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Making your space yours
Gauges & Instruments
A lot of Modifiers want to keep the standard Morrie-look dashboard, but want to add a few extra bits and pieces and other doodads. Stuff like temperature and oil pressure gauges, a clock, rev counter or stereo are the most common additions to a Minor's interior.
Oil Pressure & Temperature Gauges
If you don't want to go cutting holes in the dashboard itself, you should be able to find a combination set of gauges that come with a bracket to hold them all together. This bracket can be screwed to the underside of the dashboard with a couple of self tapping screws. The area under the dash to the right of the steering wheel (on right-hand drive Morries, opposite side on LHD) provides a convenient spot. This is handy to the driver and avoids the dashboard light switch (below the speedo on Minor 1000's) and the most popular area for fitting stereos.
The next step in gauges, is to fit them directly into the dashboard, normally either side of the speedo. Get yourself an oil pressure gauge and a water temperature gauge from a Mini. Measure the diameter of the gauge body, set up a compass to the required radius, and mark out on the dashboard where you want the gauge to be. Check that there is nothing behind the dashboard where you have marked the hole that will be damaged when you cut out the hole. I recommend that you disconnect the battery at this point!
If you have access to a hole cutter of the correct diameter then use that to cut the holes in your dashboard, otherwise drill a few evenly spaced holes in the dashboard within the inscribed line. Using a round cutting file, carefully cut out the hole just within the inscribed line. Once you have a hole approximately the right size, repeatedly try to fit the gauge into the hole. Trim the edges of the hole with a round cutting file until the gauge is a firm push-fit.
Once you have the gauges in place it's time to wire them up. The temperature gauge requires a live power lead to one side of the gauge, and an earth lead which goes to the temperature sender unit on the engine. On later 1098cc engines the sender unit is located in the front of the head. The oil pressure gauge is mechanical/pressure activated (if taken from a Mini) and requires a pipe going from the gauge to the rear of the engine block. Avoid using plastic tubes as these have a tendency to part company when they get hot. The best bet is to use a copper or aluminium tube.
If you have any doubts as to your electrical or mechanical ability, then I recommend you get an auto-sparky or mechanic to do the final setup of your gauges.
When you're finished you'll have a pair of smart, period-style gauges, that look standard and put the mind at ease, knowing that if something nasty starts to happen under the bonnet, you should know about it sooner rather than later!
Another option is to fit the gauges into the driver's side glove box as can be seen in this Fiat-powered Van
After-market rev counters tend to be too big to fit in the dashboard, so are either fitted below the dashboard on a bracket (see above) or are fitted into the glove box - either inside the 'box or directly into the doors themselves (if your car has them).
The driver's side glove box is tricky to use at the best of times, being hidden directly behind the steering wheel, so it makes sense to use the space for gauges. Fitting gauges to the interior of the glove box is pretty straightforward, although depending on the size and weight of the gauge, you may like to fit some kind of support for it under the gauge. This will reduce vibrations and make it more of a 'professional'-style job. Note that this will undoubtedly involve cutting holes in the glove box liner. If you intend to restore your Minor to original condition at some stage in the future, think about getting an aftermarket plastic liner and putting the original cardboard one aside. Original glove box liners are getting very hard to come by.
When fitting gauges into the glove box door, follow the instructions as above, but you will also have to either cut a hole in, or remove completely, the inner glovebox door panel.
The Speedo Hump
On later-model Minors the central speedo hump is the focus of the dashboard. Retaining this hump ensures that your Minor will always look like a 50's or 60's vehicle. But, you are severely restricted in the options available for fitment of extra gauges, stereo etc. Remove the hump, fill in the hole, smooth the top and Voila! A huge expanse of empty space into which you can put all the doodads you can think of!
Some modifiers have taken to fitting entire instrument sets from late-model vehicles. This sometimes involves removing the entire Minor dashboard and replacing it with a narrowed down Japanese unit. If you find the right donor car, the instrument set may fit inside the glove box. There's an idea! Smooth out the speedo hump, fill in the holes, fit all instruments & gauges into the glove box, and hide it all behind the glove box doors when parked!
The easiest place to install a car stereo is under the dashboard.
Most car stereos come supplied with brackets which attach to the sides of the stereo itself which can then be screwed to the underside of the dashboard. Unless you as a driver want complete control over the stereo, position it as close as possible to the centre of the dashboard. This will allow your passengers to use it whilst you concentrate on driving! Just remember that the dashboard light switch on 1000's is in the middle, immediately below the speedo.
If you haven't already used the glove box for gauges, you can fit the stereo into the glove box door, or better yet, make up a panel that fits snugly inside the glove box liner, and fit the stereo into that. This way you can close the door on your expensive stereo and hide it from view when you're away from your car. For my Minor 1000, I cut out a piece of wood to match the shape of the passenger-side glove box liner, but reduced in dimensions slightly so that it would fit snugly about two thirds of the way back into it. I cut a rectangular hole in the wood to accept the stereo and another in the back of the glove box liner to provide support for the rear of the stereo. The face plate fits so snugly into the liner that I don't need any further supports for the stereo, and there's even space for a couple of CD's to be stored under the stereo itself; all nicely hidden from view behind the glove box door.
Unless you've done a smoothie job on your dashboard, there's not many other places to fit a car stereo to a Minor. That's when you have to start building custom consoles.
Standard Minor seats may be comfortable when pottering around town, but long distance driving or 'spirited' driving styles demand a little bit more support
Almost all modern car seats provide a great deal of support in all the right areas - lower back, thighs, shoulders - and the Japanese are especially good at making comfortable, sports-style seats. Any of these that bolt directly to the floor can be fitted to a Minor, although lookout for seats that are too low or too wide. The Minor drive shaft tunnel does tend to get in the way with seats from larger cars. The late model Mazda 121 (post-1990) (an attempt at making a Minor for the 90's?) has seats which fit extremely well into a Minor. The front seats simply require a couple of brackets welded to the floor which the standard Mazda seat mountings are bolted to. The only point to be careful of here is make sure that the brackets are level! Otherwise you might end up sitting with your head out the window and your feet in the parcel shelf! The rear seat is even easier to fit than the front seats! A bit of judicious tapping with a ball-pein hammer to the inner rear wheel arches and the Mazda rear bench seat virtually slides right in! And it comes complete with fold-down seats to provide access to the boot!
A number of companies produce after-market seats specifically for the Minor. Newton Commercial produce a seat based on the MG Metro or Minir seats, providing head restraints, fore and aft adjustment as well as a reclining back rest and lumbar adjustment. They are available in many different uphostery patterns, including an original-look stitched/padded style.