ON THE JOB

Sarah Thomas is on a restora­tion cru­sade to put the once unloved ‘Lit­tle Pig’, her Stu­dio 2, back to its glo­ri­ous stan­dard.

Mini Magazine - - Contents - Words Mar­tyn Collins Pho­tog­ra­phy Adrian Bran­nan

Sarah Thomas is on a mis­sion to re­turn her Stu­dio 2 to orig­i­nal spec.

This 1991 Stu­dio 2 is Sarah Thomas’s first Mini. In fact, it was bought as a project back in July 2011 by her dad for her youngest brother Alex, the idea be­ing they would work on it to­gether. The Mini was road­wor­thy, but needed a few re­pairs. How­ever, Alex wasn’t re­ally in­ter­ested, so the Mini was left in the garage, rather ne­glected, un­til 2013 when Sarah’s dad de­cided to tidy it up and sell it.

When it was ready to sell, Sarah and her other brother, Robert, de­cided to buy it. Sadly (or thank­fully, de­pend­ing how you look at it), Robert didn’t like driv­ing it. But Sarah fell in love with it straight away – she knew she had to own it!

This Stu­dio 2 be­came her daily in Septem­ber 2013, and quickly earned the name ‘Lit­tle Pig’ be­cause it’s lit­tle, and “a pig” to work on! With Sarah hav­ing no me­chan­i­cal knowl­edge, her dad was the one who had to come and res­cue her when Lit­tle Pig broke down. She re­mem­bers of­ten driv­ing to work with a wet floor, be­cause there was a leak, and they were un­able to find the source!

In Novem­ber 2015 Sarah was hit by an­other car, with Lit­tle Pig re­ceiv­ing a bit of dam­age to the wing around the driver’s side head­light. It was at this point that she de­cided it should be­come a week­end toy.

Af­ter meet­ing part­ner Neil, who owned two Minis (a 1982 and 1984 Mini City), in May 2016, she started go­ing to big­ger Mini shows and re­alised how few Stu­dio 2s were about, and it was then that she made the de­ci­sion to re­store Lit­tle Pig to as close to fac­tory stan­dard as pos­si­ble.

“Whilst on a trip to Whitby the ex­haust fell off, and I de­cided it was time to take it off the road”

What at­tracted you to this par­tic­u­lar Mini in the first place?

Cir­cum­stance gave me the op­por­tu­nity to buy it, and af­ter driv­ing it I just knew I had to own it.

Can you tell me more about this Mini, do you know much of its his­tory?

Un­for­tu­nately not. Orig­i­nally a Stu­dio 2, a pre­vi­ous owner had changed it into a red Cooper replica with al­loy wheels and a red and black leather in­te­rior. From the MoT records I think this was done in around 1997.

What mo­ti­vated you to start the re­build?

At the end of Au­gust 2016, whilst on a trip to Whitby, the ex­haust fell off and I de­cided it was time to take it off the road and get started with the restora­tion. The MoT was due to ex­pire in Septem­ber and it made sense to SORN and not put it through an­other MoT.

How far have you got?

De­spite a pro­duc­tive start, the restora­tion was put on the back burner last sum­mer when two of my grand­par­ents be­came ill and un­for­tu­nately passed away. How­ever, the sub­frames have been stripped down, cleaned up, re­painted and put back to­gether. A new floor and cross­mem­ber have been welded in, along­side the driver’s side quar­ter panel, new door steps and A-pan­els. Work is cur­rently be­ing un­der­taken to re­place the front end, and new in­ner wings have been fit­ted.

What is the next job?

To fin­ish the front end. I have just bought a set of wings, so they will be fit­ted next.

Is there much more body­work to do, what was it like at the start?

I think the boot floor will need to be re­placed,

but hope­fully not too much more is needed to make the car solid again. De­spite look­ing pretty solid to be­gin with, we’ve had to re­place a lot of metal! Once the bulk of the body­work is com­pleted, we’ll get the shell me­di­a­blasted to en­sure all the rust is re­moved.

Do you have any wor­ries with the re­build?

Just the time it’s go­ing to take but hope­fully we shouldn’t en­counter any more sur­prises! Find­ing orig­i­nal Stu­dio 2 in­te­rior parts has also been a chal­lenge so I’ve had to pur­chase things as I find them.

What sort of style are you aim­ing for with this car?

As close to brochure stan­dard as pos­si­ble.

Will you keep it in the same colour?

No, it’s go­ing back to its orig­i­nal, Storm Grey.

What wheels are you go­ing to run?

12-inch steel wheels, with Pres­tige full-width wheel trims.

Are you plan­ning on in­creas­ing the power of this Mini?

No, I am keep­ing the orig­i­nal 998cc en­gine.

Will you be mak­ing any body mods, such as dif­fer­ent wheel arch ex­ten­sions?

No, it will re­main as close to fac­tory stan­dard as pos­si­ble.

Do you think your bud­get is go­ing to dic­tate what you’re go­ing to do with the restora­tion of your Mini?

No, thank­fully by do­ing a lot of the work our­selves (Neil is a welder by trade so is do­ing much of the work, and my dad will be paint­ing the car), the costs have been kept down. I man­aged to pick up a full in­te­rior for less than £100, so that was def­i­nitely a bar­gain find.

Have you got any ideas for any spe­cial parts that you’ll add to this Mini?

No, it will all be stan­dard be­cause of the Stu­dio 2’s rar­ity!

How of­ten do you plan to use this Mini when it’s done?

As much as I can; it’s been off the road for far too long!

The boot floor will prob­a­bly need re­plac­ing.

It was only once stripped back that all the work be­came ap­par­ent.

The front is a bit of a work-in-progress!

Work is cur­rently un­der­way to re­place the front end.

The orig­i­nal 998cc en­gine is stay­ing.

Lit­tle Pig is branded with its own name!

Sarah will be keep­ing this rare car orig­i­nal.

Cur­rently a red Cooper replica, Sarah is re­turn­ing this Stu­dio 2 to the orig­i­nal Storm Grey hue.

The new floor is just some of the re­place­ment metal that’s gone in so far.

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