Why Correct Identification is Necessary

Of course, it is always nice to know what it is you own, just for the satisfaction of being certain, but there are a couple of more important reasons.

Buying Parts

Eventually, you are going to want (or need) to buy parts for your Mini. Maybe you want to accessorize. Or maybe you need tune up parts. Well, a Mini is a Mini is a Mini, isn’t it? Only up to a point. In the “olde days” one set of points, plugs, distributor cap, rotor and condenser would fit all Minis. Those days are long past and even if you don’t know which parts to order you’ll need to know what your car really is to have someone help you decide.

Legal Issues of Buying/Owning

It has been mentioned already, but if you are interested in a Mini and have an eye on importing one you need to be aware of your country’s importation laws. The U.S. DOT and EPA laws, as enforced by U.S. Customs, basically say that if your Mini is at least 25 years old, you can import it as exempt from having to meet any standards. That’s a pretty simplistic interpretation of the laws (do your research), but it is basically what you are faced with if you want to import a Mini not in compliance with U.S. laws and use the car on the street.

And just because you can import that car to the U.S. doesn’t mean you’re home free. You also have to comply with registration and inspection laws of your state. These vary from state to state and you’ll need to check before importation. Just because your 1980 Mini was legal to import to the U.S. doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to put it on the road in California, for example.

Maybe the car is already registered in the U.S. and you want to buy. It may still be an issue for you to decide if that 1971 Mini (which is really an illegal 1998 MPi) is something you want to take a chance on. That’s your decision, but at least if you know what the car really is, you will know what you are getting into.

One last issue is insurance. In case of an accident or theft, the issue of the car’s true identity might come up.

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