In the car world, there are few cars that are as recognisable as a classic Mini. Few cars also spark as many memories. To be voted the 2nd most influential car of the 20th century says a lot!
Since beginning my rebuild in August 2016, nearly every person that hears of the project has mentioned that they have a link to these much loved cars. From their parents owning one, them learning to drive in one, a first car, or even a relative of mine that used one whilst in the police force! Yes, the 850’s were used alongside the much bigger and higher powered Falcons, Kingswoods and Chargers!
For me though, there wasn’t a strong historical or “romantic” reason for wanting to restore a Mini, it was purely a car that sparked my imagination on what it could be….
From the outset, the overall plan for the car was to strip the car back to a bare shell, fix the inevitable rust, and then restore it…… but, with a difference. The 998cc A-series engine that came with the car was in pretty much a non-repairable state. The cylinders and pistons looked like someone had welded them together the corrosion was that bad! So, what to do? Do I spend $4000-5000 on a reconditioned A-series, which is old technology and comes with all the “intricacies” of an old engine? I want this car to be my daily driver, so when I hop into it and turn the key, I need it to start. The A-series just won’t give me the reliability I want and need. So, the decision was to upgrade to a more modern engine. A donor car was sourced, and the power plant is now a Honda B16a VTEC engine. The added bonus is the increase in power from a mere 38hp to 158hp! Externally, the end result will be a Mini Clubman that looks predominantly “stock” but with larger wheels (13”) and corresponding wheel arches. Internally it will have an update that will include air-con, mandatory for QLD summers!
It may not be a completely true restoration, however its a restoration I believe does the car justice.
These are pictures of its first few days in its new home...