ON THE JOB

Gordon Brown's in­cred­i­ble sa­loon project with Ja­panese power.

Mini Magazine - - Contents - Words Mar­tyn Collins Pho­tog­ra­phy Adrian Bran­ning

Gordon Brown can re­mem­ber want­ing a Mini from a very young age, even go­ing as far as do­ing draw­ings of how he wanted his Mini to look! Then, at the ten­der age of just 14, he got a Mini­van to re­store.

Un­for­tu­nately, this project was never fin­ished as the car was too far gone to be saved. But from that mo­ment on, all the way un­til he bought this very sa­loon, he al­ways planned to own an­other.

How­ever, it wasn’t un­til Gordon went to visit a friend who owned a Ford 100E, that his long-lived Mini-own­ing dream be­came a re­al­ity. Gordon’s friend wanted him to have a look at the Ford and paint it for him, as Gordon is a coach­builder by trade. And as luck would have it, in the same garage as that Ford 100E was this very Mini Flame!

The Mini soon be­came Gordon’s and plans were then hatched to re­store it. How­ever, he wanted to se­ri­ously in­crease the power at the same time, and this Nis­san-pow­ered beauty is the re­sult of his ef­forts!

How did this Mini end up be­com­ing yours?

Af­ter find­ing out that my friend was putting it up for sale as the MoT had run out, I agreed I would do the work needed to his Ford 100E and take the Mini as full pay­ment.

What was the orig­i­nal plan you had for it?

Ini­tially, I was go­ing to re­store it to orig­i­nal­spec, but then I was of­fered a Vaux­hall 2.0 16v en­gine and I thought that could be fun! So I got the en­gine and gear­box and started build­ing the car to suit it. That was un­til I was of­fered this Nis­san en­gine, which came from a friend’s S13 200SX, which he’d de­cided to break as it had been off the road for a while. I de­cided this would be a bit dif­fer­ent and a bit more fun than the Vaux­hall swap.

So what did you change af­ter buy­ing the Nis­san en­gine?

I de­cided to go RWD! Af­ter fab­ri­cat­ing floor­pans and a tubu­lar sub­frame to take the rear diff and sus­pen­sion, but I didn’t think it would be strong enough to han­dle the power, or if I was ever in­volved in an ac­ci­dent. So I de­cided to build a full box­sec­tion chas­sis, but I wanted to build it us­ing as many of the Nis­san parts as pos­si­ble.

Why did you want to use so many of the Nis­san parts?

Sim­ply be­cause th­ese parts are eas­ily avail­able off-the-shelf, rather than need­ing to be cus­tom-made. So all sus­pen­sion arms are from the Nis­san 200SX. Al­though, th­ese will be changed to fully-ad­justable arms once it’s built. All the brakes and hubs I’ve used are 200SX too, al­though the fronts are from an S14 as they are four-pots.

What sort of power are you ex­pect­ing from the en­gine?

This en­gine was run­ning 286bhp in the Nis­san, so I’m hop­ing to get it to around 300-350bhp.

What is the next job?

To get it to the rolling chas­sis stage, so I need to get the wheels and sus­pen­sion done. Due to the brake/hub setup, I will need to run 15-inch wheels. For the sus­pen­sion I have been speak­ing to spe­cial­ists to get the sizes of HSD coilovers and they should fit un­der the body­work. There’s still a lot of fab­ri­ca­tion to be done though. Ac­tu­ally, since Ade’s pho­to­shoot, I have changed part of the rear arm setup as I wasn’t happy with it. Once that is com­plete I will start on the front sus­pen­sion. Then, I will move on to the floor pan­els and bulk­head fab­ri­ca­tion.

What’s the body­work like?

It still needs some work, as the door steps still need to be re­placed and I will be do­ing some more de-seam­ing which I have al­ready started. Plus, due to the 15-inch wheels, I will ei­ther have cus­tom-made arches or some­thing like the Fortec kit. The car will have sit as low as pos­si­ble to try and pull off th­ese large wheels and arches! At the front, it will have an all steel, stan­dard length front with cus­tom-vented bon­net for cool­ing — which still has to be done!

Do you have any wor­ries with this re­build?

My only worry is how it’s go­ing go han­dle on the road once it’s all com­plete. Hope­fully with the coilovers and ad­justable arms, it should be pos­si­ble to be set it all up okay. How­ever, with the short wheel­base and RWD it could be a hand­ful. Also, I’m aware peo­ple might not like what I’m do­ing and will say it’s “no longer a Mini”. Peo­ple will ei­ther love it or hate it, that’s for sure!

When you get it re­sprayed, will you keep it in the orig­i­nal colour?

At the mo­ment the colour is un­de­cided un­til the body­work is com­plete. But the full fab­ri­ca­tion to paint will be done by my­self.

What wheels are you go­ing to run?

The wheels are go­ing to be 15x8-inch and I’m look­ing at get­ting a set of Ja­pan Racing ET0 JR19s — th­ese look like a larger Minilite.

Other than the en­gine, what other mod­i­fi­ca­tions over stan­dard will you be mak­ing?

The Mini will have full roll-cage.

Do you think your bud­get is go­ing to dic­tate what you’re go­ing to do with this Mini?

I have not set a bud­get, I’m just do­ing bits as and when I can. It will only be used in good weather and I hope to do some track days, but it be fully road-le­gal.

Get­ting the wheels and sus­pen­sion on is Gordon’s next pri­or­ity. Gordon has de­cided to go RWD! The floor­pans have al­ready been fab­ri­cated.

The Nis­san en­gine is from a S13 200SX and Gordon’s hop­ing for over 300bhp! Cus­tom fuel tank with Wal­bro fuel pump. Some of the parts are still to be de­cided. Gordon is car­ry­ing out much of the work. Th­ese Re­caro seats might fea­ture in the in­te­rior.

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