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1989 Austin Mini 'Designer' special edition project


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Hello all

Long time lurker and occasional poster here. I thought that I would share my classic Mini Designer project with you. There seems to be a lot of love for old mini's on here plus everybody has had some connection with mini's over the years.

I'm actually mid way through the recommissioning of this. I'm avoiding the word restoration as that would suggest I know what I'm doing!

The pic below was how it looked when I bought it back in 2016. Doesn't look too bad for a thirty year old car but mini's can and will rust about everywhere. The wing was an obvious problem but there were lots of issues lurking underneath...

IMG_20160205_114757760.thumb.jpg.41e28aae40d902103287349b0393b10c.jpg

The sills were a joke! Both drivers side and passengers side pretty much disintegrated. This picture shows the old versus the new.

IMG_20190924_203356010.thumb.jpg.a48c660dfc89538ddd1eaad541ed950b.jpg

I recently went through a mini rite of passage by removing the rear subframe. Things weren't actually too bad under there although I did find a hole in the frame when I was poking around. The boot floor and heel board are surprisingly solid.

IMG_20201220_114356429.thumb.jpg.acf474ceed035aee23bf15b1ea0750cd.jpg

If you aren't a one for reading words then you can watch my youtube video to see what I did.

 

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My friend Derek has a Designer Mini because his wife liked the Mary Quant link so much so made him get it and she does not even drive!

We share storage I have the keys and permission to drive it but strangely while I love looking at it I am not so keen on driving it.

A few years ago Derek lent me a 1991 Mini Cooper and I loved it, going round roundabouts extra times just for fun. Two days later I returned it and he said you can keep it longer, no thanks I said I can hardy walk now! 

IMG_20200817_135923 broad.jpg

IMG_20200817_135952 broad v2.jpg

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I love 80s minis. Especially the special editions which I used to like to spot. In my neighbourhood there was a Chelsea (c plate) / 25 (b plate) / neon (j plate) and a designer. Cool car. 
 

To my mind when they were going over to satin painted bumpers and that sort of aesthetic they were trying to trade on its Modern day relevance and usability As a car rather than on past glories. I think that’s why I prefer an original spec 80s special edition over something red with fake minilites, and a full quota of spot lamps.

 

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8 hours ago, Six-cylinder said:

My friend Derek has a Designer Mini because his wife liked the Mary Quant link so much so made him get it and she does not even drive!

We share storage I have the keys and permission to drive it but strangely while I love looking at it I am not so keen on driving it.

A few years ago Derek lent me a 1991 Mini Cooper and I loved it, going round roundabouts extra times just for fun. Two days later I returned it and he said you can keep it longer, no thanks I said I can hardy walk now! 

IMG_20200817_135923 broad.jpg

IMG_20200817_135952 broad v2.jpg

Wowser, good stuff!

Although I agree it should have orange indicators.

 

1 hour ago, HMC said:

I love 80s minis. Especially the special editions which I used to like to spot. In my neighbourhood there was a Chelsea (c plate) / 25 (b plate) / neon (j plate) and a designer. Cool car. 
 

To my mind when they were going over to satin painted bumpers and that sort of aesthetic they were trying to trade on its Modern day relevance and usability As a car rather than on past glories. I think that’s why I prefer an original spec 80s special edition over something red with fake minilites, and a full quota of spot lamps.

 

Mini's have always been 'personalised' from 1959 onwards! I'm keeping this one completely standard as standard mini's are getting really rare now.

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I've been making the most of those days between Christmas and New Year when nobody really knows what day it is.

The plan was to remove the rusty rear subframe bolts which had sheared off when I was removing the frame. I thought that this would be an easy task but it soon escalated! I found that the captive nuts had failed on both sides which meant that a repair to the heel board was required. I’m still impressed by the lack of rust on the heel board.

Hopefully I’ll make some more progress before I’ve got to go back to work

 

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Nice work!  We've all been there with the sheared subframe bolts 😬

If you don't want to disturb the heelboard, you can just about get access to the captive nuts from inside the rear bins, next to the rear seat base.

