Brilliance or blasphemy? A British icon fitted with a VTEC heart
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The person who owns a vintage Mini, in my mind, is a specific kind of person.
They most likely spanner their own car in their spare time, they enjoy their British slapstick comedy, and they tend to be quite open minded. They're the kind of people who would look at someone ripping out the heart from an original Mini and replacing it with something totally different and not proceed to fling death threats at the owner for defying convention and tradition.
This 1962 Mini is, perhaps, not the cleanest example — nor the most 'roadworthy'. But nonetheless it depicts a quite common engine transplant; trading the original power train for a DOHC VTEC Honda unit. And that unit has been shoved into the boot ... just to rub it in.
This car in particular boasts a 162kW 2.0-litre K20A engine from the last-generation Honda Integra Type R. It's stripped out, too, to counter the added weight of the much larger engine. The car comes with a full roll cage and various other elements like a Wilwood brake package, Sparco steering wheel, and a fuel cell to ensure it's ready to race.
The build commenced in 2009 with the aid of a kit as well as a thick web of California-based car builders, not to mention a passionate owner named Brian — going by the online pseudonym 'irishdude'. A year later, the Mini was up and running, before later going through the hands of several new owners.
If you want this very car, then I've got some unfortunate news ... sadly the current owner managed to sell it earlier today on eBay for US$23,000 — NZ$31,300 in our coin. According to their listing the little Mini has traveled quite a distance through America over the years; having been built in California before shifting to Texas, and then Michigan where it sits now.
No matter, though. We live in New Zealand; where Minis and Honda engines are both plentiful commodities. As with anything worth pursuing in life, if you want it, go and get it.