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1964 Hillman Super Minx - Project/Resto

Discussion in 'Motors' started by PardonTheWait, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. PardonTheWait

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 26, 2003

    Posts: 24,001

    So... There was a bit of interest when I posted this up in the show us your motors thread so I'll make a thread to keep my progress in, in case anyone's interested. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but hopefully it'll be interesting to some.

    I've been missing the Rover P6 V8 I sold at the end of last year (because it was a heap) and decided to spend a little more money this time and to get something to keep garaged and just use for shows while keeping on top of maintenance and making some mods/improvements.

    Fast forward a bit and on Saturday I picked up this 1964 Hillman Super Minx. It's a 1600 with a 3-speed, column shift automatic gearbox, making a terrific 58bhp (when new). I picked it up from Norfolk near my parents house, and she made it that far with no apparent issues:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So it was onwards (at a cruising speed of 60-65mph according to GPS) back home to Essex, and her temporary home at my sister's house just down the road from my flat.

    [​IMG]

    The car's had filler on all four arches, but to a pretty fair standard. The rear arches want attention at some point, but they're not structural and look good until you get pretty close and start inspecting, so there's no urgency.

    It's had inner and outer sills done quite recently, and to a very good standard actually. Underneath she's really very solid.

    She hasn't shown any real issues at this point, after a 120 mile journey - mostly the A14 and A12, cruising quite happily and alarmingly overtaking some proper bank holiday weekend plodders. Stayed at a nice temperature, we got caught in some traffic and she didn't creep up even to halfway into the 'normal' temperature area. The exhaust has a nice rattle/knock to it - I need to get her up on stands and see what's up.

    So we get to Bank Holiday Monday, my girlfriend's at work and I get bored, so I decide that I'll go to Halfords close to where I live, pick up a jack and axle stands that I'll be needing in the near future, and bring the Super Minx back to hers (we live about 40 miles apart), and then drive it to work Tuesday morning - it did that with no issue as well despite getting stuck in loads of traffic. But at lunch, I ran it round the block to pick up my new wheels and saw a bit of smoke coming from the front end while stopped, which was obviously a bit of a concern. Saw some while driving home as well - but when I pulled over to investigate, nothing... If you leave it with the bonnet up, there's no smoke... just a bit of a waft sometimes when you pull up. Possibly some oil from a leak getting to the exhaust? Possibly a breather dribbling out onto something hot? Not sure at this point, but it's brief and happens just as I pull up, then goes. I'll investigate.

    Here's what I was picking up on the lunchtime drive:

    [​IMG]

    13" x 5.5j Rostyles from a mkII Cortina - these should fit the Super Minx nicely. As you can probably see from the picture, they're a little battered. The top one on the pile is by far in the worst shape, the others don't have the corrosion you can see on the mating surface, and are much rounder! I should be able, hopefully, to rub that one down to get a nice seal, and to go at it with a mallet to help the curbing damage. As long as they seem to be true enough (which they do on first inspection), I'll have them chemically stripped and paint them up at home. They were £40 from eBay so worth the risk in my opinion.

    I'm not a fan of the current wheels - or hubcaps at least. It has the hubcaps off a later hillman (I forget which) but I'm not fond. I'm going to find some standard dome style hubcaps, and paint up the standard steels in off-white to match the roof, and between those and the Rostyles I should have two nice sets of wheels to use. I do love me a rostyle though so hopefully they're good enough to refurb and use.

    The car actually drives lovely. It's really engaging to drive around the lanes, demanding a lot more attention than a modern car due to the nature of it. It's a lot of fun to drive at pretty sedate speeds, and gets loads of attention wherever you go.

