If you’re planning to buy your very own MINI, you’ll surely want to drive it, right? Even if you were to purchase one just for display, you’d still want to ensure that it remains in driving condition. If you’re working to restore this classic vehicle or make modifications, you need to know your wheel and tire size.
Understandably, among the first pieces that always seem to go out in classic cars are wheels and tires. Besides making direct contact with the road, wheels and tires also carry the vehicle’s entire load. Sometimes they can be tough to replace because as the car ages, the higher the chances of its wheel sizes being discontinued.
Fortunately, the humble MINI and its long line of successors are still very much loved around the world by enthusiasts. This means that wheels and tires for it are still relatively easy to find. In this article, we will discuss the three choices you have for your MINI’s wheels and tires:
1. 10-Inch Wheels
The original MINI came with 3.5” by 10” rims and 145/80-10 tires. Even the later Cooper S and 1275GT models used the same wheel and tire sizes because it was the only one that could fit the MINI’s original compact design. If you want to switch to the popular 165/70-10 tires, you will need to make your flares smaller and ensure that your suspension is in tip-top condition.
If you don’t want to do any modification and your vehicle was manufactured before 1948, it’s best to stick with the stock size of 3.5” by 10” rims and 145/80-10 tires instead.
2. 12-Inch Wheels
When disc brakes became the norm for cars, the MINI grew its standard wheel size to 12 inches. This increase in size allowed the car to accommodate bigger rotors and callipers and made it unpopular to users. As a result, many people thought that the increased wheel size made the MINI look too tall and look clumsy.
If you want to take advantage of disc brakes’ added safety features but don’t like the “clumsy” look of the stock 12-inch wheels, you can go with aftermarket options instead. Many enthusiasts favour the Yokohama 1539 in 60 series because it retains the same height with 10-inch combinations but still incorporates disc brakes and bigger rotors.
However, you’ll most likely have to do body modifications in the front wheels, given that the scrub radius will be significantly wider.
3. 13-Inch Wheels
Another excellent option for enthusiasts is the 13-inch wheel. A fair bit of warning if you’re new to the world of Minis: many people actually hate on the 13-inch size. If many people in 1984 scoffed at the additional height provided by 12-inch wheels, the adverse reaction came in droves for the 13-inch. The backlash came from people who absolutely endeared the MINI’s compact charm. If you want to use this wheel size, you’ll need some significant body modifications.
For example, if you want to use 13” by 15” wheels on a Cooper S, you may need to remove the flare altogether. You’ll also need to let your wheels stick out to allow the car to sit low without hitting the tires.
Knowing your wheel and tire sizes is the first step to being a true classic car enthusiast. While replacement units can sometimes be challenging to find, there’s nothing more satisfying than restoring a classic to its former glory. Fortunately, the MINI or any of its later iterations are still loved worldwide, and you should have no trouble finding one that is suitable for your needs!
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