Hi everybody, after spending over two years on this restoration, and me enjoying so many of your restoration threads I thought I would start my own.
I bought the car in the summer of 2015 together with my dad, we found it in a very sorry state but not so sorry that we thought it wasn't worth rescuing. Not to mention it came with a whole load of racing/rally parts which will be saved for a future build as well as about half an 1100 Special (less the body and engine sadly).
Here we are both with the car outside our workshop.
As you can tell the front end was missing, and the inside was full of allsorts of mess. And the rear wing had been attacked with an anglegrinder and seemed to full of filler as well...
The previous owner had started the work and had already replaced the floor. Sort of. Most of the welds had been started but weren't ground back at all yet, nor had any of the panels actually been joined up. This meant that the doorstep didn't actually meet the floor at all.
The MGB in the background of the picture above belongs to our neighbour and friend whose workshop has the doors open there. He is retired Austin Healey racer (both eldest competitor and car in the Dutch Nationals) who restores and maintains British classics over here in Holland, and as luck would have it he'd never done an Innocenti Mini and seemed keen to join in and get the panel work sorted out. His condition was that I supply him with a workable shell.
First order of business would then be to grind down all the welds and properly assess what needed doing to the body. Which, unfortunately is always much more than you initially think. The doors needed reskinning, the rear arches repairing, at some point the car had been stored on its roof on a roof rack which had bent the gutters, the bootlid was pretty rotten, and for some reason the car was full of holes in strange places. The PO was also keen on audio installations and had removed most of the parcelshelf for speakers, as well as cut a huge hole in the rear seat backrest panel for a woofer, and added an extra shelf in the front so he could access the radio while wearing the four point harness he'd installed and also a few extra aerial holes... It would all have to go.
Mechanically the car was also in a pretty sorry state. The previous owner told me replaced the 1275 with an 850 because the 1275 was using up to 1L of oil every 100km. Luckily he had kept the original engine which did come with the car. I had hoped I would get away with a quick hone and new piston rings but like the shell it was a bit worse.
With a borrowed hoist we got the engine onto a stand for stripping and examination.
Once it was all stripped down we took it to an engine builder who upon examination of the block told us we would need to bore the block out to the next size but that the crank only needed polishing and not regrinding. But as he suspected the oil consumption was down to head gasket failure he decided to measure the face of the block for distortion, turns out it wasn't as level as it could be so it was decided it would be skimmed and the bores linebored to make sure it was all tiptop.
For those not in the know, an Innocenti 1300 engine is somewhere in between a Mk3 1275 S engine and a 1300GT. This was because of the agreement BMC had with John Cooper which allowed them to make Cooper branded cars until 1975, however BMC had already ceased production of the Mk3 S by then in favour of the 1275GT. This meant that the Coopers built in Italy by Innocenti under license from BMC were the last real of the real Coopers, but as the Cooper S had been out of production BMC had no more 1275 S engines for Innocenti who instead used a 1300GT block (closed tappet chest) with an S crank, con rods, cam, and head.
While the engine was being dealt with (which took the best part of a year) I started the task of removing all the old soundproofing, shoddy welds from the previous owner and any body filler or bubbly looking paint that looked like it was hiding rot.
You can also see in the picture below that although some parts had been repaired it hadn't been done all that well, and the shell was hardly straight.
Once all that was completed it was off for a short trip, but a long stay, next door for the body work.
More to follow later.
Edit: Ah simple as that eh. Cheers.
Edited by InnoCooperExport, 03 January 2018 - 05:52 PM.