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June 9, 2016 Comments (0) Club Plus, Club Plus Projects

The Mini Cooper Project

The mini cooper Project-Heading

Tim's MiniMeet Tim, a skilled Club Plus member who is currently rebuilding a 1964 classic Mini. The car was originally owned by his future father in law, which was driven quite a bit and was taken to the odd track day. With prior experience modifying and building race cars, Tim’s investing some solid time getting the Mini back on the road! We’ve asked Tim to share some more information on his project…


It has a 1275 A series motor out of a Morris 1300 in it, with a large Weber carby and extractors. It also has disc brakes up the front. As far I know the Mini developed a problem with 3rd gear and was parked up. To protect the Mini a shed was built around it. It sat like that for about 10 years, until a tree fell on the shed, luckily the Mini only sustained minor roof damage. At the time, I had just recently sold my last project a Series 4 RX-7, so I had room in the garage. Having previously modified cars and built race cars for a living as a sheet metal worker by trade, I took on the Mini project. Being new to Mini’s I wasn’t sure where to start. The Mini is a bit older than the 80’s cars I was used to working on…

I jumped on to the Internet for some advice, on there I found Ausmini forum, which has been really helpful, heaps of knowledgeable people. I also found Project Binky and the Mighty Car Mods Mini on YouTube, which I have been following. As much as I would like to build a super Mini like these cars, this particular Mini is just going to get a basic restoration to get her back on the road and drivable again!

Tim's Mini

With the help of the people on Ausmini I got the Mini fired up last year after 12 years of sitting dormant. First I had to change the oil and check the spark plugs and fill the Weber with some fuel. It would turn over but wouldn’t fire. I didn’t want to throw new parts at it just yet as I wasn’t sure of the condition of the motor, or even if it would run. I found the coolant system was corroded and full of gunk, I had a spare water pump so swapped that and flushed out the system, it still leaks a little bit of water so still needs attention.

Tim's Mini

Looking down at the water pump

I pulled the fuel pump apart and cleaned the points, now it sort of works but needs replacing. Tried again, it still wouldn’t fire.  I re-gaped the spark plugs and cleaned and re-gapped the points on the distributor. I had to clean the contacts on the starter motor and eventually I got it to start and run! It blew a far bit of smoke which is to be expected after sitting for so long. Unfortunately once I got it running I didn’t have enough time to compression test it or anything, as we had to pack up and move house.

Not a lot has been done since we moved. I now know that the fuel pump needs replacing, the distributor needs rebuilding or replacing and the starter motor, which keeps throwing out, and not engaging needs more investigation. These things were at the top of the “To Do List”, but now there has been a new development in the last week! I’ve picked up another motor an 1100cc A series motor from another mini which is supposed to be a “good runner” I hope…

Tim's Mini

The Morris 1275cc ready for its first test fire

So now the plan is to get this motor running, I’ve seen YouTube videos of people running them on the ground. So I plan to do that and compression test it, make sure it is OK, then hopefully drop it into the car. I’m hoping the gearbox is OK in this one too. Once that’s sorted I’ll move on to the brakes and then the body needs some attention.

Tim's Mini
My plan is to do the minimum to get the car back on the road and make it safe. I’m not interested in doing a full restoration at the moment. Just get it on the road and drive it! Maybe do some hill climbs and Motorkhanas if possible? Then rebuild and modify the 1275 motor and probably do more of a restoration on the car at that stage, but we all know that with cars, plans change, but keep an eye out for my next steps, I’ll keep you updated with the next lot of progress!

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