Apis Mellifera
Apis Mellifera Dork
1/14/21 8:55 a.m.

I know Spridgets pretty well and have always wanted a real Mini.  I've found a 1993 JDM-spec for sale locally (the only real Mini for sale within 500 miles of me) and I'm thinking about buying it.  It has two mildly negatives: First it is an automatic and second it is RHD.  Neither of these are deal breakers personally.  I have a RHD Bugeye Sprite and at this point in life, I don't "need" a manual transmission to be happy.  However, I've heard these two things can lower Mini resale by as much as 50%.  Furthermore, I know these things can also be fixed.  If a person was to buy an auto, RHD Mini cheap enough, maybe it would make sense. 

So, my question(s):

To fix the automatic, I'd need to source a manual gearbox and manual engine, matching shift linkage, clutch pedal.  Anyone have these?

To fix the RHD, I'd need a LHD rack and ?  Anyone have these?

 

We'll ignore the perfectly correct and logical solution of just buying a car with the specs I want (anyone have one of these?).  Ballpark what would these conversions cost and is there a market for the auto and RHD castoff parts?  The actual mechanics of the conversions seem pretty easy, so I'm not bothered by the labor.  My old man is a television repairman.  He's got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.

I've spent a dollar to save 50 cents on old cars many times and it would be nice to avoid it or at least to maybe save 75 cents this time.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/14/21 9:11 a.m.

Leave it RHD. That's how they were designed.

Can't help with the manual conversion but from what I've seen taking my car apart, it shouldn't be too difficult. The driveline is pretty well self-contained and it's not like you have to deal with electronic controls :)

Trent
Trent PowerDork
1/14/21 9:51 a.m.

The entire front subframe of an automatic mini is different from a manual mini.  You can put shims behind the motor mounts to make it work though.  I know the folks who do the BMW twin cam head conversions covet the automatic subframes because it will hold a manual transmission motor low enough to clear the bonnet.

 

IIRC the JDM spec late minis also have a front mounted radiator and some even have air conditioning.  It should also be SPI at that point. Throttle body fuel injection that is.

Most of the things I love about minis were gone by that point. The steering racks were replaced with slower ratios, the simple dash binnacle was replaced with a modern style full dash. They got heavier and less mini like. 

I will admit that I do love the look of a Rover Sportspack mini. 

Apis Mellifera
Apis Mellifera Dork
1/14/21 10:29 a.m.

This car is a Mayfair 1.3 with fuel injection, A/C.  The radiator is where it's supposed to be.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UltraDork
1/14/21 10:49 a.m.

How is your budget ?

I have an immaculate 1275 numbers matching Cooper S 1967. 
 

I am the second owner, have had it 23 years. Concours shape. 

MrChaos
MrChaos UltraDork
1/14/21 11:10 a.m.

That mayfair is likely going to be 8500-10500 based on what duncan has offered similar JDM mini's in the past.

Apis Mellifera
Apis Mellifera Dork
1/14/21 11:11 a.m.

You had me until "Concours".  Thanks though.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UltraDork
1/14/21 11:14 a.m.

No worries! Good luck with the hunt 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
1/14/21 11:22 a.m.

There are two Minis on Facebook in Michigan/Ohio and both are listed at $18K, FWIW.

BFH_Garage
BFH_Garage Reader
1/14/21 11:39 a.m.

There are enough mini's out there that I would just find something that better fits your needs instead of having to make these two major changes. I got my JDM 1980 from Duncan Imports here in Christiansburg VA and have been happy with it. I have been doing an interior swap, but that is way easier than a trans change and moving to LHD. 

Personally, I would only have a RHD mini... that is how they were intended to be. I drive mine to work once a week and it isn't a problem. Heck, you can even do drive thrus in a pinch because you can easily lean across the car. 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/14/21 11:45 a.m.

In reply to Apis Mellifera :

One thing to consider about the manual conversion is if the ECU also has some influence over the gearbox, or if it's an old school slushbox. I wouldn't necessarily also want to find another ECU unless it's strictly necessary.

fatallightning
fatallightning Reader
1/14/21 12:35 p.m.

It might just be me, but the rhd/lhd thing is even less of an issue on small cars since your only flipping a relatively small amount compared to centerline. In a bigger car, you're perspective is changing like 5-6', instead of like 2' in a classic mini or seven.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
1/14/21 4:24 p.m.

The only thing I disliked about my RHD Mini was going to the wrong door to get in. All. The. Time.

I would not buy a SPI Mini. I would not buy a autotragic Mini. The two things together? Hard pass.

Have you shopped the classifieds at Mini Mania? That is where most seem to change hands.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/14/21 4:43 p.m.

Autotragic one might make a good base for a B-series swap, though.

MrChaos
MrChaos UltraDork
1/14/21 5:11 p.m.
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) said:

Autotragic one might make a good base for a B-series swap, though.

yea if its getting honda swapped it doesnt matter what it is now, since everything gets replaced

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/14/21 6:13 p.m.

I would suggest that a big part of the appeal of the Mini is that A series engine. It's antique, it doesn't really make that much power - but it's got character out the wazoo. I would not want to pull a functioning A out to replace with a Honda engine. This is an opinion, obviously, and I would be driving my own Mini more if it were as reliable as my CRX. But man, when that engine is working, it is FUN.

Apis Mellifera
Apis Mellifera Dork
1/14/21 6:44 p.m.

Well, I am not willing to pay what this dealer believes the car is worth, so I don't think it's going to happen.

Here is the car:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1993-Mini-Classic-Mini-ROVER-/224302180561?nma=true&si=fgduUkNkPmvwd7yUJY7cJOi91vY%253D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

My, what big, oddly out of place checkerboard stickers you have there.  Google the VIN and you'll find the original Japanese sale photos without them.  Nice try.

The main appeal was that it was close.  It looked like it should be reasonably priced.  My wife could drive it.  It has A/C.  The interior was complete and in good condition.  It was close by...  My Mini experience is based on the build of a '62 Cooper S clone and a pretty well prepared '63.  Both manual and both LHD and both caged track cars not suited for a commute to work or date night with my wife.  I liked driving them, but that was 20 years ago when showing up for work with a sweaty back, smelling of exhaust fumes wasn't an issue.

I guess the hunt continues.  Thanks for the input.

EvanB (Forum Supporter)
EvanB (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/14/21 6:49 p.m.

No classic minis are reasonably priced.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/14/21 6:51 p.m.
EvanB (Forum Supporter) said:

No classic minis are reasonably priced.

That's another way of saying "other people think they're worth more than I do".

Although I suspect I agree in the case of this particular vehicle.

EvanB (Forum Supporter)
EvanB (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/14/21 6:53 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
EvanB (Forum Supporter) said:

No classic minis are reasonably priced.

That's another way of saying "other people think they're worth more than I do".

You're not wrong.

Apis Mellifera
Apis Mellifera Dork
1/14/21 7:02 p.m.

This is an $8K car to me.  They're asking $11K.  And you get to pay the tax and their nonsense "documentation" fees, so that's really a $12K Mini.

Our Preferred Partners
tysueDbr6s4JlvRmKaNn8WrHdcHNpQttTyS06DzLD6JcHJkyNEMV6n25ldKua8wf