Minispares (UK) - This was my primary source for all of my repair panels, and the squillions of little bits I needed during the build. I had read online about how the cost of freight on parts from the UK outweighs savings in the price of the parts, and it's better to buy locally. Well, if my first order was anything to go by, I saved over $200 going to Minispares rather than a local supplier. I bought all of the floor and boot repair panels (plus a few odds and ends) from Minispares, and the total cost shipped (airfreight with DHL) was about $350-400. The best price for all of the same parts locally was $650. People's reaction is often "Oh, but it'd take ages to get here! I want my parts quickly!". Well, on the same day I ordered the parts from Minispares I also ordered a couple of Aussie Clubman specific parts from Minisport (AU) in Adelaide. It was a Thursday morning. They BOTH arrived on Tuesday of the following week. Since then, every shipment i've done via Minispares has arrived within 3-5 business days at most. Argument about freight times....dismissed!
Allspeed Engineering (UK) - Probably THE most important purchase of this entire build has been the custom Honda VTEC subframe and running gear from Allspeed Engineering. Prior to starting the build I spent countless hours researching the subframes, and the complexities and intricacies of each brand/manufacturer. Allspeed won out against all of them based on budget, ease of install, and chances of passing the engineering certification. In brief, Watsons would have likely been my pick had it not been for price. Minitec was designed for the US market, and did not easily slot in to a RHD car. This can be seen (and I saw first hand in person) via Mighty Car Mods VTEC overhaul of their JDM Mini. The extra fab work required, and the modifications to steering and pedal box etc etc etc just did not give me the confidence to get it past the engineer. As it was, it appears that MCM have had a slow process of getting theirs passed with the engineer. A little birdy told me that they eventually did, which is great, but as it was I had enough sleepless nights! The MCM guys had a full workshop of tools, a hydraulic hoist, and a few blokes to put theirs in. I had the Allspeed frame, an engine crane, 2 saw horses, and me.... that's it. With a little "persuasion" I had it installed and ready to take the engine within 1 hour. That says a lot about the kit. I can't fault it at all by way of fitment and ease of install. The ONLY fault I have with it was the powdercoat finish. Because of the required "persuasion" (AKA hammer) the coating chipped off extremely easily, and even where it brushed up against something it simply chipped off. No biggy.... i'll arrange a better coating prior to final install.
Huddersfield Spares (UK) - I've only placed 2 orders via Huddersfield and its been because of a slightly cheaper price on multiple items, or if Minispares has been out of stock on something I needed quickly. Freight was a little higher via Huddersfield Spares, but shipping times have been much the same.
Minisport (UK) - So far, the only part I've bought from here was the wheels and tyres. All up they were around the $1000 mark, including shipping. To my surprise they arrived fitted (saved on shipping) but also balanced! I wasn't expecting that, and just assumed i'd get that done at a later date. I looked locally here in Australia, and the cost of the equivalent tyres alone was around $800 to be supplied, fitted and balanced. To get tyres AND wheels shipped from the other side of the world for only $200 more was awesome! It obviously comes down to supply and demand, and the Aussie market for 13x7 wheels and tyres is so small, its not surprising really that its $150-200 a piece for decent tyres. Yes, I could go Nankangs, but the reviews were so hit and miss that I didn't want to take a chance on safety just to save a few $. I opted for the DHL economy freight, and shipping was a little longer at about 7 working days, but I kind of expected that based on the size of the shipment.
Minisport (AU) - I've ordered via these guys 3 times, and only the first shipment arrived ok. The other two since have been problematic. Both related to the shipping address. The invoice showed the correct shipping address I'd inputted via their online order system, but someone there had incorrectly entered the street number. When I called them to sort it out, the implied response was that it was my fault and I'd entered the incorrect details. When I pointed out what the original order showed the correct address, and it was their error, the bloke on the phone was abrupt and basically hung up soon after. I had to resolve it myself with the freight company. Normally that wouldn't be so much of a drama but I needed the parts urgently in preparation for the first visit by the engineer. I had ordered the parts 4 business days earlier, and here I was about 3hrs prior to the engineer's arrival running around looking for a lost shipment! No fun! I can say that based on higher pricing, and poor service, I won't be going back there unless absolutely desperate! On pricing, Minisport (Aust) have the same 13x7 wheels I eventually bought for $795 excluding shipping, and this is ONLY for the wheels. I got the same wheels WITH Yoko tyres for $995! Hence why oz.minisport.com was my pick!
UK Classic Parts (UK) - This is where I bought my 8.4" front disc brake setup form. The kit overall is quite good. Price, delivery, and service were all really good too. I may look to change to vented discs as there was no option but to go for solids through here. No biggy though!
EBAY! - I am on a budget, so there are some parts that I've bought that are likely made in China and are cheap. Where possible, later on, I may replace them with better parts depending on what they are. But, when it came to radiator expansion tanks, radiator, switches, headlights, indicators, etc, I've sourced them from Ebay. Some people might turn their noses up at it, but in reality alot of the name brands are made in China too..... and might be "from the same factory" as we often hear. So far, nothing that's arrived from China has given me any alarm bells. The only thing I'll be watching closely will obviously be the radiator. It was from a local supplier, but my guess is that its been made in China. A mate bought a rad from the same supplier and has it running on his (or is it his GF's?? :-P) BMW "Mini" (are they really a Mini?? Or are they a BMW 0.5 series?). So far it'ss running fine, so I'm not concerned....only cautious. The rest will serve its purpose, and be upgraded later if I need to.
Minibits (AU) - I found them to be a bit more expensive and the range was a lot smaller than most of the other suppliers. When I've been trying to order in larger lots to save on freight, buying through Minibits proved to be more expensive, especially when I would always have to go to another supplier to get the parts they don't stock. It just hasn't been cost effective to use them as yet. Again, I might utilise them if I desperately need something, and they actually have it!
Minimania (US) - I'm not sure if it's the difference in price between the AUD to USD, but for me I've found them to be quite expensive and not at all competitive against Minispares (UK). Thinking about the US market VS the UK market, surely the UK's much higher supply and demand would be the reason for lower prices....