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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:13 am 
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Peter Laidler wrote:
The 'I've got an old mini in my garage' scenario actually happened to me AND it was a Cooper. While I'd just about finished my S restoration in late 89 or so and others at work knew about it, one of the girls at work commented that her husband had an old Mini in his mums garage and it'd been there since the late 70's or so. So I met up with him and he asked me to have a look. There it was, tightly squeezed in, covered in the usual shite and crap, pushed into his mums garage/out-house/lean-to. He did explain that he had lost the keys and had to break the drivers door lock to get ion (to remove the radio). Yep...., door lock broken. Anyway, there it was a dirty snowberry white 1969/G mini 1000 - or so I thought! I hacksawed the garage door lock off and opened the door and there it was, KEYS still in the boot lock and the badge detailing AUSTIN COOPER Mk2. Pushed it out and opened the doors. IT had a steering lock and we now had the keys too!

He'd brought it in Germany when he was in the Army there in 1969, right hand drive, steering lock as standard. I paid him the asking price of £75 and towed it 5 miles home. That afternoon I replaced the water pump, drained down the old stale fuel, filled it up, pumped fuel through, slave battery on jump leads and it started. Washed and cleaned through next day and had it MoT tested the next. Failed on seized rear wheel cylinders............. what a bastard, he'd sold me a pup!!!!!! But I swallowed my pride and bought a new set and shoes and pads, just touched the discs and drums on my lathe and it sailed through a few hours later

These things do happen but it ain't happened since! But maybe it'll happen to your green one


Didn't you find the works Minis in Abingdon in the late 80s aswell Peter??


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:02 am 
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Location: Abingdon Oxfordshire
Yep......, found four of them in different states of repair and condition plus MANY parts/accessories too. They were really of no interest to me then or now. Like I always say to their owners. Police cars are a) rarer and b) more genuine too! The REAL rub - or tragedy was that there was one in a garage where the dopey tosser who owned it was one of these 'I'm going to do it up one day' merchants. Bit of a long story but he got married, moved out, parents (dad got it from Comps when he worked at MG-Abingdon) wanted their life/home back, car, and pretty much most else was sent to the scrap yard at Drayton.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:41 pm 
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So the first three were which ones? I seem to remember both cars now registered LRX? How did you spot them in the first place as I'm sure they just looked like ordinary Minis at the time without all the rally bits and no works numbers on? And the other two, which ones were they? Come on spill, I do remember you wrote up the story about this back in an old MCR mag which I'm pretty sure I won't be able to find very easily even if I look!

I've come across a couple of significant cars stashed away in old garages over the years but it's a long time ago now. They all seem to come from overseas now, especially the U.S! I love stories about finding cars, who doesn't!! 8-) :D


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:58 pm 
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Location: Abingdon Oxfordshire
I'll write it all down for posterity in the next few months but Abingdon seemed to have its fair share of old battered works shells re-used /rebuilt as road cars by MG staff/workers who could be arsed to go in and ask to purchase an old body. There were usually tell-tale signs where the highly skilled staff would pop rivet an alloy sheet over the old roof light hole or using the same skills, pop rivet a delicate chunk of ally over the right hand tank hole - and leave the tank in the garage. Or use a FULL brand new Cooper S trim sets, removed from one-way-trip works cars to re-trim the wifes old rusted out 1960 850 Mini shopping car! You couldn't make it up! You could buy new strengthened/reinforced works car type sub frames with welded gussets and towing eye attachments from ST here for peanuts when the Comps Dept went uncompetitive and into SpTuning.

Happy days especially if you owned an MGB or a GT (I had a V8) or a Triumph Dolomite (wifey had a Sprint) or a Mini Cooper (I was restoring an S). Life was kind and so were the people who............... anyway!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:55 pm 
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Peter Laidler wrote:
I'll write it all down for posterity in the next few months


Months!? Must be a long story or two then?? I'm amazed you weren't knocked out by finding an ex Comps Dept car or four but then as you say they don't butter everybody's barm cake and they were far from complete by all accounts. The complete ones tended to find their way into privateer hands eventually I suppose.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:37 am 
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Location: DERBYSHIRE
Peter Laidler wrote:
I'll write it all down for posterity in the next few months but Abingdon seemed to have its fair share of old battered works shells re-used /rebuilt as road cars by MG staff/workers who could be arsed to go in and ask to purchase an old body. There were usually tell-tale signs where the highly skilled staff would pop rivet an alloy sheet over the old roof light hole or using the same skills, pop rivet a delicate chunk of ally over the right hand tank hole - and leave the tank in the garage. Or use a FULL brand new Cooper S trim sets, removed from one-way-trip works cars to re-trim the wifes old rusted out 1960 850 Mini shopping car! You couldn't make it up! You could buy new strengthened/reinforced works car type sub frames with welded gussets and towing eye attachments from ST here for peanuts when the Comps Dept went uncompetitive and into SpTuning.

Happy days especially if you owned an MGB or a GT (I had a V8) or a Triumph Dolomite (wifey had a Sprint) or a Mini Cooper (I was restoring an S). Life was kind and so were the people who............... anyway!

Look forward to reading this if made public Peter. Sounds very interesting. ....perhaps the basis for a book ? ' Post Abingdon histories' or 'Where are they now ?'
There's a lot of stories that would be great if shared.
Ps. I have a copy of your 1988 MCR artcle if you cannot find yours.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:26 am
Posts: 133
Back on topic............

Dragged this thing out today. the front end in its entirety is utterly shagged. Drivers door falling off. A posts very bad, rear valance rusted away, holes under rear seat and in boot floor, hydro gone down, outer sills buggered. Roof rusted through several places on drivers side. Scuttle ends ruined.

But....

Main floors are excellent and still in shiny factory paint. Inside the rear pockets ditto. Interior is excellent requiring nothing although the carpets are very tired. Doors and bootlid are perfect, rear subframe appears to have been replaced not long before it was laid up.

It's also completely original and appears never to have been welded before so no bodges to undo. 56'000 miles, two owners.

Assuming the engine frees off and can be made to run (and is okay) the plan is for a budget resto - no complete strip downs, acid dipping etc but rear subframe out, (front one as well if the hydro pipes are goosed) decent tidy welding and whatever panels it needs. Things like the boot floor, under the rear seat and A posts are simple flat steel repairs. Although it's grim, the repairs are just standard Mini ones and nothing particularly challenging although the roof could be fun. A secondhand roof skin might be the answer. I suspect a conversion to dry cones is on the cards but we might try compressed air to lift the car up and see if there are any leaks. It will need all new brakes including the m/cyl.

AFAIK the budget is 5k to do it and paint it - it won't be a show queen - they're of no use to anyone - just a sound useable car.

Pics next week.


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