1977 Mini Clubman
Posted 07 June 2019 - 03:56 PM
A bright yellow 1100cc it was my pride and joy and, of course, great fun too. I read avidly about tuning and other improvements but never had the time, money or skill to follow it through.
Now, just - cough - a few years on, here I am contemplating a Min once more, but this time as a second car. I’ve bought Vizard’s ‘How to Modify Your Mini’ (again!) and the latest of his A series tuning books.
Let’s see how it turns out this time.
Location: North Shropshire, should you be wondering.
Posted 07 June 2019 - 05:30 PM
Good luck with it all. I'm back into Minis after a twenty year break and they're just a good as I remember. As soon as you get out on the road all those feelings are back just like before.
Posted 07 June 2019 - 11:48 PM
Edited by gem1, 07 June 2019 - 11:49 PM.
Posted 08 June 2019 - 05:22 AM
On with the tricky bit.
Let’s set budget aside for a moment (you can reasonably assume it’s not a fortune) and have a think about where I might go, Mini-wise, and why.
Cars currently in the family:
me - nine year old Land Rover Discovery. Love it to bits, carries everything, effortless driving with a ton of torque and a great motorway cruiser with 70 at about 1600 revs. 113,000 miles and should easily do the same again.
wife - Audi TT mark 2, her dream car, 30 mile a day round trip commute and ideal for a day out. Tremendous acceleration and roadholding, great exhaust note.
Meanwhile, Mini memories.
Considering it only had 45 horsepower it’s amazing what fun (or should that be Fun) my Clubman was. Dunlop Denovo run-flat tyres were relatively low profile for the day. It was possible to do a four wheel drift around the roundabouts on the A34 at a mere 30mph after a long period of dry weather had left minute particles of rubber on the road from the tyres of the day.
I’ve never driven a go kart, but that is the typical description of the handling, isn’t it? It would nip round corners as you clung to the large steering wheel, grinning like a monkey.
Fast it wasn’t, but it felt it, relatively. 40 mph in a Min feels like 80 in, say, a TT, but the 40 is legal and much safer to boot.
So, after all that blather, where are my Mini thoughts?
It won’t surprise you that Fun is at the top of the agenda. But of course my idea of fun may not be yours.
I’d be interested to know what you all think if the the following; any Mini out there is getting on a bit. I’d suspect any 1275 will have been, by now, driven with a fair bit of enthusiasm. How worn will that make it? I don’t need a ton of power, there’s plenty of that in different forms with our other vehicles; I’d likely drive a Mini on my own, out for the pleasure of a whizz round the B roads. I don’t need to overtake, it’s all about the enjoyment of using my (modest) skill and playing car vs. road.
Thus no long journeys and no motorway work (unless to Mini gatherings).
So, having had a goodish read of threads in here and stuff elsewhere, I’m considering a 998cc engined Mini taken up to perhaps 60 bhp at the flywheel. With engine and car properly set up there should be plenty of scope to enjoy the drving without putting myself or my licence to any great risk.
As ever, your thoughts are welcome.
Posted 08 June 2019 - 12:37 PM
A well tuned 998, decent cam, cylinder head, carb, exhaust and ignition system will make for a fun and fast car.
60 bhp is quite achievable and with the right final drive will make for a entertaining drive. Plus the 998's like to rev. So if you are going for a full engine build, consider getting the bottom end lightened and balanced.
Posted 08 June 2019 - 01:00 PM
A tuned 998 is in my opinion about the most fun you can have. Fast enough to not be too slow but slow enough to make you work for it and keep your licence relatively safe.
Just recently I had the opportunity to buy a really nice fast car but fast cars just mean most of the time you're hardly making use of the performance. Great for long distance easy driving but not always much fun. So I went for a Mini. The fun returned!
Overtaking is quite feasible - in some ways it's easier as you haven't got the bulk of modern cars to deal with and can position the vehicle for maximum visibility very easily.
For B road use with a 998 you're best off with no higher than a 3.44:1 final drive. The one I have now has a lower (3.76:1) final drive ratio than the ones I used to have (3.44:1) and the difference it makes to the acceleration, especially in top, is quite remarkable. Obviously it makes it less ideal for fast distance work but it will still cruise all day at 75 mph if somewhat noisily. 3.44:1 is a good all round ratio on a 998 and is what they had up until the early eighties when it jumped to 2.95:1.
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