The biggest improvement for the Classic Mini Cooper

OK, lets just start somewhere!

A downdraft Webber 48 IDA for the mini Cooper

My carb's bigger!

I have been dragged into the Blogosphere by my lovely and persistent very internet savvy girlfriend/assistant, who assures me others will find what I’ve been up to interesting.  True, I built all of Mini Mania’s Engines for a seven year span, and my Mini history goes back to when I was three (yes, years old!). If some of you that got to know me from MM find your way here, welcome! Why not share some of my knowledge AND opinions(!) about our frivolous pursuits with these little cars. Really not bragging, but there can be rather few people left with as much knowledge and experience with the mechanical side of the Classic Mini.

Enough bla-bla for now? I’m told I need to stick to the subject and bang it out if I’m to keep anyone’s interest. Something about a 30 to 90 second window to hold someone’s attention… I’m going to have problems!!

How about some photos?

The Mark I with the stock column.

Side and under-dash view of new column
Side and under-dash view of new column
Tilt Steering kit for the Mini Cooper
Tilted! About the same angle as the GTO next to it

Yes, the worst thing about the mini to me has always been the less than sporty driving position. I’ve always been annoyed by the VW Bus style of steering column and the way it does not complement adjusting for more leg room… Moving the seat back just makes the awkward angle worse! Apologies to more practical minds, but who are we kidding with the back “seat” in these things? Two and a little space behind like an extra cab compact pick-up is the best we can hope for IMO (In My Opinion…. I should use that a lot!).

So, I moved the seats back and fabricated a stout but unobtrusive bracket to mount an OTS tilt steering column. Off-the-shelf was important, my mini happens to be a Mark 1, but my “kit” needed to fit just about any of them, including right hand drive. As an added bonus the column is new and it uses the most common steering wheel mount opening up a world of choices. Plus, have you ever taken apart the stock broomstick held by little felt “bushings”, or try to buy said flimsy components? And those lovely plastic shrouds… ’nuff said.

More photos.

Apple iPad GPS for the Mini Cooper

An iPad GPS! Early mock-up, see the vise grips

Mini Cooper S Mark 1 gauges

Early gauges and a 10,000 RPM Auto Meter tach

Welding the "dash tray"

Speaker hole... Let's see how this turns out!

More work to do… new wiring harness as soon as I finish welding the holes in the dash- speaker holes I presume, hacked in by someone without foresight!

I’m going to try to stick to these updates and make regular progress. Looks like you can post comments here…  I’m just learning my way around this interface… or try

More updated photos coming… Oooh, welding shots!

0 replies
  1. Bill H
    Bill H says:

    Nice to see you back on the project! Your FrankenMini has always filled me with a mix of dread and pleasure. The Mk1 was a damn near perfect car, for it’s time and purpose, so your ‘hacks’ upset the natural balance of things. However, I just can’t argue with any of the improvements that you’re making – better steering positioning, a little more leg room, a more robust engine (and a potential iPad mount? Brilliant!). I look forward to your future posts!

  2. alex
    alex says:

    May I ask where you got your steering column from? its amazing! and I want one! did it take a lot of specification to fit. I personally have a mk4 mini so may be different to fit I guess..


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