Miniresto cover

The Ultimate Mini Restoration Manual, the physical manifestation of the MiniResto webmag, is currently on sale from all respectable and one or two dodgy booksellers.

With 70,000 words and 500 pictures, it works out at 0.0005 pence a word, in GB pounds. An absolute bargain.

The publishers, savvy chaps to a man, said the Contents list and Index were useful sales tools as people flip through them at Smiths, which is a good point. Not many contents lists have subtitles like Picking the Right Pig in the Right Poke, Dancing in Minefields, 11010101101010101010, Torque is Cheap, Nolan’s Electric Tailpipe, and Pain in the Raas.  


Contents (spread) jpeg represents a new style of restoration manual being pioneered by writer Iain Ayre. As well as a physical paper manual, it’s an active digital magazine about the evolving Mini hands-on scene. It’s also the temporary home of

You still need a proper printed manual with grubby thumbprints to prop up on the car while spannering, and to be leafed through while Eastenders grinds miserably on in the background, but the webzine will have the newest and maddest Minis on stills and video, new hands-on tech info and just generally more fun Mini stuff, and you’ll be able to check it out during the day when you’re supposed to be working. Iain Ayre has been writing about Minis for more than twenty years, and has written twelve books on various automotive subjects including Minis. The book’s technical editor Martin Webber spent twelve years running a one-man Mini repair and restoration business and is still as Mini-obsessed as ever. The currently available Mini restoration manuals are tired and boring – with no good excuse. If you have to repair a broken-down BMW or Hyundai or whatever in order to drive to work, you don’t care whether the manual is entertaining, or as dull as a 316. On the other hand, if you’re getting involved in playing about with Minis for a laugh, your manual should have a few laughs in it as well. This one does. It also provides hugely useful inside and background information for Mini newbies and old hands alike. The book went on sale in 2015. in Goings-on will continue in the Ayrspeed Carrozzeria* in Vancouver BC, assorted Mini goings-on in The ProperJob Garage in Somerset, and other amusing titbits. * “Carrozzeria” is an Italian word that describes an automotive sculptor-craftsman’s design and coachbuilding studio workshop, nestling in a sun-drenched Tuscan valley between vineyards and olive groves. Carrozzeria Ayrspeed is a converted carport in an outer suburb of Vancouver BC, but hey, we can all dream. is a work in progress, as is the book it reflects and connects to. The range of information in the book will extend from advice to beginners buying tools, to the principles behind the design of a custom camshaft for a specific Mini engine. Here’s a paragraph from the book that gives you some idea of its flavour, from the “Tooling Up” chapter. “Tidiness is dull, but it reduces your exposure to garage-related pain. Tripping over and landing on the hard and unfeeling ground is bad enough, but landing on the variety of sharp-edged metal objects strewn across an average untidy garage floor is going to send you to the bandage box for sure, and possibly to Casualty if you damage anything important. On that point, don’t do anything dangerous on Friday or Saturday night in the UK, as hospital emergency rooms are full of drunks who have been hitting each other, and you will bleed for many hours before being stitched.” Here’s another sample from the book, this time from the Bodywork Restoration chapter: our own hard-won experience will save readers major time, grief and money.

“The doors on John’s car initially looked okay, but he stuffed a small camera inside them and took some flash pictures – then having seen the resulting images he pulled the old skins off the doors and replaced them, fortunately quite a cheap and easy task and a much better idea than repairing them. We once compared both approaches for a magazine tech story, and re-skinning Mini doors takes about 10% of the effort and time of flat-panel patch repairs or dent repairs.”