TAN­GER­INE DREAM

Mini Magazine - - Contents - Words Martyn Collins Pho­tog­ra­phy Jonathan Fleet­wood

Ol­lie Scull’s out­ra­geous Candy Or­ange sa­loon has Honda VTEC power and boasts more than 350bhp!

My first ac­ci­dent, in my Mini 1000, was af­ter the car had only been on the road for just over a month! Thank­fully I was okay, but typ­i­cally the ac­ci­dent hap­pened just be­fore Christ­mas, leav­ing me with the co­nun­drum of whether I should buy my fam­ily presents, or pay to fix my pre­vi­ously per­fect body­work!

Ol­lie was thank­fully okay too, and luck­ily the rear end­ing of his Mini – this one – came at a point

when he’d re­alised he could do just about any­thing to Is­sigo­nis’s finest. So rather than get­ting too down­beat, he used this ac­ci­dent as the per­fect ex­cuse to turn this car into the Mini of his dreams.

Ol­lie de­scribes him­self as a “born and bred Mini fan”. He was brought up around them, with friends of his fam­ily in­volved in grass track rac­ing. So when it came to first car choices, there re­ally was no other car than a Clas­sic Mini in the frame. “I have an eBay ad­dic­tion of just look­ing see­ing what’s up for sale. About five-years ago I was do­ing just that and stum­bled across this Mini,” says Ol­lie.

Turns out that this Mini, his sec­ond one, wasn’t half bad, look­ing tidy and hav­ing al­ready ben­e­fited from a 1275cc engine swap by its pre­vi­ous owner. So he set about buy­ing it and three-days later, it was sat on his drive! “Call me silly, but the his­tory of this Mini re­ally wasn’t too much of con­cern to me, it was a 1985 model, with just three-pre­vi­ous own­ers, and it hadn’t been writ­ten off — so that was re­ally all I was look­ing for,” he adds.

Af­ter pass­ing his test, he got into the Mini scene straight away and started mod­i­fy­ing his car with some in­te­rior work, a new stereo sys­tem and a new

“Call me silly, but the his­tory of this Mini wasn’t re­ally a con­cern to me”

dash­board and wheels. “Then I bought an­other one and an­other one… and by this time I’d re­alised that you could al­most do any­thing you wanted to a Mini,” he laughs.

Then, that fate­ful crash hap­pened on the way home from a char­ity car meet — Ol­lie was shunted whilst sat in traf­fic: “It was a hor­ri­ble mo­ment and I won’t for­get get­ting out and see­ing the rear end com­pletely crum­pled in, but I soon re­alised that this was a bless­ing in dis­guise and would en­able me to start again and do some­thing dif­fer­ent.”

That might sound in­sane, but from there on, Ol­lie had this crazy im­age in his head of what he wanted to do with this Mini. Al­though it def­i­nitely wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen overnight.

GROUND UP RE­BUILD

The Mini of Ol­lie’s dreams would in­volve a ground-up re­build, which started with a thor­ough strip down. How­ever, it was only when he started strip­ping his car that it came to light that this Mini re­ally hadn’t been shown much love, so a lot of time was put into rust re­moval and just gen­eral body work repairs at the start. Then, the whole back end had to be pulled and jigged back into po­si­tion — with the boot floor re­moved and later re­placed with a car­bon fi­bre item. The door sills also had to be com­pletely be re­moved and new ones welded in. The front wheel arches, where they meet the footwell, were both bad and were cut out and re­placed. Fi­nally, where the cold air feed pipe ran in the pas­sen­ger wheel arch, it had rubbed and blis­tered badly, so that was re­moved and the area af­fected cut out and welded along with a new wing.

While this was all go­ing on, Ol­lie was de­cid­ing which way to go with the engine. “Orig­i­nally, I was go­ing to go with a 1380 su­per­charged K1100 con­ver­sion, but af­ter look­ing at the cost and amount of power achiev­able, it just didn’t seem worth it or pos­si­ble at the time. I’m guess­ing it was just luck, but I had a B16 Honda VTEC engine avail­able to me,” Ol­lie ex­plains. Look­ing around on eBay for one, he found a Honda CRX del Sol be­ing

bro­ken, it was an im­port and had a B16 A engine — which is per­fect for tur­bocharg­ing. Not be­ing too far away, he de­cided to go and have a look. “Ev­ery­thing checked out and it wasn’t very ex­pen­sive so I got it,” re­veals Ol­lie.

