COOPER MIGLIA 1986 – 1989
Vortz’s little flyer. The Miglia was built with 998cc and the faster overbore 1030cc engines.
These cars have been a little over shadowed by there bigger faster brethren, there are very few photos ether,
which is a shame, as they were fabulous to drive, a completely different experience to the BMC Cooper 1000,
they produced a superb upward power line that had a kind of audible zing as it eagerly stretched to 7000 rpm through the gears,
and once there you could back off and the little Miglia would just roll on relentlessly with the smallest of throttle opening
which made for a super relaxed little tourer.
Although there technical spec was pure Nick Vortz, they were in a sense the model that ‘represented’ the BMC Mini Cooper 1000 in the Vortz line up.
From the outset it was going to be far more in terms of technical merit than the BMC Cooper 1000,
and Nick put a lot of hours in to this little power unit to achieve exactly that.
The first was the head which remained the CAM4180 for the 998, and 12G202 for the 1030,
and not the 12G295 with its overly large 28.3cc combustion chambers and also it’s oversized inlet ports
which would have had to a slow a gas speed that was needed for the lower down power delivery.
He developed the progressive valve deshroud chamber combined with his round exhaust port,
valves were just basic BMC 1275 33x29mm that were going spare from the ‘R’s, but reshaped and thinned down.
His head chamber design work was later adopted for the John Cooper 1000cc conversions.
The fuel delivery would be a pair of fully ported HS2’s on a Vortz 3 part inlet manifold
topped off with a new design air box with integral bell mouths.
For the camshaft he would design a completely new one to tie all this together,
and that is what we now know as the R-664.
To work well on a little 1000 Nick said on paper it looks to extreme for what went before,
with the exhaust duration ending up at a full 9 degrees longer than the inlet, (18/58in 59/30ex).
He said as with us all he started with what he knew and pushed and pulled the curves to what was needed to make the complete package,
every time he drew up a new profile believing he couldn’t extend there or push it that far,
it just got absorbed into his initial combustion package, every time it lost nothing and gave a little more.
Obviously he over done it in various places and had to rain back, but Nick never believes he’s reached his ultimate criteria
in this case a dynamo of a road 1000, not ultimate horsepower producer, until he has seen the development run over the edge.
He just keeps burning the hours (and money) until he gets to where he has seen anymore is just backwards.
To extract and exit the spent waste a Vortz long stand off small bore LCB coupled to a Vortz R-454 with a built in back pressure system was fitted.
This little lot amounted to a car that could potter around town as low as 1000rpm in top but could happily cruse at 90mph,
which they did on many occasions up the M4 for a 54 mile stretch when visiting the Vortz trim factory in South Wales.
And when tested by Fast Car Magazine, they found it exceeded 100mph on any given straight when ever they desired.
This was a very happy little package, like an annoying little terrier embarrassingly chewing at the heels of its bigger brothers.
Where are they now, the engine production number was 73 units which would have been cars of a type,
there are 38 registered chassis numbers which were directly registered as Cooper Car Co 84ltd alone.
There must be at least 30 or more left surely, the first ones would be some 26 years old now but they weren’t just run of the mill Mini’s.
Thanks to Richard for writing about this very special car.