Goodbye Mini

A fleet reduction has become a necessity. When you’re living on a reduced income, which we very much are (happily out of lifestyle choice rather than economic gloom), it has to be said that running five elderly vehicles is not easy! Even though I do much of the servicing and upkeep myself, there’s still road tax, insurance (group classic policies minimise this though) and MOTs to consider.

The Mini is the first casualty, and it sold on Ebay for a sensible amount – £1375. Against the purchase price of £741 in 2006, that’s pretty good! Especially if you ignore the £3500 restoration in the middle of that time…

Rachel took to the Mini from the start. She liked it so much that she even cleaned it! This event was so shocking that I captured the moment on camera. I’m not sure she’s cleaned it since mind…

washing the car

Betsy joins the fleet in 2006, and actually gets washed by my wife! A rare event

Betsy proved surprisingly reliable in daily use, especially given that Rachel was using her for the commute. At the time, that was either a 20 mile round-trip to Banbury from our then home in Northants, or a remarkable 70 miles to Oxford if Rachel had decided to drive all the way rather than catch the train. She did this for a year and I can’t remember any issues in that time.

Betsy behaved slightly less well when we moved to Cambs. The points gap – or rather its propensity to close up – became an issue and more than once, Betsy conked out and refused to play. Not that it ever took very long to get her going again. I even managed to limp her home after she suffered condenser failure! I’ve become quite good at driving cars that are running very badly…

Mini breakdown

Generally reliable, but not always!

I loved the Mini’s handling, but was less keen on the suspension and cramped driving position. I bravely took ‘Betsy’ the Mini to Kent once, for the Bromley Pageant when I was working on Classic Car Weekly. My aching legs made sure I never spent that much time in it again! We were living in Cambs at the time so it was a long trek.

Mini car show

Betsy makes an appearance at the Bromley Pageant

Even though I wasn’t that keen on her though, Betsy won me over with her cheeky charm. But with corrosion nipping in at various points, it was definitely time to say goodbye. She’s gone back to her original home in the Midlands, and the new owner seems very enthusiastic. Betsy is now called James Bund…

Mini on the road

Goodbye old friend! Betsy heads to her new home

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