MiniTorque.com banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

Registered
Joined
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Since my last thread somehow was locked, and none of the admins seem to want to respond, I guess I will make a new thread. I'll probably copy most of the original posts I had, but I guess I'll have to edit some of those so the responses make sense ;)

Backstory:
I currently own a 2019 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack, which I was using as a daily driver for the past year and a half. Living in an are that does get snow most winters, I obviously wanted something that could fare the snow a bit better, and went off hunting for a daily. I didn't have any criteria in mind originally, but slowly found myself hunting for a R53 Mini Cooper S, as I was really falling in love with what I was seeing. I ended up essentially trading an AR-15 for a black 2005 with leather seats, nav, Harman Kardon, etc. The car is a bit high mileage, and does have some issues, but was almost 100% stock and I couldn't beat the price 馃槅 Here are some photos from the day I brought it home:













And a few pictures of the Challenger for good measure:






I have a few goals in mind for this car, and the stage I will want to have it in before this coming Winter will definitely be different than they will be for Spring / Summer of next year, but I'll try to keep up to date with everything as I go! Enjoy.
 

Registered
Joined
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
On the road to pass inspection:
I know this is a mixed crowd as far as countries go, so things might be a bit different everywhere. Hell, things vary in the US so much that not every state even has an inspection necessary to register a pre-owned car! Here in Maryland, there is just an initial safety inspection on the vehicle needed before registration, and they can be a bit strict on certain things. I have failed on previous cars for the most mundane things, and given how difficult everything is at the current moment due to Covid-19, I am going to try to prepare as much as possible before my appointment.

There were a few issues I knew about when purchasing the car; notably the common rust that seems to be on most Minis, front driver and rear passenger struts on their way out, AC condenser is toast, the rally lights were dead, license plate bulbs were out, and the exhaust is fairly rusty (no holes). Starting with the easiest first, I decided to tackle the rally lights and the license plate lights, discovering both were in really bad shape. The holders for the rally lights were really rusty, and the bulbs were corroded to hell. Wanting to get a new grille anyway, I just yanked them off, which I wasn't too upset about. The license plate bulbs were actually due to being completely corroded, I am guessing due to the lenses being gone entirely.





I was going to rip these out and solder in some LED lights I picked up on Amazon, but decided to take care of the chrome on the hatch handle before committing to this project. I abhor chrome, and really just don't want it on any of my cars. I know there are a few things I can easily and cheaply swap over, but others will have to be painted black instead. For the hatch handle, I decided to take off the extremely bubbly chrome to paint, only to discover the plastic was absolutely wrecked underneath too. Oh well, time to order a new hatch handle!

Mirror caps were very easy, and I was able to grab a pair of black ones with some really rough paint protection for $14 total. Spending about an hour with a heat gun and some goo-gone, I was able to clean them up fairly respectably. Side by side comparison:



Unfortunately I wasn't able to attach the drivers side one, as it looks like it was previously damaged and glued back together in a way the cap wouldn't fit. I wish I had known that first, as I could have just grabbed the whole mirrors for about the same cost, instead of just the caps! Oh well.



While I was there, I did discover a Mini Fini arm rest in decent condition, and decided to grab it. I also grabbed a few interior pieces, which will be painted to dechrome the interior, as well as a new e-brake boot that was in much better shape than mine. The old boot had a completely cracked trim piece, and the leather was in meh shape:



After:


While I do like the idea of having an arm rest, once installed I just really don't love the look of the Mini Fini. It is way too long, and hits the top of my e-brake. I will be pulling it back out soon, once I start replacing some of my cleaned up interior pieces:



I wasn't able to make a great start so far, but I have a few things coming in the mail this week! In the mail are some cheap (really cheap) black handle covers, a new rear hatch handle, a new grille, and some coilovers. I am going to wait on the AC and exhaust, as I won't need the AC to function to pass inspection, and I think the exhaust will likely be okay in its current condition. I'll follow up with the next bit of cleanup after I get the new parts!
 

