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Flip-fronting your mini

Method 1

It can be done with the engine & radiator in situ if you are really carefull. Before you start it's worth fitting soild tower mounts for the subframe, to keep things aligned better than rubber when the front is off. Remove all that you can be bothered with that may get in the way (wheels,bonnet etc).

The main cuts are needed to remove the front are as follows:

Sorry no dimensions, but when the front is off, it's quite easy to see what will work.

My MOT bloke wasn't happy that there wasn't 30cm of steel around the top suspension mount, but was persuaded it was OK as the inner wing is not really structural (the brace bar is now doing the same job anyway), and the shock mounts are bolted directly into the bulkhead crossmember which is the structural bit.

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Method 2

The cheapest way to do it is to retain the original front. With the majority of the inner wings removed it is supprising how light the front is. The problem with this is you have to be neat around the exposed edges like the A panel/wing joint and the scuttle wing joint. This is how we did it.

The tools we used were an angle grinder and a couple of hacksaw blades held with mole grips. Use the hacksaw blades on the cuts that need to be thin or where acces is bad and the angle grinder for the rest.

Before you start untwist the wrapping around the front section of the loom from infront of the dizzy back to about half way up the inner wing. This is to allow plenty of room for a connector on LC we used a caravan connector and on Doris the clubby we used 2 bits of terminal block and some nails... Work out approx where you want the connector for the lights to be mounted (I mounted it on the brace bar, more about this later.) and cut the loom. Don't forget to disconnect the battery first!

First off cut from the scuttle down the joint between the inner wing and the outer wing right down in the corner which so that you leave a verticle edge of the outer wing joined to the wing. This cut goes from the scuttle to just infront of the triangle that goes from the top of the inner wing down to the cross bar at the back of the engine bay. Then do the same on the other side.

Now do a cut which disconnects the inner wing from the car apart from about an inch at the top of the inner wing. Then do the other side.

Now if possible remove the seam strips on the A panel/wing joint (on LC this was not possible because they had been welded on!) Now cut UP in front of the seam using a hacksaw blade.

The front should now be disconnected apart from the scuttle, top of the inner wing and the front sub mounts. Cut the top of the inner wing and remove the front mounts.

The worst bit on when we did LC was seperating the wing/scuttle joint. At some point between the mid 70s and 89 they started spot welding this joint. Before this they just had filler so it is just a matter of splitting the filler. On LC it took ages and did more damage to the paint than I had hoped for. The reason for this was that Ian had to use a cold chisel to seperate the spot welds. I couldn't watch! This caused some damage to the scuttle and the wings nothing that could not be fixed with a bit of filler and paint.

The front should now lift away. That is the scary bit over with!

Decide how much of the inner wings you want to keep and cut the rest away, The more the keep the more rigid the front will be but it will also be heavier.

Brace bars. We formed these from a bit of angle iron which sits ontop/down the front of the subrame and bolts on to the subframe using the bolts front the front mounts these need to stick out the side of the subframe by a few inches. Then you take some fairly heavy box section steel and bolt it to the inner wing above the damper bracket to to the ends of the angle iron.

Now on a round nose you will need to modify the front to clear the angle iron. Fixing the front back on is easy. Weld some largish washers over the front mount holes and use these to locate the front of the front then nuts put wound on to hold it in place.

The other fixings on LC (round nose) are over center clips which are on the inside of the wing/A panel joint and mounted so that the only clue that they are there is the outer ends of the bolts that hold the clips on. There is also a plate which comes fowards on the inside of the A panel and stops the wings from wobbling in and out.

The all you have to do is fix things like the washer bottle, air horns and starter solenoid to the brace bars. Then sort out your electrics. Touch up the paint, and sort out a new way of fixing the bonnet on to complete the affect I used bonnet pins.

That's it!

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