To read the thrilling story of Rupert’s restoration in chronological order, click here.
Last night we talked about restoring a car together, sometime. It might be a fun project! What sort of car would we like? Hypothetically speaking, of course. Let’s have a look at Trade Me- just to see what’s out there.
Today we’re off to Silverdale, cash in pocket, to look at a Mini. Funny how that happens.
Meet Rupert: he’s a 1963 Mini Super Deluxe, though someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to collect as many Cooper bits as they can. And I think he might become ours.
He looks to be in fairly good condition underneath the faded paint and well loved interior. All the right bits are there- “it should be a fairly easy restoration”, I said at the time. (Here’s a tip: if anyone ever says that to you, just slap them until they come to their senses.)
The interior looks original and fairly complete, and the floors haven’t been replaced.
Original swing down number plate holder….
Cooper ventilated wheels, overriders, stainless sill trims, piano hinge rear windows- all the good stuff! A (far too brief) test drive and he was ours. Deposit paid, we’d be back in a couple of days to pick him up.
Brian made a few notes about work that would need doing:
How to remove a Mini’s engine and front subframe.
Step 1: remove everything that’s not the engine. Unbolt the subframe from the body.
Step 2: Realise you need the rear wheels to do this properly. Put the rear subframe and suspension back in, then use an appropriate hoist to lift the body up. If an appropriate hoist is not available, use a piece of string and some pulleys you found. Don’t worry, the shell is extremely lightweight and this photo wasn’t posed at all.
Step 3: the engine will now gracefully exit the engine bay- unless, like everyone else, you forgot to undo the earthing strap or brake lines.
So the pressure washing showed up a few areas that are less than ideal. The boot floor is a confection of steel, rust, bog, and underseal.
Let’s cut out the rotten metal and see what’s left. Shit.
Nothing for it but to get stuck in- we’ll start the ball rolling with a small repair.
Cleco temporary rivets are awesome for panel repair, holding everything in alignment while you weld it in place.
That went well. Now feeling a little more confident, its time to tackle the boot floor.
Cardboard and masking tape to make up a template in situ…
…transfer to steel and cleco in place.
Lots of plug welds into the rear subframe mount, and spot welds everywhere else.
At the back the horror continues. One of the previous owners was a master sculptor, but once the bog’s ground away the true quality of the repairs is evident.
Just keep cutting, and cutting, and cutting until all the rust is gone…
…and install a replacement floor.
The right side corner was also a masterful confection of bog and paint. Out with the cardboard templates again…
Good as new. Ok, fine, good *enough*.