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Real world fuel economy

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  • Real world fuel economy

    I have been in and out of the forums over the past few years. I have yet to aquire an actual Mini but may be getting close. I looked at several locally back in August but the 3 I would have been interested in all needed serious rust repair and would likely have been beyond my abilities to do myself.

    I may have asked this question previously but the answer is lost to me if I did.

    What kind of real world fuel economy could/should one expect with a vintage Mini? Along with this goes the question of what engine size and or drive line compoenents would be the most practical for use as a daily driver? My commute to work is 12 miles one way which includes an 8 mile run down I-5. I have an alternate back way that doesn't involve highway speeds but would like a car that could run on the freeway if need be.

    I am guessing an 850 would be the thriftiest but would beat itself to death at highway speeds. Also, assuming a 1275 would be most at home on the freeway of any of them but at what price economy?

    The person I was dealing with back in August was telling me 45mpg for a 1275, I do not think it had any modifications.

    Any real world experiences and input would be most welcome.



  • #2
    Considering that I-5 commute speeds average about 35 mph, you probably don't need to worry about top speed in a Mini.

    If traffic runs between 55 and 60 mph that means that you would run about 8 to 10 minutes on I-5 each way. The 850s I've run would have no problem with this. Keep in mind that Minis aren't usually built to run at 2000 rpm at 60 mph like modern cars. You'll be running about 4000 rpm. There are alternate, late model, final drives but they aren't necessary except for some people's idea of comfort. They also tend to be a bit sluggish around town.

    Here are some fuel comsumption figures for cars up to 1969 for constant speed in mpg:
    850 998 1275
    30mph 59 61 47
    60mph 38 40 38

    Keep in mind that these mpg figures are done with Imperial gallons. U.S. gallons are about 20% smaller so you should subtract 20% from the mpg for the U.S. See below:
    850 998 1275
    30mph 47 49 39
    60mph 31 32 31

    Sorry about the look of the tables, I can't find much in the way of instructions for this editor.


    If you can afford the car, you can afford the manual...


    • #3
      Hi Craig,

      My 1275 SPI Automatic seems to average in the high 30's around town, I've never checked it on a long freeway trip. I suspect the Automatic is costing me a few MPG compared to a manual transmission.



      • #4
        Well, up here in the NW corner of the state on I-5 the speed limit is 70 until just before Bellingham where it drops to 60, either way, it generally runs along pretty smooth with our Canadian friends humming along at 80mph+ regardless of the limit (no offense to our Canadian compadres!)

        I can easily follow a surface route that really doesn't add that much to commute time.

        Since I would be using it as a daily driver I don't want to flog it to death. Right now I have an '80 Ford Fiesta which delivers in the high 20's pretty consistantly on my highway/city mix of driving. While that is decent I want better while at the same time driving something a little different than anyone else.

        I have been thinking about a VW Diesel of some sorts but would much rather have a Mini. Mid 30's (mpg wise) or better is the target for me.

        So, it seems plausible a mini could deliver in this regard.

        Thanks for the input.



        • #5
          One of the points I was trying to make (and probably not very well) is that 4000 rpm in a Mini isn't flogging it. That's a cruising rpm. I've made many trips between Seattle and Portland at 4000 to 4500 rpm for the entire trip with a 998. No problem. With a 3.44 final drive that's close to 70mph.

          The surface route will certainly be more fun in a Mini. The Mini's handling is really what the car is all about. I know that some people get infatuated with the look of the Mini but many don't understand why the car isn't as comfortable as their Honda or Volkswagen. This usually leads to big wheels, soft springs, high final drive and a couple of hundred pounds of sound damping. The car is now as comfortable as a Honda and handles as badly. Poor acceleration, poor cornering and vague steering. A proper Mini isn't civilized. It's quick and it corners like it's on rails. It can make commuting the best part of the day if you do it right.


          If you can afford the car, you can afford the manual...


          • #6
            Thanks Kelley,

            That is kind of what I was looking for info. wise.

            I was not sure what constituted abuse in terms of engine speed for a mini.

            I don't mind spartan, I was driving a '68 Ford Cortina until about a years ago, even though it was a "DeLuxe" it was anything but and with a 3.90 axle it was screaming for mercy (or at least an overdrive) at 70mph, probably around 4500 rpm. Fortunately a 1600 Kent crossflow is just about indestructible.

            I see several tempting Minis for sale currently but will have to wait a month or two to know how much money I can spend, also have to sell the Fiesta to make some room.

            Thanks again,



            • #7
              Glad I could help. Whenever I get started on this topic it tends to turn into a bit of a rant.

              The Cortina is similar to the Mini in some ways. It had a fairly free reving engine with peak power between 5k and 6k rpm standard and 7k to 8k rpm with some tuning. The Mini will out-handle the Cortina but the Cortina has better straight-line speed. The British never really figured out how to meld performance and comfort in those days.

              As far as the Fiesta is concerned, how much room would you really gain by getting rid of it? You could probably just bury it in the back yard.


              If you can afford the car, you can afford the manual...


              • #8
                Well Kelley, I don't think I will have to go so far as to bury it. It is actually a likable little car.

                My major problem comes from a less than understanding spouse who sees no wisdom in my having had an even dozen cars come and go over the past 4 years. She feels the 4 cars we have currently are enough, especially since she only drives one of them.

                If only I could convince her that a Mini would be a suitable replacement for HER car. Alas, I know that will not happen as she feels Minis are too small to be safe.

                She has put her foot down, no new vehicles in the garage or driveway until something goes away. The Fiesta is the only viable choice to go to a new and loving home.

                One way or another I will work out the details.



                • #9
                  Only a dozen cars in four years.... whats the hold up? Has your wife driven a mini? That seems to do the trick, good luck on your quest and I have enjoyed this topic becuse I too had the same thoughts about the "classic" mini commurer car.


                  • #10
                    Hi Tim,

                    I know, I am trying harder to make is 2 dozen before another 4 years passes by.

                    She has never driven a Mini and would not unless it was an automatic which I would not particualrly want.

                    I think she is still mad at me for trading in some of "her" cars for something "I" wanted over the past 14 years.

                    She is not a "car gal" in the least. Her likes are so totally different, I think she like some sort of new Cadillac and that isn't going to happen for a number of reasons.

                    As noted I came real close in August to getting a Mini bout could not justify the piles of cash I would have to put into the ones I saw to make them safe and driveable.

                    I think a Mini makes good sense for a daily commuter judging by their decent fuel economy among other things.

                    I will let you know how it turns out.