Chapter 1


Project Mini
Restoring cars isnt just for guys either!

1978 Leyland Mini Van

1275cc bored out to a 1300cc (originally a 998cc), 7/8 race cam, Weber rebuilt ready to fit after licensing, Extractors.
Now has 12″ Performance Superlights with 165 Yokohamas (previously 10″ mags, as shown on this page)

Chapter 1
:: Initial cleanout ::
“The Mini” was my little hooner when I was 18. I bought it as a 6 month old, 998cc completely stock ’78 van. I replaced the head and then the engine with a 1275, bored out to a 1300, 7/8 race cam, extractors, twin SUs, and later a weber through the dash. It went great for many years until I ‘fixed’ the brakes (thats a long story). Thats when it became garaged and I purchased an LS1275 to replace it. The theory was, take the disk brakes off the LS and get this one back on the road. But the LS was too nice to attack, and eventually it was sold, leaving this one still garaged.

Delivered The engine bay The rear Removing the old carpet

After competing in hillclimbs and sprints in the Nissan, and experiencing quite an expensive ‘off’ during a hillclimb in the that car, I decided to rebuild the Mini and make it my hillclimber and hopefully a second street car.

Thus, Project Mini started back in May ’04. Delivered, back from being garaged for around 10 years. The engine bay. One word – disgusting. Then it was the old carpet out.

13.6.04 The real work begins, drivers side flairs removed, sand ready for rust converter and primer.
Removing the old flairs Front guard
21.6.04 Its been a busy couple of weeks, but got back into it today. Passengers side flairs removed, sanded, roof and bonnet sanded and rust converter applied to sills and any surface rust spots. Front guard as delivered (below), broken flair and old primer, used as a paint colour tester at some stage, adorned with splashes of lime green and purple paint.
After flair removal, sanding and rust converter, there’s still a small dent in the guard which will be removed next.


Front guard before Front guard after rust treatment still with dent Front end before primer surfacer Frontend after primer/surfacer
Time to get the first dent out.
4.07.04 Then it was on to the backend for small dent removal from rear door, and primer/surfacer. 8.8.04 With other projects on the go, the Mini is making slow but sure progress. After stripping down the Metro brakes (before and after twin pot caliper shot above) and having the rotors skimmed, it was decided that new rotors were in order, so a brand new set of rotors are ready and waiting for installation. Finding a set of pads to fit was the next hurdle, but I managed to track down a set from a Mercedes that needed minor modification to fit into the calipers. Some road testing will see if we need to trim any more of these pads but they will have more pad/rotor contact than the previous Metro setup, so its looking good at this stage.

Front left dent before Front left dent after The rear The before and after cleanup of the calipers

Cutting out the rear window fill-ins (Signwhite colourbond sheet).
Turns out I didn’t need a mig, the jigsaw with a metal cutting blade did the job of cutting out easy, and SikaFlex252 will make sure they stay exactly where I put them.

I didnt mask off the rear window as it was getting late and I needed to get the primer on before it got too cool… and I intend to remove the rear windows and have the panels filled. Anyone want to lend me a mig? After rear window removal the entire rear panel was quite weak, so I bought some aluminium 40mm T section which I secured with SikaFlex252 and clamped in place for 24 hours each side. That sucker’s not going anywhere!

Cutting out the window fill-ins Bracing the rear guard Bracing to rear sill Sheet on
Inside rear, passengers side, showing close-up of the aluminium T section SikaFlexed into place and after sheet steel is fitted to outside. I wasnt fussy over neatness inside as I’ll be padding the interior up to the brace height with foam (to stop flying objects in the rear denting the rear panels). The T sections were exactly 125cm long and fitted flush to the body for that entire length, sitting just under the existing sill.
After SikaFlexing the signwhite sheet steel into place I secured with tape and chunks of foam to get the snuggest fit I could. I didnt have G clamps large enough to do the job but managed to hold one section that wasnt behaving in place with the help of a few bits of timber, a body board, junk lining the garage.. and the side of the garage… hey it worked!


Left rear and off to Perth for engine rebuild
Then it was on the “Mini” trailer heading for Perth. Engine rebuild and brakes coming up! I’ll finish the body and paint when it gets back. I hadn’t started on the doors as I want to remove the handles and mirrors, which means pulling off the interior door trim. I only want to do that once, so project paint will be the priority when the mechanicals are sorted.


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