Registered
Joined
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
In the last thread, there was a request for more pictures of the Challenger, so here that is as well:





Or how about some exhaust porn? Exhaust is GT Haus, fully controllable using the Homelink buttons above my rear view mirror to open and close the valves:

Dodge Challenger GT Haus exhaust 1 by Sam Griffith, on Flickr

Dodge Challenger GT Haus exhaust 2 by Sam Griffith, on Flickr

And not to be too spammy, but I guess I should post pictures of my car before the Challenger....it was a bit more well rounded for all seasons, hence me wanting a second car to beat on a little bit in the winter:









 

Registered
Joined
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
On the road to pass inspection - part 2:
In my attempt to continue de-chroming the car, i made a little bit of progress, and then hit a small snag. I decided to start working on my tail lights, as they needed love in two directions; remove the chrome on the inside, and remove the excessive haziness that might actually cause me to fail inspection. I spent a good while trying to remove the haziness, and realized after the outside looked damn good, that there was actually haziness INSIDE the lens itself. No worries here, I was planning on cutting them open anyway to remove the chrome with some isopropyl alcohol. Well after I got them open and removed the chrome, I decided just to scrap the whole thing as the lenses were just not doing what I wanted them to. I had my eye on the LED tails that a lot of people seem to get, so I just staid screw it and ordered them. They should be here Friday. :)



The little bit of progress I did make was on the door handles, with some VERY cheap Amazon covers. When I say cheap, I mean cheap. I will be lucky if these things dont fall off within a few months, but I am going to take the handles off and try to trim these up a bit to fit better. My goal is to get them to last me until next year, which is when a full repaint (or new shell) will likely be closer in my mind...



Now my previous post (that isn't showing up as of me writing this) talked about me getting the Mini Fini arm rest at a junkyard, and really not liking it. When I got it, I actually pulled the center console and the mounting bracket underneath, since they needed to be modified to fit the arm rest. I am glad I did, as I would be pretty pissed if I cut my current one to make something fit that I will be getting rid of! Before I take it out, I wanted to do a quick test of my interior mods to see how it would look. I also had to repair one of the mounting points that was completely broken on my bracket when I bought it. Just a little acetone on the ABS part to fuse it back together!





Now another thing I REALLY don't like about these cars is the interior accents...the style is okay, but I don't love the fact that everything is kind of a dull dark gray instead of black, and has the weird two tone top / bottom thing going on that most cars around this time did. Time to start blacking it all out! If you haven't used the SEM interior paints (dyes?), this stuff is really amazing. It takes a tiny bit of prep work to get right, but it really looks OEM once it is done. It also helps to match some of the inconsistencies that these plastics get with age. Just a quick preview, more to come as i start working on the rest of the interior!



 

Registered
Joined
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
On the road to pass inspection - part 2:
Well, the junkyard was a bit of a bust. The '06 R53 they got in was almost entirely picked clean, headlights included. Oh well, I technically don't need them, so I'll just keep my eye out for another car to come in. I thought the diverter plate was gone, but it was actually tossed under the car in the mud. I'll clean it up, and track down some bolts for the back (only found the front two while scrounging around in the mud), but it will do for $7. I also got my beltline blackout kit from Out Motoring in, and my Raceland coilovers came in. The quality is okay, about what I would expect for $400. I know they will probably get a lot of hate, but I really just couldn't justify spending more than I paid for the car right now. I have driven on plenty of firm cars, and I plan on going with a little more meat on my tires when I get new wheels, so I don't think it will do too bad. If I hate it, I'll just return them!



Also, here are two photos of the new tail lights and black hatch handle. I couldn't really get the lighting to show how they really look with the filter style I have been using (sorry, accurate photos just aren't going to happen in this thread it seems), so here are two that might give a little bit of an idea:







I can't tell if it is going to rain or not, and the weather reports haven't been super accurate. I think if I want to install them this weekend I'll have to pull the Challenger back out of the garage. We'll see if I have the energy, and if I do I'll try to give a solid initial review.
 

