“The roof and front wings had be­come crazed - a huge amount of work...”

Mini Magazine - - Mini Minus -

power, 10- inch wheels with sticky Yokohama tyres went on and a light­weight sub­frame re­place­ment with Gaz coil- overs was in­stalled at the rear. With an oil cooler cheek­ily pok­ing out through the front grille and plenty of retro styling cues, it was a good look­ing car, mem­o­rably catch­ing our eye on the London to Brighton run in 2010. But be­fore long, Jonny’s mind was onto the next project. “I de­cided to strip the car down and break it for bits,” he re­calls. “I sold some of the parts on, in­clud­ing the shell, but kept most of the run­ning gear, the sub­frames and the en­gine.” Although it seems a shame to have bro­ken up such a happy home, Jonny had his mind set on an even bet­ter project to house the leftovers.

Mi­nus ap­peal

An orig­i­nal and rare Mini Mi­nus shell came up for sale in 2010 for a rea­son­able sum of just £ 900. It was a fair trek to fetch the body from Leeds, but the allure of a rust- free shell, one that’s short­ened by three inches in the bodyline and free of ex­ter­nal seams, was hard to re­sist. Pro­duc­tion of the car, orig­i­nally named the ‘ Sta­tus Mini Mi­nus’, be­gan in 1982. The con­cept was de­signed and de­vel­oped by ex- Lo­tus en­gi­neers Brian Luff and Keith Lain, with the in­ten­tion of cre­at­ing a Mini that would never rust. The fi­bre­glass shells were not nec­es­sar­ily any lighter than a steel ver­sion, in fact they of­ten weighed slightly more due to the thick­ness of the GRP re­quired for strength, but the de- seamed and body­chopped de­sign im­proved top speed and fuel econ­omy, just like the orig­i­nal Trick­ett Min­iS­print of the ‘ 60s.

“It had been built- up be­fore, but I’m not sure if it had ever been used on the road,” says Jonny. “It’s sim­i­lar in some ways to a MkI Mi­nus, with the small rear lights, but it has in­ter­nal door hinges and Mk3- type floor. I think all of the Mi­nus shells must have been a bit dif­fer­ent to each other.”

Work be­gan in earnest on the body­work, which had de­te­ri­o­rated some­what since the ‘ 80s. “It was a ridicu­lous amount of work in the end, and I’d never at­tempted most of it be­fore,” says Jonny. “The fin­ish of the whole roof and the front wings had be­come crazed, so it took a huge amount of body­work to get it look­ing right.” Be­com­ing a real dab- hand with the fi­bre­glass and filler, Jonny grad­u­ally re­paired,

The clas­sic colour scheme and low, mean stance make this a truly eye- catch­ing cre­ation.

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