Reader Submissions: Three Generations Bombing About in a Mini

Three Generations Bombing About in a Mini

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
October 24, 2014
12 comments

Owner and Photographer: Steve Hayward

Year, Make, and Model: 1969 Austin Mini

Location: Ontario, Canada

I’ve had a love of cars since I was a little boy, which seems to be common to many enthusiasts. Initially my dad didn’t feed this with full-size cars, but by building an ever-expanding collection of vintage Dinky die-cast toys which he remembered from his youth. I was careful not to bash them up in typical little-boy fashion, and was therefore allowed to play with them all the time.

After many years drawing, ogling, and voraciously reading about cars, my dad one day suggested that we buy and restore our neighbor’s 1969 MGB. That is a decade-long story for another day, but after it was completed Dad mentioned that an old Mini should be next on the list. He’d never previously owned an MGB, but he’d owned Minis both in the UK and Canada in his youth. Fast forward to 2012, when he mentioned the same idea while wintering in Florida (I still live in Ontario). Eager for such a distraction, I started sending him listings of cars for sale, including a very bright 1969 Austin Mini located in British Columbia. It seemed like a good match save for the color–it was already in Canada, mechanically restored, and a reasonable price with a seller looking to move on.

Although we contacted the seller in October, we weren’t initially keen on either travelling across the country just for a car, or buying it sight unseen. However, over a Christmas vacation together (and perhaps enough BEvERages) we decided to go for it (and also convinced my mother it was a good idea). Thanks to the helpful seller, the Mini was packaged up and shipped back to Ontario that January.

Over the last year, we’ve since fitted a completely new interior, including custom upholstery for the original seats by a company in Toronto, and sorted a few mechanical issues here and there that weren’t initially apparent when the car arrived. After carefully inspecting the paint, we decided that a complete respray was the only way to solve the numerous small imperfections present. We found the paint used was Crush Orange from a Jeep Wrangler, and although we didn’t particularly like it at first, it has really grown on us so we kept it. It has a subtle modern color shift in it, but still looks very suitable for the era.

The car was not originally a Cooper, but during its previous restoration it had a 1275cc engine from an Austin America fitted, which certainly makes for an entertaining drive. Along with new 10” wheels (better than 12s to fit the vintage feeling) and new brakes, the car is an absolute blast. However, the best part about driving a Mini is that for many corners, you simply don’t bother to brake!

Working on these old cars with my dad has certainly forged a closer relationship as we’ve grown older. The time in the garage and on the road is something that can’t be replaced by anything else, and I’m glad we’ve got this passion in common. The best part is, it’s already being passed down to my two-year old son, who absolutely loves hanging around “Pop’s” cars. Sometimes he seems more excited seeing the cars than my parents! Best of all, with the Mini, we can strap his carseat in the back and let him see what it’s really all about. There’s nothing like three generations of petrol-heads bombing about together in a vintage Mini!

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John Cary
John Cary

Great looking Mini! I agree with others… Keep this classic ride long term & enjoy years of multi-generation memories. When your son (grandson) is in his early teens, restore one for his own. Memories will be ‘priceless’

gerald
gerald

This model is not a 1969 one… 1969 doors weren’t like this…
Sorry i had one february ’69 1000cc with dunlop wheels

Steve Hayward
Steve Hayward

Gerald, was yours a Mark II? This one (ours) is a Mark III which had the wind-up windows instead of sliders, and I believe was when they switched from external to internal door hinges. If you are referring to the interior panels, those may be non-original and we’ve since swapped them.

gerald
gerald

it was a mark II

gerald
gerald

in 1969, the doors had windows in two parts (slide windows) but can be made that the minis were already modified late 69 I think. Mine was to mark February 69 II 1000cc. I know these cars very well because my father worked for more than 20 years at British Leyland.

Ryan Weaver
Ryan Weaver

This Mini further proves my point that an orange finish works most successfully on a small car (this Mini, Lotus Exige/Elise in Chrome Orange, etc.). I also agree with others that it would look better with a slightly different wheel setup, and maybe black extensions rather that chrome, to match the roof.

Rob
Rob

Beautiful job on the restoration. Love the colour. I love the interior. Nice job on the leather , orange stitching and the crest on the head rest. I’ve had 2 in the past (a 1979 , 1000cc and a 1967 Cooper S), which till this day I regret selling. These cars are a riot to drive with endless fun. And you are absolutely right about going around corners and not having to lift off the throttle and hit the brakes. All you do is turn the steering wheel. I think it’s amazing the relationship you have with your father with… Read more »

David Corcio
David Corcio

Beautiful car. That color looks amazing on it!

Phil
Phil

Nice car – but desperately needs a wider/wheel tire combo and some spacers to fill the arches…

Jono51
Jono51

No, no, that’s all wrong – what they need to do is get rid of the wheel arch extensions. Otherwise, great little car.

Ernest Broekstra
Ernest Broekstra

Nice mini, wonderfull colour.

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

The orange paint really suits this mini well i must say. All the pictures of this little beauty are fantastic. Many friends and family members ask me why i love cars so much and its stories like this that i use to explain why. Hope your son and you have a great long experience with this car and many others. Thanks for posting.