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Pete, aka PlasticOrange, comes from Broughty Ferry in Scotland and is in the middle of rebuilding his Minor. It's been taking up space in his garage for the last 32 years!
The pics of the car when it was still had wheels were taken about 20 years ago, just before he took it to bits.
Twenty years of sitting idle hasn't done it any favours so Pete made the decision to go all out and do a total rebuild, but this time it would be to his own design, not Sir Alec's!
The plan is as follows:
- Engine - Ford 351 Cleveland
- Box - Ford C6
- Front Suspension - lower wishbone with strut coil over
- Rear Suspension - 4 bar with panhard rod on 9inch Ford narrowed to 42 inches, flange to flange.
- Wheels - Centreline Autodrag, 31/2 x 15 and 10 x 15
- Chassis - box section with round tube and integral cage
- Interior - original dash, 2 seats and little else
- Body - original with pro street look - wheels within wings with wheeltubs in rear - lowered to just above scrub line and new floor to suit.
- Paint - probably Kingfisher Blue
Originally, Pete had a 302cu engine with a C4 trans, but got the chance of a complete Mach 1 Mustang with 351cu engine and box, so has decided to go down this route. The 351cu is quite a rare engine in the UK so Pete would rather use this than a small block Chevy - he likes to be different. Of course it won't have enough power so once on the road it'll get a mild tune (headers, cam, heads etc) to give it a bit more kick. Pete acknowledges that it probably won't handle too well, but it's only really for going in a staight line and posing so that's no a big issue. Anyway, he's already got a Rover engined minor for general road work.
After owning a car for over 32 years you get a bit attached to it and don't want to let it go, no matter how rusty it gets, and the same goes for Pete's 'Horace'. There may be a fair amount of rust in it, but the entire floor is going to be replaced anyway, so really it's just the wings and doors left to do ...
'Big Ian' aka 'redoxide', is well known up Scotland way for producing high quality work, and is building a full chassis, installing a new floor pan and setting up the suspension. He has set the engine very far back for better weight distribution and therefore the bulkhead is quite large. As it is placed now the centre point of the crank pulley is directly over the centre line of the front crossmember, which is probably ideal. It leaves plenty room for the radiator and any other ancilliary parts. Ian could have put in a flat bulkhead but that would have taken up more interior space, so he built it with footwells to give a little extra room for drive and passenger. Also the engine has a sump well at front, so this restricts how far forward it mounts. So, given that there's not going to be any space in the front for seats, the back seats will be non-existamt and once the wheel tubs go in, it's going to be a tight squeeze for the golf clubs in the boot!
The front strut assemblies are modified Ford Capri units. The difficulty was finding some that were short enough but also avoiding paying £1200 for bespoke Leda units. A lot of thinking, some nifty welding and £150 later the problem was sorted. You can see that the new strut body is dropped right through the support, and the shortest insert Ian and Pete could find, a VW Golf unit, is fitted. Ian has spent a lot of time researching the best approach to this, and has really come up trumps with the solution. Everything is TIG welded for maximum strength, and an Escort Mexico Mk1 rack is to be fitted. Once the car is fully loaded, the correct springs will be fitted to suit, but as you can see the ride height will be easily adjusted.
The body is now a one-piece and can be lifted on and off the chassis by two burly Scotsmen. It has to remain removeable for painting/detailing etc so bracing has been added. Ian has fabricated ducting to the radiator from the inner front panel. Then the steering rack will be mounted and the front wings will be re-radiused to match the tyres. The rear axle will be then be adjusted (on stainless 4 bar adjustable linkages) to sit in the middle of the wings (unlike standard) and then it's painting/wiring/interior etc. The biggest consideration is making the struts work and stay in situ with the body off so that the car can be rolled around. When the body is fitted the design on the strut towers will provide a location for the body, the body in turn will provide a location for the top of the strut towers, once it's whole it will all tie together and be pretty strong. The car is not being built as a race car but a car that can take a bit of pounding on the street and wont break up at the sight of a pot hole in the road. Once its all panelled in you wont know half of it is there.
Pete says that Ian's work is seriously good, and that he gets mentions on the NSRA site for his work. He is obviously quite anxious to finish it now, as he has been working on the Minor (on and off) for about 2 years) and has £16k invested in a 1936 Ford 3 window project which is lying in his garage screaming to be done ... sounds familiar to me (eh Jonathon?!)
You can find lots more pics and follow Pete's progress on his project in the Forums.