The summer officially began on July 2, my last day of semi-regular employment and first day of a period of vacation and car project activity. The vacation was spent in and around Seattle, which lead me (inevitably) to browse the Seattle craigslist postings in the weeks leading up to the trip. I had a romantic notion of finding something fun and interesting and driving it home, forfeiting the return plane ticket in favor of a fun little ride to complement my current rag-tag assortment of Alfas. I thought about looking at this BMW 2000 sedan, then focused my search on a Dodge A100 van or splittie VW bus. Then the Motherlode 400 happened, and I found myself newly afflicted and looking for a classic Mini, ideally an early MK1 or an Innocenti variant. Any commentary I could make on the appeal of a classic Mini would go into a great pile of redundancy that has been accumulating for over 50 years. What I didn’t want, however, was a car that had been given the usual treatment with Union Jacks or checkered flag motifs adorning otherwise clean panels, billet under the hood, VTEC conversions, etc. I did want something that was more suitable for modern traffic, though, meaning as big an engine as possible, disk brakes, safety belts… What I found was this:
The car’s current owner restored it a few years ago, giving it a very original look but upgrading a number of components: it has a hopped up 1275 motor, 7.5″ Cooper S disks up front, Cooper S wheels (no Minilites here!), and some Corbin deep bucket seats. The only element that was added outside the general 1960s esthetic is a massive 500W stereo system. My gut reaction to this is negative, but I suspect once I hear it and am cruising along I5 on my way home from Seattle I’ll be pretty damned happy to have it. I’ll be in Seattle next week to retrieve it; expect another post with more details after the trip. More photos here.
Meanwhile, I’m working on selling off a couple of cars at home. The TI, as beautiful and generally drivable as it is, is the emotional trade for the Mini (and was supposed to be put on the market when I got the ’62 Sprint….). I spent some time last week wet sanding it, and will bring it to the body shop for the final buff and polish and to address a couple of spots that need touch-up paint.It needs a couple dozen little things but nothing big. Hopefully someone will want it for what it is and enjoy sorting out the rest. It does boast a great color combination and an excellent motor and tranny setup.
I’m also planning to unload the Giulietta that’s been sleeping soundly in my garage for over a year. If you’re reading this and at all interested in taking ownership of this garage furniture, let me know. Same goes for the ’66 GT, which is buried under a layer of dust and grime at Luigi’s shop, and our boat, which needs another day or two of exhaust work before it can be sold as a runner. Good times. I’m hoping that by the end of August I have a much more manageable set of vehicles, and can concentrate on fixing the ’62 Sprint while driving the rest of them to my heart’s content.