Just like a human baby, it took nearly nine months for Reggie to come home, and home he has come! With a new lease on life, our little 1995 Rover Mini has hit the roads again. Auto House of Clovis did not give up when Reggie tossed obstacle after obstacle at them. The extremely rare little Mini, built in England for export to Japan, has an automatic transmission which needed a great deal of work. Finding Rover shop manuals for a Japanese automatic transmission proved to be quite the challenge.
I spent countless hours on the internet and on both the US and UK Ebay sites looking for relevant information. With help from Steve Phillips, out of print books ordered from the United Kingdom and internet downloads, as well as calls by Darryl to JPak in England – Auto House and Darryl and his team spent countless hours diagnosing Reggie’s issues and convincing the little car to, as Austin Powers would say, “Oh behave”.
Sir Reggie is motoring about Fresno these days and is quite happy to be doing so. His driver side seat (right hand side, by the way) was rebuilt and new chrome rings around his headlamps were added. His boot was lined and reproduction wicker baskets which were located on Ebay add the finishing touches to his interior. His also has a constant back seat driver in the form of the Scottish bear from Harrods, the large department store in London.
Over the next few weeks Reggie will be getting bonnet stripes and his doors will be repainted. Just a small amount of rust was found at the bottom edge of each door but no other rust was found anywhere else.
Reggie came complete with air conditioning which is a must for the hot summers of Fresno and true to the Mini’s early 60’s heritage, Reggie loves the Beatles. In fact, his rear window sports the Fab 5 and his CD player just cannot get enough of the Beatles.
From Ebay last year in June, the trip from La Jolla to Fresno on a car hauler in July 2011, the “hospital” stay with Darryl and team at Auto House in Clovis and finally home, Reggie has been well worth the wait. He appeared to be well cared for in his original home in Japan and he will be much-loved and cared for in his new home here in Fresno. This little car has been quite the traveler since it left Longbridge in England in 1995. If only it could talk and tell us all the sights that it has seen and the places that it has been, what a story it could tell.
So if you happen to see Sir Reggie motoring about town, a simple “cheerio” will do.
July 4th update - It would appear that Reggie had a tummy ache yesterday; not surprising due to his recent major surgery. All was going well when he suddenly began spewing oil everywhere. He left a tale, tale trail nearly a block long. The gasket around his oil filter gave out but he waited until he was just a few blocks from home before losing total control of his fluids. He made a real mess of the garage and spent the 4th of July being fixed. A new gasket a few quarts of oil and he is once again back on the road.
Speaking of July 4th, even cars get hot, so protect yours; don’t forget your MINI’s sunblock.