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gl21133
gl21133 New Reader
2/16/15 9:52 p.m.

Long story short, my wife has wanted a classic mini, a bug, or a 181 for quite a while. I want something RHD and I'm partial to the Mini, so I've been casually looking for a bit. Found this one today: http://boise.craigslist.org/cto/4854610098.html

Initial thoughts:

-Looks like rust on the passenger door sill. I'm anticipating the same on the driver sill. Possibly on the passenger fender too.

-Aftermarket fiberglass hood, owner says it needs new pins

-Speakers there, radio is not

-Coming from a non-emissions county to an emissions one, not sure it'll pass but I think it will

I think his $9k number is a bit optimistic but not crazy. I think this would be a buy at $7k or so. Anyone else think otherwise? I'm hoping to go see it tomorrow night and get a better look at things. If it's good enough I'd like to pick it up and get a few little things done, then give it to the wife as a birthday present in April.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
2/16/15 10:19 p.m.

Have a very good look at the underside of the car. I think you're right about the rust in the door sill and if that is as bad as it looks in the photo (and usually it's worse), you'll end up having to redo both sills and god knows what else. Austin never got the hang of rust prevention so the underside might be "interesting". Make sure you also check the condition of the subframes, especially the rear one.

Other things I noticed:

  • Trunk is missing the trunk floor cover and carpet. I hope the seller took out the spare wheel, if not that one's missing, too.
  • Engine bay is missing the corrugated hose that goes to the air filter, it's also missing the splash shield over the distributor (although that is missing 90% of the time)
  • Wheels are off a very late model, like 90s/early 2000s
  • I'm wondering about the hood - normally they don't need the extra ventilation. It's easier to have one to take off like this so you don't constantly bang your head against it when working on the engine, but still...

I'd be a little wary to pay $9k for this, but then again I lived in the UK and that would be a $1k-$2k car over there. Which means that if you can find a willing seller, you can probably import one in similar or better condition for a lot less money.

Re passing emissions, I don't think the carburated ones ever had a catalytic converter. That might be problematic.

gl21133
gl21133 New Reader
2/16/15 10:35 p.m.

Is there a decent Euro importer? I've talked with a few Japanese ones, but no one from the UK. I'm fine importing one, the market here seems to be a bit steep.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
2/16/15 10:44 p.m.

I don't know of any, personally I would DIY it but I have contacts in the UK who could help out if I wanted to do something like this.

Oddly enough I've been thinking about starting an import business for quirky UK cars, but that hasn't gone much past the thinking stage.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic PowerDork
2/17/15 2:02 a.m.

If you live in an emissions area, I'd strongly recommend getting mini that will definitely be exempt (older), or going for the bug/181.

EvanB
EvanB UltimaDork
2/17/15 7:19 a.m.

I'd say $6-7k at the most. Mini prices are ridiculous but I don't think it will go for $9k.

gl21133
gl21133 New Reader
2/17/15 8:07 a.m.

Since it's an 85 it technically qualifies for a Classic plate. Which may exempt me from emissions. Anything 81 or older is fully exempt.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
2/17/15 8:35 a.m.

I agree about saving yourself the hassle/risk and look for a car you know will be exempt rather than 'might' be exempt.

I follow Mini prices in the UK quite regularly and I think Tim is a bit optimistic that this is a $2000 car there. Even at 2000 BPS, it would be a good deal. Compared to others I've seen (and generally I see about a half-dozen new cars posted every day), I'd value this car at around 3K Pounds over there, mainly due to the rust. Prices are starting to stablize/rise over there as well for reasonably decent running cars, although I do see the occasional project for cheap/free. Essentially, any Mini that with a valid MOT is holding value well.

Here in the US, it's tough to say. I paid about the same for my '64 Mini and it has less rust and more interesting options (997 engine w/ dual SU's, complete interior, coil conversion, 7.5" front disc brakes) although still has some needs to attend to.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
2/17/15 8:55 a.m.

