This car was appalling no where near as good as my previous mini so I decided to get a Golf GTi which I own along witht the mini.

The mini does handle amazingly and round narrow country bends can get away from Saxo 1.4's, but in a straight line it's crap.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th September, 2002

24th Jun 2006, 04:51

Of course its crap in a straight line, it has a 998cc engine. Driving is all about the corners anyway, which the Mini is fantastic at.

1986 Rover - Austin Mini City E 1.0 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1986
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 1.0 Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.2 / 10
Distance when acquired48000 miles
Most recent distance62000 miles

Summary:

The most fun you can have on four wheels

Faults:

It's a Mini. It won't start in the wet, water leaks in through the passenger door seal, the drivers side headlight keeps cutting out, the front subframe went and the brakes need constant attention.

General Comments:

Forget all the above. You either love the Mini or you hate it, and I love it. I've got a fibreglass front for it and a 1300cc engine, disc brakes and bucket seats just waiting to be installed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th November, 2000

1986 Rover - Austin Mini Chelsea 1.0 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1986
Engine and transmission 1.0 petrol
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 0 / 10
Dealer Service marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.4 / 10

Faults:

The main problems with the Mini have been to do with suspension. (The low wheel base and bumpy ride doesn't help.) The care is now showing a little rust (but what car of 11 years doesn't) and brightwork was replaced two years ago, purely for aesthetic reasons. A leaking window seal (replaced for 2 pounds) solved a dampness problem but the eternal oil leak is still a mystery.

General Comments:

A fun car, cheap to run around town and a bit of British history. More spacious inside than it looks - I gave a lift to a 6'4" football player in the back of mine at the weekend!

There is of course the problem that in a Mini you become a target for a race with every boy-racer on the block, but the car is so nippy that you can leave almosts anything standing at the lights and nip through the tiniest of gaps (remember the Italian Job).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th August, 1997

Average review marks: 5.4 / 10, based on 4 reviews