    Immediate plans:

    • Fluid change
    • New discs, pads and shoes - she judders a bit under heavy braking, and with brakes like these, all the braking is heavy.
    • Fit stereo (the car's already been converted to negative earth, and has had speakers on the parcel shelf at some point - I'll be fitting speakers with minimal molestation to the very tidy and original interior)
    • Lowering 2" - I've got lowering blocks for the (leaf spring) rear end on the way, and am arranging to have some 2" lowered springs made by Sheffield Coil Springs for the front.
    • Refurbish the Rostyle steels and get some tyres on them
    • Wrap the wooden laminate parts of the dash in gloss red to match the exterior... I'm not a huge fan of the wood dash on this, it's not a standout feature for me and the door tops and elsewhere don't feature any wood:
    [​IMG]
    It's also cracked.
    • Mooneyes metalflake red 3-spoke steering wheel to replace the damaged original (damaged by previous owners crooklock)
    • New carpet set - the current set is very tired and haggard.
    • Ditch the AA badge and spotlights - it's already gone!
    • De-badge the grille - the grille continues behind the Hillman badge and it looks much cleaner without
    • Fit a peep mirror to the driver's side quarter light - the wing mounted mirrors look great in my eyes but they are useless.
    • Find out what the smoke's about! It might be pretty much nothing, but I'm looking into it.
    • Stop the exhaust rattling - it probably needs a mount replacing somewhere.
    • Clean up and underseal the whole underside of the car - it's pretty solid down there, really good actually, but I want to preserve it so I'll be under there with a wire brush and then slapping a load of waxoyl/bilt hamber all over it sometime quite soon.

    Long term plans:
    • Possibly find a Holbay 1725cc engine to put in. These make over 100bhp and are literally a straight fit with a couple of component changes. 100bhp may not be much, but compared to 58bhp... rocket ship!
    • I'm seriously considering having the white roof and visor resprayed in pearl white with a metalflake. This will only happen if I decide to keep the car long term.
    • Remove pretty much all the badges - I'll only do this if I keep the car long term as they all leave holes when removed, and there are quite a few of them. If I do this, I'll also remove the wing mirrors and the wing-mounted aerial for a cleaner look. The car will need pretty much a respray if I do this, so honestly it's quite unlikely I'll go ahead with it. I don't mind the badges, or the mirrors or the aerial, but if I could make them disappear.. I would.
    • Fit an alternator to replace the dynamo, and possibly electronic ignition. I'm a bit loath to do this at the moment as it starts on the button and is behaving itself. This car isn't going to be a daily driver, I'm only intending to use it for shows, car runs, and sunny day drives, so I'm not sure I'll bother with modernising the electrics while it's behaving itself.

    Today I took it back to my sister's house after work and gave it a quick and dirty wash/polish/wax just to get some protection on there. It's come up really nice actually, especially from 10ft away, but I have found some quite bad overspray from previous repairs. A friend of mine is pretty handy with a mop and at some point is going to see if he can get all this off for me.

    After polish and wax she's come up pretty well:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I know it's been a bit of a long post, but hopefully it's of some interest to a few of you. I'll update with pics as I go.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  2. kinetic747

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 2, 2006

    Posts: 1,907

    We had the estate version when I was young and it regularly transported us from the Manchester area to the Isle of Wight and back many times. I remember my mum crying when we traded it in. :D
     
  3. Lashout_UK

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 2, 2004

    Posts: 11,724

    Location: SE England

    That's cool! Looks lovely :)
     
  4. Outcast

    Mobster

    Joined: Jan 25, 2008

    Posts: 2,897

    Location: Peterboro, Distro:Ubuntu

    Nice one. I had the later "Hunter" 1500 as my first car ("F" reg)

    Point to note though. I put a rod through the side of the 1500 engine and so replaced it with a 1725 GT engine & box (overdrive activated with a 50 pence switch) but blew two planetary gears in the back axle. Now YES I was Young, Dumb & Crazy (17 years old) but undoubtedly the extra power put extra strain on it.

    Good luck with the Project.

    btw.. YES it was a straight swap all barring the different exhaust header.
     
  5. Mal X

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Jun 25, 2009

    Posts: 7,668

    i haven't seen Rostyle wheels for years, i used to have the Chrome ones on the Cortinas, i think mine were 6'' wide.............they still look good, lets do a Google :cool:
     
  6. SilverTongue

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 4, 2007

    Posts: 2,091

    Location: Welsh Valleys

    will certainly be watching this with interest. Looks like its going to be a good project
     
  7. kinetic747

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 2, 2006

    Posts: 1,907

    Funnily enough, the Hunter estate was what my dad traded up to from the Minx. :)
     
  8. PardonTheWait

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 26, 2003

    Posts: 24,001

    A couple of bits have started arriving, got my lowering blocks and I've ordered the springs to be made for the front. Five weeks for those though!

