Oz's travels.

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Just before Christmas 07 Phil received a phone call one Sunday evening from Gaffa Spencer. Gaffa owns the Mad Massey tractor puller. He said "Kid, found something on Ebay you'll like, whats your E-mail address an I'll send it to you." Phil gave it to him an received the E-mail. He had found a 4x4 mini, that is a Suzuki sj410 jeep with a mini body shell bolted on to it.

Here it is....... 

If you know Ebay it was not up for auction it was buy it now or make us an offer. Phil made an offer an within 10 minutes it was excepted, wow it was a shock to me and Phil. A deposit was paid through Paypal, then contact was made with Alan who was the seller. Phil then had a busy week sorting out a insurance cover for it. Sadly NFU who insure Ahh Kid (Phil other mini) could not insure it because it came under the category of being a kit car. Lorraine who works at NFU suggested Tesco's so Phil spent a good hour ringing them up giving details and then finally agreeing to the bit pricey insurance cover. After Phil got off the phone it rang straight away, it was Lorraine again to tell Phil that he had 4 years no claims  from a insurance cover from when he had a mini called Erny a couple of years ago. Phil got back on the phone to Tesco's told them an the price of the cover came down quite dramatic...Whoopie. Phil an I was on our way up to Blackpool with some railway sleepers at the time , he brought a handful of sticks of rock for Lorraine to say thankyou for all her help. The following Saturday we borrowed Gaffa's pick up an trailer to go to Horsford, just north of Norwich to collect the beast. We collected it on a trailer for two reason. 1 was we went on our own, I could not drive one vehicles home an 2 the mini had a very sharp clutch in it. Phil would of not made it home as it was he would of either broken the prop shaft or parked it on top of the car in front when pulling away from the lights. Alan's house wasn't hard to find with the beast sat on the front. we soon loaded it on to the trailer. Its lighter then you think.
Here is the photo that was taken with sean before we left for home.

On our way home it was really funny seeing the look on peoples faces as they drove by. All of the 4x4s we met flashed there lights an stuck there thumbs up. Everyone had a smile on there faces. Here's a photo that Phil took from inside the pickup.

"Phil there's a flying mini behind us mate"

"Yeh ok Oz pull the other one!"

Phil couldn't keep it to his self. The only one he told from the club was Alan Barton. We all went to Malvern mini show 07, the last show of the year. Phil had a bit of a shopping list. He got a few things he needed aswell as a couple of things he spotted. He asked Chris his opinion on a pair of Cobra bucket seats with subframes. They were good, he struck a deal an got them. The question soon came up from Smiffy an Brian "what you bought them for?", Phil answered "to sit on!" nothing else was said for a while then Smiffy said "I know he's going to make up a driving seat for his Playstation". Phil left it as that. On the way home with Alan he took him to see it. The seats were fitted that night. It soon got dark but Phil couldn't leave before taking this photo. Bit of a size difference between the minis.

First Major Job to be done was the clutch. Phil asked Keith. He used to work for the LandRover dealership in Stratford-upon-Avon as a mechanic before setting up for him self in his back garden reparing LandRovers, RangeRovers etc... Phil asked him if he new much about Susuki jeeps. "My brother used to have one but I don't really Know much." Phil showed him the pictures and the description what was on Ebay when Phil bought it. Keith soon said "bring it round an I'll take a look." Keith changed the clutch then a couple of weeks later he relined the brakes all round. Normally Suzuki Jeeps like minis have discs on the front and drums on the back well the chap who built this originally, (not Alan who had bought it of a chap from Higham near Rochester, who Phil will contact sooner then later.) had put discs on the back aswell. The beast had also a few wiring problems aswell, Steve Knight (The Mad Massey mechanic) helped an sorted them out. A change of number plates was needed due to the black an silver one are slightly illegal. 

The first trip out for the BIG MIN.

 It was to Malvern mini show on the 16th March 08.

A few more bits were bought for it, like a roll cage. After a time hunger took over us. We went off to the Blue Bell pub that's nearby to have a slap up meal. Well the mini went down a storm there with all the locals coming out of the pub to have a look. Phil as he dose chatte away to all an sundry an even taking one of the locals a ride in the BIG MIN, SHOW OFF!!!

Then came the trip home. After dropping Alan off home an showing his Dad around the min we past the Hopwood pub. Parked in the car park on a trailer was a mini min. We had to stop for a look. The mini is owned by Alastair Moffatt who is part of Moffatt Motor Sport, they go round the country doing autotest displays aswell as competing in competitions. Maybe an idea if RMOC do put on a show again. There is a photo of Alastair an his friend Gemma on my Oz's new friends page. Plus there is a link to the BTRDA web site on my Oz's friends web sites page, if you want to find out more about auto testing. 

Then it was home for a rest I must say what a great day out. Thanks to all who was there.

Can I say at this point,  A BIG thank you to Gaffa Spencer, Alan Barton, Keith Baker and Steve Knight for the help and support with the BIG MIN.

