Austin / Rover Mini Era 1990
When I first came to Japan I was surprised at how many Minis there were on the roads here. And I was also impressed that they were all in such good shape.
Of course it’s not really surprising that the Austin / Rover Mini would catch on so well in Japan: It is an ideal car for our tight city roads, where you need compact size and good take off from a standing start at an intersection or merge lane; and for our winding countryside and mountain roads where you need stability, control, good handing and respectable braking. The little mini, especially the 1.3 liter versions and the Mini Coopers, gives us all that. So as a practical little sporty car for Japan, it was a hit.
But there was another reason that the Japanese took the Mini so much to their hearts: The Japanese like cute things and the Mini has got to be the cutest car ever (and without the slightest bit of too sugary sweetness that so many other cute cars have).
So finding a Mini from Japan that is in very good shape is no strange thing. It is a bit of a contrast to the way things were in Britain when I was there. In the U.K. a Mini was just one of many small cars that you could choose from and they were not considered so special. Sure, the fans of Minis took good care of them, but I saw lots of examples that were just treated roughly and left to stagger on till they dropped from rust or lack of maintenance.
Not in Japan, though, no way. The Mini is a loved car here, and our Canadian buyer for this really perky, happy, and well cared for Mini Era is benefiting from that. This 1990 Mini Era well merits the high auction grade of 4/B which the inspector gave it. And doubly rightly considering its low mileage of 25,200 miles (40,500kms). It is clean. Really clean. And loved. Really loved. It sure shows how buying a used Mini direct from Japan at the used car auctions can be a good score. A really good score.