    I've got some vinyl through that I ordered to wrap the wooden section of the dash, but I think it may be a bit bright. Need to hold it up to the car in daylight and see how it looks.
     
  9. ~>Dg<~

    Caporegime

    Joined: Jun 1, 2006

    Posts: 32,224

    Location: Notts

    we used to have a grey one :D back in early 90s.
     
  10. Sankari

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 29, 2007

    Posts: 24,361

    Location: Adelaide, South Australia

    We had two of these when I was a kid! Such a classic shape.

    :)
     
  11. PardonTheWait

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 26, 2003

    Posts: 24,001

    Got my lockup sorted! It is however a bit tight!

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Terrible picture as the light was going, but I got rid of the spotlights, grille badge and AA badge the other night:

    [​IMG]

    Also did the fan belt tonight, and dug out the previous owner's radio wiring and tidied it up ready for my unit to go in. The radio works, just need to decide where to put it. Possibly glovebox, maybe under the dash, or considering putting it under the seat. It's a modern mechless bluetooth unit so it's only small.

    Was going to change my oil but of course it's a weird drain plug tool, and of course you can't buy it on its own, so of course I've done £20 on a set that includes it :rolleyes:

    Still, I'll have them in the future.
     
  12. ElectroBlaster

    Soldato

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 5,153

    Location: The land of Cows n Grass!

    :) Very nice. I got a mild flaming for wanting something old a while back. I love classic cars!

    If those wheels do come out ok, get the centre caps! I have a personal pet-hate of seeing rostyles wheels without the centre caps lol. Also applies to people not having a full set or leaving them rusty/shabby arghh.
     
  13. GhostWKD

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 21, 2013

    Posts: 1,507

    Location: Banbury, Oxfordshire

    Wow that's tight! Nice car though :)

    Massive improvement losing the clutter from the grille imo :)
     
  14. PardonTheWait

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 26, 2003

    Posts: 24,001

    Oil change done, brake pads done. Could practically see my face in the old ones.

    [​IMG]

    This has got rid of the judder while braking, braking is still pretty shabby though so I'm going to drop and replace the fluid at the weekend or possibly on wednesday if there's a spare foot around to help.

    However it is notably better, and the pads aren't bedded in yet.

    A better picture of the debadged grille:

    [​IMG]

    Still need to remove it and hit the vertical sections with satin black as per original finish so you can't see them. The only parts where you can't see the verticals are where I removed the centre badge as it protected the black.

    And I have removed the wood panels from the dash. Originally I planned to wrap them in red vinyl, but the cracks and other damage showed through really badly, and with it being untreated wood on the back the vinyl definitely didn't want to stick - but the 'normal' dash finish is just there underneath. This one doesn't have the same trim rings around the switchgear as it would have had, and the chrome trim has an 'unfinished' part behind the wood, but honestly.. I prefer it naked. For now I will satin black the lower part of the chrome trim so it doesn't stand out so much, and I think I will have an acrylic gloss black replacement made up at some point, but other than that I'm going to leave it. Really not a big fan of wooden dashboards.

    [​IMG]

    Had a bit of a spend up this weekend for a job that's next on the list... new carpets. I had some samples sent through which was obviously a mistake as obviously now I've had a fondle of them all I had to go for the most expensive shag carpet option! £180 for a full set and some overmats.

    I'm not going to go for underfelt, I'm going to use dodomat throughout the cabin, and before I do that I should really be removing the old sound deadening, and then wire wheeling the floor, using rust converter on any rust, and repainting it before I lay the sound deadening. WHat started out as 'ooh, a carpet set is £109 on ebay' very quickly turned into the nearly £300 in carpet, tools, sound deadening, paint and rust converter!

    It'll look ace though - the carpet is a total state and really lets down the car interior-wise. I decided to just spend the money and do it right, rather than just slap a new carpet over a manky floor (the floor is actually very good to be fair from where I've pulled up the old carpet but I want to be sure).

