When the Mini was first introduced in the 1960’s it quickly became an automotive icon by blending endless practicality and clever packaging. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis for BMC, it was originally named the Austin Seven (or SE7EN) according to its marketing brochures, and later (after going thru numerous other names) was renamed the MINI respectively.
One of the few cars in the world with a colourful history, it spawned many variants from panel vans to pickups and at its peak sold over 5 million units during its original production date of the 1960’s till its end in the 2000’s. It also achieved numerous success in racing scoring wins in the grueling Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967 against Lancia’s and Porsches further increasing its legendary status.
Appearing in a smorgasbord of movies and shows it was also the choice commute of the likes of Steve McQueen and Madonna, sealing its fate as a cult status amongst the common man.
This particular MINI is a 1975 version which carried the name Austin Morris Mini 850 and belongs to a very close friend of mine, Hadri.
I remember when this car was still a clunker about 15 years ago when Hadri first acquired this car and took me for a ride and how astonishing it was to be in such a roomy albeit little car. Bear in mind though the condition it was back then was next to derelict and the only time we knew it needed to refuel is if the car started surging during corners. It was also the colour of faded poop.
So it came as a shock to me when after so many years of not being in touch with Hadri that I finally got to see what happened to his pride and joy when we met at the recent unveiling of the RWB Miyabi which we covered not long ago.
It was far from how I remembered it years and years ago and no more is that heap of rust only to be replaced by this immaculate build we have here.
Gone was the 850cc engine and in it is an A+ series engine from BMC bored to 1380cc and equipped with a Minisport stage 4 cylinder heads and Swift Tuned cams coupled with 73.5mm dished pistons from Omega with balanced engine internals. Other built internals are an alloy pushrod, heavy duty valve springs and timing chains from Duplex. Ignition is covered by an Aldon APR100 distributor and Flamethrower coilpack.
It breathes thru a single Webber 45 DCOE carburetor with a 38mm choke and big bore LCB’s. As you can see the firewall has been cut to accommodate this setup and due to the compactness of the engine bay. It also flows thru a custom exhaust header accompanied by a Miniflow oversized exhaust system. Cooling is customised with a 4 bladed fan and an alloy radiator. An external fuel pump by Facet completes the setup.
The interior on the other hand is all business, shodded with classic bucket seats from Cobra, it fits perfectly with the theme of the MINI. Adding to the environment is a 6-point FIA-spec bolt-on rollcage. A Willans harness finishes the car with a race car feel.
Inside, the dash is replaced with a custom steel job decorated with the Union Jack which perfectly fits with the cars ethos and gives it a nice British touch to the whole package.
Not a bad place to be I must say!
The transmission is a 4 speed with straight cut gears packaged with a 5-puck clutch plate and clutch pressure cover from Orange assisted by an Ultralight flywheel.
Keeping with its simplicity, the instrumentation is minimal adorned with oil, water and a fuel gauge by Smiths. Other accessories are custom switches that control the external fuel pump and electric fans respectively.
Another huge Smiths tachometer dominates the the drivers centre on the dashboard. This was a far cry from what it originally was back when I first rode in it. It had zero instrumentations on board! Good times.
The MINI runs on 10x6JJ wheels from Mamba and I’ve been told that its the only MINI in Malaysia running this setup. Stopping this little firecracker are brakes from Minisport using Mintex brake pads. A pair of Koni one-way adjustable dampers are fitted and gives the car an even more go-kart like driving experience.
In the rear is the same setup as the front with the exception of the original drum brakes fitted to the MINI as standard.
The restoration is immaculate. Every panel of the body was done over and refreshed in order to breathe life back into this old girl. Hadri is also one of the few people I know who has visited the legendary Nurburgring and actually completed a few laps there. Needless to say, that memory is immortalized with a little sticker of the Green Hell in the rear.
It’s really refreshing to see the type of enthusiast who still holds on the things he loves and turn it into a masterpiece, slowly, patiently. And after 15 years or so this has been one of the most extraordinary builds I have seen in a while. And besides, Rome was never built in a day.
Hadri’s Mini specification:
Car: Austin Morris Mini 850
Power: Estimated 110HP (Never been on dyno)
A+ 1380 base engine
Minisport stage 4 cylinder head
Swift Tuned 649+ camshaft
260lbs double valve spring
Omega 73.5MM 6cc dish piston
Balanced engine internal
Duplex timing chain
Webber 45 DCOE carburetor
Big bore lcb
Custom exhaust header
Miniflow oversize exhaust system
4 blade fan
Aldon APR100 distributor
Flame thrower coilpack
Engine Bay Accessories
Facet fuel pump
Smith tachometer, temp, fuel, oil pressure gauge
5 puck clutch plate
Orange clutch pressure cover
Gearbox internal specifics:
Straight cut 3 gear synchronizer
Straight cut drop gear
Straight cut x pin
FIA specification 6 point bolt-in roll cage
Koni one way adjustable damper
Anti roll bar
Koni one way adjustable damper
Anti roll bar
Minisport 4 port alloy brake caliper brake kit
Mintex brake pad
Mini finned drum brake
Fully restored exterior
Custom paint job
Cobra bucket seat
Wheel & Tyre
Front and Rear
Mamba 10x6JJ wheel
Yokohama A032R 165/70/10 tyre
Amsoil 20W50 engine oil
Track time/Racing achievement: