∙Fully de-seamed body, rebuilt in 2013 ∙Highly presentable inside and out ∙Attention-grabbing looks and matching performance
The Mini 30 Custom was introduced in June 1989 and was just one of a myriad of special editions offered throughout the car’s production which spanned 41 years from 1959. The edition was based on the Mini Mayfair and offered in Cherry Red or Black paint colours. It wore exterior coachlines and 1959-1989 crests sewn into the front seats which were clad in half-leather and lightning cloth finished with red piping.
Of the 3,000 Thirty Custom models manufactured for the UK market, 2,000 were in Cherry Red with the remainder in Black. 2,800 were offered with manual transmission and 200 had an automatic ‘box. 600 left the Longbridge factory with optional sunroofs, as fitted on our subject car. The Mini 30 Custom retailed for a little shy of £6,000 at the time of its launch.
However, in G321 CFX we have an altogether different and unique proposition.
Registered new on 29th September 1989 by Austin Rover Main Dealers Seward Highcliffe Ltd of Dorset, this example remained a standard Mini 30 Custom for most of its life. Until 2013, that is.
During that year, G321 CFX underwent a remarkable transformation and the finished car is a reflection of the owner’s desire to create the ultimate Mini, with no expense spared. A substantial collection of photographs records both the bodywork and mechanical rebuilds, which leaves little doubt to the exceptional level of craftsmanship achieved.
Equipment includes a fully de-seamed body shell with quick release bonnet and grille, P700 halogen headlamp tripod conversion, four supplementary driving lamps, negative camber bottom lower arms, an Adjusta Ride suspension kit and Gmax uprated shock absorbers.
In addition, fitted is a braided Aeroquip brake hose kit, chrome bumpers with over-riders and corner bars, torpedo door mirrors, a set of five Ultralite 7×13 alloy wheels with polished rims shod with matching quality Yokohama 175/50 R13 tyres. The car also wears a Group 5 Race wheel arch kit, Austin Cooper S badges, bee-sting aerial, Mountney steering wheel and dual Aston-style fuel filler caps.
An insurance marker was placed on the vehicle in 2001 following light front end damage to one wing and slam panel. The repair invoice – a copy of which is in the history file – confirms the damage amounted to just £350 and its ‘write-off’ status was a reflection of the value of the car at that time.
There is a sizeable history file which contains the original dealer-stamped service booklet with supporting invoices for general maintenance and repairs undertaken during the car’s life up to 2013.
Due to the transformation, there are hundreds of receipts in excess of £12,000 in value for components alone and offers an insight to just how comprehensively ‘nut-and-bolt’ this project was.
In addition, there is the de rigueur V5C and an MoT to June ’22, plus the original Mini Handbook and a guide on ‘How to Build a BMW K-Series Twin-Cam Head on a British Leyland A-Series Engine’, by renown engineering firm Specialist Components of Norfolk.
To accompany the box of supporting paperwork will be a Mini Owners Workshop Manual and a Mini Service and Repair Manual by Haynes Publishing, the home of car, motorcycle, ATV and scooter manuals.
From the outset in 2013, one of the project’s most important parameters was to ensure that the original Mini charm was preserved throughout. While the interior was updated to a high degree, its iconic Mini charm has indeed been retained.
Inside, the original leather / lightning cloth seats along with the similarly clad door cards present in very good condition. The drilled escutcheons on the doors and seat adjusters are a nice decorative touch.
To lift the interior, a set of quality bright red carpets are fitted and features such as the piano-black dashboard, chrome fixtures and Mountney sports steering wheel complete the aesthetic.
There are a couple of small interior niggles, namely the top edges of both C-pillar panels which have become ill-fitting and loose.
Finished in Flame Red, this customised Mini 30 Custom demands attention with a vibrant shine and highly polished finish from the expensive bare metal repaint, which is fully documented in a photo album.
The original body shell was de-seamed to an impeccable standard to create a clean aesthetic appeal. The conversion is flawless and even under close scrutiny the photographer struggled to detect a blemish. One was eventually found on the inside right of the boot as pictured.
All the brightwork presents in exemplary condition, aside from ever so slight pitting on the rear number plate lamp cover and around near side head lamp surround, no doubt incurred in the eight years since the car’s transformation.
At its garaged start-up, the car fired straight away and held a delicious burble at the idle. The short, two-mile drive to the location for the accompanying photographs at Lee-on-the-Solent was exhilarating to say the least and attracted a multitude of stares on the way.
The no-expense-spared engine build is fully documented with a significant financial outlay in order to achieve something unique amongst its peers. Designed and prepared by renowned bespoke engineers, Specialist Components of Norfolk, the powerplant consists of the original A Series engine, a BMW K Series 16v twin cam motorcycle cylinder head engineered to include the 1,380cc block, Omega pistons, Kawasaki ZZ-R 1100 C carburettors and H-beam con-rods and straight cut gearbox.
Common with such conversions is the necessity to use a redesigned bonnet and wings in order to allow the engine to fit. However, the use of bespoke engine mountings has meant that those all-important panel shapes remain.
A rolling-road test in June 2017 confirmed the engine output at 135bhp. The ‘Adjusta Ride’ suspension kit and Gmax uprated shock absorbers give the car a perfect stance but with none of the original Mini gravitas lost.
Completing the engineering revamp is a Sportex performance exhaust system with a high-end Klarius silencer. There is also a spare cam belt (pictured) that will come with the sale of the car.
Here we have an opportunity to own this unique Mini born from a thoroughly comprehensive rebuild project. The car offers the classic Mini look paired with exhilarating and professionally engineered performance, all carried out to the highest standard.
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1989 Mini 30 Custom
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