The project

Click on the images to enlarge

Lucy at first glance

There are a few specks of surface rust on the front O/S wing and right under the windscreen that will need attention asap but that's not bad for a Mini as they tend to rust quite fast.

I'm not sure if I like those black bumpers yet. I'll probably replace them with chrome ones with overriders. I'll replace the bonnet badge once I find one I like and the Mini City black grill will be replaced with something different. Maybe a chrome unit with holes for 2 Hella headlamps.

the mini project car

The O/S looks ok. Those black wheel arch covers are pot-riveted and a bit loose and there is no trim over the sill seams but that's easy to fix. There's a bit of rust that needs attention first. Surprisingly, the wheel arches are in pretty good nick. The tyres are all nearly new and provide a decent amount of grip so I'm going to concentrate on restoring the car before I turn my attention to wheels and tyres.

One thing I would like to do is to get rid of those decals on the side of the car. Apart from looking crap, it tells you that its a Mini City. The City is the bottom of the Mini Saloon range. You have City at the bottom and Mayfair at the top and loads of special editions in-between. Then you have the Coopers which are the sports models.

the back of the mini

The back looks ok too. Well, the rear bumper has a little dent in it and there's that nasty City decal again. The fog light doesn't work but I think that either the bulb has blown or I need to investigate the wiring.

I had to take the lights off to clean out some water as the seals have perished. I don't think you can get new gaskets but new light units are about £12 so I might get tinted ones as replacements.

I may de-badge the Mini logo and replace the rear number plate light and boot handle with custom chrome bits.

I've already removed that window sticker. I don't believe in free advertising.

the side of the mini

The N/S has had some work done to it recently. The cowboys that did the MOT repair work for the previous owner know nothing about Minis. They welded new sills onto the car but left no drain holes so the N/S sill filled with water. There's a little hole inside so when more water gets into the sill the front passenger foot well floods. Holes were drilled in the sill to drain out the water. We also found that both front door seals need replacing.

The rear quarter panel has also had some work done to it as evidenced by the primer paint.

inside the mini

The interior is in pretty good nick for a 14 year old car. I'm not to fond of the bland greyness of it all though.

The City only has 2 gauges (no rev counter). Its pretty basic in here with few mod cons. The wiring was a bit messy but that has now been sorted. The carpets and soundproofing has been removed to dry out. Once the sill has been welded and the door seals installed I'll put them all back in.

drivers seat

The seats are quite comfortable so I'll keep them for now while I concentrate on the engine, mechanics and bodywork. Once restored to its former self I plan to concentrate on making the interior as comfortable as possible.

I want to install a roll cage, comfy seats, black leather racing steering wheel, custom dashboard with rev counter, oil and battery gauges. Then, probably red interior with red/gunmetal Sparco foot pedals, bucket seats and 4-point seatbelts.

mini engine bay

Ah, the A series engine. This one is a 998cc model with a single SU, servo assisted brake unit and the usual bits. It needs a bit of a clean and a lick of paint but it starts every time.

One of the first jobs I had to do after buying it was to replace the fan belt which was pretty worn. It was a bugger to replace and I had to take off the front grill, unbolt the alternator and unscrew and pivot the radiator backwards to get the belt over the fan blades.

I plan on installing a Stage 1 performance kit.

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