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Fiberglass Reshell Pros And Cons.


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#1 mymini007

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 09:54 PM

What are the pros and cons of a fibreglass shell.

They are a lot cheaper than the metal shell at £4000

I get the obvoius.

Weight reduction
No rust

But there must be some bad points otherwise we would all be doing it! Do all the bits from my car just bolt in and, away you go ar does the shell need to be strengthened in some way?

#2 roberts

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:12 PM

But there must be some bad points otherwise we would all be doing it!


It's more to do with he obvious.. 4 grand !!

you can re-build the entire car for less than that.

#3 darrenw2

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:14 PM

Biggest bad point by far is the IVA test. Im not convinced that any std mini would pass IVA. Wether or not a GRP monocoque shell would pass is even more debatable.

You will see GRP shell replacement cars on the road bearing original number plates, but trust me this is technically illegal. IVA is defo required for any car that has had major mods done to the chassis. One of the mags this month raised a similar debate for shorties etc. You can just about get away with reshelling steel mini's on a like for like basis as the chassis hasnt been modded.

Im sure my reply will stir some interesting comments, but VOSA cover it pretty well on their website. Also worth asking on kit car forums as those guys are well clued up. Try www.locostbuilders.co.uk legal section.

Having said this, i used to live over the road from FRA minis when they were at Ferryhill (Durham area) and the shells looked very interesting indeed. Certainly had me thinking a few times. However after building a kit car and experiencing SVA i would think twice.

Problem no. 2 - not sure if DVLA would issue an age related plate based on the donor (ie your mini) or would issue a Q.

#4 mymini007

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:20 PM

Also worth asking on kit car forums as those guys are well clued up. Try www.locostbuilders.co.uk legal section.


May be the best way, so would it technichally be a kit car?

#5 james962

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:20 PM

Bit of a silly question, but with a GRP shell, how do you earth the engine/battery/ everything else?

Interesting read and link darren

James :thumbsup:

#6 Lot

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:21 PM

http://www.theminifo...showtopic=27975

^^ Build log of a recently completed Mini Minus which was SVA'd - that's a fiberglass shell isn't it?

http://minus-cars.com/

^^ Might be worth giving them a call about the legality.

Might be as simple as just a VIC check with DVLA for the new shell or might be more involved.

#7 mymini007

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:24 PM

This is the sort of thing I maybe had in mind

Shell

#8 darrenw2

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:32 PM

Also worth asking on kit car forums as those guys are well clued up. Try www.locostbuilders.co.uk legal section.


May be the best way, so would it technichally be a kit car?



Oooh, thats a good question. Personally id say no, but not sure if VOSA and DVLA would agree. I can only answer from my experiences of kit car building.
VOSA - generally had good experiences with them, but as with MOT stations the various testing centres test cars slightly different. Just because a GRP shelled car may have passed at Beverley that doesnt mean it will pass at Gosforth.
DVLA - oh boy, consistency is not a word that was invented for DVLA!!!! I used Stockton and they were fantastic, however some others are a total pain. Again just because one place would issue an age related plate, another may insist on issuing a Q.

If it were designated as a kit car and the company supplying the shell could give you a certificate of newness, in theory you could end up with a classic mini on a current plate (ie 59 plate!).


It could be argued that a Z cars conversion is a radically altered chassis and technically needs IVA. And at £450 a pop plus (i think) £90 retest fee its not a cheap test. (or at least that is the price for an amateur built car). Trust me again - its a sod to pass.

If you want a definitive answer then call VOSA. I had to call my local centre a couple of times when building my se7en and found them to be very helpful. IVA only started in April so not sure if all of the grey areas will be sussed out yet.



Earth's - Id say you would need to fit some common earth points that are wired back to the battery and have all components re-wired to the new earth points. Not hard to do but a bit of a hassle.

#9 CobraV8

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:37 PM

I would be putting a cage in a fibreglass shell, and linking it to the subframes, ie space frame styled - and use all that metal as the point to earth to as well.

#10 mymini007

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:37 PM

http://www.theminifo...showtopic=27975


This looks stunning, but I am not sure I have the attention to detail or patients, to get it this good. And it would all have to be 110% for the test.

