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Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are feeling better as our days are noticeably getting longer. We have a few hours after work during the week to contemplate our Minis and what we might do next!

Last week, I had a number of questions about replacing or updating the suspension springs or cones, so it seems appropriate to have a quick look at all the options available for most Classic Minis.

I can speak from experience here, because I’ve done a number of coil spring conversions, including a “wet-to-dry” on my own 66 Mini Cooper S.  The coil springs are available in two rates for the intended use of the car.  I went with the red springs providing a nice firm ride for a high performance Mini with 13 inch wheels that I still set up to be very low.  The stiff springs minimize the deflection of the wheels, keeping them from hitting the body in normal driving.  I have specified the blue springs for early cars that have the stock 10 inch wheels, or where a nice gentle ride was the first priority for the owner.  These coil springs are a great choice to improve durability over even the basic rubber cones, as most can install them and forget about them…. we’ve never seen one collapse over time under the weight of a Mini.  They are also very easy to install, not requiring even a spring compressor when coupled with the basic Hi-Lo adjustable “trumpets”. I do highly recommend this method since it allows very easy and precise ride height adjustment with a box wrench without lifting the car, even for very low cars!

Another very trick way to set up a Classic Mini Suspension is with a  SPAX coil-over kit.   SPAX from the UK has made these for many years, and they provide additional adjustability of spring rates by using different springs, typical of how race cars are set up.  They also feature adjustable ride height and can really simplify the Mini suspension by putting the springs and shocks on a common mount, and doing away with the standard Mini springs altogether!  I happen to know that we have a kit IN STOCK that was ‘orphaned’ by somebody that ordered it!  A real opportunity for someone!

Of course, many of us like our Mini to be “the way it was designed” so you can still just replace the rubber springs with either the stock rubber cones, an “uprated” quality type that provides more durability, or a full-race type that is really too stiff for most street cars!

Another very well engineered option for the rear of just about any Classic Mini is the rear coil over ‘subframe’ made by the VTEC guys over at Minitec.  This is a fully adjustable (toe, camber, castor, and ride height) unit that completely replaces the rear subframe with a coil-over design that is gaining favor with Classic Minis even without the Honda engine package!  Call us and talk to me about any of these options!

….And HARDLY anyone else does in the Americas!  I talked to a gentleman from Peru A short while ago who confirmed that indeed, hardly anyone there had ever seen another one!  Amazingly, it was a runner, with all the lights and switches and windows still working!  It had suffered a failed thermostat of all things, and overheated, so he was hoping to pack his suitcase with what he needed for it while on a trip to the US!

I’m often amazed by the number of first calls we get from people who either have, or have just acquired a Morris Minor!  They seem to have found their way to every corner of the world!  It might be a rumor, but I’ve heard they might still be building them in India!  I’m fond of saying that just about every small town in Idaho seems to have a couple, tucked into old barns!  There are even a number of right hand drive Minors here in our small town, which means they were likely imported by their owners from when they lived in RHD countries!  These things are like members of the family!   There aren’t many NEW cars one can say that about!!

As such, we have done considerable work to update the MorrisMania part of our site. We have separated the MM part numbers so that all “classic” parts are not lumped together, making searching for parts much simpler.  We have put the entire original Morris Minor Parts Catalog on the site the same way we did our original Classic Mini “bible“, complete with exploded-view diagrams to help folks identify specific items when they don’t know exactly what to call them!  With these relics turning up in far away lands, a picture can go a long way to overcome a language barrier!

I think it should be pretty easy to post a comment or a photo on here.  If you have an interesting story or a Minor you’ve built, including crazy ones with V8s and wheelie bars, post about it, or send me an email to jemal@minimania.com

Intuitively, we know it probably won’t get much better going forward.  We have a hard time finding complete engines and components, but we ARE able to order a complete body shell!  It can really be hit-and-miss, and kind of surprising that we can still get certain things, while other seemingly common items are disappearing fast.

This week has been interesting… we can’t find any 1275 crankshafts for rebuilding an A+, but are able to order up obscure English Moke body parts!.  In the not too distant past, we could source used powerunits by the pallet-load.  Now it seems we must ask you to be patient, as the waiting list for our good tested engines  can be a few months deep!

The best advice is to allow some time!  Don’t leave yourself in the position of needing something right away, and waiting till the last minute to get it ordered.   Don’t overlook NEW items when we can’t find used ones!   We’ve had a screaming deal on brand-new A+ 1275 crankshafts with bearings…. probably less than the cost of getting and re-conditioning a used one!

In particular, if you hope to pick up parts when travelling to the US,  PLEASE allow us time to order items!  I am astounded that folks will call me from South America and say “I’ll be in Florida on Friday, can you send these parts to my hotel”!  We are happy to help, but if parts have to come from England, we may need a few weeks to get items to where you’ll be!  Allow time for shipping too.  Overnighting lumpy items cross-country can cost TEN TIMES or more the cost of ground shipping!  We want you to get the best value for your Mini Bucks!

photobigYes, you may have noticed, we have been hard at work updating our website to make it more universally compatible with more of the devices you folks are using.   It’s called “mobile friendly” so it reformats to fit your screen.   I showed you how to find this blog from just about any screen… and that’s still the case, but it’s moved slightly… now you can find me under the “Resources” tab….  I was under the “Home” tab last week!

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