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'75 Mini - a canadian saga

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  • '75 Mini - a canadian saga

    It all started a few (6 I think) weeks ago while looking for parts for the bondo van when I contacted a Canadian gentleman who had parts as well as a relatively complete 1975 LHD basic mini. It piqued my curiosity and after seeing a few pictures, I embarked on the long, yet to be resolved, trek of purchasing and getting it across the border to my garage.

    All ready to journey north a few weeks ago with customs information, bills of sale, tow dolly, and other necessary items, I was 3 days from borrowing a friend's truck when said friend called and informed me that the truck in question had been transported to the scrapper due to catastrophic mechanical failure.

    Plan B - jumping on the phone to find another FWT (friend with truck/hitch). After a few days, an FWT was found and I was ready to go, albeit with the added snag that I would have to take said truck to emissions and get it licensed. Small thing - no worries . . .

    4 days before the second planned trip north, my lovely second son (4 years young) decided that it was a good time to break his femur. If any of you have children, try to avoid this situation because then they have to be in this kind of cast ( for 6-8 weeks. Needless to say, I did not go north that week or the next or the next or . . .

    Anyhoo, after a couple of days of hospital and a couple weeks of no sleep, I am persevering and ready to head up again this time with a better truck from another FWT that is licensed and big (probably could just put mini in the bed?) and I wanted to share my experience as it happens so I will be posting updates and pictures of the whole experience from next Tuesday on. Let me know if you have had any similar purchasing experiences.


  • #2
    Sorry to here about your son...I broke my femur when I was 12. I was "just big enough" to skip the cast and go with the steel rod in side my bone instead Good luck with the car...but don't try to put it in the bed unless its a flatbed. The wheel wells will crush the rocker panels!
    "remember, in this country, they drive on the wrong side of the road"
    ‘64 Austin Countryman-???
    '60's Austin mini truck - the chicken truck
    '60 Morris Van - Marvan
    '55 Chevy wagon- the heavy Chevy


    • #3
      Good luck with your journey and acquisition, Alain!
      LMK, and,
      Best regards,
      All Together Now..... Everybody.......


      • #4
        Lesson(s) learned.

        Yesterday was the big trip to Canada. Left early, picked up the tow dolly at a very helpful uHaul place that was willing to rent it to me in the wee hours of 7am and then picked up a friend for the journey. Next stop, Blaine and them Canadians.
        2 hours and some minutes later, we were waiting for the owner and standing in front of what I was hoping was not the mini I was looking for. After a short wait, I was informed that it was and I had to pass.

        Lesson 1: When you've seen a lot of pictures, ask for more, and then ask for more again. The rust issues were not as advertised, nor was the amount of bondo or the fiberglass used to "rebuild" the A pillar.

        Lesson 2: Confirm at least 5 times that said vehicle can be tow dollied and doesn't need a flatbed trailer. Two tires were flat and suspect, two tires had air but one had the added bonus that you could easily separate the tread from the steel belt with your bare hands - awesome party trick when going 55 on the freeway - I am high-risk averse so one more reason to pass.

        Lesson 3: Redeem the trip. Have good conversation with co-pilot and ask if CA mini owner is willing to sell parts. And when he says yes, break out tools and start ripping useful parts of rust bucket. This was a lot of fun and I got a few good parts that I need and few parts I don't that I will pass on at cost to whosoever needs them. This also gave me the opportunity to talk to the owner and find out that he used to rally minis in Columbia, South America. I am hoping to get some pictures from him of his adventures.

        Lesson 4: Have fun at the border. Chat with the border guards (US) as they take your keys and look through everything and anything that looks mildly normal. They especially like to talk about stickers in back windows of borrowed trucks that say "I love guns and coffee" with a modified Starbucks logo mermaid holding two pistols. They also also agree with me that the classic mini would have fit in the back of the truck but not without some damage.

        All in all it was a great trip even if the mini did not turn out as hoped. I have pictures but I can't seem to insert. Does it matter if I'm on a Mac using Firefox?



        • #5
          Pics of parts and part picker


          • #6
            Hey, Look who's posting photos!



            • #7
              Interesting half steering wheel.. Was that done on purpose?


              • #8
                I don't think so. That would have been a good question for me to ask, but I didn't. It is unfortunate that I did not have a flatbed as I probably would have towed the whole thing back instead of just taking parts.


                • #9
                  That steering wheel looks like what happens when someone loses (or doesn't have) the key to "The Club," the steering wheel lock.


                  "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." -- George Harrison


                  • #10
                    Or an aileron control wheel from a B-17.


                    • #11
                      ..or the former owner held a secret desire to fly a WW2 era Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber?

                      A.W. Whitley

                      ..and its control wheel