1990 Rover - Austin Mini 30 limited edition 1.0 converted later to 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Perennially cool, but ultimately a let down


I'm going to get lynched for sacrilege here, but let me explain...

My ex had a Mini City of '83 vintage an although I thought that it was under specified for what it cost, I must admit that it really was great fun to drive. You simply cannot judge these things as cars, you've got to look at them as if they were road-legal jet-skis or go-karts or something like that.

Anyhow, I felt like a change after 5 years with a Toyota MR2 so I got a '90 Mini 30 and regretted it. I was drawn to the retro-chic of mini-lite alloys, half-leather seats and the glossiest black paint I've ever seen. It was a head turner and utterly classless.

I shopped around and bought the best one I could find for 1300 quid. As far as reliability is concerned, all I can say is that mine wasn't particually unreliable in one area other than gearbox, but it did wear out about 10 times faster than any modern car. The worst aspect was the electrics as they were nothing but trouble. I ended up riping half the loom out and doing things my own way. The fuse-box is like something out of a kids toy, its appalling. Minis are frail and temperamental as standard in my experience. Although mine was built in '90, I should have had more sense and driven it like a car built in '59 when it came out.

General Comments:

Minis are weird, they beg you to thrash them and yet they hail from an era when materials and design didn't stand abuse. I found that very frustrating. I didn't agree with the train of thought that says Minis handle. They grip, I will say that, but they don't handle in the conventional sense.

I found the brakes acceptable, but the pads wore out far too quickly. The gearbox on mine was like stirring a bucketful of nuts and bolts with a coat-hanger and I destroyed second gear twice. In the end, I replaced the entire lump and gearbox with one out of a 1.3 HLE Metro. After this, it literally jumped from 20 to 50 mph as fast as you could think about it. After this, it ran out of steam and 1st gear was a crawler gear and essentially useless.

The original 1.0 engine never felt anywhere near as lively as my ex's City, but it managed as well as could be expected. Regard it as a four wheeled moped and you won't be disappointed.

Forget tales of being uncomfortable. I'm a 6ft, 15 stone body-builder and I always had enough room. I did journeys of 200 miles without the slightest hint of discomfort. Earplugs help, you've just got to adapt and say " This is not a car, this is a Mini". That's true, its not so much a case of finding excuses for it as accepting the fact that you are not driving a conventional car.

Buy one because you want to be seen, not for an adequate means of daily transport. By the way BMW, the new MINI is a BMW 1 series and always will be. Your new version will never be cool, John Lennon or Peter Sellers never drove yours!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th October, 2003

9th Apr 2007, 16:00

Hey I'm 17 and have just passed my test. I am absolutely obsessed with minis and have found one for £1295 (1990 Hreg rover 1.0). It has 50'000 miles and has recently had its electronics updated. I have got the money to buy the car and it is one of the few I can afford the insurance on, but is it wise to buy such an old car? I love the mini to bits, but I've heard they rust and leak and all sorts. Is it going to cost me a lot in upkeep? It seems to be in pretty good nick at the moment :S.

1990 Rover - Austin Mini Mayfair Modified 998cc from UK and Ireland


A modifiers dream car, Outstanding


Battery died miserably.

Some door trim pops off every now and then.

Headlight a little gimmicky, just needed a new sealed beam unit.

Engine cut out once, fixed by crimping the wire onto the coil properly...

Other than that, its actually been exceptionally reliable, odd for a mini!

General Comments:

I seem to have been blessed with that one mini in every hundred or so that doesn't seem to break down every foot.

The bodies don't rust if its looked after and treated, although chrome bumpers dent very easily, and are next to impossible to rectify. Having said that, they are cheap.

There are so many bits out for it!!! Just look through any mini mag and I defy you too avoid finiding an advert full of bits and stuff for them. And they're cheap too...

Mines been modified quite a bit now, but its still in a restorable state (no drastic body or interior mods) and its about to recieve a roll cage and a set of bucket seats. Its also got a custom made Stainex exhaust system, and the usual K&N filter, AAU needle etc. I've also got a set of 12x5 Ultralights fitted, which look sweet.

They look so cool! It certainly attracts women, and mines dark red with white cooper stripes and black arches and it looks the mutts nuts. Pop on a set of alloys, and your halfway to achieveing an amazingly cool car. They are totally classless, any one could drive one, no matter how rich or poor.

It handles amazingly. Nuf said.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th June, 2002

1990 Rover - Austin Mini Racing Green 1.0 from UK and Ireland


Big fun on a small budget


Starter motor had failed @ 68900 miles. When I bought the car, it needed a fuel sensor.

General Comments:

The Mini is an excellent town car, and not that slow.

However, the build quality and comfort are bad.

Quite eye-catching, which is something the Ford Fiesta isn't.

Other passing Mini drivers may flash their headlights- not something that two Fiesta drivers do!

Not very rust resistant, though.

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

Review Date: 28th July, 2001

1990 Rover - Austin Mini 30 LE 1.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


A great example of British engineering


Nothing, apart from some fool who snapped my aerial. Bodywork is rusting but it is 10 years old now.

General Comments:

Great little car I wouldn't swap it for the world. Nippy & reliable, I'm still waiting for the thing to break down.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th June, 2000

1990 Rover - Austin Mini Custom 1.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Dead battery due to various accessories (spotlights, stereo).

General Comments:

Excellent first car, a must for the countryside! Cheap to run and keep in very good nick. Fit air-horns, it's the only way you'll get noticed!

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

Review Date: 24th January, 1999