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Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

Posted April 28, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl

A poll by British motoring magazine Auto Express to determine the 50 best British cars of all time has put the classic 1959-2000 Mini in the number one spot, edging out the Jaguar E-type and the Land Rover Series/Defender ranges. Those polled included unidentified members of the magazine’s staff, as well as 10 “expert” judges from the car manufacturing industry.

“There surely can’t be anyone in Britain whose life hasn’t been touched by a Mini,” the magazine says. “Throughout its marathon 41-year production run, the car become an icon of British innovation, a fashion accessory and a motorsport hero that also brought affordable motoring to the masses.”

In coming up with their choices, the judges were to consider “sales success, groundbreaking design and unbeatable performance,” according to the magazine.

Did the British screw up another vote? What do you think?

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#1

Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/28/2017 11:06 AM

I've driven a Mini, exactly like the one in the photo; even the same color. Certainly not the best car I've ever driven, but I can understand for all-around utility, it's hard to beat. There's a surprising amount of room in it, yet it's comfortable for all-day driving. The engine is tiny but is able to propel the car up steep hills and mountains. It's small size makes it easy to travel narrow roads and park in narrow spaces. It gets good mileage, so a tank of petrol lasts a while - which is important in the British Isles where gasoline is expensive. And the car is affordable.

But given a choice of a 'free' one, would I pick it over a Jaguar XKE, or a Lotus 7, or a Rolls Royce, Bentley, or a McLaren? Well, no, of course not.

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#2

Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/28/2017 11:43 AM

I'll take a convertible sports car. I've had several Triumphs that were a ball to drive (when I wasn't working on them).

(One was like this...)

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#9
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Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/29/2017 10:58 AM

Yep! I had 2 spitfires. Bless Lucas electrics. I found the best method was to , once a week, go around the car and re torque every bolt.

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#12
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Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/30/2017 4:40 PM

I spent hours underneath the Spitfire replacing those dang U-Joints on the half axles!

Unfortunately, with only one U-Joint per axle, when the wheel drops down with the wheel side of the axle no longer aligned with the differential side axle, the alternating torque on the U-Joint really stresses the needle bearings.

The only way I could repair it was to hammer on the yoke of the U-Joint until the vibration backed the bearing cap out. Not fun lying on your back with dirt falling in your face.

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#13
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Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/30/2017 5:04 PM

Ahhh, the fond nightmares of the spitfire. I had the knockoff wire racing wheels on the first one. You had to run around the car with the wrench and the provided plastic hammer and give each wheel a wack before you took off.

Still on the back roads of Connecticut in the summer it was joyful.

Now i have a NC MX5 which actually works with no problems and is the most reliable car i have ever owned.

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#14
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Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/30/2017 5:48 PM

Yeah, I'm on my third Miata, a sports car with reliability (once an oxymoron)

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#15
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Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

05/01/2017 2:49 AM

Don't forget about the Toyota MR2 Spyder. Mid engine, well balanced, Toyota engineering and build quality. I still have my 2000 MR2 and even though I have a Boxster, I choose to jump in my MR2 whenever I need to go for a local drive. The car weighs only 2,195 lbs - there's something about driving a light weight car!

Miata's are a lot of fun and they're very reliable and long lasting. The MR2 also fits the bill and with the mid-engine set up, it's a really, really nice handling car.

They say the Miata put the nail in the coffin of the British sport car. That's a pretty accurate statement.

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#16
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Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

05/01/2017 10:24 AM

Just don't mistake the original for the current BMW send up. Same reliability issues, that hasn't changed, but now with a BMW price tag.

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#3

Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/28/2017 12:14 PM

The British volkswagen...without the low price and dependability....classic

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Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/28/2017 3:38 PM

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Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/28/2017 3:48 PM

I dunno. I had an old Buick whose rear differential literally disintegrated on the highway. I could see the bits n bobs bouncing down the highway in my rear-view mirror, accompanied by the dull roar of the driveshaft dragging on the pavement. What a joy that was. I'd just gotten the brakes overhauled (to the tune of a thousand bucks) and a new battery the week before.

