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Just joined..looking for some help.......

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Hello all ! Just joined. So, I want a Mini......I have never bought a car online; I have been going to BaT everyday to look to see what's for sale.

I have to say, after viewing so many Minis there and hearing of the oil leaking engines, rusty bodies and assorted problems with these cars (I understand these cars are 50 - 60 years old), I am thinking I might like to just buy a Brit. Heritage body and start for square one. Although some of the Minis on BaT are quite nice, they tend to be out of my price range. I am looking to spend the money on one over maybe 3-4 years on a project Mini. I am not a purist, meaning I do not care if it's a factory built car with all the "proper" pieces in place. I just want a mini.

That being said............I would appreciate some feedback about a "modern" build. I know it's a wide topic. I guess I am looking for any help from those individuals that may have been thru one of these builds. What problems to look for, parts availability, where to buy the body from, etc. For instance can you source EVERY part needed for a complete build (windows, door handles)?

Not trying to blow my own horn, but I honestly think because I can take my time with this build (again, looking at likely a 3- 4 year build time) and now having present knowledge of issues that effected the earlier minis, (I do remember hearing that Lucas wiring was sub-par for instance), I could build myself a really nice "new" Mini. It's a big investment for me, I even will have to have a shed built for this build because the wife won't let me use our garage! (We are in the Northeast, so she want s the car in the garage in the winter)............

So, any help would be appreciated............... thanks in advance...

It will cost way more building up a Mini from scratch than buying one. Also, the stories you are hearing about Lucas products are exaggerated.

Well I suppose I can speak to this.  I've done a few (maybe a handful at this point) full top to bottom builds.  I've owned and been driving minis going on 20 years.  I even daily drove them for years and have done thousands and thousands of miles on cross country road trips.  Anyways to your concerns. They leak oil.  If they don't leak today odds are they'll leak tomorrow.  Charm and character of the car really and unless you have a major issue nothing to lose any sleep over.  Rod change gear boxes for example will leak like the Valdez when the rod change seal goes bad, but it's a $15 fix.  Rust varies.  I've bought cars that were original shells and immaculate to literally falling in half.  You can certainly buy a Heritage shell and that's appealing for a number of reasons, but you'll still probably want a doner shell to transfer parts from.  You'll need to transfer the vin at the very least, and the correct years to match the shell type.  Most parts can be bought new so technically you can start from scratch but that's going to be one expensive build.  I have one shell in my shop right now that's sole purpose is to reshell his very rusted current shell.  He was able to buy the shell cheaply and it does need some attention to rust, but he'll probably save 5k-7k going this route vs heritage shell or fixing his current shell.  He'll swap parts over and do some suspension rebuilding along the way.  As far as electrical goes, these are about as simple as they get.  Well, except for the innocenti that's sitting in my shop  :-[   They're old cars and harnesses are cheap to buy new.  The 66 I finished rebuilding last year received a new harness just because it looked like crap compared to the rest of the car as a finished product.  You could make your own harness but honestly you'd be wasting your time and money.  The bullet connections could be improved upon perhaps on an original harness, as most of my issues have been those coming loose in the engine bay going to the headlights.  That's been rare however.

Yes you can do it. Not cheaply though. I am building a new moke up with a new body. When I got the body a few years back it was about $10,500 delivered to Atlanta Ga. Now it's more due to import duty and just higher cost. All the other bits from drivetrain to suspension are available new or rebuilt. You can also go with a different drivetrain like Honda. How deep are your pockets and how much time do you have available to really do this? Building it is pretty basic mechanics, simple and straight forward.

What's your budget? That will make the decision for you.....

Edit: Have you priced a new shell? A Mk1 is $16,500 plus can buy a really nice complete, running Mini for that! Later model shells are about $12,000 plus shipping.

I can't imagine that building one up from scratch will be a cost effective way to go.....and the time and effort involved are huge. When you get a bare shell it's exactly that - bare metal, you have to do all the sealing, undercoating and painting. Then your project has just begun. There is no sense installing old nasty parts in a brand new shell, so you will either buy all new stuff or refurbish every part of the car - it's a HUGE undertaking. And the cost will be staggering to do it right.

I think your best buy is to get a Japanese market car - they are well cared for and rarely rusty - a good platform to build off of. From there you can make it your own - you can also get an automatic if that's important to you. That way you can spend your time and money fixing it up as needed and still get to drive it. I recommend one of these for a couple other reasons too - they will have the later technology, either an HIF carb or SPi fuel injection - they also almost all have A/C if that's important to you.

Driving the Mini is what it's all about - especially in your neck of the country there are fantastic roads, and if you check there will be a Mini club that has all sorts of events to join in....that's the real joy of owning a Mini.

Welcome to the forum, if you have specific questions we are happy to help get you answers.

Good luck with your project, whatever you decide to buy please start a thread and post it here!

PS I have an '89 LHD I'll be selling in the spring, PM me for details if you're interested.


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