The range of classic Minis from a basic 850 all the way through to a Cooper S means that insurance rates tend to reflect value and performance. Consequently depending upon the Mini you own you could pay as little as Group 5 rates or as much as Group 15. The costs of insuring a Mini either Classic or new, have always been tempered by the high availability of parts and low repair costs making cover easily available to most people.
Young drivers who are particularly attracted to Minis can benefit from one of numerous specialist schemes that have been set up over fifty years to cater for those Mini Drivers without experience. Do not expect young driver cover for a Cooper S to be cheap though!
Classic Minis were made up until 2000 so they still appear on the ABI present day car insurance rating tables, as well all now qualifying to be covered under a much more suitable classic car insurance policy. This means that you can purchase Mini cover from both insurance comparison websites as well as specialist car insurance brokers. If you have any unusual driving requirements or don’t fit the mainstream criteria for car insurance comparison websites, try a Mini Insurance specialist.
All minis are different and under a classic car insurance policy that has been specifically designed for Mini Drivers, you get to agree with the insurer what your particular classic is worth. Expect a nasty shock if you write off your Mini under a standard policy and make a claim. You will only be entitled to the book value at the time of the incident.
With so many classic Minis still on the UK roads and available to buy at very reasonable prices, you can presently pick up a R reg 1997 Rover Mini with one previous owner and only 40000 miles on the clock, for under £4000, so we asked our classic car expert Dave Healey to have a closer look at the car and what is available…….
One of the most recognised and plagiarised car designs in the World, immortalised in films such as The Italian Job, the Mini became an icon of British design during the swinging sixties in London and around the globe.
The Mini was the brainchild and end product of a two year research project by the chain-smoking Sir Alec Issigonis for the British Motor Company (BMC) started in 1957 and launched to an astounded public in 1959.
The Mini was born out of economic necessity and demonstrated the differences in the mindsets of US and British car owners at the time.
In America, multi-laned freeways were springing up everywhere and the 1950′s was a time of indulgence in classic muscle cars and massive engined saloons. Fuel and economy was not a consideration.
However in Europe the mindset and zeitgeist was totally different, with the first two lane UK motorway not opened until 1959.
In 1956 petrol rationing had been reintroduced in the UK due to the Suez Crisis. When Egyptian leader General Nasser shut the Suez Canal, Britain’s largest oil supplier of the time, Burmah Oil, which operated out of Persia, had to find alternative and much longer routes.
Demand for sales of small economic to run cars soon outstripped supply and this gap was filled by the famous two seater ‘bubble cars’ and other strange machines of German origin like the gull winged doors on the three wheeled Messerschmitt Kabinenroller (cabinscooter) KR175 and KR200.
Against this background, BMC commissioned Issigonis to come up with a world-beating small car to replace its aging Morris Minor, a previously untested idea.
The Mini’s ingenious concept and design meant it offered a staggeringly large amount of interior space for what was essentially a 10 foot long car. The short wheelbase meant the Mini was extremely maneuverable and the car only weighed just 587 kg.
When Issigonis set to work he imagined an ultra compact cube to house four passengers, fronted by a space-saving front wheel drive system. However in a flash of genius he positioned the engine transversely across the engine well with the gearbox underneath it, to keep the drive-train super compact and outside his cube, and in doing so he invented the transverse engine.
The prototypes were fitted with a 950cc Morris Minor engine which could reach speeds of 92 mph, but the production car was first released with a more limited 848cc BMC engine that had a top speed of 72 mph.
Every available space was utilised in the design of the BMC Mini.
The car had tiny ten inch wheels in very tight wheel arches. Inside the car was basic with novel storage drawers in the doors but nowhere to put a radio on a small dialled facia. Issigonis did however include an ashtray!
Issigonis couldn’t have possibly known that his cube car would go on to be voted in 1999 the second most influential car ever built, behind the Model T Ford.
BMC launched the first Mini Mark 1 in August 1959 under the brands Austin Seven Mini and Morris Mini Minor. They were manufactured at the respective Austin and Morris plants at Longbridge in Birmingham and Cowley down the road in Oxford.
The basic Mini cost just £496 when it was launched, the cheapest car in Britain.
Despite rapidly developing a cult following, and the car being driven by Stars such as Steve McQueen, Paul McCartney and Margot Fonteyn, initial sales were extremely slow and by the end of 1960 only 116,000 Minis had been sold, way below BMC’s production capacity.
The car didn’t reach its peak sales for another eleven years when in 1971 318,475 new Minis were sold.
It was also rumored by competitors Ford that the basic BMC Mini cost more to produce than it was sold for.
BMC responded by saying that the profits were made by having additional extras to the basic model, such as a radio, but on inspection the records show that the Mini did not make a profit for the company until 1982.
As a nationalised company with considerations of employees and trade unions, coupled with the investment in technology, BLMC as BMC became, could not halt a slightly loss making production.
So Mini production continued until 2000 and over 5,380,000 cars were built, making the Mini the most successful all British car ever made.
It is now a simple process to compare Mini Insurance online. Here at Car-Insurance.tv you can get a quote from over twenty five specialist Mini classic car insurance schemes.