By on March 7, 2016

1994 Rover Mini

I’ve not yet had the pleasure of driving a classic Mini. Residing in Ohio, this isn’t altogether surprising, as the climate has not been kind to many older cars. Also, there’s the problem of not being able to actually fit. Someday, though, I need to give it a try.

With a production run spanning six decades, there are likely many Minis still seeing use as daily drivers in the UK. Like any other ubiquitous car, then, these are subject to the whims of the owners looking to give their rides some additional personality.

As it seems there are no Pep Boys in England, questionable modifications must come from other sources.

Today’s 1994 Rover Mini has been treated to an unusual rhinoplasty, using a donor grille and headlamps from an older Mercedes-Benz sedan. It’s in England, though the eBay listing is in US dollars. And it’s too new to import here, though I’m sure some enterprising lunatic might try to bring it over anyhow, thinking it’s some oddball limited edition worth a pile of cash.

After all, the brands of the former BMC/BLMC have been through so many hands that Daimler might have had some corporate ownership at some point, and we’ve just forgotten. The old-new Mini (R53 generation) had a engine built in a BMW/Chrysler joint-venture in Brazil, and Daimler owned Chrysler for a time. This could have been a result.

Or some bloke found some cool bits in a scrapyard and fitted them to his daily driver in an attempt to stand out and get more money on resale.

Mercedes-Benz_300_SEL_6,8l_AMG_-Rote_Sau-_at_Legendy_2014

My admittedly dreaming thought is a compact tribute to the legendary “Red Pig” Mercedes-Benz race car of the ’70s, as shown above. Call it a “Red Piglet” or something. Needs more AMG decals, though.

[Image: Mini, eBay user mountainminis; Benz, By Jiří Sedláček (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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29 Comments on “Crapwagon Outtake: 1994 Rover Mini...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This is the worst car I’ve seen on this site in a month, and that includes Junkyard Finds. Frackin awful.

    I’ve seen one or two old RHD Minis driving around, I wonder if there’s a figure somewhere for how many have been imported overall.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Reminds me of kits that were available for VW Beetles in the early to mid 70’s. You could add a Rolls-Royce style grill and hood and/or a Continental style trunk/boot.

    The grill actually looked OK.

    And there were Continental kits available for many different vehicles. The one for Cordobas was particularly popular in Toronto.

    Chris, regarding your being able to fit into a MIni, The Old Man got one new in 1960. He was about 6′ 1.5″ and around 240lbs at that point, training 6 days a week. Picked it up at the Rootes Motors plant on the Golden MIle in Scarboro. He drove it for just under 2 years. Fit myself and my brother in the back. The shifter actually came out one day in his hands. Talk about spartan, sliding windows, a tray rather than a glove box and cords to pull the doors shut. Traded it for a 1962 VW Beetle just after my youngest brother arrived.

    In the mid 70’s one of my friends bought a mini. His best friend and next door neighbour is just under 6′ 10″. We took out the front passenger side seat so that he could ride in it. Always got stares/comments when people saw him unwind out of that car.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Get rid of the fender flares , Union Jack on the roof and the silver star and it looks okay .

    I’m 6′ and had no difficulty getting into the 1969 Riley Elf I was thinking of buying last month .

    I even squeezed in the back seat when my Son test drove it .

    Fun little cars , I have size 12 feet and the pedals are *very* close , I didn’t like that aspect much .

    Interesting how no one hates these seriously noisy and cheap little ‘ penalty boxes ‘ but won’t give the Charade , Chevette etc. a break even as minimal transportation .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I would take the light blue one in the back with Minilites on it.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Also, $15k is absurd since Minis are so common. And I’d rather have the Rover 75 in the background.

    • 0 avatar
      Wardotron

      The Rover 75 was a surprisingly good car with a lovely finish and a really good interior. Unfortunately the words “a surprisingly good car” didn’t make for much of a sales proposition.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        The revitalizing BMW money came just too late. They were stuck with their unreliable and old man image. The retro styling of the 75 didn’t help, either I’m sure. But historically, I really like some of their cars.

