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The Maltese 1975 'expedition' Leyland Mini.


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#1 AlainC


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Posted 23 August 2016 - 11:25 AM

So my mini craze started about 2 years ago. After having a really bad accident with my car. I decided I should get around and do something productive and fulfilling. That something is cars and bringing back things from the dead.


I searched high and low for the most clapped out and turdy mini I could find in Malta. After going to see some 10 different vehicles. I chose this little gem its talked to me to be saved :





Here it is hidden under an old raft that it stood under for 16 years and down here finally towed into my garage.
















So what did I buy. I bough a 1976 Leyland Mini. This is a local assembled model and has a chassis number ending in K . After some digging around I confirmed the car was assembled in Malta and some cool Trivia for you Maltese Mini's have the George Cross stamped in the steel on the driver side wing. It was bought new by a man in 1976. It had a grey interior with a heater unit. It was painted in very dull black, it has 998cc lump with and HS4 su carb and driver side door mirror. If anyone has anymore info here in the entire chassis number 





My Plan For this :


The car to me is too far gone to restore to mint condition as 21 year old my budget can go so far and to be completely honest the car was never mint from the factory some thing look botched on it already an hey whats the fun in restoring it when you can create something completely unique out of it besides saving another mini is always a good thing. My plan is this I love rugged utilitarian looks, group b minis , rally minis, and Dakar rally minis the modern ones all speak to me in their design philosophy . I wanted something that looks hombrew rally cool and having a ton of utility in it sort of a road rally expedition mini. In simple words what you get if you cross a mini with an old series 2 expedition land rover. A bastard road rally mini ready to play in the out doors.


Anyway my journey started a year ago and I will be sharing with you my progress. Somethings aren't perfect or done right. I have learnt a lot from this mini and the wealth of knowledge is amazing. This is me doing something with a limited budget , time , knowledge and tools. Anyone attempting this maybe looking at getting into one this is a very bad realistic walk through from me  cheers guys.



#2 AlainC


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Posted 23 August 2016 - 07:16 PM

So i started off by doing the mudgaurd and roof as these were the easiest to get to.







I bought this SIP Migmate  130 second hand from out local flee market. It not the best welder in the world but it will have to do for the cause :P




Using thin snips and the rusted piece off the car i tried to create a copy as best I could it isn't perfect or good but it will be good.




I tach welded everything on and ground it down not bad at all










Next i attacked the boot which was completely rusted and the rear windows sills


















I managed to fill the holes using copper as backing so that the weld attaches its self to something worked quite well this.

#3 AlainC


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Posted 23 August 2016 - 07:23 PM

At work it popped into my head that it needs a spoiler. Shipping to Malta is very expensive and with Brexit is has an added premium. The car has been crashed or dented with a bollard some time in it life and the front valance is dented.Shaping the metal and replacing it completely would some carefully cutting and being that it is not structural nor is it interior metal i decided to just leave as is .So i cut some metal up to shape and welded it on.






These pictures dont doe it much justice it looks good but homebrew style and it also slows me down o well .




I also decided to debumper the front and remove the grille surrounds sills. I like debumperd minis from the front I am not a fan of chrome and the big bumper on the front looks ugly and out place to me. On the back it looks just right. I carefully cut the lip out and welded the subsequent holes up. and finished to shape with some poly filler.


Bought myself some vintage bike mirrors and decided I would like them to be like early mini and Japanese style wing mirrors to add to the funky look.




Order some parts from minisport to go on it once painted.




It coming out great so far. I have genuine fear of the engine i know it runs and turns over but it has no gears and i have no lift.




In the mean time I managed to source the second hand rear lights and some old wheel spacers. The rear lights are very expensive at the moment for me and in a country where bump parking is a way of life the protruding rear light of the mini are sacrificial



Edited by AlainC, 24 August 2016 - 09:48 AM.

#4 AlainC


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Posted 23 August 2016 - 08:28 PM

Time to attack the engine. As far as I can this thing has been serviced sometimes but not really taken care off at all. It has not run in 15 years at least and none of the water was drained out of it. I don't have an engine hoist so engine wont be coming out I need to get creative.


The know problems are


-No gears 


-Runs Lean

-No thermostat

-Water Pump leaks

-Oil filter leaks

-Starter Motor skips tracks




The water channels were full of crud and water deposits. The previous owners ran it with just tap water and left it to sit with it still in it. This will keep haunting me as to date iv flushed the system 4 times and it still comes out brown :/




I pulled the head of and got cleaning it. It a basic 998cc head. It has no signs of heat damage on it and is relatively clean inside . I took out the dremel and wire brush and got cleaning all the channels and ports. With a die grinder I enlarged the water holes by a bit for more coolant flow and removed all the rough edges in the exhaust and intake ports. The valves have some pitting on them leading me to believe it was being run on unleaded but still seal well.




Threw the head into a solution of caustic soda and left it over night. Contrary to what people told me. I asked my mother who is a chemist and she told me it would be fine overnight. It worked very well and it cleaned the unreachable deposits in the  head .




The Carb is an HS4 with waxstat needle I got a gasket set for it and rebuilt it . I painted the hat gold for a nice effect with pancake filter.




I started rebuilding the engine cleaned the cylinders and pistons and changed the head gasket.

Lots of elbow grease polish and paint and this is the result. Painting and detailing was a ******* to do in the engine bay and I have quite a big guy with ogre hands but i managed as best i could.



