In my endless pursuit of all things retro looking and especially MK1 style, I have simply got to have MK1 external door hinges on my Mini. The biggest problem is that MK1 external hinges were only on the MK1 Mini’s (and some commercials until the 80’s I believe) from 59 – 63 approx, so finding a decent set of original MK1 hinges can be difficult. They do come up on eBay from time-to-time but they tend to go for around £80-90 a set, and you cannot always guarantee that they are a matching set. They are different top and bottom, left from right!
I picked my set up from The Mini Forum classifieds for a fairly good price but they are in need of a refurbishment. Fortunately they came supplied with a set of new brass inserts and pins. I also picked complete set of replacements bolts/studs from MiniSpares for around £11 all-in. My next challenge is the removal of the old pins and studs.
Tubing the rear arches- I first came across this idea in a copy of Mini Magazine around September 2009. The concept is to cut the lip away from the rear wheel arches and reaplce with flat metal so that the rear arches are a nice round "tube" like shape. This allows the car to run really low without the rear wheels hitting the wheel arch.
Marking up the cut line - The easiest way to mark the cut line is to use a depth gauge to judge where the inner arch is. Start in the middle and keep re-checking the depth as you work your away around the arch.
The rear before I started- A typical Mini, doesn't look that bad until you start removing paint.
Initially I had only planned to replace some of the rust that was visible with new metal however, a little more prodding around revealed much more rot than I was expecting. The project has now turned into a full-sale rebuild so rather than feel negative about it I thought I would use it as an opportunity to carry out all the mods I had been thinking about.
The next few pages of this section of the build diary will document my progress as I attempt to rebuild the shell. It will take me while as I have never welded before taking on this project, so keep checking back from time to time for updates.
The starting point- On the surface it didn't look too bad but little did I know that it was rotten right through in some places.
As soon as I saw an American built Mini with a reverse action flip-front I knew I had to do that to mine. A bit of research revealed that I could import the kit to convert my conventional flip-front but at a cost of around £200, I thought I would make my own. This is how I did it.
The brackets- A contact on the Mini Forum was kind enough to provide me with a rough set of drawings with approximate dimensions for a set of these brackets. I spent quite some considerable time re-drawing them to scale and I modeled them in a CAD program to make sure I would be happy.
I then sent my drawings to a metal fabricator to make the basic shapes for me.
The doors- I purchased these doors on eBay for a number of reasons namely they're very light (3KG each) and they're made of carbon fibre/fibre glass composite. Having a very light pair of doors will allow me to eaisly have MK1 hinges without the need to add much extra metal to the A-panels to support the weight of the doors.
I am a big fan of the centre speedo binnacle in the classic Mini, so much so I decided to be a little bit different and get a one-off carbon fibre version made by Carbon Weezel.
From start to finish I waited about 6 months for it to be made and I was kept up to date along the way by Nick at Carbon Weezel including the images below before the holes were cut out. I believe by all accounts that it proved to be quite a tricky item to make but was satisfying in the end.
The original- The original item is now 30 years old and is made of plastic. Although it looks Ok I decided I wanted a carbon version.
Part 1 - Calliper reconditioning
This is the first task that I decided to tackle. I am converting a set of Ford Fiesta Mark 2 callipers to fit my mini. This is a cheap alternative to the Cooper S conversion and best of all, it still allows 10" wheels to be used with plenty of clearance for most wheels!
Shopping List:Mark 2 Fiesta Callipers - bought on eBay £20 inc pads.
Mini standard brake discs (84 onwards) - bought new on eBay £25
Brake disc machining - Premier Precision, Norfolk (01263 731555) - £15
Metro drive flanges from a vented disc setup - bought on eBay £30.
Mini hubs - bought on eBay £10
High tensile bolts x4 (M10 30mm) - Goldstar Fastners (01603 301122) - £2
Custom brake hoses (320mm long)
Blue VHT spray paint for callipers - Halfords £7.99