Part supplies can really dictate ownership experience of classic cars. With my unique old ’80s Mitsubishi Montero, I’ve become painfully familiar with the feeling of dismay when met with the dreaded ‘No Longer Available’ designation while hunting for the last little part to complete a job.
I first discovered the car while mindlessly wandering through the internet, pounding in Mini-related search queries in a never-ending hunger for Mini photos for my archives. The little yellow Mini seemed to sit a little bit lower than the rest, and a local SoCal shop name was emblazoned on the windshield, but for years the car remained a mystery.
Cars are a funny thing. They are the reason that you’re here reading this article, they’re probably the catalyst for a number of your friendships, they often motivate our actions and influence our decisions, and on one particular morning, cars were the reason that my alarm had gone off far too early. I found myself sitting on the tarmac as the pilot awaited permission to be the first plane to take off that morning.
A little over 6 months ago, Mike and I loaded up his Land Cruiser and set the navigation towards a small town in the vast desert that lines the eastern half of the Golden State. Nestled in a small barn amidst a deserted tourist attraction was a little 1969 Mk2 Morris Mini that had come to a pause partway through a restoration.
Sir Alec Issigonis never dreamed that the small little car that he sketched on a napkin would go on to dominate races and rallies throughout Europe. Throughout the Mini’s design process, decisions were made solely out of utility. Issigonis was tasked with building a car that could transport four grown adults and offer fuel efficiency that could compete with the German bubble cars that were gaining in popularity following the Suez Crisis.