WOW! This car was a lot of fun – but not for long unfortunately.
It was a highly souped-up little beast and as lively and manoeuvrable as they come. But a trip to France soon after I bought it in 1969 seriously disagreed with this temperamental little chap and it was never the same again.
The cobbled streets of Le Havre grazed its lowered bottom and the rough cheap French petrol played hell with its fuel system. The car was never right once I got it back to England and no mechanic ever solved the problem.
I bought the Mini, registration number was 7552 DP, in July 1969. It had originally had a 997cc engine but had been seriously tuned by its previous owner and fitted with an 1125cc Oselli sports engine. It had also been adapted by a specialist tuning firm so it was very quick. It had lowered suspension and all sorts of sporty stuff.
It was great to drive, especially in its early days, had a beautiful rasping exhaust note and stuck to the road like glue. But unfortunately it was also unreliable.
The car was turquoise with a white roof when I got it. Before I disposed of it, I splashed out on a respray in dark metallic blue and it looked wonderful.
In February 1971 I did a straight swap with it for an acquaintance’s Triumph TR2 – but he soon discovered the Mini’s shortcomings and I ended up, embarrassingly, having to contribute to its repairs.