Into the workshop on day one
The big strip down begins
We are waiting to see the condition of the chassis as more parts are removed
Gallons of paint stripper being used to remove the rollered on paint.
After a couple of layers were removed we revealed this interesting stripes and arrow design!
Bodyshell was sanded down to bare metal and then a light coat of primer applied to stop rust happening
We were delighted by the structural condition of our Minor
New sills had recently been fitted and the floors were good, a few minor repairs required such as this hole in the boot floor
The good news was the sills had recently been replaced
The bad news was that the front chassis legs had rusted badly from the inside out...
The whole front suspension needs to be well supported so we have decided to go right over the top and insert this 60mm box tube up the legs this will give it immense strength
Now the steel box sections have been securely welded into the chassis legs and another section of 60mm box welded between the legs which will make it very strong, finally the engine compartment plates have been welded in.
Looking down the chassis channels you can see the box section welded in is not as long on the driver's side as the master cylinder is located under the floor
The minor having more work done on the underside, in this instance tidying up some welding from a previous life
Not being happy with the weedy spring mounts we have substantially strengthened them and the floor and the all important central cross member
Making and fitting the tripod mounting bracket for one end of the Panhard rod axle Location device
Our minor ready to go off to have it's tailor made roll cage fitted
The fabulous 8 point cage designed and installed and made by Caged to the latest Academy specification featuring door bars, under dash side to side, rear harness bar and extra side location on door pillars
Doris has been on the back burner but now we are full speed ahead again and the stripped shell is in the paint booth now til it gets it's lilac paint, all mechanical parts and trim are removed and we just have a bare shell inside and out, it will be painted inside and outside in colour but the underfloor which we normally paint is not good enough, so that will be black
The rear axle has been modified by welding these sections of 40x15mm steel to them and bracing for even more strength, the thinking behind doing this is to stop axle tramp by spreading the load along the spring, then it should be less likely to wind up under startline acceleration
Doris is now at last in primer, the bodyshell is now fully welded and all preparations for paint have now been completed, we will be painting her in ICI 3 pack Lilac throughout exactly the same as the original Morris Minor Millions were
Doris gets her kit on! as an Academy car the Minor can use fibreglass panels to bring the weight down to get closer to the Austin A35 weight, so we have fibreglass wings all round, bonnet, boot, grill surround and front and rear valances'
The sealed Academy 90bhp engine from Classic and Modern Engine Supplies sitting in the fresh engine bay awaiting further ancillaries
All Academy cars have to have Old English White roofs, this contrasts really well with the lilac
What takes the time when building these cars is making sure the finish inside the car and under the bonnet and boot is as nice as the outside
The engine installed, modified front panel and radiator fitted, the suspension is in place, the Academy regulations insist on lever arm shock absorbers
The front suspension showing our torsion bar pre tensioning chain in place, this alows us to alter ride height and suspension stiffness
These are our seats in Ivory with lilac piping, the driver's seat is an Academy special from Cobra trimmed to match. We make the seats ourselves and the passenger seat is narrowed by 3" for clearance and weight saving and the rear seat is in light weight ply to conform with the regs that say seats and trim panels must be trimmed and fitted.
Rear seat fitted and contrasting lilac trim panels alongside
Drivers cockpit showing roll cage and detail of all the floors and screws for tunnel.
Dash showing all the compulsory safety equipment, plus leather steering wheel, alloy gear knob and genuine 60's Paddy Hopkirk throttle pedal!
Getting close to finishing the bodywork fitting up , the rear lights and rear bumper yet to be fitted
The boot has been stripped of all unnecessary metalwork, we decided to reuse the original tank because it was the right capacity and gives us the luxury of a fuel gauge, the bolts and washers on the floor are holding the panhard rod to the car.
We try to keep the engine bay as simple as possible, the two remote reservoirs are to keep the clutch and brake master cylinders topped up, we use an alloy radiator and an original lightly modified wiring loom, the big red cables are from the master switch to isolate the battery.
We bought a lot of new chrome work for the car, sourcing new old stock whenever possible, to keep to the million style with lights we fitted the proper Lucas style front sidelights, but with amber lenses inside the white ones for indicators as the side lights are now in the headlight, and on the rear lights we again used the correct million ones but fitted an auxilliary bulb holder for rear indicators to keep it uncluttered.
Almost finished with the fitting up, top quality leather bonnet straps, fibreglass grille surround panel, fibreglass wings, fibreglass bonnet, fibreglass valance and bumper, all to save weight and allowed in the regs.
When have you ever seen panel gaps as good as these on a steel panelled Morris Minor? we took a lot of time and the results are amazing, no one believes all the panels are fibreglass....
First shake down test for Doris at Brands Hatch in the damp on the 1st June 2018, two days before its Race Debut at Brands, where the car ran faultlessly all day and came home 5th in class with a young novice Driver who had never been to Brands before and never even sat in a Morris Minor before, we were all delighted, now on to some serious testing and development......
Our first development was to construct rose jointed anti tramp bars as we found the axle will 'tramp' as the power is put down, we expect these to cure this problem, note the bracing we had already welded to the axle to try and stop the axle wind up, this came in handy as somewhere strong to weld brackets to.
Whilst Doris may not be a genuine Million, she creates a huge amount of interest wherever she goes, and as our first ever Morris Minor project we are extremely proud of the finished result and will not rest until she is beating all the other Academy candidates!