    I'm also going to experiment with placing these speaker pods - and may decide to go for cutting up my door cards to put normal speakers in them. There's the whole hooha with running cables to the doors though with that, and also mashing up the standard interior, so I suspect they may end up attached under the seats.

    The stereo's in the glovebox and I'm making up an MDF blank to put it in more permanently, so when you open the glovebox there will just be a flat panel with the head unit, sort of like this:

    [​IMG]

    The carpet's 2-3 weeks away and the springs are probably 3 weeks away now, so it's all boring mundane stuff for now, but hoping for a flurry of activity later this month. Got to get her ready for show season!

    One more picture of her looking handsome for good measure:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
  15. PardonTheWait

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 26, 2003

    Posts: 24,001

    Over the last week or so:

    [​IMG]

    Interior out, carpet out, old skanky underlay out. filled a couple of holes in the floor with metal filler. This is a bit of a temporary measure - I'm going to see how the repairs hold up in six months or so and probably have it in for some welding. All the holes go through to daylight and none are structural so here's hoping they hold up ok.

    I've started throwing on a coat of red Hammerite just to get paint on the floor, it's all going to be covered with sound deadening and then new carpet (a set is being made at the moment). No pics of it, forgot! Got about two thirds of the floor done today.

    Got sick of my nasty Halfords tiny jack, bought this, it's amazing:

    [​IMG]

    And then remembered Battlesbridge was on on Sunday so I threw the seats back in, and the accelerator pedal, put the grille back on, and went down, found her friend:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. ron3003

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 25, 2006

    Posts: 1,523

    Location: Skegness

    We had a Super Minx here last year, 1963 I believe (no letter suffix on number plate). Belonged to my daughters partner, he inherited it when his dad passed away.
    It was his intention to keep it as it was his dads pride and joy however MOT time threw up some serious welding needed around the rear spring hangers and it was decided to let her go.
    An enthusiast came and bought it for £1850 as I recall, no idea what yours cost. My daughter had refused to ride in it with their son anyway as there were no seat belts or any modern safety features.
    Even back in it's day it would have been unfashionable, I've been driving since 1966 and wouldn't have been seen dead in a Minx at that time ;)
     
  17. PardonTheWait

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 26, 2003

    Posts: 24,001

    Floor de-rusted and painted, some sound deadening down while I wait for new carpet (should be this week):

    [​IMG]

    Lowered 2" both ends:

    [​IMG]

    Took her to a show:

    [​IMG]

    Hubcaps are off because a) I hate them and b) it kept spitting one off because they don't fit properly. Also they are chewing up the valves.

    She's on stands at my sister's place at the moment - I'm taking the wheels to Banded Steels Essex to have the rears banded by 1.5", and all four shot blasted and powder coated in off-white.

    I've ordered up some chrome wheel nuts and push-through bullet caps. Going to go with a mild custom look for the wheels rather than the Rostyles, which I've gone off for this car. Probably will move them on, but will keep them for now in case I change my mind again.

    Got a couple of jobs to do as well. When I fitted the blocks on the rear, I noticed that the leaf pack on the right really wants some attention, it needs bolting back together properly as the bolt holding the pack together has been long snapped. I've got the bolt, just need to get on it. It's secure, the u-bolts etc hold it, but to ride properly they want to be properly bolted. I'm going to grease up both spring packs also.

    At the front, it just wants a real going over and rust treating before I waxoyl it.

    I can get another inch, inch and a half off the front by either changing the spring cushions to Mustang 2 ones, or by removing them entirely. However while I'd really like the look, its actually quite low now and has trouble with some speed bumps, so for now at least I am leaning towards leaving it as is.

    Kickdown cable needs adjusting. It's not really shifting right, it wants to stay in each gear much too long even at fairly moderate throttle, and clunks back into first quite badly when coming to a stop sometimes. Should hopefully just be a matter of slackening up the kickdown cable slightly.
     
  18. PardonTheWait

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 26, 2003

    Posts: 24,001

    Few more updates. I've been keeping busy while the wheels have been off to be banded, I was quoted up to three weeks but it ended up taking a month as the place had a breakdown with one of their machines, which is a bit of bad luck, but they did a great job on the wheels so I'm more than happy.

