Somebody, like Les Leston, sold a starting handle for a Mini.
The November 2018 issue of Miniworld magazine had an interesting archive article about Oselli which mentions the Mini Starting Handle Kit, see below:-
Oselli Engineering - The Three Engineers
One of the first products was a starting handle kit designed to fit the BMC transverse engine layout. No major modification was needed to fit the device, customers simply added an alloy bracket (later versions were cast steel) that bolted on to the wheel hub, utilising the existing steering arm bolts. With the nearside front wheel on full left-hand lock this allowed the handle to be inserted and aligned with the nose of the crankshaft dog, which was supplied with the components.
"The kit was extraordinarily successful as it attracted publicity for Oselli from Practical Motorist, Car Mechanics and other motoring publications" asserts David Oldham who started Oselli with Tony Toller and Dudley Gliddon in 1960 to supplement their poor apprenticeship wages.
"The starting-handle kit referred to was made by Oselli Engineering, Industrial Estate, Stanton Harcourt Road, Eynsham, Oxon. It is ingeniously arranged so that the handle can be inserted when the left front wheel is turned to full lock. It is necessary to cut an opening in the wheel valance and to bolt two guide plates in place to position the inner end of the handle. A bracket, bolted to the front suspension, steadies the outer end of the shaft. The only other job to be done is to unscrew the crank shaft-pulley securing bolt and substitute the starting-handle dog bolt, which is also provided in the kit."
"Don't get me started" by Wheelnut
"When the Mini was launched in August 1959, it had all sorts of heretical features to upset the traditionalists. Funny little wheels, funny little rubber springs, funny sideways engine, and even funnier front wheel drive. And that’s before you start looking at external body seams and the absence of a proper dashboard. But there was another, deeply-felt attack on the well-established order of things – it didn’t have a starting handle – or even, it seemed any possibility of fitting one!
You don’t have to be really old to remember how starting handles could get you out of trouble when the battery was only able to feed a dull glimmer on your ignition warning lamp. After all, in those days, when you had a battery with a year’s guarantee, on day 366 there was a very good chance that it would die on you. If there was no one around to give you a push start, then the old starting handle was a potential life-saver. The damn thing might also break your thumb or your wrist if you didn’t know how to hold the handle (keep your thumb on the same side as your fingers, and be ready for kickback). It could also come in useful for doing maintenance jobs like setting your tappet clearances, enabling you to turn the engine fairly accurately to find the back of the cam for each tappet. Some people even regarded the handle as a good defensive weapon that could be legitimately carried in the car, but I digress.
Well, what about the handle-less Mini? It seems fairly obvious that with the engine moved from its rightful, time-honoured position with the crankshaft nose facing the front of the car, then there was absolutely no possibility of the manufacturer or anybody else being able to contrive a way of connecting up a starting handle. But fear not! The Mini started off the most inventive and prolific era of accessory manufacture Britain has ever seen. Every magazine had pages and pages of advertisements for gizmos to ameliorate your Mini. Those endlessly industrious accessory guys were not about to be defeated by a sideways engine, oh no! Galloping to the rescue of Minis with feeble batteries came Oselli Accessories. For about a fiver, (in the mid-1960s) they offered a complete kit of handle, crankshaft dog, guide plates, and a support arm. You had to cut a hole in the wing valance, fit the crankshaft dog in place of the standard crank bolt, and bolt into place the support arm inside the wheelarch. To use the starting handle, you put the wheels on full left lock, and poked the handle through the support arm hole and the hole in the valance, engaged the dog and wound your engine into life – you hoped. No, I’ve never tried one, or even seen one, but what a collector’s item this must be…"
Edited by mab01uk, 17 May 2019 - 11:48 AM.