We’ve all had a sinking sense of dread when disassembling an old car. Unexpected rust, missing parts, or an engine in worse condition than you expected. As a result, you probably know how our colleagues in the US feel right now as they take apart their latest project, a 1965 Austin Mini Cooper S.
There were warning signs with the latest Hagerty Redline Rebuild, most notably a bit of a smoking problem. But as host Davin Reckow discovers when removing the head from the Cooper’s A-series, it’s more than just a few worn-out piston rings or valve guides.
It’s difficult to determine what might have caused two deep gouges to work their way across the top of the block, but given early signs suggest the mounting face is a bit wavy, it’s clear this engine hasn’t had the easiest of lives.
Whatever it was, signs also point to a previous owner taking one look at the issues and then quickly ignoring it, too. Thanks for that, whoever you are. Guess it shows you never know quite what you’re going to get with an old car, do you?
Either way, it’s something that Davin and the team will have to deal with if the Mini is to be returned to peak fitness. Hopefully the solution will be fairly simple, but we’re hoping a new block isn’t in order. At least A-series parts are easy to come by, even in the States.
You can follow along with this latest Mini project on the Hagerty YouTube channel, as well as checking out previous Redline Rebuilds. Plenty of other series, too, some of which contain more tyre smoke than engine smoke…