I've been back in the office for a few weeks now so I've been driving Bertie most days, and the local group of mini owners has started meeting up on Wednesdays again, so I've been able to finally start enjoying the fun side of Mini ownership a bit more.
Since the last update I've made a few subtle changes - swapped the bonnet badge for an earlier Leyland shield type, fitted a new pair of riveted number plates, and had a full set of 165 Falken tyres fitted (along with a full alignment) after experiencing a blowout on my way home from work. Annoyingly another slight obstacle has just thrown itself my way, as immediately after driving off from the car park pictured above, a car flicked a stone straight at my passenger side headlamp which now has a nice stone-sized hole in it! So a new pair of upgraded halogen lamps is on its way from Minispares, hopefully in time for me to fit on my lunch break tomorrow.
Overall I'm pretty happy with how the overall look of the car is shaping up and fortunately it's still treating me very well with some surprisingly reliable motoring, I even took it on a 700 mile round trip to the lake district and back and it didn't miss a beat. As for what's next, I think I'll be keeping a black grille but maybe replace it with a new thin slat type rather than the pressed steel design it currently has, for a slightly cleaner more retro look. I'm still unsure whether to bother forking out for a partial respray to remove the stripes, they are growing on me but I'm still not 100% sure they suit the look I'm going for, which is starting to evolve into a '70s Mk3-ish standard-ish feel with maybe a bit of a special tuning twist... Apart from these cosmetic bits I will continue to do all the usual servicing and maintenance as needed, and maybe think about upgrading the interior with some comfier seats, new carpet and some sound deadening to improve the overall comfort levels.
Given the break we had from the rain this past weekend I also had a good chance to perform a slightly more thorough exterior detail, with a decent wash, some clay bar decontamination, then a hand polish and wax treatment - the paint is looking the shiniest it's been for quite a while now!