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1992 Mini Rio Restoration Project...


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#1 poxxxy


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Posted 01 August 2013 - 01:10 AM

Hi everyone,

So I have a feeling i'll be spending a lot of time here from now until the unforeseeable future. At 17 my dad took me to a work colleagues to go and look at a Mini he had for sale (I think it was around the £800 mark at the time or so...) having just passed my test and having been driving his old Vauxhall Cavalier at the time as my first car, this Mini was always intended to be driven by me. However unfortunately the shell was in a pretty rough condition and it was taken off the road and placed on the drive, put up on axle stands and we began stripping and chopping away at the car... unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we had to stop work on the car and time was never available to really give the project the time it needed.

8 years later, its still sitting there... and i'm still dreaming of being behind the wheel despite usually having reasonably adequate horse powered cars since acquiring my licence (with the exception of a Seicento, but that used to put a smile on my face... it will look like I was depressed when considering how I will feel and probably look when driving the mini!).

So the car, its a 1992/3 Mini Rio in Black with the Spira-green interior... and I think in its original styling its quite a funky car, despite being slightly older and that style perhaps suiting my earlier years as a late teen, I won't mind driving around in something quite so wild :).

I found out recently that only 750 of the Rio were produced and the only ones I've seen available are in turquoise and are being sold for a pretty penny (Around £5K Mar 2013), now I personally much prefer the black.

At the moment its had the boot removed and much of the back panel removed, the rear arches have been cut out as well as some of the boot panel. The rear subframe front mount heal boards are also well rusty and need replacing, this is job number 1. The front Scuttle and A panels are tired and also very rusty and a rear bumper needs replacing due to a ding... it will be interesting to see if the engine turns over at all after so long but I feel a strip down will be on the cards also in the near future.

Hopefully people will enjoy any progress we make with the motor and look forward to being round these parts more often :).



Well guys... that was my intro post a while back, now work has commenced and I have some before pictures of the state its been in for the past 8 years for you all to take a look at :).


Sorry for all of the rubbish that appears to have collected in the boot over the time when the original state pics were taken.


So far work carried out has been welding a new plate for the rear subframe mount (now solid once again!), nearside arch has been stitched back in and is ready for seam sealer, some boot floor has been replaced but there is more to do... we have also since cut out the rear offside arch ready for replacement.


Next on the list is sourcing a new rear subframe + fittings kit if anyone can help out there :). Then hopefully the back end can go back down for the first time in 8 years, i'm sure its toes will be grateful.

















After (rear nearside):











Wish us luck :), I crave a plasma cutter to!



#2 Yoda


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Posted 01 August 2013 - 05:03 AM

I will be following this one. I have a Rio too, the back end is good, but the whole front really needs replacing. It's repairable but i think for longevity, i will just replace the whole lot. This one is blue, but may end up black like yours. i dont have the original engine though, it was pulled by the previous owner for another car, but i might just be able to get it back off him as he called yesterday wanting a load of work done on it.


Look forward to more pictures. We like pictures!


Did i say we like pictures?


Good luck.

#3 poxxxy


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Posted 01 August 2013 - 10:02 AM

I'm glad you like pictures, I think there is 17 above or so lol. Got plenty to do but hoping to get that other rear arch in perhaps this weekend. It would have been back on the ground but it got put on the back burner because of gearbox issues with both my MK4 Golf 1.9 TDI PD150 and the missus's old BMW R50 Mini Cooper for the last couple of weeks.

#4 poxxxy


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Posted 21 June 2014 - 11:12 PM

Right... me and the father started doing a few bits here and there over the weekends whilst plodding along with other projects (damn looking back it was sometime last year that we did some of this lol.)... but finally we got somewhere significant with the mini! Time spent stripping down of the old rusty subframe that had been sat for years... wire brushing and restoration of radius arms/truneons, put on a new subframe (which we painted), Lots of new bolts. Set of hi-lo's, some KYB self adjusting gas shocks. Welded in new subframe mounting panels, welded in new floor panel in the boot, new battery box and yesterday finally raised the subframe up to the body for the first time in many many years! (probably 9 years!). Now we have new drums to fit tomorrow and hopefully we can get the back end down for the first time in a long time!






















