18/11/12 – Mk1 Racer – The Story So Far

After a shunt I had in my race car in 2009…I became disillusioned with Motorsport. Surely there must be a greater reward for all the money and time spent? So, I sold off a lot of my race parts, including the shell, and bought this 1964 example in December 2009 to use as weekend/trackday car.

It had been modified to resemble a Works Rally Mini from the 60s…but fell well short.

I got to work on the car straight away – swapping out most of the mechanicals and ditching all the non-original parts. A Safety Devices cage, Cooper S brakes, fully adjustable suspension, Rosepetal wheels, Mota Lita steering wheel, Downton mirrors etc were all fitted, along with the 1380cc race engine and box I still had (detuned for the road).

The car was coming on nicely.

I used the car on weekends as planned, but never got around to doing any track days. Despite the car being totally rust free, the paint and dodgy bodywork carried out over the years was not doing the car any favours, and in March 2011 I took the car off the road. What started as a simple plan to fix 1 or 2 things and freshen up the paint, became a full strip back and start over project.

The decision was also made to change to engine and gearbox back to full race spec!

With a few new panels and lot of bodged repairs fixed properly, the car was taking shape again. I discovered it was originally Island Blue, and decided to return it to it’s original colour – albeit with a black roof instead of white.

After getting the car back from paint in June 2011, work started on the rebuild. Almost all the parts that came off the car were to go back on, but rebuilt and repainted to compliment the fresh paint job. I also used the opportunity to modify the roll cage so that it tied into the A and B pillars of the car to stiffen things up. The red interior was ditched in favour of original Dove Grey, as well as a brand new headlining.

Lack of time and motivation means the car is still not back in one piece yet, but progress is still ongoing and the car should be finished and ready for track duty in April 2013!

by Neil Kavanagh