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Well the guy who agreed to do the welding kept coming up with excuses saying he was too busy right now but he'd call tomorrow but he never kept his promises. So I phoned around and found that no one in Ipswich wants this kind of work. It seems all the body repair garages want to do insurance jobs, servicing or MOTs. Welding a few panels on a Mini just did not interest them at all. I was becoming a little frustrated with the garages around here I can tell you but my Sis came through and a mate of hers with a body shop offered to take the car, weld all my new panels on, give it a complete respray and get it through an MOT for a very cheap cash price. There was one catch. He was located north of Nottingham.
The company next door to his body shop employs a couple of lads that travel around the country collecting cars for them so for a fee they came to Ipswich (at 5:30am one morning) and loaded my Mini onto a truck and drove it away. After waving goodbye to my car for a few weeks I went to work, early.
While the car was up north I cleaned out my garage, nipped to the local DIY store and bought some white emulsion paint. I ended up going back to the store several times because breeze blocks really absorb paint but I finally painted the whole of the inside of my garage white. Before any car went into the garage my mates Ohp and Mark popped around to use my new 'white room' to film an alien autopsy. But that's another story.
Two weeks later when I got the nod that the car was finished and had passed its MOT after needing a new ball joint and set of plugs, I caught a train after work and headed north to get my car. I was shown it that night and I have to admit it did look good with its new paint job. It was originally Rover Flame Red (89) but now it is a slightly darker red as the paint matching was carried out against a faded wing that they cut off.
The next morning I handed over a wad of cash and a crate of beer and drove my car back to my Sis's place. My nieces and nephew insisted on riding with me leaving their mother to drive home on her own. They think Mini's are great and my nephew has made me promise that he gets first dibs if I decide to sell it (not going to happen dude!)
Later on that day I set off for my long journey back to Ipswich. It was a great feeling to be driving the Mini again on the open roads a year and a month since I last drove it. I made a vow not to take it off the road for such a long time in future. The radio didn't work so I had the noise of the engine and my own thoughts to keep me company on the three and a half hour journey home.
So the Mini was finally restored before Christmas and the New Year, a little later than I'd originally planned. Since its return the radio has been fixed (a wire was not connected) and I've raised the rear suspension because the wheels kept hitting the arches every time we went over a bump. I have also carried out another oil and oil filter change. If your engine oil on the dipstick looks black I would consider an oil change. Mine is currently that lovely light golden colour. It won't last but the engine purrs right now. The engine has also been tuned using one of those Colortune kits that allow you to check the spark colour. Its running a little lean so I may run it a little richer to get that 'oomph' back. A pressure test has also been carried out on each engine chamber and all four chambers were in the green zone.
I've washed the car and waxed it and even bought chrome cleaner to clean the chrome that was looking a little rusty. The next stage now is to customise and modify the car. I've taken out extra insurance that will allow me to carry out the mods that I want so keep reading!