    New carpets fitted:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not completely happy with the carpet to be honest - it was a bit of a stingy fit, and I needed to use some offcuts from my girlfriend's dad to make it good. The carpet itself is lovely but the fit was lacking imo. There were gaps between the floor sections but I've filled them and all is good. Happy with end result. Also moved my speakers from the front parcel shelf to the floor under the seats - screwed them to some small MDF boards that I've put under the carpet and they're both hidden and sound much better.

    Moved stereo from glove box to under dash in place of ashtray:

    [​IMG]

    Prefer the look without it, but it was a pain in the arse in the glove box, and this is very much removable. I've put two small self-tappers in the bottom of the (metal) dash and if I take it out, they won't notice. Much more convenient, it is actually the proper place for a factory fit radio, and looks ok to me. Happy with it.

    Also fitted stupid dice gear knob which I actually love. And dice door lock pulls which you can't see.

    Now the wheels:

    Fronts powdercoated, with tyres re-fitted:

    [​IMG]

    Rears, with 1.5" bands and powdercoated:

    [​IMG]

    Really impressed with the work done on these. When I had the tyres fitted today they've had one weight on each wheel, on the inside, and there's no shake. Considering they've had a band of steel welded in which can cause wonkiness and warping often, they balanced out really easy according to the tyre place. Nice finish too.

    Finished articles on the car (excuse tyre lube, the whole car is pretty filthy and needs a wash but that's going to get done on the weekend before Maldon motor show):

    [​IMG]

    This is with some polished push through centre caps meant for Superlite mini wheels, and some chromed wheel nuts to dress the bare wheels up.

    The rear wheels fill the arches absolutely perfect and it makes a huge difference to the look while keeping a close to stock look - but better.

    Dead happy with all of it honestly.

    I also got some new numberplates which are nice, but the rear plate is smaller than what it replaced and, surprise surprise, it's had paint to the boot which some idiot decided to do AROUND the number plate, so there's some crap paint around the new plate. Need to find some touch up paint which is proving difficult, but will have the boot (and possibly the whole car) sprayed at some point.

    That's a flattering picture and makes it look like I have the exact rake that I want - in reality it's pretty much dead level. I have three options now.

    a) Fit slightly lower profile tyres to the front
    b) Remove the rubber spring pads from the front and replace with Mustang II spring pads for about a 20mm or so drop
    c) Remove the rubber spring pads from the front and either use a bit of hose on the springs, or nothing, for about.. apparently... another 60-75mm drop.

    Can't deny I'm tempted by the last option, but I don't think it would be very driveable. It already bottoms out on the speed bumps in the work car park.

    I'm not 100% convinced it's level at the front and think possibly the spring pad on one side is a bit crunched up, so I think I will have to have the springs out regardless, but I really feel like it just needs an ever so slight drop at the front to make it look just right. I could actually remove some rubber from the stock spring pads as option d) so I may do that. It just wants a tiny tiny bit of rake in my opinion.

    Plans (for now) from here are:

    Sort front suspension situation and (dare I say it) stance.

    Get some new Furflex for the door deals - it's old, brown and tatty. About £90 to do the car though for a minor improvement in looks so it'll wait. It's only visible with doors open!

    New front screen rubber. It's leaking a bit through there when it really hammers down and it gets to the floor, but the car lives in a garage.

    Wire brush and waxoyl the underside.

    Fit new centre pins to rear leaf packs to bring the axle back to centre.

    Pinstriping to bonnet and boot.

    Moon metalflake steering wheel (been ordered by my girlfriend for my birthday)

    Sort rear speaker situation - either fit another set of speakers on the parcel shelf, which I don't want to do, or make a 6.5" dual voice coil speaker fit the 6" speaker hole, cut the rear parcel shelf board, and cover with acoustic cloth. Not in a hurry, it sounds ok.
     
  19. Lopéz

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 27,287

    Location: Leicestershire

    Car looks great, keep up the good work mate.
     
  20. GhostWKD

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 21, 2013

    Posts: 1,507

    Location: Banbury, Oxfordshire

    Tyres need cleaning :p but the wheels look great! :D