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Homepage. This page: Visitors story about his classic Minis

1976 & 1977 Minis

Hello, first of all congrats for this wonderful site, i've been going through it for this last week and i must say its a very well thought site.

My name is Noel Cauchi and I am from Malta and am very keen on classic cars though my two oldies ain't exactly standard.

Attached find some fotos of my two cars, the green mini is a 1976 model and the surf blue mini is a 1977 model. Both have been slightly customised.

The green mini has always been with my family since my father bought it new from Muscats Motors (local agents for BMC cars at the time) and I remember being pottered around in it when I was a kid, infact its the only car my father ever had. When I passed my driving test it was handed over to me and I started a slight renovation on it. Initially I used it as my everyday car but eventually it become my fun car.

Its body is completely original, including the rare colour and no modifications have been done to it bar a full respray, however in all the other areas, its a different story. The interior has been customised with the fitment of Corbeau bucket seats retrimmed in beige leather with black piping together with the rest of the interior which got a retrim to match, including the upper and lower dashboard rails and aftermarket console, the dashboard was designed by myself and crafted from walnut by a local carpenter and the steering wheel is a Luisi item also in walnut.

The engine is a 1360cc with a 40DCOE Weber carburettor, Kent 286 camshaft, big valve cylinder head and 3 core radiator. The suspension has been left standard for the time being but the brakes have not, at present there are 7.5" cooper S front disc brakes and standard drums at the rear but the front will soon be swapped for 8.4" 4 pot disc brake assemblies from an MG Metro which will improve braking dramatically. The wheels are 12" Minilights with Dunlop rubber.

Now to the surf blue Mini. As I said this is a 77 example which was first registered in 1978 and originally was beige.

This mini was given to me by my cousin who had used it as a runabout for some years, and then thought of rebuilding it and passing it over to his girlfriend which did not happen though as aforementioned girlfriend walked away and the mini was left in storage in a very damp underground garage for about 8 months.

However I went to have a look at it and took a battery with me to try and fire it up, but first we tried firing it up with its own battery but nothing happened, a slight push was given and it fired back to life immediately.

I took it home with me and used it like that for a couple of months. However a rebuild was planned and work started in January 2001. A list was drawn and parts needed were both front floor pans, both A-panels, new ball joints, new steering rack, new cv joints, new brake shoes and wheel cylinders and the list goes on. It also got some patches in the rear floor area and in the boot floor area as well and some minor welding in the sills was required also. The new paint scheme was still not decided at this moment but after going through various mini related magazines surf blue was the only colour I kept going back to, so surf blue it was together with an old english white roof and door squares for that classic racer look. At this time ideas just started firing up in my mind and I decided to make it in a Mark 1 replica using as many old parts as I could to give it that authentic look.

An austin mark 1 grille was sourced from a friend and some mark 1 badges and over riders sourced from a local second hand parts shop. A mark 1 boot lid was also sourced from another friend and the mini started to look like a real mark 1 mini. Things still to be done to the exterior for that authentic mark 1 look are the front badge and the rear lights which currently are mark 3 and 2 items respectively.

The interior was also covered to replicate the mark 1 look; the seats were covered in two tone light blue and light grey vinyl whilst door cards were covered in light grey only and a grey carpet added though this will have to go to be replaced with the proper light blue item in the near future. A must have tacho was added on the parcel shelf and the dashboard was left standard (i.e. the oval binnacle incorporating speedo with fuel gauge, temperature and oil pressure gauges).

The engine is a 998cc and was left in as found condition though I gave it a good clean up and painted it to a similar green used by BMC for their engines during the 60s. However I was told from my cousin that in the past the engine had received a rebore and the head had been polished but all the rest was standard.

All this was done in a period of 6 and a half months and the car was back on the road in July of the same year.

These cars are not used on a daily basis but the surf blue one is often used by my mum and wherever she goes she gets loads of admiring looks and even some serious offers for it, but I don't think I'll ever sell it and same goes for the green car, which will be part of the family for as long as I stay alive. After all it is kept in memory of my father who always took good care of it and was very fond of the little car.

I hope to see both stories on ur website and again keep up the good work.

Noel Cauchi, Malta

Thanks for that great write-up Noel, great read!

This just one of a number of stories & images of classic vehicles owned by surfers who have called by my oldclassiccar website - why not send me your details and see your classic on the web?? Click on the image link below to find out more, its easy!
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