Mini Cooper Classic CarsPicture Of Mini Cooper Classic Cars

The British Motor Corporation (BMC) who built the classic Mini wanted to increase the image of the Mini and so insisted it was used in competition and so it was duly handed over to BMC Competition Department at the famous Abingdon plant (later know as the Special Tuning division), just south of Oxford in England.

Mini-Cooper Classic CarsPicture Of Mini Cooper Classic Cars

Who promptly spent much of their time trying to avoid it. With an engine of 848cc and only 34 bhp it was badly underpowered for any form of competition even rallying where the big Healys were gaining success, not least because they were built like tanks and could sustain more damage than most cars of the day and still make the finish.

Mini Cooper-Classic CarsPicture Of Mini Cooper Classic Cars

The problem was compounded as Saab had recently released the 96 driven by a dominant Erik Carlsson. The 841cc two-stroke triple could kick out around 80 bhp in full rally spec whereas the Mini was good for 50 bhp at most (and reliability was suspect at that figure). Even things like the original steel wheels proved fragile in competition use, cracking around the studs. So the first two years of the cars’ competition life were spent on pursuing reliability.

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But then something happened that changed everything.

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