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Progress Progress...

My plan of attack is to get the front & rear sub frames + the engine completed by the end of the year. On my college budget this will be a stretch but I think I'm capable of getting it done! I have new lower arm bushes, engine stabilizer bushes, cv boots and dust covers all ready to be installed.

Yesterday engine paint was brought. It's not the original engine color (or even close really) but I think it's an improvement over the standard military looking green engines that minis came with. Certainly brighter than what the cap on the tin said! But I'm liking it. The car isn't being restored to complete factory spec, so I'm not too fussed.

I picked up another complete 850, this one's a 1964. Whilst it runs, its been run hot, and hard. Plus its really sludgy on the inside, so it'd probably make a good rebuilder, but for now it's provided me with some really good parts, namely a generator that's dead silent when it spins (quite hard to find quiet ones!) and a tidy starter motor, both of which I have restored. 

So far, I've got most of the front sub frame parts painted and ready to go back into the frame. The rear sub-frame is virtually finished bar one brake hose!

Wish me luck.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Time for some go-fast bits!

After a bit of searching around I managed to pickup a pair of twin SU carbs on a genuine cooper S manifold, accompanied by the 12G202 head, which supposedly flows much better than the original 850 head. A few months ago I also scored a full cooper style exhaust system including LCB extractors that lead to a single muffler in the rear.

Of course, I couldn't wait to test out my new bits so I threw them on a thrashed (had a really hard life) 850 and attempted to tune my twin carbs.

Long story short this didn't really work out as my manifold is missing its locating rings (which should arrive tomorrow). This meant that I destroyed two inlet gaskets, which created a huge air leak, and ultimately prevented the motor from running properly. Instead, it started up, revved until the valves couldn't let it go any harder, before quickly calling it quits and turning off again. Doing this multiple times with different gaskets yielded the same result. However, it gave me a good indication of what the car will sound like!

The situation with the cylinder head is quite tricky. The standard compression ratio for an 850 is 8:3:1, which I understand is fairly low. Throwing my 12G202 head on there, which is from an 1100, will drop my ratio to 7:9:1! I believe this is really low, and am debating whether or not to get it milled, or to leave it as it is and bolt it down. Some say to bolt it on, some say to bring my compression up to 9:1 by removing 4.1cc from my combustion chambers. Has anybody put a 12G202 head on an 850 engine before? I'd really love some advice as cylinder head machining and compression ratios are new to me.

The neat part about the twin carbs would have to be the interesting air filters. They're called a "Pressmaster" and are New Zealand made. Not sure if they're a rare piece nowadays, but they look neat. I've never seen them before.

I've also ordered a heap of new bits which should be arriving tomorrow and will allow me to make some more progress on the engine.




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  • 3 weeks later...

Things have happened

I've recently been on a bit of a buying spree and have ended up with a variety of cool stuff such as,

A full set of 5 "compomotive' mag wheels with 4 centre caps. These will get new tyres as the aquajet's on them are basically stuffed. Thought they looked quite neat and are a step away from the usual minilites or hotwires, steelies, etc...

Depending on the cars colour I'll either leave them gold or do them black and polish back the spokes.


I've also managed to pickup a full set of seats out of a 76 clubman. These are factory black seats and are a heck of a lot comfier than the mk1 seats! As these are fitted with springs instead of old seatbelts and perished straps. Even though they aren't period correct seats for the car, they'll do until I find some cleaner MK1 interior.

In other news, the motor's changed colour!


Yes yes, I know its not even close to the original colour, but you can forget paying $43 a tin for original coloured paint (that, imo, doesn't look amazing anyway).

I have instead opted for a rather vibrant green from my favorite engine paint shop (bunnings). I think it'll brighten up the engine bay a little so im not fussed. The motor looks one heck of a lot better than it did when I started and most likely wont be in the car forever. So far its had a full gasket set thrown at it, a reconditioned gearbox, 1100 head, twin carbs & cooper exhaust amoungst spark plugs, points & condenser, the list goes on..

Planning to have both the front and rear subframes completed by the end of the month, so that I can move on to the body work.

And speaking of bodywork........


We have built what is probably one of the sketchiest body rotisseries in existance, but, it does the trick. We've been hammering away getting the floors nice and straight again. Whoever panelbeated it and painted it before I got the car did a miserable job. The car has paint runs left right & centre, has terribly alligned panels, and the thinnest coat of paint in existence. And yes, that black patch in the middle of the car is supposedly the "underseal job"...:(

Not to worry, as we plan to strip, etch prime, and reseal the entire underside of the little mini. It's a good thing we got to the car before it got any worse!

Cheers all, that's me till next week.



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  • 4 months later...

I guess shes lookin about time for another update! Didn't realize it'd been quite so long since the last one

For a start, I've managed to get a whole lot more bits for the old girl. Found some twin leading shoe front brakes which should make stopping a lot less scary! And have amassed a large collection of 850 engines as "spares".

I stripped the entire underside back to bare metal and laid on some black etch primer, followed by a generous coating of underseal to seal the floor off from the elements and hopefully quieten things down a little. The next step for me here is to paint the bottom of the car the same colour as the rest of the car.

That brings me to the second thing on the list, paint! Have chosen the colour "Florida green" which is a BMC colour found on Austin Healey's. This will be two tone against a white roof. Although it's titled "green", I'd say its more of a turquise/blue colour.

I have also managed to get the engine running albeit with some difficulty. It starts and runs but has a bad vacuum leak from somewhere and I have no clue as to where the leak is actually coming from. Have replaced 3 inlet/exhaust gaskets with no luck. Next step would be to just change to a single HS4 for easier tuning and less maintenance.

Will soon get into panelbeating the dents out of it and have it painted hopefully by the middle of next month.

The underseal job - came out much better than the pathetic amount applied in 1994! 


And the colour scheme on a healey I saw at the brit & euro show the other weekend, deciding on an off white roof or a more moden brighter white roof. Even had Toyota's "pearl white" in mind!


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  • 2 months later...


The bottom's painted now. It looks pretty nice in person I'd say! The main thing being is that its now properly protected. Etch primed, undersealed, 2K primed, followed by the 2K topcoat. Might be an unnessary amount of steps but I've been using it as a practise pad for spraying different paints. So far so good! The wheel wells will also be painted blue, and the engine bay is next in line. Once these are painted, my restored steering rack can go in with the fuel/brake/battery lines & floor bungs.

As far as the engine goes, it runs really really nice now! Silent as anything, I reverted to a single HS2 as per factory as the twins were just dumping in so much petrol that it wouldn't run well at all. Going for a more factory approach I suppose. All that it needs now is for me to clean and assemble the carb, and put on my better dizzy cap.

Next steps with the car, is to assemble the front subframe, repaint the rear subframe, and continue on with the bodywork. Bodywork being completed it can be painted and assembled.

Brand spankin loom & other parts coming within the next few weeks so amped for that.

Exciting times!

Cheers OS folks.


The new family member begging for a turn on the rotisserie, she'll ave to wait her turn. (see what i did there ;)

The paint I used. Awesome coverage, well priced. Surprisingly very very heat resistant. Had it on the exhaust manifold surface where it bolts to the head and when the headers were pulled after some very high temp runs it was still on there just fine. Comes in a sweet range of colours too.

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