Up­mar­ket early Mi­nis were graced with a neat fac­tory boot board. Here’s how to fit one to a reg­u­lar saloon.

Mini Magazine - - Contents -

Tidy up your boot area with our handy guide to fit­ting a Cooper-style boot board.

As a pro­duc­tion run pro­gresses, many man­u­fac­tur­ers add new fea­tures to their cars to keep things fresh. Not Bri­tish Leyland though; hav­ing fit­ted a nice boot board to its Cooper models and 1275 GT, the com­pany bean coun­ters canned the Cooper al­to­gether and deleted the boot board from the GT af­ter only a few years. Sub­se­quent models were be­queathed with a bit of scrappy-look­ing car­pet if you were lucky, and though af­ter­mar­ket boot liner kits can pro­vide a neat so­lu­tion, we’re suck­ers for the OE look.

For­tu­nately, the bits to retro­fit a fac­tory-style boot board are avail­able from New­ton Com­mer­cial, com­plete with the nec­es­sary metal sup­port brack­ets. Dif­fer­ent boards are avail­able to suit sin­gle or twin fuel tanks, and there’s a ver­sion for the larger 7.5 gal­lon tanks fit­ted to later cars too, so all saloon models right up to 2000 are catered for. There are also four dif­fer­ent bracket sets de­pend­ing on what tank and what width of spare wheel you have, so be sure to se­lect the right type. If in doubt, pick the taller type as this af­fords more op­tions. The only is­sue with the taller ver­sions could be clear­ance with the boot-mounted screen washer bot­tle fit­ted to ‘91-on cars, but this should be fairly sim­ple to rem­edy by mak­ing up a small spacer or sim­i­lar.

To fit the brack­ets, you’ll need a drill with a 1/8-inch or 3.2mm bit, 1/8-inch or 3.2mm riv­ets, a rivet gun (prefer­ably with a long nose) and some touch up paint. The brack­ets can be at­tached with No8 self­tap­ping screws in­stead of riv­ets should you pre­fer. On cars made af­ter 1966, the two hor­i­zon­tal bulk­head brack­ets were spot-welded. Such fac­tory welds are very dif­fi­cult to repli­cate, but we’ll take that if it means giv­ing those un­scrupu­lous Cooper fak­ers out there a hard time. Once the brack­ets are fit­ted, the board sim­ply slides in place.

You’ll also need to re­move the bootlid and the bat­tery, but you shouldn’t need to dis­turb the fuel tank. Mea­sur­ing up care­fully and tak­ing your time will yield very sat­is­fy­ing re­sults. All the smaller items of clut­ter can now be hid­den be­low the board, leav­ing a nice car­peted sur­face for ev­ery­thing else. Here’s how we kit­ted out our 1994 May­fair.

1 Be­fore: One stan­dard boot area. Not overly bad, but a bit messy, es­pe­cially with a scrap of car­pet/vinyl pinched from an­other car. Clearly room for im­prove­ment.

2 New­ton Com­mer­cial sup­plies four dif­fer­ent types of bracket sets. There are ver­sions to cater for either 5.5 or 7.5 gal­lon tanks and stan­dard width 145 tyres (usu­ally 10-inch), and two cor­re­spond­ing taller ver­sions for 12-inch wheels and/or 165-sec­tion tyres. This pic shows the height dif­fer­ence.

3 Our ini­tial plan was to fit the taller brack­ets to go with our 6x10-inch al­loys. How­ever, the wheel wouldn’t fit in the wheel well with the later 7.5-gal­lon tank and our big­ger-than-stock bat­tery. And yes, this bat­tery does need a proper clamp and cover.

4 Wheel hip­sters out there will have a fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion. Our tyres are 165-sec­tion, but the wider six-inch wheel is stretch­ing the tyre a lit­tle, and even with a stock bat­tery it would still be slightly too tall for the taller brack­ets to cope with, as shown here.

5 We also found hav­ing the board higher up fouled the boot-mounted washer bot­tle on out later car. This could be tweaked, but as we only had four al­loys any­way, we de­cided to use the reg­u­lar height brack­ets and a steel spare wheel with a 145-sec­tion tyre. In our case a 12-inch wheel fit­ted OK. 6 Be­cause the rear brack­ets fit to the sunken hinge panel lip and you need to reach the rear seat bulk­head, this job is a lot eas­ier when the boot lid re­moved. Dis­con­nect the bat­tery, then split the two bul­let con­nec­tions for num­ber­plate lamp wiring.

7 Loosen the four nuts that hold the bootlid to its hinges us­ing a 7/16-inch AF socket, but don’t re­move them com­pletely yet.

8 Un­screw the re­tain­ing ca­bles from each side of the bootlid us­ing a suit­able Pozidriv screw­driver, sup­port­ing the bootlid to en­sure it doesn’t swing open too far and get dam­aged. Re­move the four nuts fully and re­move the bootlid.

9 Later cars will have a boot seal af­fixed to the body it­self. Pull this away at the bot­tom edge for ac­cess to the hinge panel area.

