My First Day with my First Mini...

I have a 1977 Austin Mini that had been imported from New Zealand. I had been wanting to buy my first Mini for years and I had spent a lot of time searching through the listings on MM and eBay. My wife had just given birth to our youngest child, which was a difficult pregnancy in which we almost lost him. After everything settled out, my wife realized that life is too short to put off things that might make us happy, so on evening she let me know that I could start looking for a Mini to call my own.

I didn't want a restored Mini - I wanted to learn how to restore it myself. Since it would essentially be a learning tool for me, I didn't want to "destroy" anything that I deemed historically significant. I settled on a MKIII body style, as it was still old enough to look "vintage", in my opinion. After several false starts, I finally found my candidate that was located 8 hours away from home (coincidentally on our wedding anniversary). I drove up the next day, loaded it onto my trailer and got home late that night. In the morning, I took my oldest son, who had just turned two at the time, into my bedroom so that he could see the car on the trailer in the street. I wasn't really expecting too much of a reaction, but as soon as he set his eyes on it, he turned to me and said " I need my shoes" - meaning he wanted to get out there post haste to check it out a little closer. The Mini has been a part of our family ever since.

My restoration is progressing slowly, and has pretty much been on hold for the past year and a half due to my employment situation, but my ultimate goal is to have it ready to go in time for my oldest son's prom - so I still have about 10 years or so to get moving on it. We celebrate the Mini's birthday every year on September 2.

The attached picture is from the day the Mini came home.

Duane Francis