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mk1-forum.net • View topic - What did you do to your first Mini

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:37 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:58 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:39 am 
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Location: Cumbria
My first one was a late (26th Sept build) 1967 MK1 Morris Mini Minor Super De-Luxe in Almond Green. It had sat in the dealers showroom for a year before it was bought my my mother's Aunt, it was registered 5th Sept 1968. The old bid kept it until 1983 when I bought it from her for £100. The car had around 40,000 miles on the clock when I bought it and it came with all original sales invoice, original spare key, handbook and all the other stuff that came from the dealer and it also came with a little notebook with listed everything that had been spent on the car year by year. The car itself was it pretty good condition and had been well looked after. It was bog standard when I got it other than it had ended up with an Austin grille on it.
My very first 'mod' to it was to chuck the shiny hub caps away, looked more sporty without them...or so I thought anyhow!! :lol: The next thing I did was to put the small steering wheel on it as everyone did, can't remember what type but it was some cheap placcy thing rather than leather. It stopped like that pretty much for a couple of months until it got really modified...by a tree!!! :shock: :roll: :(
That wasn't the end of it though...the front end was splattered, the subframe bent and the magic wand cog box ended up with a smashed case. So...time to sort it, front end was fixed, new bonnet, front panel, wings. The bent hydro subframe was binned and the suspension was converted to dry. the 850 engine and knacked box was swapped for a 998 and remote gear change set up. Set of alloy wheels and a respray in Almond Green and now with a white roof for the Cooper look. Phase 1 was finished.
That set up lasted a year before I blew the 998 to bits. Time for a rethink...
In went a 1275 motor that was lying around the old mans workshop, bored out to 1293 but pretty much left alone other than a 1.5 SU/KN filter on a Howley inlet manifold and a Janspeed LCB, gearbox was a rod change with pot joints. The plan was for 'S' or 1275 GT discs to go with the 1293 but I really struggled to find any at the time (this was 1985) and I ended using a pair for Super Minifins on the front with normal Minifins on the rear (yeah I know but I wasn't forking out for another set of Super Minifins, times were hard and all that), this with competition linings actually worked remarkably well other than a bit of brake fade when you really pushed it. I used the car for a couple of years like this, doing 12 cars and the likes and this was for me its best years. Alas, all good things come to an end and by the start of 1987 it was looking decidedly dog eared and it was getting a bit tired. Phase 2 was now over.
The final stage of it's life (maybe...) was now upon it and time to decide what to do next? I had managed to get a MKII Cooper in 1984 and it was just lying about so did I want to rebuild that or set to on my old beastie again...in the end I decided to sort my MK1, Cooper would of been the logical one but I felt no attachment to it unlike my MKI, plus the fact I'd managed to obtain a bare MKI shell which made life easier. Nowadays people probably would frown upon the reshell route and repair the original shell but back then every bugger did it and the 'new' shell already had a box for a Weber in the bulkhead so it made sense and using the stripped down shell made life easier.
Shell was built up, full cage etc, suspension was all adjustable etc, and finally ended up with some 'S' brakes for it! Engine was 1293 again, big valve head, 286 cam etc etc. The car was painted Tartan Red/White a la works but to be honest I wish I'd done it Almond Green/White but hey ho...
Car was like this for another couple of years until I knacked a diff bearing, I took the engine/box out and sorted the diff bearing but whilst I was at it I checked the engine and found some problem (I'm buggered if I can remember what it was now though??) which caused a rethink...engine was chucked in the back of the car and it was dumped outside my old mans workshop and left. I went out one morning and as I looked across at the Mini I thought something looks odd? It turned out someone had smashed into it and fucked off...car was wrecked, it had been hit on the n/s rear wheel which had pushed the car into a sandstone pillar which had then compressed the rear of the car, boot floor was 'v' shaped, o/s radius arm was snapped, rear end was twisted. No repairing this one. The car was shifted into the yard and left until I had to chop it up as my dad had to give up the yard/business when he had a stroke and had to clear it. I've still got a lot of the car in bits and pieces, stored here and there but whether that would qualify as enough to rebuild it if I ever managed to get my mitts on a heritage shell I've my doubts, especially since most of it wasn't original to it anyhow....
Just realised this reads like a copy of war and peace, I don't post that much on here so I guess I'm getting a couple of years worth of posting over and done with in yan post!! :lol:
I'll sort some pics out sometime as they are all old fashioned ones which need scanned.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:44 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:37 pm 
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Location: Lincoln, UK
Not quite a Mk1 or Cooper but my first Mini was a 1979 Mini 1100 Special in Silver with 64K miles on it and three previous owners.

