First of all, I am a sucker for a Mini Cooper no matter the age, condition or style. I spotted Mikey’s gem at another Wise Guys Sunday meet and in a sea of well built muscle cars, the Mini still held its ground quite well. We, here at OFIM, love cars with a heap of character and this Mini is definitely not missing any. We don’t just look for cars that have been finished as a show car, or a vintage restoration that is completely immaculate from bumper to bumper, this little Morris holds so much history and character within every ripped seam, every scratch, every creak and definitely in every drive. This little beauty is a 1969 Morris Mini Deluxe Panelvan with a 998cc original engine under that hood. I just love how this Mini sits in any kind of light, of course the paint does play a part in this role with a colour that very closely resembles that of the Audi’s Nardo Grey. But the thing is, I have always been super interested in the different variations that the Mini were released as over the years and the panel van shape is definitely on of my top favourites. I can’t help but feel this was the original inspiration for the design of the current BMW Mini Era Clubman.
Mikey tells us that he has always been into cars since a young age but mostly classical euros, buying his very first car at the age of 13 and you guessed it, it was a 1975 Mini Clubman. The idea was to repair and restore the car in time for his license a few years later but it took longer than expected as always with any project car so it was replaced with a 1980 Escort. But his journey with Mini Coopers or cars did not stop there, Mikey is 25 now and have had around 16 cars to date (4 of which have been Mini Coopers). All of the cars that he has had have been the kind that most would consider odd or strange but they always had the ability to make people smile or look twice. This certainly was true for us as we couldn’t stop coming back to his spot and take another photo.
The Panel Van was bought about mid last year, it was the kind of car that he has been eyeing for a while but never really thought anything serious about as the price was too steep. One lucky day, the price was reduced by the previous owner and without even thinking about it, the Mini went home with Mikey the next day. It honestly was not at the best condition, so much flaws inside and out but it was mechanically sound. Somewhat of a diamond in the rough as Mikey would say it.
Over the following months, the Mini would undergo a new respray paint job, the electrics were refurbished and in working condition as well as a completely rebuilt speedometer binnacle. But the best part about the car is that Mikey ripped up the horrible aftermarket sound system set up in the rear of the car by the previous owner and restored it back to its original roots. The flat tray design of the panel van is basically what makes it unique and its not something to be touched. 
Minis are definitely mostly known for its racing pedigree in the olden days but I can say that this Cooper is just happy to be sitting there and looking pretty. I love how Mikey has not touched too much of the car, rebuilt original parts and kept the overall concept of what this car was meant to be. We love to see cars like these and talking to the owners to hear of their experiences and thoughts, its what makes us enthusiasts.