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 Duisberg* has had work published in Classic & Sportscar, Practical Performance Car, Modern Mini, Banzai, MogMag, Evo, GT Porsche, Complete Kit Car, Absolute Lotus, Alternative Cars, Classic Retro Modern, and elsewhere. Rich often appears on CBS’s XCAR and Carfection channels, and Motors TV, plus JayEmm on Cars, enthusing about historic motoring. His latest book (find his work on Amazon) was described by SniffPetrol as "hilarious", although he was also threatened with legal action by elderly DJ Tim Westwood. In his Midlands man cave is a 1972 Fiat 500, a Lotus Elise, a BMW barge and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike. Previous machines of interest include an Mk1 MX5 (owned for 14 years!), an Alfa GTV6, a Porsche 968 and a Sinclair C5. The Metro (right) was bought for an experiment, and abandoned in Africa. "I am not getting in a car with him" -  said Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. *A nom-de-plume inspired by the BBC's League of Gentlemen.

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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