How to remove paint from a Classic Mini

BMC Classic Mini

The second most influential car of the 20th Century, is of course none other than the BMC Classic Mini.  This 1960’s icon is a popular project amongst many restorers, meaning we’ve been lucky enough to work on quite a few.

According to Wikipedia, the original Mini was born “because of a fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis.[20] Petrol was once again rationed in the UK, sales of large cars slumped, and the market for German bubble cars boomed. The Fiat 500, launched in 1957, was also hugely successful – especially in its native Italy.  Leonard Lord, the somewhat autocratic head of BMC, reportedly detested these cars so much that he vowed to rid the streets of them and design a ‘proper miniature car'”

BMC Mini - how to remove paint from a classic Mini

How to remove paint from a Classic Mini

Working on Minis has really allowed us to perfect our mixed-process approach when stripping vehicle shells of paint.  Minis are, almost without exception, a well loved car by the time they need restoration. That often means they have several layers of paint, filler, underseal and rust in the common areas (sills, wheel arches, windscreen surrounds). BUT no one wants to risk warping the roof, rear wings, or bonnet.

The gentlest way to clean steel is using bicarbonate of soda.  The process doesn’t create heat, so won’t warp the metal.  So we utilise this on the larger, flatter panels.  Crushed glass is more abrasive, so we use this to get the rust, filler and underseal off.  Where filler is found on a roof – which is quite common – or anywhere else, a light cleaning using glass on this focused area only will remove the filler without damage.




Classic Mini are definitely one of the most sought after small cars.  Not just as a for their classic car status, but also their fantastic reputation and reliability as a race car.  As a classic car to be driven on the road, they make an affordable restoration project.  For those looking for a way into competitive racing, they can also offer a less expensive starting point.  A great example, and a popular choice, is the Mini Miglia Class.

Mini Miglia Class

We are proud to have paint stripped three Miglia Cup Minis to date – including their rollcages, panels and shells.  Blast cleaning racecars as part of Winter downtime is a great opportunity to check the condition of your bare car, and makes respraying easier.  We work on a wide range of championship cars – some of which, can be found here.

Mini Miglia – Mini7 Club

This Mini is the first of three bought to us from the Mini7 Club Miglia Class group.  This one needs all of the paint removing from the outside, inside, underside and rollcage.  As ‘well used race cars’ go, this Mini was in a good overall condition!  We didn’t uncover too much filler or large areas of damage.  The bare shell is perfect to repaint with next years sponsorship colours.

When the blast cleaning work is complete, we ensure all of the residual dust is cleaned away and apply a layer of epoxy primer.   This will keep the metal protected during transportation and storage.  We recommend including our paint primer option if you are not sure when fabrication, welding and painting will be undertaken on your project.  It’s also best to consider paint priming before leaving our premises if open-back transportation is used, as a bare shell is not protected if it rains!

The Mini Miglia shell at our premises:

mini miglia cup mini interior

classic mini shell classic mini underneath

Once blast cleaning work and epoxy primer has been applied:

shot blasted mini media blasted mini

shot blasted mini shell media blasted mini shell

The Mini Miglia Class is best described by the people that run it – the Mini7 Club – they state:

“The Mini Miglia is the top of the Mini 7 Racing Club ladder. Using a modified 1293cc A Series engine, the 660kg Mini is propelled from 0-60 in about 4.5 seconds and onto a top speed of around 125mph. On the slick Dunlop rubber the handling is everything you would expect from a Mini and much, much more!”