Engine pur­chased, it got him think­ing, so he set out plan­ning, but do­ing it his own way, with a com­pletely stan­dard front end and not a flat-fronted Club­man one. So why the Honda power, I ask? “The main rea­son be­hind choos­ing the Honda VTEC engine is that it is re­ally the only way to get big power re­li­ably for not ridicu­lous money, I had an engine

“[The crash] was a bless­ing in dis­guise and would en­able me to start again”

avail­able to me and it just went from there re­ally,” Ol­lie ex­plains.

Af­ter sort­ing the rust and bent body­work, Ol­lie’s next job was to tackle adapt­ing the stan­dard Mini front sub­frame to hold the Honda engine but re­tain the stan­dard length front end. “A lot of blood, sweat and beers went into it, that’s for sure. I did mess the first at­tempt up at the last stages, for­get­ting the clear­ance needed for steer­ing rack,” he says. The next stage was sort­ing out brac­ing the front and rear, then the shell went off for paint.

Once the freshly-painted Candy Or­ange shell re­turned, it was left alone for about a year, as Ol­lie con­cen­trated on the engine build and sort­ing out the wiring looms – if you read though the length of de­li­cious parts in the Tech Spec, in­clud­ing that whop­ping Gar­ret GT3076R tur­bocharger, you can see why it took a year to sort!

“Pretty much all of the wiring was car­ried out by me, but I needed some spe­cially trained eyes to sort a few is­sues out when it was be­ing tuned. Wiring re­ally isn’t my strong point and es­pe­cially on the engine man­age­ment side of things,” says Ol­lie.

An­noy­ingly, even though it was ready to drive, he stripped the whole car back to a shell again and set about in­stalling in­te­rior and adding all the finer de­tails.

Ol­lie want­ing to have that race car feel, but show car look at the same time. The re­sult was the ICE in­stall is in­te­grated into the roll-cage. Then there’s the cus­tom fi­bre­glass dash which has a mod­ern feel: “It all sort of just came to me as I was putting it to­gether. A lot of it was bought as I went along, I’d put a bit on then think ‘right, what can I find or make that will flow with that?’ I stum­bled across the gauges whilst look­ing for cus­tom gauge set­ups, but I fell in love with them, and af­ter a bit of dig­ging I re­alised they were so user-friendly that I had to have them!”

IN­TE­RIOR RE­TRIM

The re-trim­ming of all the in­te­rior was done by a good friend of Ol­lie’s, a well­known and re­spected trim­mer, Retro Re­trim Chris. He lis­tened to what Ol­lie wanted and sug­gested ideas as the build went on. “That prob­a­bly took a good six­months and I’d say the fi­nal assem­bly was the most en­joy­able part of the build. It went to­gether beau­ti­fully and I fi­nally fin­ished the car the night be­fore Spring Ac­tion Day this April just gone.”

In to­tal, it has taken four and a half years to get this men­tal Mini to where it is now. “It has al­ways been the plan to make it all-wheel drive, but back last year I de­cided to com­plete it as front-wheel drive, then do a show sea­son in it and strip it back down and con­vert it.

Once you add in this win­ter’s work this car is go­ing to be around five years in the mak­ing!”

Out­side, you won’t miss the Candy Or­ange paint and that wide-arch Zeemax body kit; both key fea­tures of Ol­lie’s orig­i­nal vi­sion for this car. Then, there’s that huge F1-like Vol­tex rear wing. Sub­tle it ain’t, but it’s not just there for show, as Ol­lie tells me it pro­vides use­ful ex­tra sta­bil­ity at the back. “It’s not ev­ery­one’s cup of tea, but it’s there for a pur­pose and it serves it very well,” says Ol­lie.