Bought from a lady called Claire Francis in Sussex - not "the" Claire Francis I don't think but she did have a decent size yacht in her front yard so who knows??

Remarkably it had all it's "special" parts including the Allegro steering wheel, Clubman bumpers front and rear, 1275GT dash, Special centre console and underdash shelf, and best of all those chunky little Exacton wheels and arches.

Mods started off with bouncing if off the rear wheel of a passing XR3i in Petworth about 6 weeks after passing my test, followed by an expensive rebuild.

The original front tyres were worn out so they were replaced with a pair of Dunlop SP4's complementing the Maybor Generals on the rear. I think the Maybor's lasted the whole 40k miles I had the car.

Moving on from that at University I fitted a Peco 3-branch manifold and K&N pancake filter (from Abbey Road motor factors in Leicester), and RC40 and MiniSpares branded water heated inlet brought from a bloke called Steve at a company called MiniSprint Engine Developments on London Road (Extension) in Leicester. Wonder what happened to them ?? They had a nice looking red Metro Van with Turbo body kit and wheels on it at their workshop.

That setup saw me well into the demise of the 1100 engine, which was replaced with a low-ish mileage 998 from a City E complete with custom modifications to the fins on the bottom of the gearcase from when the engine hit the tarmac when the original car had a little accident. I replaced the now funny shaped sump bolt with the one from my original engine, but even with the damage it never leaked or cross-threaded.

The replacement engine was purchased from a breakers in Fittleworth. When I asked about how to get the engine home the scrappy said: "Go home, take out the passenger seat, put some cardboard in the footwell, bring a mate and come back".

This I did, when I arrived the engine was on a chain on the Hyab crane of the wrecker truck. Scrappy said to my mate sat in the back of the car "hold this" and proceded to gently drop the complete engine and box into the passenger front footwell. So we brought the engine home resting on a piece of plywood in the front footwell, held onto by my mate who was sitting in the back of the car - no straps or other means of support !!

The engine was fitted in the lay-by two doors down the estate from my parents' house, much to the chagrin of the neighbours. I discovered that the 1100 engine originally fitted in 1979 to the car was actually an A+ block, as the distributor from the old engine fitted the new C-reg 998, as did the starter motor. Good job 'cos the replacement engine had neither.

Other cosmetic mods included a full-width plywood dash with a voltmeter and oil pressure gauge, CB radio and glovebox, all covered in black buffalo vinyl, a GM-branded Phillips cassette player fitted into the Special centre console with a pair of Pye speakers under the rear seat and the midrange and tweeters out of a pair of box speakers (Goodmans I think) mounted to hardboard shelves replacing the cardboard dash liners, speakers facing downwards. Worked surprisingly well.

This little car travelled in a triangular circuit from Sussex to Somerset to Leicester through my university years, and apart from rebuilding my expensive reconditioned alternator with parts from an old school place near Tamworth (buying diode pack and regulator separately and soldering them in myself), a couple of dodgy welded repairs to the boot floor and front floorpans, replacing the boot lid with one from a gold Mayfair and general servicing it didn't really miss a beat for another 40K miles and 5 years before I handed it off to my sister.

She then ran the car for another 3 or 4 more years before it finally surcame to rusty sills and rear arch tubs. Both me and my sis wish we still had that little car, and these days I'd probably have restored it but hey.

Phil.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:43 am 
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