Body transplant for classics

Riley Riley

With demand for classic cars at an all time high it makes sense that some manufacturers have turned to remanufacturing parts.

Shelby in the United States has for example revealed it will build 10 more examples of its fabled 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake using the shells of existing Mustangs from that era.

Other companies have taken the “continuation” concept to a whole new level by producing brand new shells for cars, such as Jaguar-Land Rover.

So-called 3D printing has also become a way of producing replacement parts.

In the UK British Motor Heritage (BMH) has been stunned by the demand for its replacement Mark I Mini bodies.

Dramatically rising values are at the heart of the demand, the company says.

Here in Oz a Mark II Cooper S is expected to fetch up to $60,000 at Shannons next auction in a couple of days.

Mini shell

BMH boss John Yea said though values of good Mini-Coopers were climbing steadily a few years ago, the limited worth of their 850 cousins made comprehensive restorations hard to justify.

“The picture is now very different, and enthusiasts are busy rejuvenating all versions of Issisgonis’ immortal baby at an ever-increasing rate,” he said.

“As a result we are constantly having to raise our production targets, and that’s without taking into account the shells we are creating for David Brown Automotive’s impressive Mini Remastered program.

“At just £9,950 inc. VAT, the cost of an all-new bodyshell crafted on original British Leyland tooling is proving to be a popular solution for more and more people restoring these coveted cars – some of which are, of course, fast approaching 60 years of age.”

Dedicated motorsport Mini shells could be on the cards in the future

BMH has been successfully running a Heritage-shelled MGB in historic racing for 12 years.

For this year it, and the team’s Farina A40, are being joined by an FIA specification Mark I Mini Cooper S.

In common with the MGB, it has been constructed around a Heritage replacement shell.

“We are very much looking forward to running the Mini in the heat of competition and, depending on the success of the venture, may build a limited number of equivalent competition specification shells for general sale sometime in the future.”

BMH is also planning to rebuild of OYO-747F, the long-suffering 1967 Mini-Cooper S that was butchered to provide the master references for the prototype replacement bodyshell.

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