Where do you start with the Mini? Much like the Fiat 500 for Italy and the Volkswagen Beetle for Germany, the Mini was designed as transportation for the masses but became so much more than that over the years, transcending its original purpose to become a cultural icon, an object of affection and even a film star.
At its heart though the Mini was still an affordable and practical family car, at least until its later years when newer rivals improved upon its basic abilities and simple character alone became its chief selling point. It’s easy to forget that early Minis especially were surprisingly spacious – that transverse engine sitting above its gearbox meant most of the car’s length could be devoted to passengers, and without the door cards, chunky dash and thicker seats that arrived later, it was airy too.
The car’s abilities as an economy vehicle also made it a natural choice for commercial variants, and in 1960 and 1961 the Mini van and Mini pick-up joined the range. Built on the slightly longer chassis of the estate-like Mini Traveller and Countryman that also debuted in 1960, the van and pickup were designed as compact load-luggers (the van had a quarter-ton load capacity, not bad for a vehicle with a 620kg kerb weight) but also found favour with car buyers wishing to save money, as commercial vehicles carried no sales tax.
Production of each finished in 1983. By this time, each had received the Mini 95 name, the numeric standing for the 0.95 ton gross vehicle weight. It would be another thirty years before you could buy a commercial variant of a Mini again, when under BMW ownership Mini launched the Clubvan in 2013.
This particular Mini 95L was registered in January 1984 and wearing the numberplate A489 OFL. The seller bought the van in June 2012 and changed the plate to A9 RYX to match his business, as well as having the sides sign-written in the business name. During this time it attended several events, including visits to Goodwood.
When the current owner sold his business the van passed to his wife, who used it to promote her own business, once again sign-written appropriately. When she retired the van then lived in the seller’s reception office for a while, with the intention of then being used to promote their son’s business, but with several other classic vehicles in the collection and having done under 500 miles in eight years in the van, the seller has finally decided to pass the Mini on.
The van had already been restored by June 2012, but had been left unused. The seller had it recommissioned, including removal of the engine to fix an oil leak, a full service, and new carpets fitted. The windscreen wipers and speedometer were fixed in October 2013, the clutch cylinders and headlights replaced in May 2014, a new water pump in November 2015, wheel cylinders, brake shoes and an exhaust system in August 2018, and in 2020 the van has benefited from a new clutch, battery, and the wheel bearings were adjusted.
There is an A4 folder of paperwork for the car, including the V5 document, several old MOT certificates (which can of course also be viewed online), and most importantly, receipts and invoices for all the work mentioned above during the seller’s tenure of the van, all the way back to the new carpets fitted in 2012.
There’s always pleasingly little interior to inspect with a Mini! That’s particularly true of a Mini van, and it makes sense to start with the cargo area as that’s what separates it from a conventional saloon. Open the doors and you’re presented with a large, flat load space hindered only with the intrusion of the wheel wells, and stretching out to the back of the seats.
All the metalwork is in excellent condition – if this was ever used as a working van in the 1980s, there’s certainly no sign of it in 2020 thanks to its restoration prior to 2012 – and the paintwork is as fresh as it is on the van’s exterior. There’s a carpet over the loadbay, still in great shape despite being fitted eight years ago now, and it still looks sturdy enough to transport light goods. Lift the carpet and there are no sins hiding under it – once again, just rich, clean paintwork. The filler neck for the fuel tank is visible just behind the right-hand door and there are no concerns here either.
Moving to the front, everything looks remarkably original, and unlike many Minis of the period the original steering wheel hasn’t been replaced for something earlier or sportier – the van wears its 1980s roots on its sleeve. The dashboard is simple with just a single central speedometer, incorporating the odometer and fuel gauge along with a handful of warning lights. On the central dashboard spar is a small bank of switches, along with the choke control, and below are the rudimentary heater controls. They’re a little haphazard and a little worn, suggesting like the speedometer and the steering wheel they’re the original units.
The other controls similarly show signs of use but all are in good condition. That also applies to the blue seats, which match the exterior paintwork colour, which feel good and whose padding remains plump, but are slightly discoloured from use. The carpets, like that in the load bay, are in good shape, and would no doubt look even better with a thorough clean.
