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Chappers Reader
5/18/18 7:58 a.m.

In reply to Mezzanine :

Thanks man. 

I can tell you not much is original, the purists would disapprove. 

Original panels are:

Roof, back panel, rear firewall, front firewall, inner and outer  A post, B post and C posts and the cant rails. The lower dash rail. 

I’m hoping to save/restore the original scuttle panel (cowling) as they don’t make this particular style any more. 

The trunk lid, doors and hood will be reskinned. 

Everything else like you say is new high end panels, replaced one at a time. 

I was hoping to have the mini off the rotisserie by May 22nd, which I don’t think is going to happen. I need to spend another week or two to get it to that stage. 

Let’s see.

Chappers Reader
5/27/18 10:41 p.m.

Sunday May 27th 2018

I’ve not updated in a while. I ended up getting pretty busy and preoccupied with other stuff. 

I didn’t end up getting the mini done and off the rotisserie by May 22nd. I failed to meet my self imposed deadline. 

I did however sell 2 motorcycles (my super sherpa and CRF150F) and buy another one (Yamaha Wr250r) which I’m currently going through with a fine tooth comb, and thoroughly enjoying! 

We also didn’t make it to the hare scramble in the end as I spent all day driving 600 miles to collect the new bike! We will shoot for next months race though.  

So now I can start to get back on the mini. 

Today I got the inner panels welded in and the door step welded in. 

Also got the seat belt anchor point welded in before putting the inner sill panel in. 

Then painted inside the sill cavity and clamped up the door step. 

Trimmed the ends until it fits as best I can get it, more concentrating on how well the steps align as I can always work with a wider butt join. 

Then spot welded and tack welded in. 

Then while it was cooling off I looked at the rear companion bin and getting that ready for welding in. 

It was 95f and humid in the garage, I’d already been to weld repair someone’s mower deck before doing the mini , so I had had enough at this point. So I got a shower and went out for a drink with the wife. 

Maybe tomorrow I’ll finish off the welding (maybe all the floor welding!) and get one step closer to painting the floor. 

Chappers Reader
5/28/18 8:23 p.m.

Monday May 28th 2018

Today I went for a very early motorcycle  ride to try and beat the heat, which was still very hot, even by 9am it was already 85F and riding single track stuff was very hard work. 

When I got home and while already all sweaty I decided to crack on with the mini. 

I got the door step all welded in,

The companion bin welded in

A few other little areas that needed a dab of weld here and there. 

Then I remember I hadn’t put the seat brackets on yet, so with a bit of careful measuring and double checking they went on. 

This is what the driver side inner panel work looks like from the passenger side perspective. 

So next is a lot of grinding down of the welds, I have to be in the right frame of mind for that as it’s just laborious. I have to have headphones in, some good music on, ear defenders over that and a face shield, also in this weather a fan pointed right at me! 

Oh and probably best if no one is at home as it’s bloody noisy. 

I might go to Sherwin Williams this week and inquire about paint for the underside. 

SLGGR New Reader
6/3/18 11:03 a.m.

Looks great, keep up the good work!    Can’t wait to see this thing done.   

Chappers Reader
6/3/18 8:54 p.m.

Friday 1st June 2018

What better way to spend a Friday evening than doing a laborious task like grinding a ton of welds in a stinking hot garage! 

Wasn’t too bad in the end, although I realized I still need to put some seatbelt mounts in the rear! You know, in case the whole family wants to ride in a motorcycle engined death box. 

I also splashed some etch primer on the bare metal. 

I dragged it outside to give the garage a good clean.

So I need to figure out how to do a 3 point seat belt in the rear of this early shell. The upper mount will have to be custom as the mk1 c post is different. 

Chappers Reader
6/3/18 8:57 p.m.

In reply to SLGGR :


Part of me really wants to have the car running and driving but most of me is just enjoying the build process! 

Saron81 New Reader
6/4/18 6:43 a.m.

Great work!

Looks like you have the metal work about done! I’m in awe of how some of you guys make it look so easy!

Chappers Reader
6/7/18 6:56 p.m.

In reply to Saron81 :


Ah yes well the trick is to cherry pick only the best photos! It makes it look easy!