        SD1
        This 75
        800 Vitesse Coupe

        • 0 avatar
          Wardotron

          I still have a hankering for a P5B or a P6. The 800 was a great looking car for the time too.

          The paint finish on the 75 was very deep and lustrous. Judging by the thin looking finish on contemporary BMWs, their German paymasters should have dragged the Longbridge paint shop back to Munich before flogging off the concern.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    There’s a long history of coachbuilders using vertical headlights on the (original) Mini. Frankly, it suits the car.

    To put this in cultural context, the original Mini was one of the best cars for driving (and parking) in London in the 1960s and 70s. Only trouble is, almost anyone can own one, and they all look the same. The solution was to get a bespoke Mini, just like a gentleman has his suits custom-made, or his shoes.

    The Merc grill doesn’t work though.

  • avatar
    MBella

    I want to hate it, but for some reason I really like it. It just seems to flow right.

  • avatar
    Wardotron

    Being British you perhaps might expect me to make a staunch defense of the Mini. But the fact of the matter is that it was a diabolical car that stayed in production way too long. That said, if I ever pull down a big win on the Euromillions lottery, I will build a tiny little circuit in my back garden, with six Minis for me and my mates to race around in.

    • 0 avatar
      NeilM

      “But the fact of the matter is that it was a diabolical car that stayed in production way too long.”

      It did stay in production too long, but it wasn’t at all diabolical by the standards of when it was introduced. Think about what other British cars of that era were like. Space efficiency was amazing, and the Mini’s handling was in a different universe.

      Which is not to say that the Mini didn’t have significant faults. The rear subframes all rusted out (but at least were easy to replace), and the side facing radiator in the engine compartment, venting into the wheel well, provided marginal cooling at the best of times.

      I do recall that a cabin heater was a £5 option on the early models, and the original 10″ diameter wheels (later increased to 12″) were a bit on the marginal side.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    The styling almost works here – this professional-looking job could be a Mitsuoka creation.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Honda VTECs fit into these things quite nicely. 200+ hp does wonders for a 1300 lb car:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nk4dmaZpg0U
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED31_wRIGYg

  • avatar
    EasternJC

    Drove a 60s one for a couple of years. I fit at 6’5″ although getting in and out wasn’t a rapid process. Great fun car to blast around in. The mods and price on this one are both ugly and stupid. IIRC there were similar butcher kits for bugs as well; RR and MB noses; all fugly.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This is ridiculous on so many levels and I love it.

  • avatar
    kkop

    6’4″. Learned to drive in a mini, no problem. It’s actually more comfortable than many of today’s cars because of the more upright seating position and the vertical steering wheel, and no size-hogging center console. Packaging of the original mini is amazing.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Some real info on swanked-up Minis is posted here just this past week:

    http://driventowrite.com/2016/02/27/theme-special-maximising-the-mini/

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Prior to his Navy service, one of my nuke school friends years ago modified a mid-60’s Mini for engineering studies. Bone-stock Mini, he and his lab partners disassembled the engine and reassembled it without mechanical fasteners, only using an experimental epoxy adhesive. It worked. Bored with that, his little team then removed the running gear and replaced it with an experimental fuel-cell power train based on NASA technology. Also worked. Then the draft and General Hersey found him and he came running to hide out in the Navy.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    One needs to be aware that the Mini was produced in many (pun intended) styles and nameplates ranging from the most basic to some downright lux models (keeping in mind that it was still Mini). Worth searching Youtube for some of the hundreds of vids on Minis.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    I had a work colleague who was 6’7″. He owned a mini and said it was one of the few cars he could comfortably drive because the drivers seat just kept going back and the straight arms/legs driving position was not compromised by this.

    P.S. The mini was a great car compared to the Hillman Imp.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    Daimler cars were built in the UK prior to WWII it was a UK company.They just licensed the Daimler name.

    Queen Elizabeth used to schlep around in a Daimler DS 420 Limousine.

    Daimler double six was a dressed up Jaguar XJ12 and was built by Leyland who also built the mini.

    It does look awful!


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