This Mini van really is a charmer. Mini saloons of this era had already begun to adopt plastic grilles, bumpers and arch overriders, as well as later wheel designs, but the van remained much as it had been since introduction in 1960, including the unadorned stamped grille panel. Chrome bumpers and arch trims enhance the classic look, as does the shade of blue paintwork, and the 10-inch wheels with chrome trims.
It’s in great shape, too. Panel fit is what you might call approximate, but that’s a criticism of old Minis in general rather than this particular car, and the panels themselves are very straight. The paintwork is largely unblemished, though the seller did point out a couple of areas on the roof where items left on it had caused some discolouration in the paintwork. It’s apparent on close inspection in the metal but difficult to pick up on camera.
There is evidence of corrosion starting to creep in at a handful of spots – most apparently the seams under the headlights, on a couple of spots around rain channels and around some seams on the rocker panels, but certainly nothing that couldn’t be quickly and easily sorted, nor anything likely to cause MOT issues.
Exterior fixtures and fittings all look good and fit well, with no damage to light units, and the windscreen and other windows are all unblemished too. The doorhandles sag a little but work perfectly well, and despite the rain earlier in the day of our photoshoot, it’s notable that there were no leaks or puddles inside the car, so the seals are clearly working well! The rear cargo doors also operate smoothly.
The wheels and tyres are all in great shape. Tyres are Falken Sincera SN-807s at all four corners, and all have plenty of tread depth and no cracking or damage to the sidewalls.
A9 RYX uses the 848cc derivative of the ubiquitous A-series four-cylinder engine, along with a four-speed manual gearbox. When new these engines produced modest power and torque – just 34bhp and 44lb ft – but with appropriate gearing for the car’s size and weight, and of course that Mini feeling of skimming just over the surface of the road, they always feel more lively than you might give them credit for.
This car has clearly been looked after, the A-series bursting into life barely moments after you’ve twisted the key, with very little choke required and no priming with the accelerator pedal. It then idles smoothly with no coughs or splutters, and is very responsive to squeezes of the throttle.
While driving on public roads wasn’t possible due to the car’s current SORN status, the Mini was happy manoeuvring around for photos, the newly-installed clutch biting keenly and smoothly, each gear engaging well, the engine revving happily with a zing from the recently-fitted exhaust, and the steering precise and nearly fingertip-light through the large wheel rim. Rearward visibility is notably tricky in Mini vans but the compact size is always welcome!
The brakes and handbrake also operate effectively, and beyond that the Mini is so mechanically simple there’s not a great deal else to note. Looking around the engine bay itself everything appears in well-maintained and original condition. Owners will tell you all Minis leak oil but thanks to the recommissioning there’s little evidence of that here. Some residue around the neck of the thermostat suggests a small leak, but the radiator itself and the fan are both in good condition.
There’s so much variety to the Mini market, from one-off builds that exude the owner’s personality, to rally and race replicas, to daily drivers and careful restorations. The saloons will always dominate the market but there’s real charm to the commercial models too, and this 95L van is a perfect example of that. Classic features make it look earlier than its year of registration, while regular maintenance means it’s as usable as something more modern.
It’d be great to see this van pressed into light use by a small business, perhaps as a promotional vehicle or making local deliveries, but it’s also a car to bring joy to people at shows and events – turn up to the Goodwood Revival in this and you’d doubtless attract as many admiring glances as much more exotic machinery.
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 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 sellers discretion.
The max bid process allows you to bid without any hassle.
Enter your maximum bid and we will then bid on your behalf to ensure you're the highest bidder - just enough to keep you in the lead and only up until your maximum.
About Max Bids
C&C prevent auction snipers from bidding in the last seconds to win an auction.
Auctions are extended by 10-minutes if anyone bids within the last 2 minutes to allow other bidders to react and counter-bid.
If your bid is below the reserve price you'll bid that amount if you are the highest bidder.
If you are the highest bidder and place a bid above the reserve we will only go up to the reserve price.
Once the reserve has been met C&C will make sure you are the highest bidder using the bidding increments stated below, keeping you in the lead up until your maximum bid.
£0 to £10,000
£10,000 to £50,000
Automatically outbid immediately
When you place a max bid and are outbid immediately that means that another bidder has placed a max bid limit which is higher than yours.
You can bid again and we will use our automatic bid system to try and get you as the highest bidder.
Matching max bids
When there are two max bids of the same value, the one placed first remains the lead bidder.
Watch this auction
Get notified when the auction is starting, and half an hour before it ends.