THE PRACTICAL CLASSICS PRACTICAL CHALLENGE
Over the past few years, the Practical Challenge has seen some fantastic restorations in just three days. The team triumphed with the Triumph Spitfire in 2011, made mincemeat of the Morris Minor Van in 2012, marvelled at the MG in 2013, were victorious with the VW Beetle in 2014, and maxed out the MX-5 in 2015.
In 2017, Practical Classics magazine took on the almighty challenge to recreate Mr Bean's Mini. Mr Bean’s Mini is a TV prop as iconic Arkwright’s till or Dr Who’s tardis and this particular example is particularly unique, as it once belonged to Rowan Atkinson’s son. "It’s the closest there has ever been to Mr Bean’s actual Mini!" says Practical Classics editor Danny Hopkins. "Having been owned by the Atkinson’s family, we have bought the car as a bit of a wreck. It needs a lot of work, which we couldn't wait to do on the Discovery Live Stage."
With preparation on the car underway pre-show, many parts are required so the team has partnered with Mini Spares Midlands, part of the David Manners Group.
The repair list was long, and consisted of everything from panels to a brake conversion to take the smaller 10 inch wheels, an early dash conversion, trim and bushes. Mini Spares Midlands is performing the role of a one-stop shop for everything Practical Classics needed for the project - including the modifications to make it look like the 1977 mini from the TV series.
As the shell was sorted pre-show, all the mechanicals received a complete overhaul. Care and organisation was be key, as the next time all the components were united was live on stage at the NEC. Anything that could've been refurbished was cleaned, painted, re-bushed and packaged. Trial fitting was also essential where possible. Then, it was a case of loading all the constituent parts into the back of a van, the shell onto a trailer, and bringing the whole lot to the Discovery Live Stage.
Once rebuilt, the car was presented to the crowds of onlookers, resplendent in its applejack paint job and dinky 10-inch wheels and subsequently driven smoothly off stage!