If you’re the curtain twitcher, wondering who the slightly shambolic looking chap is who stopped to take pictures of this Mini 850, it’s me. Hello. My intentions are entirely honorable, I assure you. I just love to see BL classics on the road, particularly, like this Mini, when they’re seemingly only just hanging on to roadworthyness. There’s a certain beauty in those scabrous wings!

Sticking the registration into the strangely addictive MOT history website shows that this 850 hasn’t done many miles in recent years and, it’s no surprise, the chassis is no stranger to the MOT tester’s chalk. This might make me seem a bit of a stalker but I prefer the phrase BL superfan (your honour). Anyway, no telephoto lens here, just a few hasty iPhone snaps in the street before the neighbourhood watch ask me to explain myself;

It’s easy to sit here and suggest a nut and bolt restoration. Wings maybe £50 each, a pair of doors perhaps £200 a pair, but the costs soon add up. Not everyone can afford, or justify, chucking thousands on bringing a classic back to it’s best. I’d rather see cars like this being enjoyed on a shoestring than scrapped, or squirreled away as an investment. It makes motoring more interesting, both for the driver who must find piloting this 850 a hoot, and for other motorists who, like me, might stop to take a picture because it makes them smile.

And as a retro bonus, parked next to the Mini is this spotless Bedford HA van.

bedford ha vanI’d like to thank the owners for keeping these interesting retro rides on the roads, and also for not setting the dogs on me. I can’t be the only stalker superfan, can I?

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich's drivel regularly appears in Practical Performance Car and GT Porsche magazines. He has also written for Classic & Sportscar, MogMag, Classic Performance and Retro, Banzai, Evo, and Modern Mini. He also did a book no-one bought. His hungover fizzog also often appears on CBS’s Carfection channel enthusing about historic motoring. Le Mans winner Derek Bell once refused to get in Rich's Morgan Three Wheeler with him at the wheel. Currently amongst the detritus in his garage is a 1972 Fiat 500 Abarth, a fat BMW and a Lotus Elise. Previous machinery includes a Porsche 968, an Alfa GTV V6 and a dreadful Sinclair C5. He also owns a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike.

4 Responses

  1. JrB

    I know where you are … 😉

    The Bedford Van has been there for, must be at least 30 years. I’ve not noticed it going through a restoration, but it is lovely isn’t it!

    • Rich Duisberg
      Rich Duisberg

      Ha! Yes, that van has been there forever. Are you local? I’m sure the pub opposite used to have caged birds in the beer garden when I went as a kid.

  2. Lesley Crenshaw

    Hi Rich,

    I put together the newsletter for the Oregon Mini Society. I’m always looking for articles, jokes, photos etc. to plagiarize.
    Actually, I do ask permission 🙂 and I am asking for your blessing to include your article in our next newsletter. We are a classic Mini club of about 100 members. I have a 1963 Austin Countryman that I bought in California in 1991. I’ve been a member of the Oregon club for about 20 years and have been doing the newsletter for 2. I would love to share your January article with the other enthusiast in the club.



    • Rich Duisberg
      Rich Duisberg

      Hi Lesley

      Yes, you are most welcome, just mention MotorPunk when doing so please.


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