May 8, 2013 update to the Austin Mini Cooper S project car

Assessing the Remains

The left front fender is junk, as is the front valence/grill surround.
The corners were essentially gone from our cowl. We have already removed the ill-fitting right front fender.

Wow, with the car completely stripped we were pretty depressed. We knew we had some rust and restoration issues when we bought the car, but we didn’t know how bad they were. This poor Mini had been really been ridden hard and put away wet, and it had been crashed at least once.

Our left fender was beat up and crashed beyond belief. We would need to replace it. The right fender was in good shape, but had been replaced and poorly fitted to the car. The front valence (which is also the whole front end of a Mini) was badly rusted and damaged. It would also need to be replaced.

The rear trunk floor was even more rusty than we thought, so it would need to be totally replaced instead of just patched. Our left door was basically unsaveable due to rust. Our right door would need to be reskinned. The rear valence also had some rust that would need to be dealt with.

The good news was that the front floors weren‘t as bad as we originally thought. In addition, sheet metal is cheap and readily available. Mini Mania sells either aftermarket or authentic Heritage original panels. Naturally, we opted for the original pieces. We ordered cowl repair panels for both sides, a left front fender, a front valence, an entire trunk floor, a door skin for the passenger’s door and patch panels for the front floors.

We also sourced a perfect Mk. 1 Mini driver’s door from Heritage Garage in Costa Mesa, CA. This was a lucky find, as later Mini parts are easy to find, but Mk. 1 pieces are getting quite rare.

It was an itsy bitsy, teeny-weeny rally-winning project Mini. Subscribe to Classic Motorsports and get them in your mailbox.
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