Edited by AlainC, 24 August 2016 - 10:09 AM.

#5 AlainC


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Posted 23 August 2016 - 08:56 PM

A Mini Needs fog lights and from all the pictures iv ever seen it the only car where the more you have the better. Bought some Weller lights and created some mounts for them out of quarter inch steel plate . I couldn't use the ready made mounts as these utilize the bumper lips to attach.







I started spraying primer on the body . One layer at a time . and started laying down the top paint in black I chose to roller the paint on using a mix of hammerite for the white and dulux for black unthinned for the black and 20 percent white spirits for the white .


I did alot of research before doing this mistake were made several times. I chose to layer it on rolled because:


- The paint guy here in malta wanted 1000 euros without prep to paint it for me . A car I bought for less then half that it would be a stupid investment to make


- Malta parking is tight and streets are narrow people bump park all the time having a paint job which looks of that i can fix with a brush is fine by me. 


- My neighbors and my family isn't down with me spraying 2 pack paint haha.






The wheels in gold cause I like gold :D
















Edited by AlainC, 24 August 2016 - 10:24 AM.

#6 AlainC


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Posted 23 August 2016 - 09:02 PM

Fitted all the rubbers painted all the rims and fitted the roofrack to it :) it looks bitchen (at least to me). It was right pain fitting the rubbers and im glad its over need to buy the insert for it 




I managed to start it in gear and drive it out so i could take some pictures of it.










I found this roof rack second hand it very big for mini but it looks cool and goofy on it. It also fits the bill of being utility as I can carry a ton of things on it. The spare wheel will permanently dwell there and also an army surplus Jerry can which I have had for yours and always wanted to use in this application.




I added some manufacturer decals just to get looking more rallyish not every ones taste but i tried to put relevant ones .



Edited by AlainC, 24 August 2016 - 10:28 AM.

#7 AlainC


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Posted 23 August 2016 - 09:12 PM

I decided to change all the shockabsorbers and the rubber cones with  g max ones and also change the rear drum assemblies as they where completely shot. Little did i know i need hi lo for these shocks to fit. I bought them at later date.




Got a nice steering wheel for it as the one it had original was gigantic and it left me no leg room to maneuver in.




A big improvement over the oil shocks it had before which i doubt worked . 




It wasn't to hard to change the entire assemblies bolt were rusted but on the whole went well bleeding them is up next.




That is for now it all about the interior and getting it running long enough to test it a little. Here something fun there is a guy here in malta who has a wicked collection of minis in his barn haha check it out.



Edited by AlainC, 24 August 2016 - 10:32 AM.

#8 Ben_O


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Posted 08 October 2016 - 04:50 PM

Nice transformation.


But all those Mini's sitting on racking doing nothing :(

#9 gadget555


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Posted 08 October 2016 - 07:26 PM

33 of em!

#10 JXC Mini GT


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Posted 08 October 2016 - 07:39 PM

I am off to Malta on Tuesday for a few days, I think I may need to do some mini parts shopping

#11 AlainC


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Posted 10 January 2017 - 12:27 PM

So Guys after 6 months my journey on getting this mini back on the road is coming to a close what I have added so far is this


Brakes :


Changed all the rear assemblies and front pads. Fronts need adjusting.


The Suspension


  • Changed all bushed to mild poly ones inclusing new uprated tie bars
  • Added a second engine steady to the engine
  • Added a new washer bottle and got the wiper motor and pump in




  • Installed all the carpets 
  • Made seat covers front and back 
  • Made dashboard covers
  • Made rear side covers installed new speakers.
  • Installed a Radio



  • Fitted top roof rack spot lamps
  • Connected Rear lights and Indicators and fitted new lenses


Next Up 


  • Steering Cowl
  • Change sheared wheel stud
  • Adjust Brake 
  • add licence plate holders
  • head lamps grill for more mad max vibe
  • Tax and MOT


and lots of hope post hi def pictures and complete cost of it


It was done a on budget super budget I cost cut and saved where i could the total cost of everything is just under 4500 Euro including the cost of the car itself and shipping of all the parts to Malta from the UK

not bad to save a classic that was gonna be scrapped for 200 euros for a new VW Up lol

#12 AlainC


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Posted 11 January 2017 - 09:39 PM

So here is what it looks like had to change the starter motor it was bad it only worked if I attacked it with a hammer.













And this is what iv been doing while waiting for mini parts to arrive from the UK :D

#13 cityspeed


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Posted 11 January 2017 - 10:38 PM

Great job!, love the wheels,
Must be nice driving in Malta, we have lots of salt on the roads here currently, very jealous!

#14 AlainC


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Posted 12 January 2017 - 10:17 AM

Malta is nice for a mini cause of all the tight corners but while you have salt we have the worst road surface in the EU haha which is saying something suspensions here get a battering .

#15 AlainC


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Posted 30 April 2019 - 12:12 PM

Long time no see guys so just an update :
About 4 months ago the mini threw a bearing basically that really ugly bottom end sound and no power.
I have since acquired a bigger garage and have decided to blow it up in to bits and to do all the wrong I did to it last time.
I learnt a lot in 3 years and somethings need putting right now that I am more knowledgeable .
Also in true chronic hobbyist style i also bought a project land rover 2a :D
He he is :D
and here is the new workshop

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