ON THE JOB
Motorsport fan Catriona Bryson got this Mini to start her rallying career, and this rare limited edition Designer has received a well-earned rebuild.
The story of motorsport fan Catriona Bryson’s limited edition Designer rebuild.
Catriona Bryson grew up with her parents competing in rallies so has been into cars from a very young age, in fact she now competes in rallies too! She had always liked Minis, but only got properly into them when her uncle bought two of them. One as a road car and the other which he used to rally.
Catriona tried to buy the road car from her uncle before her dad bought her this one – when she was just 13 years old! At the time, her dad was starting up ‘Tween Driving Days’ for 12- and 13-year-olds to learn to drive, before going into the J1000 Championship at 14. These events were held at Kames Motorsport Complex in Muirkirk, which is about half an hour away from where Catriona lives.
Unfortunately Catriona never made it into the Junior Championship, but she tells me that driving this Mini, even in its previously rusty state, was great fun — even when she was driving alongside more modern and boring Vauxhall Corsas and Nissan Micras which were apparently very popular. All this makes Catriona’s Mini Designer quite unique.
Since then, Catriona’s started navigating for her dad in off-road rallying and her ultimate goal is to continue navigating in any type of motorsport.
Meanwhile, seemingly like every other Mini Designer, Catriona’s car, which was rotten and an MoT failure, has received a well-deserved rebuild to original specification, and once it’s finished she is looking forward to taking it to shows and enjoying driving it again.
What first attracted you to this Mini?
It was bought by my dad for me when I was 13, just so I could do kids’ driving days at Kames Motorsport Complex. I’ve owned it for five-years now.
Can you tell me more about this Mini, do you know much of its history?
It is a Designer limited edition and had one lady owner from new. It had failed its MoT, so we bought it for the driving days for just £350.
What was it that got you starting to rebuild it?
I used it for the driving days for a couple of years, then I thought as it was one of the rarer limited edition Minis, it was worth restoring.
What’s your progress so far?
Firstly it was stripped, then the bare shell and subframes were sandblasted. After this, the panels that needed attention were replaced. In my Designer’s case this included new floor pans, wings, a front panel, boot lid and finally the doors were repaired. With the body sorted, it was time to get the engine and gearbox stripped and fully rebuilt. Then we started to reassemble it. It’s since got new brakes, new suspension, new lights, new bumpers and inside we fitted a new headlining. The distinctive stripy Mark Quant seats have also been repaired and cleaned. It has taken four-years to get to this point, but I’m hoping it should be finished before the end of this year.
What is the next job?
I’ve got to finish putting in the dash and refitting the all the windows.
Is there any bodywork still to do, what was it like at the start?
No, the bodywork is complete and was all done by Connell Motorsport in Ayr. At the start of the project the bodywork was quite badly rusted, however the subframes were luckily in very good condition – we think they may well have been replaced by a previous owner.
Has it been kept in the same colour?
Yes, it has been resprayed in the original black colour.
Do you have any worries with this rebuild?
No other worries other than the budget being well blown — thank goodness for the bank of dad!
What sort of style are you aiming for with this car?
We are keeping it totally original as it is a Mary Quant limited edition.
What wheels are you going to run?
We had the original steel wheels sandblasted and painted, plus the plastic wheel trims have been polished and tidied up. But, we also have a set of Minilite-style wheels that we will use for shows.
Have you made any modifications over standard, or will you be making any?
Other than the alloy wheels it is totally standard.
Do you think your budget is going to dictate what you’re going to do with this Mini?
It’s already well over budget, but we are determined to finish it to the best standard that we can.
Have you got any ideas for any other special parts that you’ll fit to this Mini?
Nope, considering how rare the Designer limited edition is these days, we’ve decided that everything is going to remain standard.
How often do you plan to use this Mini when it’s done?
Just summer use once it’s finished; Sunday runs and shows.
Refitting the dash and the windows is the next job.
The Mini has been given new brakes and new suspension.
Original Mark Quant seats were repaired.
Mark Quant seats sitting proudly in place.
Original steering wheel will remain.
The Designer has been resprayed in the original black.
Minilite-style wheels will be used for shows.
The all-important Designer logo.
Mini is being turned back to original spec.