This mini is the car that’s been in the collection for the longest time. It was bought as a father and son project and it was an absolute peace of shit when I got it. It looks a lot better today but it still doesn’t run, because in many ways this cars is every lesson about project assessments all rolled up into one car for me. I so underestimated how much work it would be and the knowledge you needed to get it running and because of this it hasn’t seen the roads for around 12 years in my possession.
To offer some context around this car, I was very young when I bought it and I had a fresh drivers license. In all honesty I didn’t know much about cars more than that I was interested in them.
Name of the car: The cars name is Viola, a suggestion from a friend at the time, and yes I name all may cars. I don’t really know where it came from, I had some friends that named their cars, and we all know the movie “gone in 60 seconds”, it just felt natural to do it. I think that in a way Viola was one of the first cars I named and because of that I quite casually just used a name suggested to me, and with the years the name picking process has become much more advanced. Because of this though there isn’t a story behind the name or much thoughts, but there will be some more of that in future content on D.S. Cars.
Buying Viola: To offer you some context I had a reasonably fresh drivers license. I had owned, hastily driven, and tortured two* cars (as you do when you are essentially a boy with what feels like endless possibilities to finally play without supervision). I completely totaled one** car which had suddenly left me with no car at all. I was really missing a car and I was still young and bristling with optimism and lacking a fair deal of understanding around what it takes to get project cars on the road. Locking trough some of the magazines which was what you did in those days, I found this ad for a BMC 1000. There was no picture, not much of a description, but it was cheap and it was close by. It couldn’t hurt to have a look I thought, so I called my dad and of we went. By the way, my dad is a big optimist too so he’s not going to stop me from making these mistakes.
It’s still in the garage, it’s been in different garages during this time, but not on the road under it’s own power. It’s been an ongoing project with various commitment over the years.
Kind of a neat story when we where looking at the car and talking to the owner about the story of the car. It came out that the owner was a winning race driver that was driving Mini’s successfully in a historic racing series, and of course I immediately visualized myself flying through the corners in the hideous orange little thing that I was now convinced that I was going to buy. I mean if a race driver had thought it was savable and an okay project, it just had to be good in my mind.
We went around his shop and looked at some stuff (he had some really cool old cars in his shop) and agreed that I would buy the car, and a few days later we showed up with a trailer. There was a lot of parts that came with the car. We barely could get all the stuff loaded and we where probably over the loading capacity of what we where allowed to haul. Of course the car wasn’t finished any time soon and it sat in the garage for ages. Even as we made good progress I’ve either understood that this is a lot of work or we’ve hit a “snag” that has forced me to realize how much effort goes into restoring or rebuilding a car. But I didn’t sell the car I kept it as a reminder that I rely should assess the projects realistically before taking them on. It’s a humbling experience and this car still teaches me things.
* Mitsubishi Colt Turbo -86 & Volvo 242 -76
** Pontiac Trans Am GTA -89
What’s been done to her: The car was orange (a color that i hated at the time, but this color has grown on me since), it had some awful vinyls on the side (still think they where awfull), there where huge rust holes in the fenders, in the floor, in some places on the body, the engine hadn’t run in a decade or two, but the engine had been preserved before storage. Of course the engine later turned out to be worse then we could even imagine, but we got it running before we replaced it entirely. On the plus side though there was a lot of parts that came with the car (not that we actually knew anything about Mini:s so we didn’t really know were all those things where supposed to go), but there seemed to be enough to more or less put together a car and still have parts left. Among very many other things there was a whole engine, transmission, and front sub-frame extra (which impressed me greatly at the time).
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Writer: Pierre Helgesson
Title: Founder & CEO of Drivers Soul