Its been a long while since I was part of the mini community, and its been a few years since I lived in the UK.
The last involvement I had with Mini's was back in 2007 when I took part in the North West Mini Club and the rolling road shootouts featured in the mini magazines. It was loads of fun!
Then life got in the way, you know the normal stuff; house, marriage, children, work, then moving all the previously mentioned to another country and starting over again! hehe
Anyway, once we we got settled over here, I realized it would be great fun to have another project again. And being in 'Merica, surrounded by cheap trucks and V8s the obvious choice was.....well I hadn't really decided to be honest...
Then one day while idly scanning the classifieds I spot a chap not too far away selling a 1961 mini Cooper!
Now this is the middle of Indiana, the redneck epicenter......picture country music on every radio station, V8 pickup trucks, copious amounts of camouflage clothing worn, guns etc...
Who the heck has a classic mini here?
I just had to have a look, plus it was cheap.
The chap was called Bill and he was a lovely old gent, he had cars all over, one of those old yellow New York checker taxi cabs, a 1940s hotrod, an old Austin bug eye sprite, he even has (and I don't think its going anywhere fast) a mini woody traveler!
Now this is where my heart maybe ruled my head...
The car is a rolling shell; the story is he found the car in a farmer's field in early 70s, he put in a rear roll cage, welded in a completely flat floor covered it in fiberglass and he used it for autocross racing for a couple of years.
Then, I guess in the pursuit of more speed, he cut off the front end to make a fiberglass front.....then stopped...put it in his barn in 1975 and it lived there ever since. Until September '14 when a strange Englishman bought it.
I've received the Heritage Certificate for it from British motor Heritage museum.
Turns out its an Austin Seven, built in March 1960. LHD exported to the US.
Came in Farina Grey with whitewall tires.
longer term, it will receive a FWD Yamaha R1 conversion with my own sub frame and drive system.
And will be repainted in that farina grey paint
So far I've stripped the whole car to a shell, made a rotisserie and I'm ready to attack the rusty shell.
I had to make a shelf above the mini where I could stash the parts for now. The double garage is only 22'x22' and I have to fit 3 cars in, but its also quite tall at 9-10'. So plenty of storage to be had hanging stuff off the ceiling.
Pulling things off the mini I was really surprised by
1) how many bodges the PO had made, like welding a sheet of steel to the underside of the rusty floors, bent up and over the sills (i will take some pictures and get them posted up). Fiber-glassed over the top of the rusty floor inside so that it makes a nice rusty sandwich then mature 40 years, cut the front end off, no extra bracing though, the front sub frame rear mounts were non existent so the sub frame was only held in by the tower bolts, oh and while he was cutting the floor he sliced right through the rear of the front frame so i think that's pretty knackered.
2) how many rust holes there are, probably every panel needs repairing to some extent. I priced up $1000 in panels.
3) How easily EVERY bolt came undone! literally every bolt unscrewed without hesitation I even forgot to use any PB blaster or WD40 on the rear sub frame! freaky
I'll let some pictures do the talking...
Edited by Chappers, 28 February 2018 - 08:49 PM.