Registered
Joined
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Quick update;

I was able to get three of the four coilovers installed this weekend, but ran into a seized bolt on the rear drivers side strut. I think it was a combination of being too hot (I definitely got sunburn from being out for so long), and using a 12 point socket on my impact wrench since I didn't have a 6 point for that size. I have a new bolt on the way due to this one being a bit rounded off now, and am going to hit it with Deep Creep a few more times before taking another stab at it. For now, she is sitting low in the front, and looks a little goofy! 5mm spacers are on their way to clear the coilovers, along with a few other goodies, but I still can't even get temporary tags until Friday due to Covid. We also have a tropical storm coming through right now, so unless I feel like moving her to the garage, I won't be doing anything anyway. BUT, here she sits for now, including the new eBay grille I got in my mission to eliminate chrome. The side scuttles were being painted, but that is also now on hold due to rain.



And that is it for the previous posts! I have had a few changes, but need to get myself organized a bit since I wasn't able to post before. stay tuned!
 

Registered
Joined
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I am still waiting on two parts needed to even try to pass inspection, so I decided to yank out more of the interior and keep painting. The idea is to (eventually) make all of the dark gray textured pieces black, all of the chrome trim and accent pieces glossy black, and do the headliner / ABC pillars / visors in black suede. I am honestly glad I decided to do this, as there were really some disgustingly dirty spots that I was able to get into and clean up. I strongly suspect one of the previous owners was a smoker, although you can't smell it, as there was what seemed to be nicotine buildup in some spots. Fortunately I was able to clean everything up real nicely, and begin painting / dying the interior bits. Waiting on more paint now, but this should be wrapped up and buttoned back together this weekend.





 

Registered
Joined
250 Posts
Great work, looking forward to seeing the interior back together, in particular the textured trim parts that you have been working on.

Need to whip my dash top off as there鈥檚 an annoying intermittent rattle coming from the back near the windscreen, will make sure I Have plenty of felt tape to hand.
 

Registered
2006 R53 Hyper Blue/White Cooper S
Joined
500 Posts
Mate love that you are getting so stuck into it, as ever looking forward to watching this progress (y) (y)
 

Registered
Joined
282 Posts
Nice work. Car is looking fine. Good to see a R53 getting restored to former glory rather than broken for parts.

Always had a soft spot for those LED rear lights. I may have bought a pair had I not got the clear indicator originals (rare for a PFL).
 

Registered
Joined
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Great work, looking forward to seeing the interior back together, in particular the textured trim parts that you have been working on.

Need to whip my dash top off as there鈥檚 an annoying intermittent rattle coming from the back near the windscreen, will make sure I Have plenty of felt tape to hand.
Thank you, I am just hoping all of the trim pieces turn out well. Some definitely look perfect, while others need a little more work before I am happy with them.... and yes, i am definitely using this as a time to clean and secure everything very well!

Mate love that you are getting so stuck into it, as ever looking forward to watching this progress (y) (y)
Hey, I might as well do something while it is just sitting! I still haven't received my strut bolt or new headlights, so I really don't have a choice! lol

Nice work. Car is looking fine. Good to see a R53 getting restored to former glory rather than broken for parts.

Always had a soft spot for those LED rear lights. I may have bought a pair had I not got the clear indicator originals (rare for a PFL).
Heh, this one is a bit rough around the edges, but I am willing to make it work. I may eventually have to scrap the shell if I go too far into this, as it is pretty high mileage and I don't know if i want to invest a full restoration into that.

And yeah, I only really went this direction since mine were so trashed. I honestly do like the OEM Euro ones, but the LED lights do a lot for me as well and were cheaper.
 

Registered
Joined
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Found a steering wheel in great condition for $20, and mine had pretty trashed leather. Figured I would give this a try since it would be a loss either way if it turns out like crap:


Having a buddy weld in the straight steel this weekend, and another friend who owns a leatherworking company re-wrap it for me. Cross your fingers it turns out well...
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top