In from the cold
Jeff finds some extra space for his burgeoning fleet of Minis.
When people find out how many Minis I own (as high as nine this month, if you include our Equinox MITP prize car), the immediate question is 'where do you put them all?' It used to be easier. I'd rely on friends, family, and if all else failed, the street. With Mini values on the rise though, I'm no longer confident with leaving cars parked randomly, and most of my friends and family no longer want my tat in their garage. So I needed to sort something.
With a Mini each at my brother's place, my mum's and my own, plus a rented lock-up elsewhere, I still needed to house at least four more. And having moved to deepest, darkest Somerset recently where rent is a little cheaper, I was able to find a suitable unit within a sensible drive of home. Really it's only big enough for two or three cars, especially if you want to do any work. However, in the interests of getting everything away from the elements, we managed to squeeze four in with about a fag packet's worth of space between each. The Japanese Mayfair is the only road legal car in there at the moment, so that's been positioned for easy removal. The others are all still on the to do list, though some have been on there for far too long...
Before the Mayfair was put away, I opted to change the wheel arches. It was previously fitted with some Japanesemade items made from ABS plastic rather than the usual fibreglass. Unfortunately, they were now as old as the hills and hugely out of shape, probably due to the hot sun. This meant the nearside one no longer lined up with the holes, and in a rush to fit it before my summer road trip, I'd broken it. I managed to find another set on a Japanese Yahoo auction and also had some identical fibreglass items as spares, so I got Ryan Cowley to paint them all up for me. The new ones fitted much better and actually follow the line of the wheel, though the fronts needed some careful fettling with the file. I also added a rubber seal between the arch and the body, as well as rubber trim on the lip. This is much easier to fit than the chrome stuff, although I would recommend removing it for regular cleaning as it tends to trap moisture.
All that remains for the exterior now is get to my new wheels on – specifically, a set of tasty Spectrum-style split-rims from Specialist Components in 6x10-inch flavour. These are currently one of only two sets made, with the other belonging to Stephen. I will have to swap to 7.5-inch discs up front to get them on, but it'll be well worth the effort.
With a big pile of old tyres and assorted tat to house too, I could only just squeeze four Minis in.
New arches with fresh rubber trim.
Mayfair will still get used in winter.
Tasty new split-rims for the Mayfair.
It's seriously tight in there!