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Chappers Reader
5/30/19 9:18 a.m.

So the abandoned Dakota, (it needs to be bestowed a suitable GRM nickname)

I don't have the title for it, the realtor said at closing that it would be towed away and donated to charity, but I've asked if I can just have the title and get it running....

It has oil in it, so I hooked up a new battery, everything came to life, and with the old fuel in it, it started!



I've subsequently tried taking the wheels off to try and reseat/air up the tires, but they are stuck fast.  I'll try using my SUV and tow strap to yank them off.



Pushrod Reader
5/30/19 10:33 a.m.

Good Job! Like how your boy comes by at the end and says "now we need to give it a clean...."  :)

CJ (FS) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/5/20 11:53 p.m.

Chapters, very impressed with the massive amount of restoration you have done on your Mini! 

Wondering if you might have a time for an update or are you still gloating about your 'barn'?  devil

Chappers Reader
12/9/20 1:01 p.m.

In reply to CJ (Forum Supporter) :

Haha sorry I was just excited, didn't mean to sound like I was showing off or anything. 

My wife has commandeered a lot of the barn with her wood-working and sanding dust is going everywhere!

to tell the truth I haven't touched the mini for a couple years, I got sidetracked with motorcycles and other projects (2 Rangers and an F250).

I did some soul searching and I decided that I'm going to find another owner for the mini.

So if anyone is interested in a solid early Mk1 and a bunch of parts to go with it, it's available.

Advert link.




maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/10/20 6:58 a.m.

Nooo! I enjoyed following this while I could. 

mblommel Dork
12/10/20 8:06 a.m.

Wow, that's an extremely nice shell for someone to start with!

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/10/20 9:36 a.m.

Disappointed to hear this, as I've been keenly following along, but you gotta do what you gotta do.  Good luck with the sale!

And be sure to post up your -next- project!!  I want to watch that one too!

CJ (FS) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/10/20 10:04 a.m.

In reply to Chappers :

You have every right to be excited!  I would be doing back flips for that kind of space.

Sorry to hear about the sale of the Mini, but sometimes those decisions have to be made.

Chappers Reader
12/10/20 1:24 p.m.

Yeah like I said it required a bit of soul searching, but I found my passions are elsewhere, I can't see myself or my family getting enjoyment out of a mini. I did have fun building it up to this point. 

I've had a couple people enquire what it would take for me to finish it or at least finish the front end bodywork for them. 
So that is always an option to make it more sell-able. 

So I may not be quite done with it just yet, watch this space...

Chappers Reader
12/17/20 5:03 p.m.

Dec 17th update 

I decided to resume some of the difficult parts of the body shell repair. The old panels that I had removed and saved that need their own little restoration. 
There's the scuttle panel, top dash rail and the radiator shroud that's still attached to an old section of inner wing. 

I decided to start with the latter, to ease myself back into it.

I use the spikey missile shooter 3000 to clean back the old paint and attempt to find the old spot welds. 

Here's where it needs to go.

After a bit of spot weld drilling I have the shroud free of the old inner wing.


Quite a bit of clean up to do! I mean you can buy this panel, but where's the fun in that? 

cleaned up and ready for weld repair. I use a thick block of aluminum clamped on the back side of these flanges and plug weld the holes up. 


Then apply this stupidly expensive zinc weldable primer on this flange and the new wing.

I need to get access to the inner wing with the spot welder so had to remove the front subframe, which is nice and easy with the new hardware that I used to install it 2 years ago.

I use surface conditioning Roloc discs in the die grinder to bare metal this wing before applying the zinc primer. 


Then I can use the spot welder.

Also don't forget to spot weld the body  number plate back on too. This also got a coating of weld primer behind it. 


Then a couple flicks of etch primer. look at those runs oops, it was a little cold in there today! At least it's not bare metal haha


one less panel for the next owner to do...

I'll tackle the scuttle panel and dash rail tomorrow. 

Chappers Reader
12/18/20 8:54 p.m.

Dec 18th update

On to the scuttle panel repair, first I needed to repair the chewed up top edge of the bulkhead so it has something to attach to.

I use this block of aluminum clamped behind the panel to plug weld the holes up.


it's like welding wet tissue paper at some points it's so antique and thin gage.


Did the same on the scuttle panel.

Notice large bacon sandwich my daughter brought in for me!

then grind the welds smooth.


able to mock up the repair ends.


you'll notice I had to flatten the swaged edge where the windshield is, as this very early shell didn't have that feature yet. It was changed at some point mid 1960 or 61 I think. 
so the radius doesn't match up yet, but that's ok I'll trim it later. Right now I need to get the panels to line up.


Some trail and error trimming and some butt weld clamps to hold it in position.

I tack welded and then but welded them while clamped in position. 
then removed the panel, ground the welds down smooth on both sides as best I could and now it's trial fitted to swelled how it looks. 

not too bad, that was enough work today, about 6 hours work minus 10 minutes to eat that sandwich. 

Next, the panel needs painted underneath as when it's fitted there's no way to paint the underside. 

I also need to fit these closing panels under the ends too, but I'm not sure how/if they connect to the scuttle to fully close this section off.



SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/18/20 11:23 p.m.

You know, if you just keep going, the car will be worth more, and we'll all get to keep living vicariously through you!

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/19/20 12:37 a.m.

In reply to Chappers :

I'd forgotten how awesome it is watching you do sheetmetal work. 

TurnerX19 SuperDork
12/19/20 10:52 a.m.

In reply to Chappers :

My fuzzy recollection of the piece you are holding up in the latest photo is that it installs horizontally and leaves a nice shelf to collect debris. Hard to spot in the photo, but mounts just above the sharp indent. 

