Living with a Classic MINI

Within the BMW team there are plenty of MINI lovers, however there is one person in particular, who has a long standing and iconic relationship with MINI.

Matt Shardlow, is the proud owner of a classic Mini, and here’s his story.

I have lived in North London and have done all my life. Coming from a petrol head family my love for MINI started when my best buddy Jeffery Surrey introduced me to the ‘Errrmmm MINI Club’. I went along with him and the guys to several meets and the bug started. I nearly bought a MINI back when I first learnt to drive but that fell through so the dream had always been to own one. 

Being my first and (so far) only MINI project at 43, I’m quite late to the restoration game, but this did not deter me! I bought the shell from one of the ‘Errrmm MINI Club’ members, Sean Ashford and taking a lot of inspiration from the guys in the club (Jeffery Surrey, Oliver Taylor, Paul Raynes, Sean, James Poole, Norman Jay, Gavin Fox, Norman Bilby, Pam and Andy) all who have extensive MINI experience and have owned MINI’s that have graced the covers of magazines, I got underway.

I bought my Mini from Sean who had it in storage, and it was in ok condition, so taking ideas from swiftune and retro racer Minis, which I had seen on the event scene I under took my restoration. Now people say that I’m trying to make it look like a MK 1 but this Mini is all my favourite aspects rolled into MY perfect Mini with the emphasis on retro; hopefully this comes through. 

With the help of Jeffery Surrey from the Stoke MINI Centre, we went all out! Starting from the ground up. Now I’ll hold my hands up, I’m no expert, so I left the build in the hands of a professional (aka Jeffery) and under his careful guidance the shell was shot blasted and every panel that needed replacing was, and a MK 1 front and rear end put in place. Paint was applied by L&L Bodywork of Stoke.


The only real teething issue was the final build up, which was no mean feat. The Mini went from paint to an MOT and drive down to the L2B in just 9 days!! An impressive turn around I think you’ll agree and one which I have to give a massive shout out to Jeff for; he worked all hours to achieve in time. 

 As a standard 1275 Mini, it’s great fun and has been driven across Europe with trips to Spa and the Nürburgring with the obligatory lap or 2, as well as regular trips around London, which is fun with 75 BHP at 750kg.

 Future plans will be (if the wallet allows) a VscartMax carb’d supercharger by Mr Stuart Gurr.

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