ON THE JOB
With standard looks and 1380cc power, Gary Carr’s ‘74 Clubman is a true sleeper.
Cumbria-Based Gary Carr blames his dad and grandad for his interest in Classic Minis — as they both owned them. Then, when he was 17, he was lucky enough to take over ownership of his grandad’s black 1098cc Clubman estate. By this time, he had the taste for Classic Minis, as this Clubman was sold to fund a Mini Chelsea project.
A couple of Mini Clubman Estate projects followed, but Gary never seemed to have the time to do them, so sadly they were sold on. A limited edition Mini Sidewalk came next, but still a Clubman fan at heart, he found a Clubman saloon, which he had for years and was finally finished with a fully supercharged 1380cc just in time for the IMM in Belgium last year. But it wasn’t to be, as it was written off on the way home from IMM.
Then one day, one of the members of his Mini Club rang him, telling me he was servicing a boiler and had found a Clubman Estate under some duvets in a garage. It turns out that he lady who owned this Mini would sell it and because Gary really wanted a Clubman Estate again, he went with a friend to check it out as soon as possible!
When he got to look at it, he couldn’t believe the condition — all the wood trim and chrome was perfect, along with the interior. Sadly though, it didn’t run, but Gary could see that it was all there and the lady was asking just £500. He ended up going ahead and buying it for £300, on the proviso that he would never sell it and when it was finished he’d take her out in it!
Gary now has an enviable Mini fleet that includes a turbo’d Clubman, this Clubman estate, a Russet brown estate project and an ABS Freestyler Mini-based buggy kit.
What first attracted you to this Mini?
After my grandad passed away, I always knew that I wanted to own a Clubman Estate again.
Can you tell me more about this Mini, do you know much of its history?
The lady had bought it in a restored state a couple of years before, the original plan after being laid up for all this time, was for her son to restore it, but she knew he’d never get around to it and offered it to me.
What was it that got you starting to rebuild it?
After we got it home and running, we could tell it had some filler in the rear doors. We started to take a better look and found rot everywhere, so we decided to fully restore it. The original plan was to paint it black and make it like the one my grandad had back in the day.
How far have you got?
So far, it has needed new wings, a scuttle, end panels, a new bonnet, inner and outer sills, rear quarters and rear door panels. Under that new bonnet, I’ve fitted a brandnew 1380 engine with a cross-pin diff, servo brakes, brand-new four-pot callipers and vented discs. After all the panels it has also received a full respray on the outside, with a new Newton Commercial headlining and doorcards, new carpets from cover dale, new old stock clocks and top and bottom dash rails on the inside. Finally, all the wood trim has been professionally restored by Sticky Fingers Decals.
What is the next job?
Well, it’s nearly done now, so there are just a few small jobs to the interior and some very small jobs to wiring, and then it will all be finished.
Is there any bodywork still to do, what was it like at the start?
All body work is now done now, when I got it had been badly done, with filler everywhere. There’s no filler now!
Not really, as I’ve had some great help from some good Mini friends.
What sort of style are you aiming for with this car?
An original-looking little sleeper!
Has it been resprayed in the original colour?
Yes, it’s had a full respray in the original Damask Red.
What wheels are you going to run?
I can’t decide on wheels, as I don’t want to run arches and the D1s on it stick out a bit!
Have you made any modifications over standard, or will you be making any?
The first thing I did was to sell the original 998cc engine to a young lad in our club for his Mini. I then replaced it with a brand-new 1380 engine, with a fully rebuilt gearbox — but I didn’t go for straight-cut ’box or drops, I just wanted a nice driver. The engine’s got a MG Metro head and cam, plus a cross-pin diff. I’ve upgraded the brakes to match with a new servo and four-pot vented discs. It’s also fitted with a Maniflow exhaust system.
Do you think your budget is going to dictate what you’re going to do with this Mini?
Ha budget, what’s that?! It went out the window years ago!
Have you got any ideas for any other special parts that you’ll fit to this Mini?
No, all the parts have been bought now.
How often do you plan to use this Mini when it’s done?
All year round and hopefully to plenty of Mini shows!
Do you have any worries with this rebuild?