Tim brought his Austin Mini to work Friday, and gave me a bit of a tour. It was fun to see it again, since I remembered it from when he first got it. That was well before I entered the world of British car ownership, but knowing somebody who had picked up a classic British car successfully was certainly one of the influences that led me to my MGB.
The Mini's 1.3L four-cylinder engine, certainly a corporate cousin of my MGB's 1.8L engine. There are some interesting differences. Tim still has the original dual SU carburetors, and the engine is transverse-mounted because the Mini is front-wheel drive. That causes the radiator to be over on the side, not facing front, and can lead to a bit of an overheating challenge. Still, in a car this small and light, a zippy 1.3L motor moves it along quite nicely
The "Does a big lummox fit?" test. The answer is "Yes, mostly." The headroom wasn't too bad, but the legroom was a bit tight. Overall, though, better than you'd expect.
One of the fun things that I'd forgotten about Tim's Mini is that it was originally an Italian car. So all of the labels on the dials and dash are in Italian.
And away goes Tim! It was great to see another cool classic British car still on the road, though I don't suppose I'll be able to persuade him to drive it out to Michigan for this year's "Battle of the Brits."