General History


    Here's a bit of background information about myself.  My first car was a good old Mini 1000 while at college which was just about able to remain on the road, this was followed by a Rover 214si once I started full time work.  The car was only a month or so old when I purchased a performance exhaust and K&N air filter. 

    Not long later I became bored with the 214 and moved on to a Cavalier GSi which was my first real performance car, this was fitted with a Performance exhaust, Power Boost Valve, BBR Starchip and JR Air filter.  After these modifications the limits of grip had been reached on  to the front wheel drive Cav so moved on to a Calibra 4x4 Turbo. 

    This car was good as standard but I couldn't leave it alone and soon had a new exhaust, hybrid turbo, foam air filter and re-chip.  Once the engine was getting a bit tired I opted for a complete rebuild courtesy of Regal Autosport in Southampton with race cams, gas flowed head etc.  The Calibra hadn't been returned for long when I managed to melt 2 pistons and it was rebuilt again, high intake temp's being to blame.  This time I rebuilt the engine myself and also designed a new chargecooler to be added to help with the heat problem, this worked better than expected and the Calibra was running 13.7sec 1/4 mile times.  The next tragedy was that I managed to strip the teeth out of the gearbox, this was the last straw with the reliability problems, I sourced a replacement 6 speed and sold the car.  

    I had decided that I would like a new car which was just as quick out of the box as the Calibra but reliable.  My choice at this time was a Subaru Impreza WRX which I went to test drive at a local importer.  The Subaru was quite impressive to drive and I quite liked it, but the dealer also had a Skyline R33 and I asked if it would be possible to have a test drive.  He agreed and I was immediately impressed by how stable and controllable the Skyline was, so that was the end of the Subaru and I bought the Skyline instead.  That was back in November 1998 and I have been steadily modifying the car since but have now reached the point of minimal gain for a lot of extra cash (click here for my GTR site).

     As my main mission was to get a really quick 1/4 mile time the Skyline just wasn't financially viable due the the cost of parts/labour and it was so heavy that to get a really quick 1/4 mile time of below 10 seconds requires approx 700-800bhp and reliability becomes an issue then.  I needed something lighter which wouldn't require such a large amount of power to produce the times I wanted and needed to be sensible running/repair costs.  I had always missed my Mini and after seeing the 16V mini websites and the amount of information which was available decided that it was time for a monster Mini.  As I had a good background with the Vauxhall XE engine I decided it was the way to go and not very difficult to see well over 200bhp and still be reliable.  As with the Cavalier GSi grip was my biggest worry if I tried to put too much through just the front wheels so thought to go for the twin engine setup and run a sensible amount of power on each engine.   Hopefully with around 400bhp it should be able to get a low 11 or even a 10 second 1/4 time with the right setup as it should only weigh around 800-900kgs when complete compared to my Skyline which had approx 540bhp but weighed around 1600kgs and had the dreaded turbo lag, ran a 11.15sec 1/4 mile.  We'll just have to wait and see if it can do it :o)

      So far the Mini has been on the road for a few years and has finally become consistent on the 1/4 mile, much more stable on the road and added a few luxurys along the way however due to the problems attempting to change gear quickly I am now going to move from a manual setup to an automatic setup, this should make 1/4 mile times fully consistent and also will massively improve the gear ratio's enabling me to switch back to a standard mini profile tyre that should help improve road stability.

     After running the automatic transmissions for a few months now i'm wishing that this was done years ago, with the huge leap in performance and consistency it's looking good for the power increases to be continued where previous years have been repeatedly trying to get consistency of gear shifts.  Also much easier to drive in traffic now and a lot more stable due to suspension changes required for the auto fitment.  With an 11.66s 1/4 already under it's belt I think the goal of beating my old Skyline's 11.1 is looking quite achievable :o)

      Nirous was costing an awful lot to keep refilling and since I wanted to increase the amount used quite a lot the costs were only going to get worse, based on this I looked into a reliable reasonably cheap turbo option.  A conversion that has been quite popular among the Vauxhall group is to utilise Mitsubishi Evo TD05 turbos and exhaust manifolds as the port spacing was very close and the 2nd hand Evo turbos can be picked up for well under 200 on ebay which are good for at least 350hp.  My big problem was the inlet space but again the Evo port spacing was close enough to be an option although not as simple as the exhaust side to adapt.

      The first quick run around by the house is showing some quite good potential for performance, the turbo spools up at very low rpm and the torque increases feel quite substantial so should be interesting later this year at the first drag racing event :o)

      Although very similar in 1/4 mile time for the auto\turbo setup compared to the NA\NOx\Auto it's saving a lot of cost in nitrous supply and also now has more potential for future enhancement which should be occurring during the autumn of 2017-spring 2018 and will hopefully provide a large increase in overall performace through the addition of and extra 300hp, longer gearing and LSD's.  Fingers crossed this will be the final large enahncement stage where the performance exceeds my old Skyline in 1/4 mile, 0-100mph and Top Speed (the Mini is already faster 0-60mph).  I don't think the Mini will ever match the Skyline in the handling and braking areas simply due to physics.   




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