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Hello All, A Bit About Me And A Choice Between Heritage Shell Rebuild Or Buy Another Classic Mini?


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#1 Mr Brum

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Posted 07 February 2021 - 10:21 PM

Hello TMF,

 

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!

 



#2 grumpy2

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 10:22 AM

As no-one else has replied I'll give you my two-penneth.

 

It will always cost more to restore a car than you'll be able to buy one for at 'our' end of the market. So yes a heritage shell, panelled and painted may well cost in the region of £14k and then theres no point putting shabby mechanicals and a compromised engine back in. This will be matched with a nice new interior and trim. So £20k would seem a conservative estimate for what would effectively be a 'new' car.

 

I would estimate than a nice or very nice Sportspack could be bought for £14k and you could probably sell on your existing car so economically this route makes sense.

 

There are a few other alternatives though;-

 

pay a pro to fix yours for yours, might cost £10k but you'd have the best of both worlds, keep the car and provenance as well as lowest price.

 

Take the reg number off yours (legally) and transfer it to a new car, unlikely to affect the value of your car if its as bad as you say but would probably be OK the put on any replacement you bought subject to DVLA rules etc. This would address some of the attachment and if you wanted to sell the car on later you could return the original number to it.

 

Last option is dubious legally but I'm sure many have done it (I wouldn't though). Buy a decent body shell already done and swap the ID into that. however you'd always know that it wasn't really 'your' car even if no one else would.

 

Me - I'd pay a pro to fix it for me.

 

Cheers



#3 Carlos W

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 10:33 AM

How bad is the original shell.

 

you’re not far from the Isle of Wight. Ben would give you a quote for the work



#4 Chris1275gt

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 10:46 AM

As above. If you do get shot of it like many others you would wish you'd sorted it out and kept it alive.

#5 MiniMadRacer

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 10:55 AM

The good news here is you are under no illusions on costs and the work and time involved in this... you may not think so but that is a huge advanatage....as suggested above I would get a professinal quote to have yours looked at to see if its salvageable as the first port of call... dont decide anything until that question is answered... get to or 3 quotes from reputable mini refurbishers, not some Jo down the road



#6 steeley

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 11:04 AM

How bad is the original shell.
 
you’re not far from the Isle of Wight. Ben would give you a quote for the work


Give him a shout and send him some pics

He is always on here posting his work

#7 JXC Mini GT

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 12:59 PM

 

How bad is the original shell.
 
you’re not far from the Isle of Wight. Ben would give you a quote for the work


Give him a shout and send him some pics

He is always on here posting his work

 

In my experience Ben would give you an accurate and reasonable cost for whatever option you decide and his work is second to none, you may even find that the original shell is worth saving.



#8 Mr Brum

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 01:01 PM

Hi guys, thanks for the replies!

 

When I say I've made mistakes.... the first one was not sending the mini in Ben in 2017 to do the job properly as I has planned to do in the first place! I was really impressed by his work on the red mpi at the time and wanted him to do mine, got quotes etc, really nice bloke and very helpful.  It needed so much doing though, that it was a close call between repairing and a new Shell so I decided to keep digging and taking apart myself to try and get to the extent of what needed doing.

 

It was obviously worse than what appeared on the surface, as are they all, and Ben was entirely right with all the extra bits that would need doing and more as I took it apart. I made further mistakes in taking the car apart, but learned a lot about how they are put together.  Long story short, point of no return was reached late last summer and the Shell has been cut up ready for scrapping.  The only good bit was the roof and rear bulkhead!

 

So yes, I should have sent it to be done professionally, but was on the edge of viability, I took it apart and tried to save it and failed, but gave it a go.

 

So now it's either Heritage shell rebuild or buy a new car, the old shell isn't coming back to life I'm afraid!

 

Thanks for the advice and help with the decision of what to do next!



#9 Carlos W

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 03:58 PM

A new shell will give you a better car in my view.

You don't know what horrors are going to be hidden under a shiny paint job

#10 MiniCarJack

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 04:16 PM

Were it me in the same situation, with the means to rebuild the car from the ground up with a brand new shell, that would be my preferred option. You could certainly buy a decent car for less money than the cost of the restoration, but you'd never know how nice it really was underneath or what unknown costs or issues it might present. Plus if you rebuild your current car, not only would you be saving the mini you've cherished for years, but you could restore it to your exact desired spec and end up with the car you've always wanted.



#11 humph

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 05:59 PM

Were it me in the same situation, with the means to rebuild the car from the ground up with a brand new shell, that would be my preferred option. You could certainly buy a decent car for less money than the cost of the restoration, but you'd never know how nice it really was underneath or what unknown costs or issues it might present. Plus if you rebuild your current car, not only would you be saving the mini you've cherished for years, but you could restore it to your exact desired spec and end up with the car you've always wanted.

 

I'd agree with this. I am in the process of spending heartbreaking amounts of money on our Riley Elf restoration. I too was in your shoes, but without the re-shell option as you can't buy them.  I looked and found some stunning Elf/Hornets for a fraction of the cost of my resto, but ultimately ours was bought as our wedding car and is all over the wedding photos. A replacement was just never going to cut it.

 

Sometimes heart rules head, it may just take a bit longer to reach the end point. That said please don't get yourself into financial trouble because you won't make the resto costs back in the short term.



#12 sonscar

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 07:33 PM

Beware I suspect £20 thousand would not cover even half of it.I see mentioned on here £5K engine/gearbox rebuilds.Do not underestimate the costs of hundreds of small parts.Heartbreaking,choose wisely,Steve..

#13 mab01uk

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Posted 08 February 2021 - 07:59 PM

If you have no plans to sell your restored car on completion and intend to keep it for many years, bear in mind a mint MPi will continue to rise in value over the years. Not many would have predicted the prices of Minis like the 1275GT would start to rise once the Mk1/2/3 Cooper & S became too expensive for many to afford. The prices of good MPi's and 1990's Coopers will also rise as surviving numbers decline and in 10 years time you may end up wishing you had re-shelled yours (or at least retained the log book and parts to give you that future option as it is legal to reshell with a new Heritage shell).



#14 Carlos W

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Posted 09 February 2021 - 11:44 AM

Imagine how well a properly prepared new shell would last.

Modern cavity rust protector, stone chip etc

#15 Shep76S

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Posted 09 February 2021 - 02:13 PM

If you can afford it, I would go re shell. But I’m not sure 14k for the shell, prep and paint will be enough, don’t forget the cost of VAT

9k for the shell alone and I have read in the past that the heritage shells still need a fair amount of prep before paint.


Edited by Shep76S, 09 February 2021 - 02:15 PM.





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