Now to the front of the car. Look closely and you’ll see the differences especially if you compare it with a ‘normal’ modern MINI.
There is a quite a common issue with the headlamps on MINI related to the self leveling feature. On many makes and models it's necessary to slam the bonnet shut to get it to lock, on a MINI letting the bonnet drop from about 30cm (12") is enough. Slamming the bonnet shut will cause the self levelling unit in the headlamp to strip its threads resulting in a very fiddly repair or an expensive new unit. Sadly Vince had a nasty 'squint' as a consequnce of one of the units failing. Faced with another unit that could have the same happen, or for more or less the same money an after-market set, no self leveling but with DRL, I chose the latter.
You'll notice the indicators have changed too. WIth the option of a side light in the headlamp unit this allowed the removal of the side light unit from the dual side/indicator unit, which then meant I could make the unit orange all over and add a bit of chrome trim for the retro look. I've also had the badges re-made to have an orange highlight in the centre.
Moving to the grill where lots of owners add spot lights, I chose to vary the approach a little by fitting a badge bar instead. Lamps and badges to follow. The next change came with the addition of some ‘Austin’ whiskers that extend the bonnet grill trim around the edge of the bottom of the bonnet under the headlamps.
Under the bonnet, no real changes other than the mandatory ‘eyes’ and a little bonnet clip indicator so I can find the thing otherwise clean and standard.
You may have already noticed by now that MUM has had a bit of an identity crisis. A registration like ‘MUM’ just wasn’t me, so I found a cheap Irish plate, this quickly became the MINI’s name Vince (VNZ). Having established the gender change my friends encouraged the addition of some 70’s style bonnet strips, these were accented with the orange ‘go faster stripe’ at the waist line. It also had the odd effect of having people describe it as an orange MINI despite the tiny quantity of orange actually on him.
Have you noticed how the R50’s have a little grill near the indicator on the side A panel? As I wanted to change the grill from grey to black (a respray) I also took the opportunity of fitting some running lights here, note they are orange in order to be legal. On the subject of grill paints, the scuttle grills were also pulled out and painted black rather than the original silver.
Since the pictures where taken the wipers are now silver at the front, there are no suitable chrome versions and chrome vinyl does not look right. The body colour ones are OK though.
Read More: Vince's wheels
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