Mini red's revamp puts the pedal into gear for charity drive 2019 EastLink Great Australian Rally

Good as new: With a fresh lick of paint and more, the classic vehicle is ready for show. Picture: John Veage
Good as new: With a fresh lick of paint and more, the classic vehicle is ready for show. Picture: John Veage

A classic little runner will take to the track in polished pride for a charity drive next month.

From the Sylvania Waters garage to Langwarrin, Victoria, this 1963 red Morris Mini First Generation Cooper S will hot it up to raise money for cancer research.

Chris Nour will be behind the wheel, revving it up in the 2019 EastLink Great Australian Rally on January 20.

The event brings together hundreds of veteran and vintage vehicles at Cruden Farm, the former residence of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch.

It is run by the All British Classics Car Club Incorporated, and invites car clubs and private owners to participate with vehicles aged 25 years or older.

The rally raises funds for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation.

Mr Nour, a physiotherapist, will take his pride and joy out in the open for the first time, and will clock up about 200 kilometres alongside other retro four-wheeled vehicles.

“I know nothing about cars,” he said. “But I have a mechanical mind. I actually wanted to be an engineer. 

“I’ve always liked minis, but I didn’t know where to start. So I joined a Facebook group dedicated to minis, and a bunch of older guys guided me through it. Then I watched some YouTube videos on how to go about it.”

He says such a restoration project typically takes up to four years, but he did it in a speedy nine months. 

“I bought the car in March this year, for a very cheap $3000. It’s quite rare,” he said. “I spent $30,000 on top of that to make it look like it does now. I spent about 720 hours on it.

“It had been sitting on a farm since 2000, after it had been in a crash. But it was in good condition, and had no rust.”

Mr Nour added custom-made inclusions, and jetted off to Florence to source Italian seat leather.

“The engine, wheels and brakes are original,” he said. “Brand new this model costs about $50,000. It only weighs about 600 kilograms, and even though I’m six foot-one, there’s heaps of room.

“I do some work in aged care and when I mention the car to residents, they tell me about their own car memories. There’s a nice sense of nostalgia.”

Mr Nour is already thinking about his next on-road project – restoring an original Italian Vespa.

“I can picture myself in a linen shirt, eating gelato, riding along,” he said.

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