Another long term reader but first time poster checking in. I’ve loved reading this forum and learning as a guest for many years before finally creating an account and then still not posting anything for the last 4 years since!
I've always loved minis. I brought my first car, my one and only classic mini, affectionally known as Mr Brum in 2007, and became the proud 4th owner of a Rover mini cooper sportpack in BRG with full black Cooper leather and around 36k on the clock. I had the car converted to S Works spec around 2009 by former JCG staff using new old stock items they’d brought on the closure of the garage and thoroughly enjoyed it as a weekend toy/second car, attending Himley Hall and Beaulieu events, mixing with fellow owners and buying my fair share of mini stuff at the shiny trade stands. Unfortunately, house choices meant no garage for most of this period which over time took its toll with the dreaded rust.
Fast forward to 2021 and I’m now at the crossroads of a failed restoration attempt and I’m turning to those who’s sage advice I’ve read so much of to ask your opinions on what I should do next.
To cut a long story short, Mr Brum was a fellow enthusiastic ruster and I kept him patched up and running for 10 years prior to SORN and taking him off the road at Easter 2017, following moving to a new house with a garage, just over 4 years ago. I then had the choice of trying to fix him at home or getting it done properly at a specialist, in hindsight I took the wrong option! Encouraged by what I’d seen others do, and not really knowing the extent of the tin worm and what lay beneath, I fully stripped him down at home, brought a rollover jig and started with a planed restoration of the shell.
I finally gave up on trying to fix the shell last summer, it was exactly as all the MPi projects on here warn of, a case of galloping rust that got worse and worse the more I revealed and cut away. I made my fair share of mistakes too and got to the stage where honestly, it was just too far gone to save. Really, no coming back.
So, I decided last summer that the way ahead would be to buy a new Heritage shell and start afresh and rebuild. Now, where I’m at the point of being able to buy one, I’m just not sure. A new heritage shell and arches, sealed, fully prep and painted is going to cost somewhere in the region of £14k based on quotes I’ve had. I’ll then want / need to fully strip down the engine and ‘box and refurb etc - it was absolutely fine before stripping the car, but has now sat for nearly 4 years in the garage. Then there’s all the little bits and pieces I’d want to refresh / replace in the rebuild, some I have, some I’d need to buy. Totalling up, gulp, I reckon around £20k to get it fully done and back on the road to be enjoyed - that’s my swag.
Obviously, my car wouldn’t be worth that as a new shell resto 99 MPi with c.50k on the clock. However, that kind of outlay would buy a seriously nice classic mini, which would be ready to go, with maybe just a few tweaks here and there - I’ve accumulated quite a few nice bits and pieces along the way ready for a rebuild which could go on to the right car.
So grateful for your advice, what would you do? Heart says buy a new shell and bring Mr Brum back to life. Head is not convinced it would it ever get finished and back on the road, the wiring and recreating the MPi engine bay is my main worry despite the excellent build threads I’ve read. Head is leaning towards buying another low mileage, well looked after example, drive it, enjoy it and keep it nice.
Grateful for your advice and opinions!