Here we go again..
What interesting times we find ourselves in. There's a global pandemic and most of us now work from home, including me. I rarely drive my daily drive anymore, a Mazda 6 Sports (the Golf was sold years ago). Lucy still sits in the garage slowly rusting. There's mouse traps under her to try to keep the chewing of wires down to a minimum. And until about 6 months ago I turned her engine over once a month.
The garage door broke recently and in order for it to be repaired I had to push Lucy out of the way. I say push because the starter motor no longer fires so the engine won't start. The battery is fine and is still holding charge but when you turn on the ignition all you hear is this high-pitched ticking sound. I'm informed that it's probably the Bendix gears needing a service. I blew the dust off the old Haynes manual to see how easy a job that is but it only tells you how to remove and replace the starter motor, not how to repair it. I guess I'll use YouTube for that.
Pushing Lucy is a pretty arduous task because the wheels are sticking and need some TLC. After the garage door was repaired and Lucy was back in place I started to examine her in detail. The driver's hinge panel is all but gone and the driver's A-panel needs replacing. Both inner and outer sills are pretty much shot. The front nearside headlight is surrounded by bubbling paint indicating rust underneath. There's some rust here and there on the body. Mice have chewed wiring and all the bulkhead soundproofing is gone. The engine bay looks rusty as hell and the interior of the car smells "funky".
It's 2021 and Lucy has been sat in this garage for the best part of a decade so it's time to get her back on the road, and what better time than during a global pandemic? So the first job is to get the engine running again so I can back the car out of the garage, service the wheels and give Lucy a full inspection.
If you've read this blog from start to here then you know the story of how I purchased Lucy in 2004, restored her and then added the modifications that I wanted. Lucy became my daily drive until we had a family (we have two daughters now) and we needed something safer that would take child seats and had more space to carry all of our stuff when we went on holiday. So what happened is what tends to happens to a lot of Mini owners at some point: the Mini ends up parked in a garage where it begins to rust. You tell yourself that you have every intention of returning to your precious Mini at some point, but that point never seems to arrive. Well this is that point for me. I need a project and I also want to sort my garage and get myself some new tools.
So here's a rough outline of my plan:
- Get the engine running
- Free up all 4 wheels
- Assess all body parts that need attention (I'll need help with fitting them as my welding skills are still non-existent)
- Work out the minimum that needs to be done in order to get Lucy through an MOT
- Pass an MOT and get Lucy back on the road
- Complete the restoration with modifications
That's my plan in a nutshell. In regards to what modifications I'm thinking of, here are my notes in no particular order:
- Replace the front grill
- Replace the steering wheel with something smaller, possibly a Mountney
- Adding a dashboard with glovebox and nice dials, maybe adding oil gauges etc
- Adding a center console
- Upgrading the seats for comfort and safety
- Replace rear seat belts with inertia belts
- Replace door-cards and interior handles and fittings
- New carpets and soundproofing
- Replace spare wheel with same revo+tyre as are on the four fitted wheels
- De-badge bonnet
- Upgrade headlights, indicators and rear lights including fog and numberplate light
- Replace side mirrors
- Bulkhead soundproofing
- Clean and paint engine bay and add brightwork
- Improve door closing and locking mechanism
- Bonnet insulation/soundproofing
- Boot lining
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