me“Yes Madam, we demolish and replace prefab garages. What size is your current building?” I enquired. “Not very large, it only has a Mini in it” she replies. “Tell me more about the Mini…….”.

What I had chanced upon was an Estate Clearance and a deal was quickly struck with the deceased daughter.

I was handed the original blue V5 document and was delighted to discover that I was the second owner of this 60k car. All wasn’t so rosy with bodywork repairs done on a shoestring and an engine which leaked/blew core plugs.

Having been informed that the engine block was warped (poor storage maybe?) I dug deep and specified the kind of engine that I had longed for when I was 17yrs old.

Minisport Stage 1 Tuning Kit
998cc block overbored +40
Piston Set Mini 998 Flat Top Press Fit 040
12G295 rebuilt head
OIL PUMP 1000CC A PLUS SLOT DRIVE
WATER PUMP LATE TYPE CAST
DUPLEX GEARS/CHAIN SET GENUINE + TIMING CHAIN TENSIONER MINISPORT Camshaft Slot drive Camshaft Bearing Set – Glacier – 850/998/1100 STD CAMSHAFT LINER SET SMALL BORE COPPER HEAD GASKET BLOCK GASKET SET SMALL BORE GEARBOX GASKET SET Clutch Plate – Competition – Fast MG Metro rocker cover, new fastenings + oil cap
20/50 oil + spin on oil filter
Engine paint black

The engine revs high and I regularly (gulp) find the needle goes beyond 90MPH and pointing to earth. A Fletcher Supercool radiator and recently been installed (not shown) and new fan to keep temperatures manageable.

The Checkmate is a great looking and well equipped car so I simply sought to enhance the exterior with chrome to replace the 1980s black grill and handles surrounds. I added vinyl check to the roof, the original wheels powder-coated white and fitted new bumpers, modern Halogen headlights and spotlights.

Me, my wife, two kids and dog enjoy historic rallies organised by www.crookedspireclassic.co.uk and you can often find us at Derbyshire car shows.

front-better interior  side