Renewing the life of 'The Classic Mini'
This is our premier service, the feather in our cap if you like. Our enviable reputation has been founded on our expert restorations which are commissioned by customers from all over the world.
The term ‘Restoration’ is often mis-used. The Oxford English dictionary defines it as follows:
- Restore and build up again; repair; renew
- Give back
This is exactly what we do, it is not simply a re-spray and a set of new carpets!
We have a fully equipped workshop and dedicated team of professional restorers. All work is carried out ‘in-house’ by very knowledgeable and experienced staff. Our rule is one man per car from start to finish as we find this ensures we have total control of the project and complete continuity.
We can restore any model of Mini regardless of condition (you would be amazed at some of the ‘wrecks’ we have tackled). In fact it is quite normal to replace 70% of a car’s body panels, so don’t worry about the condition of your car – we have not been defeated yet!
Our aim is to build the car to its original factory specification but of course we can accommodate customers specific requirements, such as a change of engine spec; bespoke interior; special paintwork etc. Every restoration comes with a photographic record, so you can see exactly what work we have carried out during the restoration.
We would be delighted to discuss your project with you.
The typical process we follow when carrying out a full restoration is as follows:
- First we strip every single component including the last nut and bolt leaving a bare shell.
- We then remove all corroded and damaged body panels. At least 50% of the car is discarded at this stage.
- The next process is to sand-blast the entire bodyshell back to bare metal. What is left is completely rust free.
- We can now start to re-build the bodyshell. We use genuine Rover / Heritage body panels or if these are not available reproduction panels made to the original factory specification.
- All panels are spot-welded together like they were originally, this ensures complete authenticity.
- Where an original panel is corroded, wherever possible we replace this with a completely new panel. We would never attempt to repair it as this (in our opinion) is false economy. Likewise we never weld plates over an area of corrosion, if a repair has to be made to any area of the body where replacement parts are not available, a new section of steel is butt-welded into place giving an invisible repair.
- When the welding process is complete the bodyshell looks like it has just rolled off the production line. We often hear visitors to the workshop say ‘that body is in good nick – aren’t they lucky!’
- Next we seam seal, prime and paint the bodyshell. Minis rust in the first place due to the lack of sealants, poor paintwork and the absence of anti-corrosion protection.
- When we weld the body panels together we use a weld-through sealer and areas which become inaccessible after fitting, are painted prior to welding. This ensures corrosion protection is maximised.
- All welded seams are then sealed with a polyurethane sealer in order to prevent water ingressing to the joint. This is a time consuming job as it applies to all the panels comprising a bodyshell. After this process the shell is coated in etch primer. This ‘eats’ into the bare metal giving the first line of defence against the dreaded rust.
- The underside of the body is coated in anti-stonechip compound. This is a high build rubberised coating which is used on many modern cars. It helps stones ‘bounce’ off paintwork.
- The next stage is to undercoat the shell before finishing with the top coat. These processes are applied to the inside, outside and underneath of the bodyshell. This is far in excess of the process carried out on the production line.
- Once the final colour has hardened off, the external paintwork is polished to a lustrous shine!
- This work is completed by injecting all cavities with an anti-corrosion wax. It gives the maximum protection possible and safeguards your investment. We now begin to re-fit the car.
Wherever possible we re-use and recondition major components such as castings, pressings, instrumentation etc., but obviously many components are replaced as part of the restoration process. These include interior trim, chrome, bright work, weather seals, brake components, suspension bushes & bearings, wiring harness, exhaust system, tyres etc..etc. the list goes on and on. It usually includes several hundreds of items.
We would normally expect to rebuild the engine and gearbox, together with all ancillaries such as carburettor, distributor, radiator, starter motor etc.
New interior trim, carpets and headlining complete the car which is now ready for a comprehensive road test and MOT.
During this process we pay special attention to detail and originality. We are able to draw on our vast stocks of new parts and even keep secondhand parts in stock where the originals are obsolete – we are rarely unable to find that elusive part!
Every process is carried out to a very high standard and the end result is a Mini, hand-built to a higher standard than was recognised by the factory.
Come and talk to us about your car.