1980 Austin Mini City Cabrio

*Please note: This vehicle is currently in Spain - The seller will be happy to assist with logistics at buyers cost**


∙Unique custom-built Mini Cabrio
∙Presenting in good overall condition
∙Over €7,000 spent in recent years

The Background

The classic Austin Mini is surely one of the most instantly recognisable and iconic cars to ever hit the roads. Produced in mind-boggling numbers between 1959 and 2000, the ‘classic’ Mini in all its wonderful Austin, Morris and latterly BMW guises won the hearts and minds of the nation, and earned a worldwide fanbase during its production.

The Austin Mini City was produced from 1979 and formed the ‘base’ or ‘entry level’ model for the Mini range. Marked out by its black plastic bumpers, unique ‘City’ graphics, part-fabric seats and other model-specific trim. Powered by a choice of either the ubiquitous 850cc inline-four or the upmarket 1.1-litre offering depending on the trim chosen, the City did not last long, with the first variants being phased out as early as 1980.

Thanks to their plentiful parts supplies, broad knowledge base and rich enthusiast following, the Mini formed an excellent basis for modifications and ‘hot rodding’ with everything from street-legal race cars to whacky custom creations such as this being created from the imaginations of custom car shops and home mechanics.

The History

This particular 1980 Mini City has been custom-built into a Cabrio model by one of the previous owners, complete with one-off bodywork and plenty of unique fabrication. 

Of particular note is a letter included with the vehicle from 1993, which explains exactly what work was carried out to create this unique cabriolet model, and also an explanation as to why the engineer felt this custom-built Mini was actually safer than the original shell. 

Purchased by the vendor in June 2018 from the UK, the car was exported to their home in Ibiza, intended as a gift for their other half as a ‘nudge’ for them to pass their driving test. Since then, the car was used as a daily driver for a short amount of time, before being set aside as a ‘special occasion’ vehicle due to the arrival of the vendor’s son. The car was sold to their nephew in 2020, though due to the modifications to the vehicle the Spanish DGT won’t allow a Spanish plate to be put on the vehicle, meaning it is now being sold back to the UK.

The Paperwork

While the paperwork that is supplied with the vehicle isn’t the most extensive, it still provides a good ‘feel’ for the car’s life while in the UK and on the continent. Numerous old MOT certificates are present along with the aforementioned letter from the conversion, along with several invoices from the vehicle’s time with the vendor, including paperwork for two engine rebuilds, work to the electrics, battery, clutch pump, brake master cylinder, tyres and other sundry items totalling to over €7,000 spent.

With regards to the MOT, the seller reports that the mileage recorded at the point of the last MOT was 61,085 miles. They also advise that "the car has probably done around 80,000 miles maximum, as there is a part of the old odometer that is stuck and not changing".

IMG_4572.jpeg 2.85 MB

The Interior

Inside, this Austin Mini has come a long way from its humble City roots. The standard seats have been replaced with a set of period items sourced from a Seat 800, with the driver’s seat finished in red and the passenger seats in a contrasting black vinyl.

In keeping with the trends of the day, it would appear that fluffy ‘shag’ material is the order of the day within the open-air cabin of this custom mini, with the door sills, side panels and roll-over bar all being covered. Everything looks to be in good condition from what we can see, though the carpets themselves would likely benefit from a thorough valet to bring them back to their best. To the best of the vendor’s knowledge, there are no issues with the electronics of the vehicle, though the odometer is not the original one and now reads in KM. In addition to this, the vendor suspects that the mileage on the original odometer may not be accurate, though it will be supplied with the vehicle.

The Exterior

The custom bodywork and rich ruby red finish to the paintwork on this one-off build still commands an impressive amount of attention today, and looks strangely at home on the streets of Spain. 

From what we can see, there are a few age-related marks to the front end of the vehicle around the lower splitter which are commensurate with the age of the car, along with a significant scuff to the nearside bumper trim.

Otherwise, the exterior condition of this Mini looks to be very good indeed, with the bodywork appearing to be straight and free from any sort of impact-related damage, barring the aforementioned bumper scuff. 

The Mechanics

While the car runs and drives quite happily, there are a couple of small faults that are known to the vendor. 

The first is a minor leak between the gearbox and engine, though all other gaskets in the engine bay have been replaced during their ownership. In addition to this, there is a brake force imbalance between the nearside and the offside when the handbrake is operated, though this will be addressed before the vehicle is brought back to the UK.

Finally, there is an emissions issue which was flagged by the Spanish authorities, though it wasn’t enough to fail the roadworthiness test, and the vendor suspects it wouldn’t be a problem to get it through a UK MOT inspection. Indeed, the car's current MOT runs until 20th September this year.

The Appeal

If you’re looking for a unique summer car to feel the wind in your hair and stand out wherever you go, then this custom Mini City Cabrio is the one for you! With just a little TLC and some minor elbow grease, this Cabrio will be ready to buzz around beach fronts in no time.

**The photographs in this listing were provided by the seller**

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1980
  • Make Austin
  • Model Mini City Cabrio Custom
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 29,984 Kilometers
  • Engine size 1275
  • Location NOT STATED
  • Country Spain
Bidding history
15 bids from 5 bidders
  • Cce48 €6,100 28/07/21
  • Cce48 €6,000 28/07/21
  • veyron1•••• €5,500 28/07/21
  • Cce48 €5,000 28/07/21
  • veyron1•••• €4,750 27/07/21
  • Derek H•••• €4,500 23/07/21
  • veyron1•••• €4,000 23/07/21
  • Derek H•••• €3,500 23/07/21
  • veyron1•••• €3,000 23/07/21
  • Derek H•••• €2,500 23/07/21

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