Iíve owned my Mini just over 20 years. It started life as an ordinary 998 Mini saloon, that my sister
bought as her first car. When she decided she needed something newer and more reliable. I decided I'd buy the Mini from her because
I had got quite attached to it during the ride to work each day, and just didnít want to part with it. It cost me £500, but at the
time I couldn't drive, so the plan was to spend a bit of time and money on it, so it looked and went a bit better.To start with I
made a few repairs to the bodywork, (in all the normal places where Mini's rust,) and resprayed it. Then once it was up and running,
and I had some more money I started adding bits and pieces.When I'd finally finished, I'd added a pair of Cobra seats, 10 inch alloy
Starmag wheels, a Weber 32/34 DMTL carburettor, a electric fan to replace the engine driven one, and a large bore exhaust system.
I then continued to use my trusty Mini everyday for work, with only the occasional day when it didn't want to start. (We all know
how temperamental they get.)
First thing I done was strip off the paint to see what the real condition of the metal underneath was. I
then sandblaster every inch of the car using a hand held sandblasting gun, which took the best part of a year. Sitting here looking
back this by far the worst part of the entire job. I would spend day after day sitting in the make shift tent I had constructed around
the car sandblasting away at it. To protect me from the flying sand I had a welding mask with a plastic bag taped to it to stop the
sand getting in my face, and down my neck. I also taped up my sleeves and ankles of my overalls to stop the sand getting in there
as well. However every time I finished and took off my overalls, sand fell out from every place possible. No matter how hard I tried,
the sand still got in. Anyway after hundreds of hours later, and over 80lbs of washed sand, the job was done.
I sprayed the newly sandblasted bare metal in red oxide primer as I went, to protect it from the damp. One
other advantage of sandblasting is the primer sticks to it so much better as the metal is rough.With the sandblasting and priming
finished it was time to start customising the body.
The trouble I was then facing, was even though I'd done some minor repairs to the bodywork, whoever had,
had it before me and my sister, had used a lot of filler to cover up dents and rust holes, and as time passed the old repairs started
to show through. I finally decided to do a proper restoration when the alarm kept resetting itself while I was driving along, because
the earth strap bolt in the boot was all rusted and coming loose.I took it off the road in May 1993, with the anticipation of having
it off the road for a few months while the rusted panels were replaced. In November 2002. 9 years, 5 months later it was nearly finished.
What started out as a quick body restoration turned into proably one of the most ambitious Mini projects of all time? I've taken a
normal 1976 right hand drive Mini saloon, and turned it into what myself and several other people think is going to be one of the
ultimate road going Mini's.