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!”
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!