Basil the Mini


Today was a big day as I got the rear subby out as well as those pesky door windows. My god, if there ever was a more ill conceived design out there, these Leyland windows and crank mechs are for the dogs. I mean complete crap. Utter crap. But they are out and now I see more as to why things are where they are – more on that in a moment.

The morning started out with removing the union jack from the roof – feet and feet of low grade vinyl that continued to tear at every corner. While I did this cold and should have warmed the vinyl up a bit, it was just the quickest way and easiest on the fingers.

So the rear subby – I knew going into this that the rear had some rust issues and quite honestly this was freaking me out a bit. On top of that, whomever had this car before, decided to DOUSE the underside of the Mini with under-seal – which is not a bad thing once all the floors were replaced, but to cover the rear sub as well as trunnions, rear drums, hand brake cables, trailing arms, fuel lines, etc….it was just poor decisions that has led me now to where I am now. Thankfully, the mounting bolts to the rear was not seized and came out fine and she dropped like a 300lb anchor when it was all said and done.

Clearly I have rust at the seam lines on the frame – including one hole that needs attention. Will need to seriously look at this if this is even an option to spend the amount of time to paint or PC back to shape. Clearly I can get a new frame for about $400, but may have to replace all the drums and hardware as well.

Moving on to the doors….the passenger door just would sink to one side as you rolled up and it is now apparent as to why. Someone put this window back in (it is a replacement) and did not install the front window bracket. So what was happening was that when you wound up the window, the winder mech arms were hitting glass and scraping away the glass on the edge over time. I just continue to be amazed and shocked as to what I got into at times with this car. Clearly these things happen, but why take the short cut here? What person decided “Sod off, I am not going to complete the job and just do it half way so I can get home on time” or “holy cow, $30 for the extra bracket is going to bust the bank for me!” Seriously, it is just shocking to me.

The day is gone and the Mini is another step closer to paint nirvana. Just cannot wait to get that thing back on the new MB Racing wheels and out on the road again.

(EDIT: Last 3 pics were taken last year with exhaust swap – wanted to include some pics of the underside of the Mini)

RESTORATION REPORT#4: Getting into the thick of it

Well Report #4 comes to you today by Makers Mark – when you just need the best, the best is here. Or maybe today is brought to you by Live from Daryl’s House…I can’t go for that. Ok, long story.

So today was a good day. Monday of next week, it is my hopes to knock out the rear subframe, doors and just some ancillary parts. That will leave me with some good time to really prep the shell for painting and modifying. This will be things like documenting all hardware that will need to be replaced (i.e. the engine bay), rubber grommets, wiring loom and repairs that need to be made there. Also things like sanding down some of the interior for tape residue, etc. I just need to get Basil in good shape before bead blast and then the coats that will truly transform him into something unique.

Today started and ended with a beer. God I love beer. But needed to keep level headed and not get carried away with an angle grinder and soft flesh. So I focused on the interior some more and the front and rear windshield. Mix that with some serious engine bay work and getting all my parts put away in boxes – this takes up a good part of a day. And quite honestly I am taking my time as I cannot get into the body shop until the UK shipment arrives.

So FINALLY – out came the heater and man was that sh*t brown! Coolant mixed with rust – and couple that with the fact that the motor does not work, I really need to just remove it and store it until I have some down time. I think it is a grounding issue, but we will see.

Next was the front and rear windshield and my lord, it was super easy. I spent more time on cleaning up the gunk applied than anything. Funny thing is that Basil has multiple replacement side windows (removed last week) as indicated by the secret codes stamped on the windows (yes, go google that one – there are secret codes).

The BITCH of the day was two items…the wiper assembly and and the wiper assembly. My god…where do I start. First, the shaft nuts on the wiper spindles (the part where each wiper arm locks down on) just poking out of the cowl were stripped and would not BUDGE…and appears that no matter how much PB I blasted on them, nada movement. No beuno. Poop. I can see why the nuts were stripped…..BUT someone decided to just push the entire spindles THROUGH the small hole to get them out. It is clear to see this. Now I need to figure out what needs to be replaced here. Most likely the drive line and 2 wheel boxes as I think the motor is fine. The park switch is also questionable with some cracking plastic happening on the connectors. Jesus.

At the end of the day, I think it all went fine. The wiper thing just really irked me and it is clear that this one will be a big investment (looking at reconditioned drive lines on ebay now).

RESTORATION REPORT#3: Prepping for Rear Subframe and Interior

Blogs are a nasty habbit. Howe many times have you went to a blog and seen someone with the best intentions to start a blog and only to see that 1) they posted a handful of times and 2) they did this back in 1999. I mean what gives? So lesson to all you bloggers out there….content, content and content. And be consistent. Clearly I will not be following my rules because I hate rules – hence, I like to keep me hands on any lap dance….err, om moving on!

So update #3 is an in-betweener that needs some setup. #3 is the left over steps that I did not take as I started to move to the rear subframe and clearly the most dangerous. I mean, how many times have YOU drained a fuel tank? Crazy stuff – more on that below. So with this in mind, I wanted to attack the fuel tank and get that removed so I can get the boot cleaned up. I was excited to see the boot removed and once completed, everything looked fine. I can now see the grey color that this Mini used to be. It appears as a respray and I am seeing an OE white under the silver…crazy.

Once the boot was off, I moved to the tank, disconnected the fuel line and had a scare….I thought I only have 1/4 take left when I pulled Basil in for the final time as a White Mini….but clearly I drained almost 5 gallons from him and almost ran out of containers. Let that be a lesson kiddies keep more than you need on hand and at arms reach. The fuel came out slow and clean and off came the petrol cap. I am going to have it out with this cap – Basil has a tendency to leak fuel out the cap under hard corners and I can see why now. Either the neck part if pushed down and bent or the cap needs more gasket. Sounds like I need to do a cap test soon.

SO moving now to the interior – I removed seats, belts, door cards, rear bulk cards, etc….and I start to see more ‘short cuts’ from a previous owner – as you can see below, someone clearly taped machine screws UPSIDE DOWN to hand some kind of audio/amp tray. Ok, ok, I get it – need to get something done quick, but seriously – TAPE!?!? Moving on…

The day finished up fine with a GOOD start on the rear and interior. The engine bay continues to taunt me each day and mocks me – but I tell it to screw off and I will deal with it later. I know that one is going to be full of surprises for me. This is coming along nicely now and I did manage to put one final order in with Mini Sport USA before the end of the month. The parts coming should allow me to get him into the body shop where the magic will happen. KNOCK ON WOOD>

Until later – have a bourbon on me and stay inspired.