So time has flown by and it's been nearly 10 years since it was put on the road after it was restored and around 20 years since I started doing.
I have to admit when I first started I had never done anything like this before, and had no idea what I was doing most of the time. You have to remember back then, (makes it sound like the dark ages, lol) the internet was nothing compared to today, if I wanted parts I had to ring a mini shop and get a brochure sent, and if I had a problem or query with something I was doing there was none of this google it for help, it was magazines or other car enthusiasts, but most I found were not on the same wavelength as me, and where I wanted to try new stuff they were more 'well we do it this way' so for the most I did it on my own.
Yes as you've seen if you looked at it all my first dash was MDF and I made it all by hand, glued sanded and painted it, using some wire mesh to spray through to get an effect so it wasn't plain, and while it may not look that great, it taught me loads, and the more I did the more I learnt and in that time thats passed I read a lot as I absorb information like a sponge, have ventured into doing new stuff and in some cases moved on, and now find myself in a place where finally I have tools that can create what my mind for the last twenty years imagined my car could be like.
Of course I am more capable than I was with just my hands, but hands now get to play with computers, computers can create 2d and 3d images of anything we can imagine, and in turn control pieces of machinery that I didn't even imagine back when I was just a teenager. Of course I am talking about cnc machinery in my case my cnc router. Not the biggest around with a cutting area of just 600mm x 900mm, but it was made to my specification so it has a higher than average gantry, and why did I have this, well because when I bought it I was thinking body kits.
No more looking in magazines to see what you can buy, I can now create my own designs on my own computer, then the router cuts them out in 2d or 3d in whatever material is require, and finally I am in a place where my mind can run as wild as it wants, and those things in a few short hours I get to hold them for real.
The first few sections were done a couple of years ago pre router and all by hand, but now be prepared for some new stuff, and while it won't be to everyone's taste, it will be interesting, as finally the technology of this world has caught up with what my little brain has been dreaming of doing for the last 20 years.
This is my new dashboard, which I did a couple of years ago and was the first part of my re-fit if you like. The carbon dash was ok, but wasn't quite what I wanted, in terms of looks for my Mini, so using inspiration from many different high end supercars designed something more fitting.
I also wanted to change the steering wheel position, as I always felt like I was reaching up to steer, and wanted a more in front of me wheel, which now gives a much better feel when driving.
I also needed a bigger dash as I had plans for a new heating, demisting system, and being my third attempt was by far my most ambitious to date.
The new heater and as mentioned my most ambitious to date, and since owning my mini I was never happy with the heater, and even when it was a normal sit to the side mini I pulled the old heater out and made a new one at the time out of sheet steel with more screen vents, but my over ambitious pipe rooting on that version meant when the engine idled the water flow around the heater slowed and it stopped blowing out hot air.
Since putting the seat in the middle I tried a smaller box unit, and fans directed at the screen, but that time the fans needed to be bigger, but my first dash design didn't give me any spare room, then my second dash allowed for a new blower system which was better, but still using the old screen vents found it lacking, so this time, well have a look :)
Just one of those moments when I fancied doing something different as I had some spare time on my hands along with a door handle so thought what the hell. Probably the most not needed part ever but, well never say never.
My new roof is an idea I had to remove the rusting gutter problem without de-seeming it as I think that ruins the shape, and also wanted my car to be that bit different to the casual passerby. Won't be for everyone, especially the purests, but hopefully when the rest of the body mods are done, it will look ok.
Door cards up until now in a mini have been flat because to be honest there is no room to spare, but since putting the seat in the middle I have tried various things, but now with my router I can design something more curved and smooth looking to suit my new interior.