Lucas, Prince of Cost Cutting.

Having owned many old and rare cars, and being quite familiar with the idea of desperately scrounging in junkyards to find one tiny but critical part, one of the nicest things about owning a Mini is the availability of almost every part, brand new, often from the original manufacturer.

Except sometimes the quality isn’t quite the same as it was in the 1960s. Take the light switch, for example. Last night we were ready to head off to Mini club, flipped the switch and… sproing! No lights, no clicky noise from switch. Abandon Mini, drive in the Terios (AKA “the car that always works” or “the car I’m not allowed to pull apart”)

It seems Lucas has decided to make the internal parts of their new switches from plastic. Soft, chewy plastic which is in no way up to the task of resisting the pull of two short but strong springs. Like so:

We have a new replacement on the shelf, but I’m not keen on fitting another switch which will crap out as soon as the first one. Luckily I have a few old, original 1960s Mk1 switches in a box somewhere. Look at all that high-quality (if extremely dirty) steel:

The steel slwitch levers fit into the new switch casing with no trouble at all.

So now I have a new switch with 1960s internal parts. It should last another 50 years.