If you look inside the rear companion boxes, you'll see a closing panel which appears to join the inner sill/ rear 1/4 area to the rear inner arch.  This panel is lightly spot-welded into place, only down one side.  If you drill through these and carefully prise the panel upwards, you'll be able to look down into the rear of the heelboard and those troublesome captive inserts will be revealed!

That's why my '83 City E has 3x bolts going into captive nuts and 1x bolt with a nylock on the other side 😄

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1 hour ago, The Mighty Quinn said:

The best limited edition was the 1979 1100 Special in rose metallic with those smart 10" alloys. BL really made an effort with those and it was far more than the usual 'stickers and stripes' stuff they knocked out in the 80's and 90's. They did a silver one as well.

 

One of the last Minis I worked on was an Advantage on an E plate that soon became known as the Disadvantage. There was a tennis theme going on with it iirc.

I would love a mini 1100 special in rose metallic. These are great cars with 10” wheels, tartan seats and a tan vinyl roof, outstandingly stylish. I should have bought one while they were cheap, I’m unlikely to get one at current prices.

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5 hours ago, Rusty_Rocket said:

Nice work!  We've all been there with the sheared subframe bolts 😬

If you don't want to disturb the heelboard, you can just about get access to the captive nuts from inside the rear bins, next to the rear seat base.

If you look inside the rear companion boxes, you'll see a closing panel which appears to join the inner sill/ rear 1/4 area to the rear inner arch.  This panel is lightly spot-welded into place, only down one side.  If you drill through these and carefully prise the panel upwards, you'll be able to look down into the rear of the heelboard and those troublesome captive inserts will be revealed!

That's why my '83 City E has 3x bolts going into captive nuts and 1x bolt with a nylock on the other side 😄

Now you tell me!

I'm quite happy with the repair. The heel board is in suprisingly good condition. I was poking around it today and was pleasantly suprised :-)

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  • 3 weeks later...

A bit more progress made this weekend. I did a bit of digging around to see how bad the rust was ar the rear end.  It's a bit odd; the wheelarch is gone as expected but the battery box is solid. Normally these are the first things to go, maybe it had been replaced in the past.

Unfortunately I've found some big rust patch on the boot floor / rear seat base area. I'm actually glad that I found it as it is right next to the rear seat belt mounts. There must be a moisture trap between the sub-frame and the body.

The thumbnail makes it look a lot worse than it actually is!

 

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last mini i owned was a 25 that had accident damage...sold the triple clocks for more than I paid for the car ..

seats and bumpers made good money too...

sold the rest including engine and box to a guy that grass tracked it..

I paid £80....

it made me over £600 in the end..

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13 minutes ago, bezzabsa said:

last mini i owned was a 25 that had accident damage...sold the triple clocks for more than I paid for the car ..

seats and bumpers made good money too...

sold the rest including engine and box to a guy that grass tracked it..

I paid £80....

it made me over £600 in the end..

£600 wouldn't even buy a project now. Fancy a laugh? Look at the prices of Mini pick-ups and vans :-)

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2 hours ago, Blake's Den said:

£600 wouldn't even buy a project now. Fancy a laugh? Look at the prices of Mini pick-ups and vans :-)

Don't....My 1st legal car was an 850 van, Paid £250 for it and £250 to insure it LOL... they're north of £10k now.....

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Almost exactly 21 years ago I bought a 1962 Super Deluxe for £3k which I thought was a bit rich but it was a nice solid un-restored example in rare Fiesta Yellow with sky blue interior.

Ran it as a daily for 2 years before selling it for what I paid and thought I'd done fairly well. Would be into 5 figures now probably.

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A friend of mine bought an ex RAC mini van at an auction in 1982 (blue and white) it was incredibly cheap and was used as the official vehicle of the university jelly wrestling society. It was used to transport the jelly. When it was scrapped the yard wondered why there was jelly in the back in recesses etc.

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