Chappers Reader
12/19/20 1:48 p.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

Thanks for the photo it does back up my thought that the closing panel fits the way I have it held in place. 
I'm planning to attach it to the inner wing/flitch panel and also to the scuttle before the wing goes on. It makes a nice little enclosed volume that if not seam sealed properly would be a great place for corrosion to begin.

ill be painting in there and seam sealing it all up yes



Chappers Reader
12/26/20 10:35 p.m.

Dec 26th update:

Snuck out to the barn for a couple hours on Boxing Day to finish up the scuttle panel.

Got the panel lined up and trimmed the end panels where it meets the existing A post panels. 
Then removed the panel to paint the underside with weld primer.

However even 3M can't make a spray can that will cope with the zinc. 

it goes everywhere! It reminded me why I usually decant it into a container and brush it on! 


Then I went and spot welded it on to the windshield edge and the A post seams and the top of the inner wings. 


then Mig welded and smoothed the joint between the scuttle and the A post. Also trimmed windshield opening in each corner to the correct radius. 


then got some primer on to protect it.


Next job is the upper dash rail panel, another fun chewed up original panel haha.

Chappers Reader
1/5/21 10:39 p.m.

January 4-5th update

Took a break from the mini over the holidays, and put my KTM 200 engine back together after having the cylinder replated. It's actually my first time back riding with my son after I broke my wrist 3 months ago! it was freezing the day we decided to go ride but still it was fun.


Started when I left off, the dreaded chewed up top dash rail. 


the lip that was spot welded at the wind screen opening was chewed up from removing it and heavy corrosion. 
so I cleaned up the underside and top side with the wire cup bit in the die grinder and a surface conditioning disc. 

the lip is formed back on itself at an acute angle for the windscreen rake angle so needed to be bent at a right angle to get the tool access for cleaning back to bare metal.


this end is the worst damage that needs repaired.

so it got chopped out and replaced.

its very thin gauge, so welder turned right down and just pulse weld, here's the back side which is hard to get at to clean up.

I use this tapered carbide burr in the die grinder very carefully, this weld is hidden anyway when the edge of the panel is formed back to the wind screen rake angle and installed in the shell. 

other holes from drilling spot welds out to remove it are plug welded up with the block of aluminum as a backer then ground smooth. 

Then test for the panel.


Zinc primer is so so messy from the spray can, I keep forgetting to decant into a container and just brush paint it...


Now spot weld it on.

The ends might have originally had a flange to weld it to the A post but mine are long gone, so I opted to seal weld and then grind smooth.

the right side was a pain and I'm still not 100% done with it.

but I got some primer on for now.

starting to look like a mini again.


I also ordered the front panel, both wings and some bonnet hinges from M machine in the UK, it's the same company who made my floor for me and a few other specific early MK1 panels. The front panel is a special order (3-4 week lead time) as it has the full skirt shape rather than the ends being cut away, a design change some time in mid 1960, I was told, to enable the drum brake cooling

In the meantime while I'm waiting for that, I'm going to work on the bonnet and  boot lid.

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UberDork
1/5/21 11:54 p.m.

I cannot tell you how pleased I am to seeing this moving along again!

Chappers Reader
4/5/21 9:51 a.m.

March 23rd 2021 update 

The front end panels took a while to be made by M machine in the UK, due to their material shortage, lock downs and back orders. 

But I finally got a call from them to say the panels were ready for shipping, and a couple days later they showed up, in pretty good condition! 

(what's up with the new image attachment, wants to rotate my photos) 

A trial fit just clamping the panels on. 


Chappers Reader
4/5/21 10:02 a.m.

The fit was pretty good was pretty good which was surprising! 
As far as I know this car hasn't had a front end for over 40 years! poor thing

and as you can see I've previously cut out most of the other panels so I was worried about picking up on reference points. 

some of the important details are getting the wing and scuttle panel gaps just right and the bonnet shut lines nice.

So just a little bit of tweaking to the one side of the scuttle panel. Which will involve cutting and re-welding. 

Chappers Reader
4/5/21 5:26 p.m.

March 24th update 

didn't take any photos of the process, but after I got the scuttle panel gap worked out, I welded in the closing panels underneath, liberal use of the zinc primer. 

then took all the seams back to bare metal and zinc primed those where the new panels were going to be welded on.

Then I just used the spot welded and got the front end welded.


bonnet shut lines are better than when I had it clamped up initially. 

I need to add some little stiffener pieces that get welded under the lip where the A panel and the wing seam is. 

then I realized, oh crap, I forgot to fit the subframe to align the front panel! 
I do hope it still fits....


Chappers Reader
4/5/21 6:43 p.m.

April 2nd update 

Subframe refitted, it needed some tweaking to fit though.

it was out of square 

much better.


glad I didn't use the subframe to align the front panels after all! Haha


In reply to Chappers :

Wow, glad to see so much progress!

Chappers Reader
4/6/21 9:25 a.m.

April 3rd update 

Super nice weather meant I could bring some work outside and work with the sun on my back. 

I'd been procrastinating on stripping the crappy paint/bondo off the bonnet. 
I was fairly sure I'd find something nasty that was being hidden. 

I use the 3M paint stripping disc on the grinder, it makes short work of getting down to bare metal and no heat generated, you can touch the panel with your bare hands, so no risk of warping anything. 

there was a skim of bondo over the bonnet badge holes. Don't know why. 

overall it looks in great condition! 
need to get some primer on.

dextervw Reader
4/6/21 3:12 p.m.

Amazing work!  Keep going, because I don't have the $$ to pick it up from you! 

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