Then there was that Fiat X-1/9 (one-ninth of unknown quantity). Gawd what a nightmare. I'd take a Mini any day over that.

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#4

Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/28/2017 12:42 PM

“There surely can’t be anyone in Britain whose life hasn’t been touched by a Mini”

Not only touched by a Mini, but some of 'em were flat run over.

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#8
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Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/29/2017 3:57 AM

Aussi-American humour , don't give up your day job.

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#5

Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/28/2017 1:40 PM

The Mini mini....

The Mini weenie....

Red neck Mini...

Mini short bus....

The bridaled Mini...?

The gratuitous Mini....

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#10

Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/29/2017 3:34 PM

My vote would have been the 6 1/4 liter Bentley.

I never saw a Mini that won Le Mans.

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#11

Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

04/30/2017 2:01 AM

Oh My!

The Mini can't be the best British car of all time!

Think of these great car companies from England:

Jaguar (one of my favorite cars I've ever owned)

McLaren (if I had the gumption to get one, I'd buy a Ferrari first)

Lotus (cool, lightweight cars - I might buy one)

Triumph (I'd like to get a TR6 or a Spitfire)

Aston Martin (I almost bought one of these - really nice car)

Bentley (so many good Bentleys to choose from)

Rolls (ultimate in luxury)

Morgan (very cool cars)

Sunbeam (getting very expensive now, but I'd love to have one)

Jensen Interceptor (they crammed a 440 ci Mopar motor in the car)

Ariel (looks like a lot of fun)

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#17

Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

05/01/2017 10:26 AM

I'm currently enduring a 2009 Mini Cooper S. I bought it thinking great gas mileage and a ball to drive which, which it is... when it runs.

The timing chain jumped a tooth at 57000 miles and bent all 8 intake valves. BMW paid for that one, then the clutch started slipping at 98000, I fixed that myself at $600 for parts. I've been through 2 thermostats at $70 each. Now the intake valves are covered in carbon due to direct injection and the PCV system recycling oil vapor through the turbo then into the intake tract and the engine detonates under throttle. I would NOT recommend a Mini as a daily driver.

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#20
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Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

05/05/2017 3:10 AM

I've known many Mini (modern Mini) drivers who will never buy another one. I own a 2009 Cooper with 89K miles. Engine went after the thermostat stuck and caused a huge overheat. No temperature gauge, so you have no idea what's going on until the dummy light turns on and it's too late.

It's a fun car to drive and as you said, "when it runs". Ours is in the shop AGAIN! Check engine light - has a misfire but my mechanic can't detect it, so we don't know if it's a computer problem or a communication problem.

Mini's should be leased and then sent back to the factory - they built it, so let them find a way to get rid of them.

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#18

Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

05/03/2017 2:16 AM

It's not just the car itself, but it's role as the prototype of a transverse-engine, FWD, two-box hatchback that has become ubiquitous as the mode of a small, practical car. And some not-so-small ones, too.

So it was ironic (or disingenuous) that VW should have had an ad campaign for its Rabbit with the tag line, "Who would want to own a copy, when one can own an original?" Not only did the Mini beat precede the Rabbit by 15 years, but FIAT's 128 hatchback, closer in size to the Rabbit, came 4 years earlier. But then, recent events with emissions-test hacking have given further evidence of corporate sleaziness at VW.

For British funkiness of that era, I like the Morris Minor that preceded the Mini a bit more. When I was a kid, I was in a carpool for transportation to a summer driver's-ed course. One guy's mother drove a 1927 Model T wagon, another guy's dad drove a late-50s Morris Minor wagon, and my mom drove a 66 Olds Vista Cruiser.

But as an engineering exercise, the Mini was a stroke of genius.

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#19

Re: Mini Tops British Poll of Best British Cars of All Time

05/05/2017 12:37 AM

The biggest mistake they made on the Mini was putting the idler gear in the gearbox. They should have turned the engine the other way around, putting the distributor out of the weather and eliminating that annoying whine.

How many Mini's have you seen parked at the side of the road due to rain on the dizzie?

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