Sunday, March 8, 2015

7k: Something's Screwy: 1986 Mini Supercharged

The Morris Mini is the golden retriever of cars, instantly recognized and adored by the masses for its playful demeanor. Its introduction in 1958 was a precursor to the British invasion. Over the following decades, the unapologetically British runabout has had its identity seeped into the public view like Earl Grey tea on tooth enamel. In America, its diminutive size and largely untreated sheet metal left it vulnerable to to rust and Roadmasters alike, and the ones that haven't been flattened or decayed wind up over-restored to a price tag no Mini should bear. This one is still guilty on several counts of rust (they all are), but should have enough grunt to escape the current breed of American road predators. And it's cheaper than any of those P-cars in the background. Find this supercharged 1986 Mini for sale in Raleigh, NC for $6,500 via craigslist. 

Imported to America just 18 months ago, this Mini is as fresh to American roads as the concept of a roundabout. Technically, roundabouts have been around here for decades, but our approach to them makes them as foreign to us as a presidential birth certificate. All of the importation paperwork (we're talking about the car again) should be in order, if you can trust the seller's word.

Little information is given about the power plant. It's "built," which could mean truly anything. The belt-driven supercharger is an aftermarket piece that should bring horsepower up from the lower double digits to middle double digits. That is, if the engine is the original 997cc A Plus-series engine. If it's the larger 1275cc mill, and "built" well, breaching 100 horsepower becomes a matter of boost. But in a 1,300-lb stick-shift toy, even 75 horsepower would be a hoot.

Other Minis may be prettier, faster, or more quintessentially Mini. This one is cheap and quick. That's a great place to start. 

See another inexpensive front-drive fun box? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. I love it, but I can't help but feel like a Beetle would be easier to work with in the States.

  2. I love an old-school car with a supercharger. A rare, light Mini with a tiny engine and an itty-bitty blower is quite a find. A whole lot of cool for $6500.

  3. So much more fun than a beetle. And that is no way an insult to the beetle, a car that can make you smile just looking at it. But there's something about bopping along in a mini. Standing on the go pedal, rowing the gears with your left hand (mine's rhd) and realizing the minivan passing you isn't racing but ya just don't care cause there's a hard bend coming up and your passenger doesn't realize the turn signal is serious until it's too late to grab hold of anything. You giggle and wonder how many wheels were on the ground.

  4. I am so glad this is far away from me.

  5. Golden Retriever? If you factor in the size, it's more like a Yorkie or maybe a Jack Russell.

    Someone went out and jumped on the 25-year NHTSA exemption. With E34 M5 Tourings and (yeah) Lotus Omegas and lots of other spectacular iron hitting that window now (gray-market parts sourcing/expediting would be a nice excuse to have a warehouse/shipping facility on a small farm in Bavaria...) we're gonna see a lot more of this.

    On the other hand, read that title carefully, the Feds have been grabbing and crushing gray-market Minis, Land Rovers, etc. that were titled with old US documents.

  6. Supercharger is from first-gen "S" new [BMW] MINI

  7. What a deal. Almost looks like a scam the price is so low. If it is legit, I'll bet it's already gone. I miss my 61 mini w/1275 sometimes, but the stiff bouncy ride wasn't good on my back. The blue carpet and door panels with a red car is a bit too flamboyant for me and will be my excuse not to inquire.


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