1959 Austin Mini stone guard mod

Latest mod: Wire headlight stone guards off a 1959 Austin Mini.

I got this idea after my first trial run to try out the new pipes and check my overheating problem. Bike was doing well so my short trip down to Madrid turned into a longer trip down to the Greenside Cafe (highly recommended if you’re ever in the Cedar Crest area) where I parked next to an old Packard and the famous Bentley thats there regularly.

Classic Bentley in Cedar Crest

Classic Bentley in Cedar Crest

With the 2 into 1 pipes with flexible covers that remind me of the supercharged Duesenbergs, tri-bar headlight, the old school Goodson air cleaner and the ’39 Lincoln Zephyr tail lights, my bike is starting to develop its own style from that era. I love the way the headlights look on the Bentley, I thought wire guards just might work.

New headlight rim

I had no idea that stone guards are such a huge pain in the ass to hunt down. With the big 4WD market in auxiliary lights I thought this would be an easy part to find, I guess all of those use blocky plastic grilles now that just dont have that elegant look.

I found some for classic Jags and Porches and of course lots for wranglers, all of which were the wrong size or the wrong shape. Then I found an EBay auction for some badges and headlight grilles off a 1959 Austin Mini (first year they were made I think) and they were 7 inch round. Wow, SCORE! I doubt anyone else has one of these on their V Star.

When they came in the first thing I noticed was these things are heavy! They are solidly made, heavy duty grilles, they dont make stuff like this anymore. It looks like the wire mesh used in them is the same used in car grilles just wider spaced apart, but they are kinked to be woven tighter if needed.

I also noticed the grilles were just a plain circle, with virtually no visible wear on how they were mounted. This could be a problem to come up with something that would hold them tight enough without rattling from the vibrations.

Research on the web showed these things and ones on other makes were held on with metal tabs that were part of the shroud on the headlight assembly. No luck there, my headlight shroud only has 2 screws that wouldnt secure it too well.

At home I thought it might be possible to secure it under the circular ring that holds the headlight in place. After spending half an hour disassembling my entire headlight assembly I found out not only is it not possible with the current screws but if I got longer ones it would make the light wobbly and more importantly it looks dumb just having the black mesh on there without the black ring as a border. At least I needed to do this anyway to put on the new headlight rim.

stone guard hinge

stone guard hinge

With the light apart I decided the best way would be to secure it to the ring somehow which could then be screwed on tightly. I think a strip of tin doubled over and then drilled to mount on the screws that hold the ring on could work but as I didnt have the materials I kept thinking and noticed theres a small gap along the edge of the headlight where it mounts into the base, just big enough to run a strip of wire.

Within a few mins using my wire sculpture tricks I’d learned I had MacGyvered a hinge of sorts that fits over one of the mounting tabs out of a paper clip. I purposely made this a little too tight so you have to pry the thing down to get it flush. I wanted this mounted as tight as humanly possible to not introduce more rattles and buzzes than I already have, its only through luck that I didnt bend the mounting bracket to hell doing it this way.

stone guard clip

stone guard clip

Then I made 2 clips like this for the other sides. I got the wire wound on there and bent it into an L to go around the tab just a hair too short so pulling it from the side with the vice grips really tightens it down. The leg going under is a bit too long also so you have to twist the wire some with the pliers to shorten it enough to go under, then after straightening it out it’ll never come undone.

Finished Headlight

Finished Headlight

It sounds easier than it actually was, my hands were still burning and hurting the next morning from getting the wires so tight. The good news is this thing is on there gorilla tight! theres no chance of it loosening up and falling off somewhere and no rattling.

I’ve gotten some complements on it. I’m still not sure if I like it but its growing on me.

New headlight rim

New headlight rim

In case you are thinking about doing this, it will not work on the stock headlight. From the pictures you can see that the guards are domed but not by much, they wont clear the center of the stock lens. I thought my other one might look cool on Patrick’s bobber, no such luck.

Austin Mini headlight guard

Austin Mini headlight guard

3 comments to 1959 Austin Mini stone guard mod

Leave a Reply to Headlights Cancel reply