Some Underseal and fitment :)











Hopefully the wheels will be on tomorrow so those ornamental stands can be repurposed as axle stands in the tool kit once again! Hopefully not so long for the next update to.

#5 Yoda


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Posted 22 June 2014 - 09:37 AM

Know what you mean about time slipping away on a project. Our Rio was put to one side when we moved 14 months ago and we have not touched it since! Must get my finger out this year once Yoda's new front is on.

#6 poxxxy


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Posted 24 June 2014 - 10:04 AM

Well... finally reduced the new parts bin to next to nothing! New back plates, brake pipes, drums, pads, handbrake adjusters, wheel bearings,  Oil blackened a few parts here and there. Hi-lows fitted, new gas adjust KYB shocks and probably loads more i've forgot to mention. But wheels are now back on after spending yesterday afternoon till about 9pm on it! :). One expensive rear end but finally ready to lower to the ground! Just got to attach the handbrake inside the car, weld bracket in for the fuel tank and one more brake pipe that goes up behind the subframe then the back end is officially done minus paint!









#7 poxxxy


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Posted 02 July 2014 - 07:18 PM

Today we decided to start looking at the front end... again surprises to be found from 8-9 years of sitting there and needing the panels replacing for some time before that :). The reciprocating saw and grinder came in useful and the wings came off fairly quickly for starters although spot welds still need grinding out. We discovered some nice big holes at the bulkhead/dash rail area so are going to be fun. Any tips on how to approach them would be useful. The A Panels also look like they need to be crimped around on the door edge which looks a pain (the nearside looks salvageable if repair can be carried out on the dash rail area, but offside will need to be replaced and has since been cut off). The windscreen will have to come out and the scuttle will have to be tackled to. Daunting stuff for the first time :).


First some pics of it sat on the floor for the first time from behind...





And now for todays pictures!















Problems to overcome!






Edited by poxxxy, 02 July 2014 - 07:25 PM.

#8 poxxxy


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Posted 20 October 2016 - 06:08 PM

Well.. its been a while, but things are going on with the mini once again. A bit of a slow burner i'm afraid up to this point but hopefully will be a sprint finish as its got all of our focus and attention at the moment as we finally have somewhere to store and work on the little one.


We finally got to trailer it from its resting place of the last decade or so...




t had been a while since we took a peak at what laid underneath that weathered tarpaulin doing a less than mediocre job at keeping the water out and off the unpainted panels. It looked rather sorry under there, like a broken johhny 5 or something out of a mad max film once it was pulled up onto the trailer. But it was making its first journey for well over a decade in one way or another.






With time passing I had managed to forget we started to attack the front end and installed an inner flitch repair on the drivers side. But looking at the sills it was clear we needed to go back to working from the back to the front. We managed to lower the car down from the trailer into its designated area ready to start work. Promptly removed the passengers door so we could see what was going on in there as light was needed and it was necessary to install some bracing.




Now to gain a little access to see what was hidden underneath the dreaded oversills.




It wasn't pretty, and we soon realised we could need full inner sills on both sides, crispy you say!?.







Now it was a struggle removing that damn companion bin with the rear quarter in place, torturous indeed., but eventually we got there and will have managed to salvage and re-use the existing bin. We cut the inner sill/floor out to where there was no rot and then discovered a couple of holes at the front on the otherwise solid floor.






We spent today evaluating the inner sill at the rear and how to go about it,and decided to get two front floor panels which we picked up today so we have something to work with tomorrow. Now it is a case of how we are going to fit the floor panel but as it is also half an inner sill we should be able to get the rear half of the inner sill in easy enough.


To be continued...

Edited by poxxxy, 20 October 2016 - 06:09 PM.

#9 poxxxy


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Posted 22 April 2017 - 06:01 PM

Got plenty of pics to try and collate together but we are now finally working on putting the front end back together! New inner and outer sills (no cover sills any longer! woohoo!), front floor pans, flitch panels etc. Those rear compartment bins are a pain in the arse for sure!


Just need to buy a few parts to assist in re-hanging the doors... wondering whether to use stainless for the door hinge support brackets and shims as I can't seem to be able to source them very easily!


Just contending with the scuttle panel at the moment and need to purchase some front suspension components to renew all of that on the front before the wings/a panels etc go back on. :).

Edited by poxxxy, 22 April 2017 - 06:01 PM.

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