From the ashes
Andrew Horne’s Mini went up in flames, but he was determined to rebuild it in style. This featherweight creation should be a real handful once complete!
Don’t let the plasticky feel of Carbon-fibre fool you – the woven graphite inside the resin makes the stuff as electrically conductive as metal. Obviously that’s no real issue to go-faster car builders, who love the lightweight yet strong material, but it can catch a few people off guard every now and then. Unfortunately that includes Andrew Horne, who was happily relaxing at home, blissfully unaware of the shorted-out wiring under the bonnet of his project Mini and the inevitable fire that followed.
Thankfully a neighbour alerted him of the inferno in time to extinguish it and save the car, but it made one hell of a mess of the front end. By this point Andrew had already put a fair amount of time and effort into his Mini project, and a mere engine bay fire wouldn’t stop his enthusiasm; it actually spurred him on to rebuild it better than before. The melted front end was stripped back, the engine removed and sights set on building a big-power turbo A-Series motor to compete with the fastest drag racing Minis in the country – quite a step up.
We travelled up to see how this behemoth of a Mini is progressing so far, and were certainly wowed by the dedication to ultimate weight saving and ultimate power. The subframes have been swapped for Force Racing titanium versions, there’s lightweight composites all round, then trick suspension and brake upgrades to tame an estimated 250bhp.
Of course to get this much power from an A-Series you need real commitment to the cause, because let’s face it, it’s going to be seriously stressed out, even if it only needs to run for quarter of a mile at a time. In this case it'll be getting a stonking turbo, nitrous oxide, fuel injection and a twin-cam 16-valve head from a BMW motorbike.
We think Andrew may be slightly bonkers, in the best possible sense. Not only is he planning on a building a 500bhp per tonne Mini, but to also start attacking some local hillclimb and sprint courses. That might see some revisions to the spec, so he can go round corners without constantly lighting up the front tyres. First things first though, he’s getting married in July so it needs to finished off and buffed-up for the photos. That’s not very much time at all…