Fun and Informative posts by Jemal

As part of my day job, I moderate and answer questions on the Mini Mania Forum.  As part of, the forum hosts an international and diverse group of Mini Cooper owners and enthusiasts.  Sometimes people ask things in funny ways…. perhaps something is lost in translation, perhaps they didn’t read the words they wrote, so we have some fun with it!

This was a thread about the notorious failure of the classic Mini odometers, which often get stuck when turning over anything with more than three nines in a row!

Funny topic!  This one brings back memories…  My childhood Mini Van in Iraq had the typical odo failure at one of the 999s.  My father patiently took it all apart till the dials could be poked and prodded.  For some reason, Arabs like to clean parts in gasoline, and so it went wrong!  First, the paint on the numbers came off, then he started a fire in the kitchen sink!  Somehow the unit didn’t melt down and after cleaning soot from half the house, he actually got it to work again…. for a little while.

Years later, he was attending KSU in Manhattan, Kansas when the odo on our 66 Chevy Impala got stuck.  Apart it came and into a tub of gasoline…. you guessed it, in the kitchen sink!  Off came the numbers, and BOOM from the stove pilot light.  Lots more soot for my poor mother to clean!  A trip to the junkyard to replace a melted speedo.  Not an idiot, eventually getting a dual Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics PHD from Stanford, but I bet he still cleans parts in gasoline!

Perhaps Palo Alto Speedometer is not such a bad deal.


Here is the full topic and comments by members of the forum:


Let’s do one more…. This was in response to a question posed by someone new to Minis, wondering if a Classic Mini would be a good choice for “primitive” conditions….

If you mean the roads routinely have as much as a foot of water, there won’t be too many cars that won’t “malfunction”!  Have you considered a Bush-era Hummer? 

Keep in mind that Minis do come from England, where it is known to rain on occasion.  Rain can cause rust, and Minis certainly have rust, so logically, Minis must be ok in the rain!

You’ll find that we’re a supportive and helpful group! What do you think so far? 


The full thread:

OK, I can’t resist one more, about using a Classic Mini as a daily driver:

Now in my fourth decade as a motorcyclist, I’ve learned to ride and drive as though I am invisible. I do not rely on being seen, and I do not drone along, absent-mindedly next to a semi on the freeway, just hoping for the best the way so many complacent drivers do.  Obviously you can mitigate risks to some extent but ultimately, the physical universe won’t allow two objects to occupy the same space at the same time.  If the two objects are a Crew-cab dually and a classic Mini, well, I hope it’s not your Mini!

IMHO, the biggest fault with a Mini as a daily driver is the wrong kind of driver. It simply will not survive at the hands of someone inattentive to what the car is telling them.  You can’t be multi-tasking with your various devices expecting the Mini to take care of you and itself the way a modern car does.  You must devote attention to the sounds and smells and vibrations, constantly look for leaks, smoke, fumes, flames, a myriad of things the Mini might do to tell you what it need before it hurts itself or you!

It can be done though! Numerous members of this board have the right stuff!  I don’t anymore, but as a child, our 66 Mini Van 850 was THE family car, and the ONLY Mini in the country. Banging around Baghdad, Iraq (back when it was semi-civilized!) for nearly a decade, we only had one minor fender-bender. Ultimately we drove it back to Wales, had the 850 rebuilt, then drove it back to Baghdad! The British newspapers of the 70s thought we had very much the “wrong stuff”, a family of FIVE, making that trip in a Mini Van!  There was no back seat, let alone seatbelts!



The “Wrong Stuff”!    That’s me on the right at 10 years old!  This photo appeared with our story in the local press circa 1973,  North Wales near Chester and Liverpool.



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