Seven Restoration: Custom Rally Build

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Ready to go play in the dirt? This was a fun build for the shop, being something a little different. The customer lives on an unpaved road, and wanted a Mini that is at home both on and off pavement.

This Mini arrived with a good running 998 and a stage one kit, but the owner wanted more. The wiring harness was a combination of old stock section grafted into a universal hot-rod harness, with electrical gremlins throughout. The suspension was worn out, having only seen the upgrades of adjustable diagonal tie rods and trumpets. Both rear swing arms had worn into the bushings, with one wearing right into the swing arm, requiring a complete replacement.

The build started with pulling the 998 in favor of a 1380 power unit, removing the front and rear subframes for complete strip and rebuild, and removing enough of the interior to replace the wiring harness.

Initially just the engine bay was to be repainted, but after the cleaning of the body shell began it was decided to go ahead and repaint the entire underside, as the factory undercoat was flaking off with just the help of an air nozzle. As we are not fans of working on our backs we removed the rear window, seats, and doors to lighten the shell enough to go on the rotisserie to strip all the old undercoating, and prep for paint. After hours of degreasing, scraping, and sanding, the underside and engine bay were seam sealed, and painted to match the exterior.

Reassembly began with all new brake and fuel lines, completely rebuilt subframes with fully adjustable suspension and new springs. KAD 7.9” four pot brakes were installed up front for maximum stopping power behind the replica Cooper S wheels. The engine was dropped into place with twin HS4 carbs, big bore LCB, and new electronic ignition, using a 4 core radiator to keep everything cool. The dash received a new electronic Speedometer as the owner wanted something reliable and accurate, powered by a new complete wiring harness.


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