But what stands out the most and is truly unique has to be the way that Gar­ret turbo is hang­ing out of the front of the grille, and there’s a gen­uine rea­son for this. “I wanted to get it un­der bon­net, but soon re­alised that it just wasn’t go­ing to be pos­si­ble with that size of turbo. So I de­cided to mount it to the front panel, and I wouldn’t change it – it’s dif­fer­ent and that’s the whole idea with this car,” ex­plains Ol­lie. Dif­fer­ent, out­ra­geous even, but in an­other re­spect, it’s an en­gi­neer­ing mas­ter­piece.

That’s the key to Ol­lie’s build, as when you start cus­tomis­ing/mod­i­fy­ing a Mini to this ex­tent, off-the-shelf parts just aren’t avail­able and as such, 90% of the things done to this Mini have been adapted or made. “I think that for ev­ery step for­ward I made with the Mini it pre­sented an­other prob­lem that I needed to ad­dress.” There were, how­ever, a cou­ple of is­sues that were worse than oth­ers, the main one be­ing get­ting the engine to sit where it needed to be and sit­ting square,” ex­plains Ol­lie.

KEEP­ING IT COOL

Cool­ing the engine was an­other big chal­lenge, with the tur­bocharged B16 Honda VTEC engine run­ning over 300bhp, heat soak is a big prob­lem! “It’s ex­tremely tight in the engine bay — air flow around the engine is next to

noth­ing! The bon­net scoop, bor­rowed from a Subaru WRX, not only means the in­let man­i­fold will fit, but also aids engine bay cool­ing. I also have a Suzuki GSXR bike ra­di­a­tor in the front, be­cause it was the only thing I could get to fit!” That isn’t the only ra­di­a­tor, as there’s an­other lo­cated un­der the Arc An­gels car­bon fi­bre boot floor, which helps keep the op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture down. The rear sub­frame has also been re­moved and re­placed by an alu­minium cross beam con­ver­sion.

With all this per­for­mance and the unique look, you might have thought that apart from the four-wheel drive con­ver­sion, this Mini is all done — but you’d be wrong! “Yeah, I’m itch­ing to start this win­ter on the all-wheel drive con­ver­sion, then hope­fully the engine will reach that all-im­por­tant 500bhp mark,” re­veals Ol­lie. 500bhp and four­wheel drive in a Mini? Turns out the B16 engine bolts straight on to a Honda CRV AWD gearbox and trans­fer box, with no engine mod­i­fi­ca­tion needed. Al­though, the CRV rear diff throws up a bit of prob­lem as it just won’t cope with the amount of power Ol­lie wants to run through it. The idea is to use a Mazda MX5 rear diff and have the cor­rect gear drive ra­tio made to match the CRV box at a 50:50 split. Well, Ol­lie, let us know when you’re done and we’ll def­i­nitely be back for more!

“The rear wing isn’t ev­ery­one’s cup of tea, but it’s there for a pur­pose”

Arc An­gels cus­tom fi­bre­glass dash­board is fit­ted in­side. Cus­tom VHX Dakota gauges. Defi gauges keep an eye on VTEC engine. Ol­lie’s car has a se­ri­ous ICE in­stall. Momo steer­ing wheel looks tough. Blue race-style ped­als look the part.

Has a Mini ever looked this tough? Subaru bon­net vent and rear spoiler are not just for show. Mon­i­tor mounted on pas­sen­ger side of dash. Pa­tri­otic roof lin­ing and plenty of ICE. Luke har­nesses match Candy Or­ange paint. Men­ac­ing halo day­time run­ning lights.

A pack­ag­ing marvel, with over 300bhp of Honda VTEC engine in there! Gar­rett GT3076R turbo pok­ing out the grille. GReddy in­ter­cooler adds to front ag­gres­sion.

B16 A Honda VTEC engine came from a CRX del Sol - per­fect for tur­bocharg­ing. Keep­ing cool with Suzuki GSXR 1000 bike rad. Force Rac­ing rims shod with Yoko­hama tyres. Zeemax body kit was part of Ol­lie’s crazy dream.

Race-style rear boot catches. With 358bhp Ol­lie’s next job is an AWD con­ver­sion. Subaru WRX bon­net vent suits this Mini.

It’s hard to miss that wing, but it’s there for a pur­pose. Boot con­tains fuel tank and an­other rad. Vol­tex rear wing is a nec­es­sary ad­di­tion. Ol­lie Scull: Next job, go­ing AWD!

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