From Zero-to-Hero: Mini Cooper S Restoration

Alex Munday handing over his Mini Cooper to Mini Sport's Rob. Let the restoration begin...

Alex Munday handing over his Mini Cooper to Mini Sport’s Rob. Let the restoration begin…

Back in March, we were tasked with a restoration on quite a special Mini indeed… Alex Munday’s 1996 John Cooper Works Mini Cooper S, an original from the John Cooper Garages, production number 79, and supposedly previously owned by British rally driver, Alistair McRae! When following his life-long love of Mini’s Alex purchased this Cooper for family adventures, it came as a devastating blow when he brought it to us for a service and we regrettably had to tell Alex that the shell was in fact rotten, then facing the decision of loosing this Mini completely, or going down the costly route of restoring this beloved car back to it’s former glory! Choosing the latter, you can find out exactly what this Mini went through below:


Replacing and repairing panels as he went along.

Bas got straight to work taking the Mini to bits…


Alex’s Mini Cooper was in need of some TLC.

Beginning by stripping and sandblasting down to a bare metal shell, our Bodyshop technician Basil got to work on Alex’s Mini Cooper removing and repairing and where necessary, replacing with British Motor Heritage panels – including a complete floor and a near side complete side and step. Following on from restoring the front-end Bas added A-panels, inner wings and the scuttle, also having cut out the wheel arches and spot welded them in preparation for the fitment of Heritage Sportspack wheel arches.


Prepped for etch-priming and  priming.

Once Bas had re-assembled the Mini, having completed the necessary repairs, it was time to seal the Mini – to keep it water tight and prevent rust, before moving on to etch-priming and priming.

Once primed, Bas was ready to apply the colour, Flame Red, to Alex’s Mini in our spray centre. Starting with the underneath, before moving to the interior of the shell, the exterior, the roof (in Diamond White), before finally painting the doors, bonnet and boot.

At this point the Mini was then handed over to our Workshop technician Michael, who following on from wax oiling all the cavities, set to work transforming this coloured shell back in to something resembling a Mini once again.

Beginning with fitting the subframes and a wiring loom before moving on to fitting the, pedals, dash, handbrake and perhaps the most important edition to date, the engine and gearbox!

The next step whilst on the ramps in our fitting bay was to begin fitting the interior trimmings, Michael set to work with the aid of Basil and had soon fit the headlining, the steering lock, the steering column switch, the dash and the carpets.

The Mini was starting to shape together nicely and was looking very tidy indeed, the back seats, interior panels and centre console were then fit before the doors were fixed on.

Once Michael had completed all the mechanical work, this Cooper was then back in our body shop with Basil to be decalled and have the remaining chrome trim, such as the grille, fit.

Finally the Mini was up and running again, and it was time to be put through a full diagnostic check and finished off with a tuning on our rolling road.

You can see the hard work put in to the transformation of this Mini below (Please click the thumbnail to expand the image):

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You can see the completed Cooper in all it’s glory and find out exactly what the Mini’s owner had to say about it’s restoration here:

We take on restoration projects in every condition and work personally with you to meet your desired specifications. The versatility of Mini Sport means that we are fully equipped when it comes to re-building your dream Mini. If you would like to discuss a restoration idea, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts who will advise you on the process. From a simple re-spray to a full strip-down – our restoration technicians guarantee miracles. If you’re interested in more information on our restoration service, please see here, call us on 01282 778731 or email us on

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