181 prices are headed for the sky.

gl21133
gl21133 New Reader
2/17/15 8:55 a.m.

I have no illusions of restoring whatever I end up buying. I would be happy getting it to a reliable state that looks decent. I have never cared too much for a pristine show car, I much prefer a car that looks decent but is apparently a drivers car.

Aside from Mini Mania, eBay, and Craigslist, are there any other US places I should look? And if I decide to import, where do I look? I talked to importavehicle.com and they're all well over $10k.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/17/15 9:57 a.m.

One thing about UK Mini prices - you can see the jump in value when the car hits 25 years old and is legal for US import Mine was a private import, it's not that big an effort to do. But it is harder to find a car unless you have a local contact. So you trade off effort for money. Huh, funny how that works.

What's funny is that some British sports cars are going the other way, the UK wants our rust-free southwest cars.

gl21133
gl21133 New Reader
2/17/15 10:09 a.m.

Keith, do you have a source over there ?

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
2/17/15 10:13 a.m.

British Airways?

Seriously, the way I would do it is make a vacation out of it, you'll probably end up with a better car for somewhat less money.

I can point you at a company that can handle the shipping - used them before for vehicles and household goods and was very happy with their work.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/17/15 11:40 a.m.
gl21133 wrote: Keith, do you have a source over there ?

I wish. Mine came over more than a decade ago.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
2/17/15 1:00 p.m.
Datsun1500 wrote: I bought mine from This Guy

Confusing... why would somebody in the US try to sell a 1995 car for shipment to the States? Nice looking car, but it seems that's just asking for trouble. Every now and then, the Customs agency likes to make an example of someone trying to sneek a car past the 25 year rule.

bravenrace
bravenrace MegaDork
2/17/15 1:04 p.m.

Well he's in the UK, for starters.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/17/15 1:11 p.m.

And because classic Minis are the poster child for VIN swaps.

gl21133
gl21133 New Reader
2/17/15 2:11 p.m.

So with those listings including shipping, what would I expect to pay on top of that price in documentation and stuff?

NOHOME
NOHOME UltraDork
2/17/15 2:42 p.m.

Beware UK cars and rust. No such thing as a rust free original car left in the whole country; the place is just too damp and too many years have gone by. The UK version of "Restored" leaves a bit to be desired in my opinion.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
2/17/15 3:15 p.m.

Depends - you can find shops all over the UK that produce stellar results (on par or better compared to here in the US) but you're certainly right about the damp. I regularly had to run a dehumidifier in my garage in the UK.

Old Minis over there were a dime a dozen and unless they were something special like a real Cooper and now to a certain extent "forgotten" ones like the BL 1275GT, they were used and used up. Now all of a sudden their value has increased, but they're still sheds.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
2/18/15 3:42 p.m.
bravenrace wrote: Well he's in the UK, for starters.

Even so, if you're advertising Mini's on the US eBay site, why even bother posting cars that are risky to ship here?

And yes, while Mini's are VIN-swap poster-children, US Customs knows this well and often knows what to look for when inspecting them. I just don't see it being worth the risk.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
2/18/15 5:14 p.m.

Keep in mind that "overseas shipping" from the UK tends to mean Ireland and the rest of Europe also, not only US/Canada/South America etc.

It is an island, after all.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/18/15 9:56 p.m.
Ian F wrote:
bravenrace wrote: Well he's in the UK, for starters.

Even so, if you're advertising Mini's on the US eBay site, why even bother posting cars that are risky to ship here?

And yes, while Mini's are VIN-swap poster-children, US Customs knows this well and often knows what to look for when inspecting them. I just don't see it being worth the risk.

And yet, the second one I looked at on eBay was an obvious swap. Go figure.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
2/18/15 11:23 p.m.

/me checks seller location.

Yep, figures. I've seen a whole bunch of iffy imports on ebay recently that were titled in that particular state.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
2/19/15 4:33 a.m.

Why not just buy a legal car already here? They really aren't that hard to find if you are patient and have a budget of $10,000. There are more of the little rascals here than you may think.

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