Mark Evans makes it all look so easy :thumbsup: (A car is born) In case you were wondering!

#11 darrenw2

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:46 PM

It will be about 12 years ago when FRA were at Ferryhill. I vaguely recall them saying it wasnt totally correct to swap the donor bits over and fasten the old plates to the new shell, however it was unlikely to get looked at. It didnt mean anything to me then. However ive looked into it further since.
The shells looked very good indeed. Were strengthened in key places (like seat belt mounts). I could be very tempted myself. I wonder how heavy they are compared to steel shell?

If they defo have to be IVA's to be above board then it is very doable, and you can buy a book that explains the regs and what you need to do. Just dont assume that because BL did something in a certain way that you can too. It dont work like that unfortunately. (eg - i doubt the external seams on a std steel shell would pass IVA). Bonnet pins would be a no no - you would need to use rubber catches. The list goes on.

I really hope someone can prove me wrong (like a VOSA inspector who is a member on here, or the shell supplier).

If you buy one, check the gel coat finish carefully. Its annoying if you get those mini cracks in the finish. I assume they would need painting. Some GRP shells (like Cobra's etc) come in coloured gel coat. No metallics but saves you painting the car for a while.

#12 Sherlock

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:50 PM

There are so many laws & so many ways of interpreting them which surrounds rebuilding or modifying cars, they can guarantee to catch you out one way or another, so be very sure of all the facts before you spend the money. I wonder what would be said if I decided my Mini had corroded too badly & decided to fit a fibreglass shell of similar shape & dimensions, I have seen some, & the factory also produced some, but only for export, but it means it has type approval, & without going & finding it, I'm sure my log book makes no mention of what the car is made of. A little bit OT, but isn't it time the Government started treating one of it's biggest earners (Drivers) with a bit more respect & leniency. Making more & more vehicle regulations does nothing to deal with bad driving, & around here, it's as bad as it gets. Why should enthusiasts suffer because idiots create danger on the roads?

#13 Ethel

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:56 PM

Don't forget there were production GRP bodied Minis made in overseas plants.

There are no major draw backs in building one. You will need an extra battery cable but you won't need to paint it and drilling holes (you can tap them with a screw thread too) and other personalised modifications will be much easier.

Chances are you'll have to do some finishing of the body to fit it out, fitting glass can take a bit more care.

You will need an IVA, it will be classed as a kitcar as it's not an original manufacturer's replacement shell but you could avoid a Q plate if you use all the parts off (a different engine is allowed) off one donor.

IVA was a huge topic on the forum a month or so back - there are a couple of threads pinned with links to some official info including the IVA test manual

#14 darrenw2

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 11:29 PM

Wether you get an age related or Q plate isnt so much dependant on using one donor car, but you should use as many mini parts as possible and have the V5 for the mini that most of the parts come from. Some of the bods at DVLA wouldnt know if you used parts from 4 mini's or one.

There is question as to wether you can cut the front off your mini and fit a flip front and avoid IVA. I seem to recall though that the wings (ir front) is actually forward of the monocoque shell which is classified as the chassis. However modding the subframe (ie to fit a 16V) would probs require IVA. Cutting out the back end to fit engine in rear should defo be IVA.

Call VOSA if in any doubt.

My oppinion is that even if IVA is required then this shouldnt put you off going for your dream car. If you follow their guidlines and pass the test you will have one very well built and mean car. Think of iVA as quality control rather than an obstacle. How many times have we seen badly modded cars on the road. How many time have we had conversations with people who have made some heavily modified cars and you secretly wonder how the fasten their shoe laces let alone know work out how to use a spanner. Yes, IVA is a hinerance on the way we used to do things, but that doesnt necessarily make it a bad thing. Even a Q plate isnt as bad as it used to be - soon we will think of Q plate mini's as the ultimate symbol of the modded street cars.

#15 mymini007

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 04:17 PM

Thanks for all the comments and facts, I have always wanted a kit car, so once my shell finally goes to the big tin wormory in the sky i think its the way forward. :)




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