Mel­low Yel­low

Bold steps on project VXR as the first coats of Bronze Yel­low go down.

Mini Magazine - - Our Minis -

Last month’s in­stal­ment left with the prom­ise of fuel tank and swirl tank pics, so firstly an apol­ogy as I have nei­ther of those. Dad seems to have got a lit­tle car­ried away with the tin of Bronze Yel­low and started the re­spray in­stead. He opted for Cel­lu­lose paint as op­posed to twopack, as the lat­ter is pretty nasty to your in­sides, costs more and doesn’t tend to give an au­then­tic ‘70s fin­ish.

Spray­ing two-pack re­quires an airfed mask to avoid breath­ing in a lung full of iso­cyanates. I read re­cently that pro paint sprayers are said to have around 90 per cent more chance of get­ting asthma than Joe Pub­lic! That’s not to say Cel­lu­lose is friendly stuff either, and strictly it can only be supplied to clas­sic car re­stor­ers, for in­dus­trial use or com­pressed into an aerosol can. Ba­si­cally, just be care­ful if you’re DIY paint spray­ing at home.

First up was a coat of epoxy primer to the now-stripped in­te­rior and bulk­head. It made sense to sort these bits first as the sub­frame, brake lines and Super Mario plumb­ing were all out of the way. It’s go­ing to be car­peted and trimmed in­side, so the in­te­rior made a good place to prac­tice ahead of the more crit­i­cal ex­te­rior re­paint.

With the first coat of Bronze Yel­low came an e-mail ask­ing whether I’d got it right, and if it looked too much like an AA van. Think­ing of the orig­i­nal ‘60s AA Mini­vans, he’s got a point, but then again they look pretty cool. Once all the black and chrome de­tail­ing goes back on, it’ll look awe­some.

Keen to crack on, and with the IMM dead­line just months away now, next up was to re­in­stall the pedal box. It’s a reg­u­lar Mini set-up with a pair of af­ter­mar­ket mas­ter cylin­ders welded

on the front and re­mote fluid reser­voirs up top. The Vaux­hall gear­box runs a hy­draulic clutch like a Mini, which helps, it’s just that there’s no space on the bulk­head for reg­u­lar mas­ter cylin­ders. All that looks pretty neat and func­tional.

Over on the pas­sen­ger side, Dad got to work in­stalling a re­mote brake servo, sim­i­lar to the orig­i­nal Cooper S type. I’ve never found much need for a servo my­self on a Mini, you just push the pedal harder, although I’m not run­ning any­where near 300bhp. With the servo in place he could be­gin mak­ing up a set of Ku­nifer brake pipes from there to the pedal box and back along the floor to the rear drums. There’s a sim­i­lar solid pipe neatly fed around the front sub­frame with a union near the back in case the sub­frame needs to come out again. An ad­justable bias valve also sits on the rear sec­tion to bal­ance the rear brakes with the fronts.

Ob­vi­ously it needed some flex­i­ble lines too, from the cylin­ders to the reser­voirs and from the sub­frame to the cal­lipers. For this he popped over to Car Builder So­lu­tions and ordered up a ‘build your own’ stain­less steel braided line kit. It works out a tad cheaper than buy­ing cus­tom-made hoses, but the main ad­van­tage is in hav­ing a spare reel of brake line and ex­tra fit­tings in the garage for fu­ture amend­ments. From ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s a bit late once you’ve paid for cus­tom hoses in slightly the wrong length.

Fi­nally this month, at­ten­tion turned to the en­gine/gear­box mounts. The orig­i­nal As­tra mounts are huge lumps of cast alu­minium with in­te­gral rub­ber bushes that would con­sume most of the en­gine bay. Vaux­hall prob­a­bly spent much time and ef­fort to re­fine the mounts and heav­ily re­duce noise and vi­bra­tions, but this is a fun week­end toy, and a Mini af­ter all, so they were overkill. In­stead some Land Rover gear­box bushes and cus­tom steel mounts were deemed far more suit­able for the com­pact in­stall. As space is so tight around the en­gine, the bushes were up­rated to a set of polyurethane ver­sions from Du­raFlex. Hope­fully that’ll re­duce the en­gine move­ment enough to avoid any con­tact with the very nearby body­work. Next to re­in­stall will be the gear link­age, which looks sus­pi­ciously close to the hand­brake for good mea­sure. More fet­tling ahead then…

“I’ve never found much need for a servo, though I’m not run­ning 300bhp...”

Bronzed beauty or road­side re­cov­ery? The yel­low may take some get­ting used to.

With the in­te­rior sprayed up, the ex­te­rior has been primered.

Car­pet will hide all sins in­side, so it was a good place to start.

Pedal box is based on a reg­u­lar Mini unit, with mas­ter cylin­ders at­tached to the top to save space in the en­gine bay.

And there’s also a re­mote Cooper S style brake servo un­der there.

DIY brake line kit from Car Builder So­lu­tions.

Re­mote fluid reser­voirs for the brake and clutch cylin­ders.

The fin­ished flexi lines look great.

The rigid pipes have been safely se­cured un­der the dash shelf.

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