On the recent MINI Countryman launch, at a stop in Wanganui, I had the pleasure of meeting Roger Whiting, owner of a 1971 classic Mini. It was great to see the original Mini beside the new Countryman MINI SAV and compare their sizes, and to see what has changed over 45 years of development.
I was rather taken with Roger’s little yellow car, and once we got talking it turned out that this car has had quite a bit of work done.
Roger has a long history with Minis, which started in 1965 when he bought his first: a 1964 Mini Cooper 998cc in Tartan Red. In 1966 he traded this for a 1071cc 1964 Cooper S, which was the ultimate Mini of its day. Over the years, he has owned ten Minis, number ten being the one pictured here.
Bought by Roger in 2006, this 1971 Austin Mini had been owned by an elderly lady from new and had covered just 17,895 miles in 20 years! The second owner made significant modifications to the car, then Roger and his wife Stella continued that work to make the car what it is today.
Roger’s car features fully adjustable suspension with SPAX gas shocks, uprated adjustable tie rods and adjustable rear camber brackets.
The brakes have been upgraded to Cooper S front discs with four pot calipers, and Cooper S rears, with a BMC Power Brake Booster. The wheels are 10 inch Minilite alloys with 165/70 tyres.
The engine 850cc was swapped out for a 1310cc standard Mini engine with A plus gearbox, electronic ignition, LCB exhaust manifold and standard Cooper S exhaust. It has Hardy Spicer drive units with 3.44 diff ratio and a 4 core radiator.
Inside the basic and surprisingly spacious cabin there’s a Mk2 Cooper S speedo and Smiths rev counter along with oil pressure and water temp gauges.
Other features added to the car are twin factory fuel tanks, wheel flares, carpeted boot floor, Mk2 Cooper grille and bumper overriders.
Unfortunately there wasn’t time to go for a drive, but I think Roger’s car looks great. I love to see classic Minis on the road, being loved, cared-for and used. Keep up the good work, Roger and Stella!