10 We planned to fit the brack­ets in the fac­tory po­si­tions, like on this 1275 GT. This would’ve worked fine with an early 5.5 gal­lon tank, but our larger left-hand tank meant the left-hand bulk­head and hinge panel brack­ets had to be closer to­wards the cen­tre of the car.

11 Mea­sure the aper­ture be­tween the end of the fuel tank and the right hand lip of the boot open­ing, and record the half way point. This is the po­si­tion for the mid­dle of the cen­tral bracket, which has the square open­ing on top for the rub­ber sup­port buf­fer. We used mask­ing tape to mark the cor­rect po­si­tion.

12 The other two rear brack­ets come pre-shaped to suit. The right-hand one (shown at the top) is more an­gled to fit flush on the boot floor. This bracket is po­si­tioned al­most di­rectly be­hind the boot hinge.

13 The left-hand bracket, mean­while, is shaped so that the rear leg ex­tends into the deeper wheel well. It may need tweak­ing with a pair of pli­ers and some cloth to get the shape cor­rect. Ours needed to be an­gled slightly to suit, as you can see here.

14 Once you’re happy, the brack­ets can be colour-coded to suit the car. This is op­tional of course, but we felt it added to the fac­tory look. Sus­pend the brack­ets with some metal wire or sim­i­lar, and give them a coat of primer. We’d al­ready painted our bulk­head brack­ets pre­vi­ously.

15 Then ap­ply top­coat. A lit­tle pa­tience here will pay dividends. With our char­coal paint the dif­fer­ence is not re­ally that no­tice­able, but with a brighter car it’s well worth the ef­fort.

16 With the brack­ets painted, they can now be fit­ted in place. Run some mask­ing tape along the in­ner edge of the hinge panel as shown.

17 Use a pen­cil to mark the po­si­tion of the holes re­quired.

18 We then used a ham­mer and punch to gen­tly mark the holes and en­able us to lo­cate them eas­ier with the drill. Don’t hit too hard!

19 We opted to drill from the in­side, us­ing a 1/8-inch drill bit.

20 De-burr the holes af­ter­wards to avoid any nasty sharp edges.

21 We used the rec­om­mended 1/8-inch riv­ets to hold our brack­ets on, choos­ing stain­less ones to pre­vent fu­ture cor­ro­sion.

22 With the riv­ets in the sunken hinge panel lip pushed through the holes to lo­cate the bracket, we marked and drilled the re­main­ing holes.

23 Re­move the bracket once again so that you can ap­ply some paint on the holes. This will also help to pre­vent fu­ture cor­ro­sion.

24 Rivet the bracket in place, then re­peat the process for the re­main­ing two rear brack­ets.

25 In­sert the large rub­ber sup­port buf­fer into the cen­tral bracket and se­cure the cle­vis pin.

26 Fit the two supplied rub­ber bungs into the top of the re­main­ing rear brack­ets.

27 With the spare wheel in po­si­tion, place a 1/2inch thick block of wood across the tyre and line up the board. It should be level, but if not ad­just it un­til you are sat­is­fied. Ap­ply some mask­ing tape to the bulk­head.

28 Po­si­tion the two brack­ets onto the board and lay the boot board in po­si­tion. Mark the po­si­tion of the brack­ets along the top and sides. Due to the an­gle of the bracket, they can only go on in one ori­en­ta­tion, but the left-hand one needs to be more in­board if you have the later fuel tank.

29 The right-hand bracket is best on the sec­ond rib right of the cen­tre, while our left one has to go on the first rib left of cen­tre. Mark and drill the three holes. Re­move the bat­tery to get the drill at the cor­rect per­pen­dic­u­lar an­gle if you haven’t al­ready.

30 Next, we hit upon a snag. A reg­u­lar rivet gun wont fit into the bracket. You need a pop rivet gun with a longer nose, or if you’re feel­ing brave, could very care­fully mod­ify a cheaper one with a grinder.

31 For now, we de­cided to rivet them from in­side the car, so the back seat back­rest needed re­mov­ing. You’ll need an as­sis­tant to hold the bracket in place if us­ing this method.

32 We were happy the riv­ets didn’t pro­trude through enough to af­fect fit­ment of the boot board, but longer riv­ets may cause an is­sue.

33 Fit the metal re­tain­ing clip for the boot board in its po­si­tion on the cen­tre rear bracket. Then fit the boot board it­self in po­si­tion. Us­ing self grip pli­ers, clamp the re­tain­ing bracket to the boot board as shown.

34 Mark the po­si­tion of the holes, then drill some holes for the re­tain­ing screws, be­ing care­ful not to go through the board! Screw the clip on us­ing suit­able self-tap­ping screws shorter than the thick­ness of the board.

35 Re­fit the board to the car. You may need a lit­tle lu­bri­cant to en­sure the re­tain­ing clip en­gages with the rub­ber sup­port buf­fer on the cen­tre rear bracket.

36 Here’s the fin­ished boot board in­stal­la­tion. Now all that re­mains is to re­fit the boot seal and the bootlid, and that’s job done. Cooper OE-style brought to the masses.

COST Boot board £80.40, bracket kit £94.96 CON­TACT New­ton Com­mer­cial, 01728 832880,­ton­ DIF­FI­CULTY

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