Chapter 2


:: Engine, brakes, mechanicals ::

September ’04 Mini moved to Perth, staying with Sam (“Sam One” Mini enthusiast) for engine overhaul, brake fitting and “getting it going”. The rats have damaged quite a bit of the wiring so a pretty much total rewire will be required I think.

Engine out The block The head Check out these babies!
It took Sam and I about 90 minutes to pull the engine out and get the head off…and have a cuppa.. Sam’s done this a few times before! Freshly cracked open, the block looked great, no head gasket leaks, pistons all look good. At this stage rings is all we think we need. Head and valves looked great. Only one valve looked a little dry. Head will get hardened seats to run ULP. Have been running 98 with additive.

16.9.04 The brakes are in, new brake lines, new brake caliper seals, 8 new brake caliper pistons, new brake discs, front suspension back together, replaced all bushes, ball joints and cones. 12″ wheels are on. Camshaft followers will be reground, double timing chain going in, set of rings, new oil pump, water pump, replacing the thermostat housing.

Wheels Wheels out Mmm Gearbox
Rear wheels stick out nicely, up on stands in these pics, will be lowered as far as possible, without being a problem for the guards (flairs ready to fit, going to leave them black at this stage, should look good with the RED paint :)

Up on stands. 12″ Performance Superlights with Yokohama 539’s all round :)

8.10.04 With the gearbox and engine both wrapped in glad wrap in readiness for the fitting of all the new parts, including polished crank, rings, bearings, twin timing chain, bits and pieces, I managed to get Sam to take the glad wrap off the gearbox for one pic. I was allowed to have it open to the air for around 2 minutes before he wrapped it up again, sealed until it would be reunited with the block later this week. He wouldnt let me take the glad wrap off the block for fear of dust getting in! I did take a pic but the glad wrap spat it right back at me with the flash from the camera. As you can probably guess, the budget has grown with this project, but Sam is doing an excellent job, so on we plod :) It will be worth it I’m sure. I’m using the original gearbox from the 998cc ’78 Clubman Van, topping it with the 1275 which was previously bored out to 1300cc in an earlier rebuild. This rebuild will make no difference to the engine capacity it previously had, but it will have added reliabilty with a few things replaced to make it stronger, to last longer.


Nov 16 '04 Nov 16 '04 rear Nov 16 '04 engine
Finally, the Mini is home!
Sounds great (temporary exhaust), a borrowed SU to get it home, with the Weber being reconditioned, hopefully pick it up later this week or next week.
New frigging just about everything, including oil pump and new electric fuel pump.
I still have a heap of wiring to replace, battery to install, new oil feed line to the oil pressure gauge to replace (eaten by rats), replace wiring to the tacho, remove borrowed exhaust and replace with hotdog, remainder of exhaust pipes and bottom extractor pipes.
Its still sitting very high (new cones), but will wait to see how it settles before I go and order hilos. Settling could take several weeks apparently.
The gearbox/shifter feels like shit. The gear change is SO stiff and crunchy it worries me, but Sam assures me it will get better… it better. At the moment its so hard to change gears I’d call it almost undriveable. Will hope that gets better.
Serious positive/?/negative camber sees the top of the front wheels pointing outwards – that will need to be rectified also. As the car lowers or I lower it, this will be taken care of, but if that’s not enough to fix it then I’ll have to install adjustable arms.
Its running Penrite 20/60 and was pushing 70lbs when tested.
The cam sounds as lumpy as it ever was, just love it :)

The new red engine, new leads, hoses, bushes, seals, mounts….



  • Pickup and install the freshly reconditioned weber.
  • Install new battery.
  • Replace oil pressure guage feed line and tacho wiring.
  • Replace any other wiring crucial to run.
  • That should see it being able to key start and take it for its first drive!


  • Replace borrowed exhaust system with hotdog and pipe.
  • Paint engine bay, interior of doors, floor, etc.
  • Repair 2 small dents in the roof, apply numerous coats of luscious red paint followed by several coats of clear. Fit the new flairs.
  • Refit interior trim, new mirrors, carpet. Fit a radiator overflow tank.
  • Polish or rechrome if necessary, then refit bumpers and chrome trim.
  • Finally – get it licensed.

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