The second show

    The next min show the Bigmin went to was at Brooklands. That's as some of you might know the old race track with the concrete high bends down nr London. It was going to be a good test for the Bigmin on distance being a good 200 miles ish round trip. Well it made it there and back safely. Here's a few photo's.... 

Crawling up Dibley Hill (Stokenchurch cutting) on the M40.

Flash git driving it.
Lined up by the track.
Phil was approached by Thames Valley mini Club to see if he could bring The Bigmin to a 4x4 show near Reading in August. He agreed, more about that later.

Bristol mini show Sunday June 1st 08. (Phil's 35th Birthday)

  The show wasn't a camp over so a few of the Redditch mini owners club came down on the Saturday and stopped in a hotel in Weston super mere. Oh it was a good laugh.

Out side our hotel.

Attracting a few passers bye.

Our club stand.

At one side of the field was a bit of a puddle, Phil couldn't resit going in for a paddle.

A 4 wheel drive spin.

Posing again for the crowd.  
Thanks to Rob Bellingham for the Photos.
  Time for its MOT.

Phil had a word about it to the mechanics at Masons garage Stratford-upon-Avon while having the MOT done on Ahh Kid. He then took the Bigmin along for them to look at before the MOT ran out.

They pointed out that it needed a couple of spots welded but everything else should be fine, so he booked it in. The test is all on computer nowadays, the chap typed in the details in. It came up as a Suzuki sj 410, well that what it is..... soft top.... Well???? They weren't happy. They then tried to ring VOSA about it, being a Saturday of course they don't want to know!!!!  "We will have to try Monday" said the Mechanic. They wasn't going to Mot it until they have talked to VOSA. Phil was annoyed. Phil was off to a car gathering in Wellsbourne (see The scary but cool car page) on Sunday. We dropped the big min off on are way home from Wellsbourne. 

 Phil called the garage Monday afternoon, they said "VOSA said not to touch it until its been re-registered". Bugger!!! what to do now? Phil had the following Friday off to go to Welland steam fair, so he called in to the DVLA in Worcester. They said Phil might have to start again from the beginning, SVA-ing it an having a Q plate registration. He came out with forms galore, scratching his head on what to do first. The following weekend he bumped it to his mate Dicky Brenton at Henley-in-Arden market. Dick is a old hand in re-registering cars due to he has built a few very special cars over the years. Photos to follow soon. He very kindly took on the challenge. Now cutting a long story short....... Seven weeks later DVLA finally agreed to inspect it. Phil took it along to Worcester, where they came out checked the chassis/body/window screen an all other numbers that are on it, plus the major thing that was the chassis hadn't been cut and shorttend to fit the mini body shell..... It hadn't by the way, they thought it had. He was then told to sit in the waiting room an wait for them to decide what to do. An hour later he got called across and was told ............HE COULD KEEP HIS ORIGINAL REGISTRATION NUMBER..... WHOOPEEEE.. WE'D DONE IT!!!!!!!!! BUT  he can't call it a mini or a Suzuki. Hummmmm????? They'd had a giggle on putting the words mini an Suzuki together to make a name, Chris (the head bloke there) said "forget that, I suggest register it in your surname." Phil couldn't believe in what he heard but said ok. The forms were filled out, tax disc was reprinted, hands were shaken, thank you's were said and Phil drove away in a.... MAINE. What a result. A really big thank you to Dicky Brenton, with out you I think Phil would be still scratching his head. Phil waited for the new log book to come then he booked it back in to Masons garage for its MOT. It failed ...only on a sticky rear caliper and a slight seeping out of one of the brake hose couplings that Phil soon fixed. Its now 95% legal. Just a little point of the wheels sticking out of the body work that's all.