In actuality it’s a head scratcher and a difficult puzzle, but I plug away at it until it starts to take shape. 

Chappers Reader
7/16/18 8:32 p.m.

Monday 16th July 2018

Yep over 6 weeks have elapsed since my last update, as 6 weeks have elapsed since I last worked on the mini! Really?

What have I been up to? 

We entered our son into his first peewee hare scramble race, which was a steep learning curve for all of us! But I was super proud of his achievement. 

My wife and I are making custom tables, which for a while was taking up the garage, and the entire basement. 

Then I broke my patella (kneecap) cutting some steel with a grinder. Which put me in a knee brace and crutches for a couple weeks. 

Then, with leg in brace, I had to fix the AC on my daily. A new compressor, accumulator and orifice tube and 54oz of refrigerant it’s ice cold again. 

Then the split AC system in our bonus room crapped out the day before my parents were due to arrive for from England. But thankfully it was only a capacitor. 

We spent 2 weeks with my parents, which involved plenty of outings to restaurants! 

The highlight for me was my mum finally found and brought over some photos of my grandpa’s motorcycle trip he did around Europe in 1956. 

He’d shown me them when I was younger, and his stores captivated me. He was a nuclear engineer but he started out as an apprentice mechanic in the Yorkshire coal mines. 

He bought a BSA new in 1955 and in 1956 he rode 4000 miles around Europe, he and 3 mates, 2 on BSAs and 2 on Vespas. 

Adventure motorcycling before it was even a thing. 

Here he is 20 years old in Switzerland.

There is something special about that above photo and I will reveal it in a couple of weeks. 


So back to the mini, where did I leave off? 

The rear seatbelt mounts. I decided that was a good small bit of work to pick it back up. 

I made a replica of the later model mini bracket which sits in the boot behind the rear bulkhead. 

Stripped the paint and stitch welded it on.

So just have to make a couple of smaller brackets in the corners of the boot for the outer seatbelt mounts. 

SkinnyG SuperDork
7/16/18 9:03 p.m.

I love this work you're doing! Thank you for keeping us updated!

Mezzanine Dork
7/17/18 11:51 a.m.

That photo of your grandfather - I can see why you said it's a highlight of the trip. Amazing! I can't wait for the reveal. I'm hoping that it's the motorcycle is still in the family.

Chappers Reader
7/18/18 8:22 a.m.

In reply to Mezzanine :

I found out that photo was taken on the Susten Pass in the Swiss Alps. 

Here’s what it looks like today. 

And here’s his hand drawn map of his route, you can tell where I’m going with this can’t you...

Chappers Reader
7/18/18 8:30 a.m.

Here he is with his mates (chap on the left) sat on the Trevi fountain in Rome, you know just 4 Northern English coal miners hanging out in Rome in 1956. Haha 

I’d not seen this photo since I was 10 years old. 

But in 2010 I took my wife to Rome and I sat on the Trevi fountain. 


Chappers Reader
7/25/18 3:25 p.m.

Friday 20th July 2018

Sorry not much to update but I’m slowly getting there. 

I finished welding the lower seatbelt mounts in the rear seats. 

So that’s what that looks like. 

Then I was faced with the rather dull job of stripping the ‘transit primer’ from the underside of the floor. 

It’s just some crappy primer that the panel supplier applied for shipping to the states. In places you can almost rub it off by hand, but in others you have to use a knotted wire cup on a grinder. 

Either way 4 hours later I finally had this. 

Tuesday 24th July

I spent the evening scuffing up the E coat on the trunk floor, and the bare metal floor and masking it all off.

I have been collecting paint and paint equipment and PPE over the last few weeks ready to have a go etch priming this floor. 

I was intending to make a spray booth with a fan and filters etc to go over this entire rotisserie, but for just doing the underside I’m going to wheel it outside onto the drive. 

When I eventually paint the top side of the car I’ll build a paint booth, but it’s a long way off yet..

java230 UltraDork
7/26/18 12:19 p.m.

Great to see more progress!

BirgerBuilder New Reader
7/26/18 6:22 p.m.

