MONTHLY DINNER MEETING, Drouin Country Club ? Thursday 17th February

If you had tired of seeing beautifully presented classic cars on display at our monthly dinner meetings, then this month?s offering may have stirred your interest. Graeme Gunston works with Locky Fowler at Classic Auto Restorations in Darnum and his Friday afternoon project is this very early Morris 850 Mini dubbed Project Penny – named after recovering a florin and two pennies from the shell during the process of stripping it down.

The project began in 2019 after the suggestion from Graeme?s daughter that they restore a car together. They considered a VW Beetle, but a Mini was the final choice. This particular car came from a deceased estate and was advertised on Gumtree for a little over $3000. It had already been pulled apart by the previous owner, it had no papers or known history, but it was believed to be a 1962 model, made in Sydney and it had matching engine numbers. Apart from some rust around an accident repair to the boot floor area, the rest of the car looked quite solid.

Graeme?s daughter now lives in Sydney, so doesn?t help with the car all that often, but they did build the engine together which included a few subtle modifications to boost its modest power output.  The car came with plenty of spares and parts can readily be obtained via the WWW, although Graeme had to search far and wide to find some genuine bearings to fit the early ?magic wand? gearbox.

The body shell, as displayed on its rotisserie, has been sand-blasted and primed. Straightening out the 60 years-worth of dents and scrapes has begun in earnest with a new driver?s door skin and boot floor panel to be fitted. Progress is not fast enough for the daughters liking, but the subframes have been stripped down and sandblasted and they will be painted soon. No work has begun on the interior as of yet, but they are considering two-tone green and cream. The exterior may also be a green combination, but there?s plenty of work to do before that decision is necessary. Completion is hoped for by Christmas (not sure what year though).

Realising that there was an opportunity to extend the Mini theme of the evening, Graeme Longhurst suggested that the road outside the Function Centre this month be reserved for Mini parking, and after a ring-around of club members we ended up with five Minis assembled outside. It created quite a bit of interest amongst the golfers as they headed to the 19th hole, some commenting that they hadn?t seen a Mini on the road for quite some time and couldn?t believe how small they were compared to more modern cars, including the new BMW MINI.

We thank Graeme and Locky for offering to bring the car in and manhandling the rotisserie-mounted shell up the hill and into the dining room. An invitation is extended to bring it back when completed.

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