The following week Phil contacted Tesco's insurance to inform them that the name had been changed. The (thick) Bod on the phone said "Wot are you trying to tell me?". Phil simply explained about what DVLA had done. The bod said "Errrrrrrr???? DVLA can't do that!". Phil went though it again an saying "they can an they have!!!" Nope the twonk still didn't get it even saying in his defence "It don't say that on our data base that it has been changed". At this point I could see Phil starting to steam. "You will have to contact DVLA cuz they have got it wrong" the twonk said finely. Phil rang DVLA Swansea an got through to a lovely lady who checked all the details and said "on DVLA data base it says its a Maine, if there is any problem again tell the to ring us ask for me ??? (I have forgotten her name) at team ???(and that)". She also told Phil that most insurance companies have there own data bases that they have to up date themselves, they don't link in to the DVLA data base for up to date information. Great Phil rang Tesco's again..... of course you get another person an guess wot he was as thick as the first one. Phil spoke a bit harder an cut a few corners by telling him the answers before he asked the questions. Bod 2 went away to talk to his underwriter ?????, he came back an said " there are pictures of your car on the Internet". "Oh yes" said Phil, "we are stopping your policy". "WHAT!!!!!, MAY I ASK WHY!!!!!!" Phil quietly asked. Bod 2 said "You would be a liability to us" Well Phil came back with a soft a gentle start with "If you are recording this conversation, may I say THANKYOU TESCO'S It is nice to be kicked in the B******* this time of the morning, an I do apologise in saying B*******". Bod 2 did say our policy will say on for 5 days until we get cover,an we got to inform them when we have. Phil got off the phone an climbed out the cab of his lorry. I did hear a lot of shouting an thumping for a while. It went quiet so I looked out of the window. Steve (Swampy) was parked up behind us, Phil had woke him up so he was chatting to him. A bit later Phil came back set up his lap top an went on to a 4x4 web site. Straight away an advert for Adrian Flux came up so Phil gave them a ring. Steve had suggested to have a look around the 4x4 sites to see what insurance they recommended. Soon Phil had told them what he'd got, they brought up the right category for him...kit car. They asked how much was he paying Tesco's. About £280. They went away for a couple of minutes. On there return they said "how dose £168.fully comp sound. Phil welled up. All was happily sorted. Ahhh just one more job phone Tesco's once again. After going through it with Bod 3 a final question was asked by Tesco,"can we help you with any thing else? NO Phil bellowed down the phone an cut the call. Phil did receive a cheque from Tesco's for £41, well that paid the phone bill. 

During the seven weeks the Bigmin (as it was then), was off the road, we took it down to a 4x4 show near Reading. It was the one that the Thames Valley mini Club asked us to. Phil asked Mark Adams if he could borrow his Landrover and Shaun Mcginn if he could borrow his trailer. They very kindly agreed, so it was loaded up an taken down.

Alan Barton came along.  Here's them driving around the arena.

Playing in the field next to Adam's yard.

A new exhaust.

 The Maine needed to sound a bit beefier. Phil was given a name, K&R Motors in Blackminster (next to Badsey near Evesham) who build trikes up from scratch (Not children's trikes, Motorbike ones) to try. Phil contacted them an went over to see what they could do. The chaps name is Martin, he was a bit surprised when Phil turned up as you would expect. He got it up on the ramp and soon the exhaust was planed. A week later Phil dropped it over to him and it was fitted, plus Martin sorted out the tap-pits, so now the engine doesn't sound like a type writer. While Martin road tested it he had a ponder on what could be done to improve it. Phil listened to him when he went to pick it up, an plans where drawn for the future. I wait and see what they do. 

Latest adition to the Maine Special.

Italian Job spot light bar + stainless steel spot lamps.

Plus Phil has fitted a 5 horn set....... MEGGA LOUD!!!!

At the S E Davis's show Astwood Bank, Noticed whats under the wheel......

More auditions thanks to Nick from Col's mini Centre in Feckenham.

Right Hand fuel tank with fuel pump relocated in to the boot.

SU carburetor with a new manufactured (by Nick) slightly curved pipe from manifold.

For anyone that didn't see the old carb here's a pic.

Note the pipe from manifold, engineering pipe with aright angle, worked but played up when it got to hot.

Phil is no mechanic but he will have ago at simple things. This time tho he thought he would stop the leak in the rear diff. He go to work stripping down the rear brakes, then removing the half shafts. All going well so far. Drained the oil out an then took out the bolts around the diff. Bit of a tap with his hand!!! not a hammer, it popped out.

He then cleaned out the diff casing, removed all the old sealant around the casing an the diff. Thanks to Paul Dawes who very kindly gave Phil some Landrover sealant. Phil put some on around the casing an slid the diff back in to place, done up the bolts he then slid in the half shafts, even re-greasing the barrings. He filled the diff with gear oil. After putting the brakes an the prop on he started the engine an ran it in first gear... it worked fine with the wheels turning in the right direction. I did have my worries that he could of put the diff in the wrong way round, I could picture him putting it in to first an the wheels going in reverse. So there you go hes not that bad.  Phil really enjoyed doing it an its gave him a taste to do more.


When Phil bought the Maine Special he also bought a set of brand new wheels an tyre's off the same chap. They have been sat in his garage. He thought he'd bung them on an try them out.

They look good.

The Berkshire 4x4 show 09,. Phil and Alan went again but this time it got there on its own steam.

Phil took it around the arena.

Then Alan took it out.

While he was out the the bloke came along with the mic an interviewed him.

On the Sunday Afternoon Phil was called to take the Maine Special in to the arena... He was awarded a tankered for the best modified 4x4. It was judged by the Mother and Daughter who own the field the show was in. Here's Phil acsepting his tankard.Thats the Daughter by the way.

Phil treated him self to a set of knobbly tyres, so he luckly managed to call in to JCS 4x4 tyres and wheels. They are siturated just off J25 of the M1 Nottingham. He bourght a set of  33, 12.5 x 15 Kumho KL71 tyres on 15x 10 wheels. Confused by the numbers well take a look at the photo.