A really impressive build! Man, I thought I had sheet metal work to do. My VW Caddy looks mint compared to this. 


Chappers Reader
7/26/18 7:21 p.m.
Mezzanine said:

That photo of your grandfather - I can see why you said it's a highlight of the trip. Amazing! I can't wait for the reveal. I'm hoping that it's the motorcycle is still in the family.


OK, so after these photographs were found, I shared them with some friends who suggested I try to find the bike, as you can quite clearly see the number plate on the bike, which is the number plate for life on a motorcycle in the U.K. 

After sharing the photos on a BSA owners Facebook group, an extremely helpful member got in touch, he had traced the bike to an auction that was taking place in the National Motorcycle museum in Birmingham!

He sent me the website link, and sure enough there it was, in great condition! It had been through a restoration, converted to ISTD (International Six Day trails) spec and ridden in the Scottish Six Days Trial in 2003! 

The owner had passed away and this bike along with a lot of other in his collection were being sold off by his widow.

My family don’t have a lot of heirlooms, so this would mean the world to my mother and me. So we made plans to get the auction and buy it. 

Well today was the day of the auction. Obviously me being in the US I couldn’t attend, but my dad and uncle went down and bid on it in the auction. They won it! 

The chap who had initially found the bike for me went along too and got along great with my dad and uncle, he even loaded the bike up for my dad! I really owe him a lot.

So it’s now residing in my parents garage and I’m planning to go over in a couple of years to ride it along the same route my grandpa rode in 1956. 


Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
7/26/18 9:45 p.m.

In reply to Chappers :


CJ Reader
7/26/18 11:55 p.m.

That is too cool for words! 

java230 UltraDork
7/27/18 12:29 p.m.

That is really cool. So much more that it is the same bike and all.

Mezzanine Dork
7/27/18 1:32 p.m.

Goosebumps. That's such an incredible story. heart

Chappers Reader
7/28/18 12:00 p.m.

Thanks for the kind words chaps! 

We hit our first snag, my dad seems to have come away from the auction without the key for the bike! So not heard it running yet! Haha

Saturday 28th 2018 

Back on the mini, I scuffed up the bare metal and existing painted boot floor, used panel wipe to clean it all off.

Assembled the paint gun, donned my “breaking bad” outfit and mixed some etch primer up. It’s Nason Etch primer and it’s just mixed 1:1 with the activator. 

I set the regulator to 5-10psi (as the Nason tech sheet suggested) and tested the spray pattern on some scrap metal and adjusted the settings until I had a nice cigar shaped paint pattern. 

Then I sprayed the entire floor in 1 wet coat as instructed. 

As you can see I managed to get a few runs where the little fuel line clips are. 

The paint took about 10 minutes before I could touch it and about 1 hour before the runs had dried so I could sand them. 

Then I mixed the 2k high build primer to go on next. I took ages to mix it up in the can as it had all settled at the bottom into a thick gloopy substance. 

It eventually mixed and I then mixed it 4:1 with the activator. 

I painted 3 coats of this in thin layers. Leaving 10 minutes between coats to flash off. 

Im pretty happy with it for my first time with a paint gun. 

It’s only primer yet, not the top coat so I don’t want to get too excited. 

The next step (after this has properly dried) is to tape the seams and apply some seam sealer. 

I’m researching some good undercoating that I can use and also paint body color over. 

So far UPOL graviguard is looking good. 

Any suggestions? 

Chappers Reader
7/29/18 1:19 p.m.

Sunday 29th July 2018

I did some seam sealing this morning, I’ve used this before on other projects and I still don’t get any neater at it! 

I thought about masking off the seams to get a neat line but then I just thought “pfft, this is just the underside, and it’s going to be coated with undercoating anyway!” 

So I just went for it. 

preach New Reader
7/29/18 4:16 p.m.

Love this build man. 

Dammit Reader
7/30/18 1:00 p.m.

Love the story about your grandfather- and finding his bike was a huge stroke of luck. That’ll make an epic trip in a couple of years. 

My great-grandfather made flying boats for the Navy at Felixstowe- discovering his has made me want to investigate how to simultaneously drown, burn to death and crash from a great height. 

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