This is the basic story of my pickup, built over a period of about 5 ½ years to what I wanted it to be. While it is not a stock pickup, most of it is Mini or aftermarket Mini.

The basics of my Morris Mini Pickup

This pickup was originally manufactured and delivered to Bolivia in 1975, so it remains registered as a 1975. It had been totally butchered and destroyed by the former owner.

In the process of restoration I wanted to update a few things, using parts available reasonably and giving it a little zing. In effect, it is the pickup Morris could have made if price was not the object and certain parts had been developed earlier. I built it as I wanted. Others might have gone for more of a stock look, or different modifications. It should also be noted that I did this more than 10,000 kilometers from the UK, so buying large parts or panels was not a good option.

In synthesis, it is probably one of very few Mini Pickups with internally hinged doors, full-width roll-up windows, power disc brakes and a 1275cc SPI engine from a 1992 or 93 Mini Cooper.

To be specific:
The rear part of the shell and bed are original (although parts of several panels have been cut out and replaced with steel cut out of other cars), as is the rear frame and suspension except for adjusta-ride kits and springs to allow modification of the height. There are typically large gaps along the sides of the bed where the floor meets the fenders and rear. I filled them with self-expanding urethane foam and sealed it before painting.

The front part is a shell from a later model saloon. Sold as a 94, although the chassis (VIN) number put it around 1991 or so and the windshield wiper motor was manufactured in the 42nd week of 1990. So it is a Mark V body. I have removed and filled the holes from the side marker lights and fender mirrors. It came with 1-½“ plastic wheel arches (part of the Mk V package for the 12” wheels). I have fabricated all four wheel arches out of steel, seamlessly forming part of the fenders.

The front clip came with a floor that goes back as far as the cross-beam. From there to the bed I used the floor from a donor car.

The doors are from another saloon, possibly a Mark V or IV complete with roll-up windows. Since the lower half of the doors is wider than the original pickup, we channeled .75” (19mm) vertically out of the side panels (fenders) of the pickup. The top half of the saloon doors is narrower than the pickup, so we stretched the cab about 1.2” (30mm). This front clip came with the adjusta-rides for height adjustment.

For trim I bought new front and rear stainless bumpers from the UK, along with a new grill (internal release) and mustache kit to have more of the early look. I also bought Halogen headlights with LED parking light function. I made a stainless rail to cover the seam between the fenders and sills where they meet the underside to protect the paint against shoes and things as people entered. I was able to locate tail light lenses, and made new trim for them by melting beer cans. (I later learned that they are the same as the Rover P4 and can be bought that way.) The windshield wiper motor is from the MK V that was originally RHD, but I’m using the original LHD mechanism from the 75. I installed LED bulbs in all parking and brake lights, using an electronic blinker, and added a third brake light (LED) over the rear window and halogen backup lights under the rear bumpers.

To finish the outside I bought a set of 5” X 10” Minator alloy wheels from the UK and a set of ¾ inch spacers for the rear. The front and rear windshields were duplicated locally. For mirrors I chose a set of British bullet-style side mirrors like I had on my Bugeye Sprite many years ago. I also bought a sheet of Stainless steel and fabricated the license plate supports for the local size plates, front and rear. Then I bought some heavy marine vinyl and made a cover for the bed area.

For the inside, I reupholstered the padded dash from the new clip, and bought a Walnut dash panel from the UK, adapting the gauge clusters from my Mark V clip, adding some additional gauges and a sound system. This pickup came without decent seats, so I found some comfortable ones from a Toyota, upholstered and installed them. That brings the seating position closer to the doors, so I added two U-joints to the steering column to move it over a few inches.

I replaced the rack and pinion steering assembly. I have added Fatmat sound deadening to the interior of the roof, firewall, and floor. After putting the Fatmat on the roof, I glued foam-backed fabric to it for the headliner and LED cabin lighting in the rail over the doors.

For the brakes, I completely replaced the rear drum brakes and lines, plus braided hoses, and converted the front to 7 ½ inch Cooper S discs, with power assist. Since the power brake unit and valves from the 91 saloon go on the right hand side of the engine compartment, I made a crossover bar to transmit my pedal effort to the right, under the dash. The power brake unit and valves are metric, while all the rest of the lines and fittings are inches. I brazed a metric nipple to a standard nipple to make the adapter.

The drive shafts were missing 11 of the twelve steel balls (and the other corroded), but I found them available locally and replaced all 12.

I replaced all of the rubber cones with springs with rubber pads as they were all very old.

For power, I chose the 1275cc SPI with an automatic transmission. That was supposed to be part of the clip, but obviously it came from an Mk VI, and it has casting date of late 1992 on the block, and a June 92 date on the transmission case. Since it had no compression when I got it, I tore it apart and rebuilt it to standard measurements, replacing the timing chain with a dual chain, and the water pump with a high volume pump. I have not identified the year of the radiator that came with the clip. With a little work I got it to fit, but the brackets that came were for a different engine/body/radiator combination. I wired the auxiliary fan to a switch on the dash. I did a lot of polishing and some chrome plating, painting the engine parts with Polyurethane Acrylic. To that I added an Alloy valve cover.

The automatic transmission had apparently been in a wreck as the forward clutch assembly was cracked and discs were bent. Those had to be replaced, bands adjusted, o-rings replaced, etc.

The front chassis that was part of the clip turned out to be for a manual transmission. Adapting it required modifying the side rails and front, plus widening the mounting holes and moving the sides out slightly.

The SPI engine requires a high pressure fuel pump, so I adapted an in-tank unit and return line from a Toyota after using electrolysis to clean the interior of the tank and seal it with epoxy. The fuel pump I bought locally turned out to produce 50 psi, so I installed a pressure regulator to take it down to 15 psi required by the Bosch injection system. I also added a temperature sensor to the transmission case to monitor the oil temperature, and made a skid plate out of heavy aluminum. To quiet the engine sounds, I covered the bonnet/hood with Dynamat Hoodliner.

I rebuilt the Mark V heater, but have not tried to install air conditioning, although some of the parts came with the clip.

Wiring all of it together entailed the making of the rear harness with enough wires to go to all the lights and fuel pump, plus the additional backup lights (a total of 8 wires through the conduit to the rear plus one extra up the “A” column for the LED interior lights). Then had to get the connectors and control relays for the computer and wire it to the rest of the car and dash. All of my dash and steering column switches are from the Mark V series, although I had to replace most of them, as they were missing parts.

For the gear shift I cut a branch off my dead Walnut tree and formed what I wanted on a friend's lathe.

Throughout this site you can see the trials and tribulations of accomplishing this 6400 miles from London.

Some of the parts were made locally, others shipped from the UK direct. Other parts came from the UK to the US, where I brought them, forwarded them with friends, or sent them on ocean containers with products I imported. The front clip came 10,700 miles from Japan to Chile, then 2000 kilometers across the mountains to Tarija.

The entire build process is posted here.
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