Austin Mini Rally Car Finds New Life as Daily Driver
Owner and photographer: Todd Dunning
Year, Make, and Model: 1964 Austin Mini Mk.1 Saloon DeLuxe
Location: Redwoods Shores, California
I’ve always wanted one of these, for as long as I can remember. And I was looking specifically for a Mark 1 that had the paint and body finished so I could complete the easy stuff. When I found this car it was undergoing a restoration that was about seventy percent complete. Luckily for me, it wiped out the previous owner’s bank account. I swooped in, scooped it up, and finished it. I got a brand new engine and transmission, which in Mini parlance is called a Power Unit because they are one unit, joined together at the sump. Oh, and a fire extinguisher: the best peace of mind for a British car owner. Now, this is my daily driver, only because few British owners are crazy enough to do so. It really wakes you up bouncing along the freeway at 85 miles per hour on ten-inch wheels with an eleven-inch steering wheel, especially with the fast-ratio steering rack. Better not sneeze!…
It really stands out in Silicon Valley, probably the most anti-car environment in the country, with the worst drivers and most boring cars. And you really have to be ready when you hear a new noise. It is unquestionably the most attention-getting car I’ve ever been in and a major chick-magnet. Yet it seats the whole family of four comfortably.
But the history is really cool too! The car was rallied in Northern England in the sixties according to the FIA docs. We don’t know the owner’s names, just that it was rallied by someone in the Wakefield & District Motorsport Club. Since the car was restored to late ’60s race spec, I did the decals myself in Illustrator to match the old photo as well as possible. The Cibie Oscars are my little addition.
OK, now to try and get home with a clutch that is making me want to go postal…
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