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!

Mini Magazine - - On The Job - Words and Pho­tog­ra­phy Stephen Col­bran

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…

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