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1964 Austin Mini Cooper - The Italian JDM Job

Small Mini, Big Engine

Matthew Jones
Aug 1, 2013
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What the...a Mini in the Honda issue? You better believe it! And you'd better believe this 1964 Austin Mini isn't your typical groovy go-getter either. In reality, this 1,700lb bad boy is actually hosting the heart of a '04 Acura CL Type S motor, otherwise known as the 3.2L J series. Blasphemous?! We think not, and with a beastly rear-wheel-drive setup, this six-cylinder slammer easily packs way more than a punch.

It all started in 2003 when Mini Tec founder, Norman Holley, decided to pursue his passion for creating builds that simply, go faster then intended. With the open compatibility of the classic Mini and the steady availability of factory Honda motors, an idea was born and a transformation begun. Ten years later, after successfully transplanting the VTEC power of various platforms into over 400 classic Minis, Benjamin Hudson (project mechanic) and his team over at Mini Tec decided to explore an entirely new direction with a first-ever, rear-engine, RWD setup-focusing solely on power and stability. Reason being? Zero torque steer. BJ states, "I know that sounds obvious but after dealing with high horsepower FWD Minis for the past decade, you don't realize how nice it is to not have torque steer," and with the rear engine configuration never being an option in a classic mini, they figured, "Why not?"

To squeeze the massive 3.2L J series into the trunk, BJ had to remove the rear seats while relining the fuel cell components to the front end of the car where the original 34hp engine once was. Though the transplant engine is in fact completely stock, a custom reverse operating shifter linked with the engine's six-speed transmission was developed to bring the RWD configuration to a reality--all while being safely mounted to a custom-built, fully-adjustable subframe running from head-to-toe.

Let's get one thing straight: this car was built to be driven, and built to hit the track. If the oversized six-cylinder engine didn't give it away, the simplistic, ready-to-race cockpit definitely ought to. With functionality in mind, the boys over at Mini Tec were able to remove all unnecessary interior components except for the obligatory restyled gauges and an extremely basic cooling system, all while still including some good old Honda flare.

With power also comes responsibility, and since we're practically talking about a Honda powered go-kart on steroids, the Mini Tec team felt a significant braking system was a necessity. To handle the newly-acquired 240hp/218lb-ft platform, a complete Wilwood front disc brake setup was installed to attain maximum control, all joined by matching Wilwood foot pedals peeking through the floorboard. To even further ensure the stability of this little monster, a hefty, custom rollcage has been installed intertwining itself with the adjustable head-to-toe subframe.

10 1964 austin mini cooper custom mini tec trunk Photo 5/12   |   1964 Austin Mini Cooper - The Italian JDM Job

While remaining consistent with the Mini's classic styling, the exterior was given an Argent Silver paint scheme with a British Green and Red accented racing stripe. And if this car wasn't already mean enough, custom Mini Tec fender flares were added to house the wide-set 13x8" V2 Competition drag wheels and 13" Toyo rubber, all functionally dropped on a set of sturdy AFCO coilovers.

We like that this Mini is built to explore the options of power and stability provided by the already well-accomplished classic Mini/Honda transplant. Not only has the Mini Tec team achieved their first J series, RWD setup--they've also developed and produced an affordable, turnkey conversion kit. With over four platforms spanning over three different drivetrains and a vast array of compatible aftermarket parts, the possibilities are literally endless--and will continue to be as long as BJ and the Mini Tec team continue to push the limits. AWD supercharged K series Mini...who knows, it could be next!


Tuning Menu
1964 Austin Mini Cooper

Owner Benjamin Hudson

Hometown Athens, GA

Occupation Mechanic, Mini Tec

Engine '04 Acura CL Type S 3.2L VTEC J series; K&N air filter on custom aluminum piping; Mini Tec header and exhaust; Thrush turbo muffler; Optima YellowTop battery; custom aluminum fuel cell

Drivetrain '04 Acura CL Type-S six-speed transmission; custom reverse operating shifter; custom Mini Tec chromoly axles

Engine Management '04 Acura CL Type-S OEM ECU

Footwork & Chassis AFCO Racing coilovers and springs; custom Mini Tec front/rear sway bars, front/rear lower control arms, front/rear camber control arms, rollcage and fully adjustable front/rear subframe

Brakes Wilwood Engineering master cylinder and proportioning valve; Wilwood Dynalite 4-piston alloy front calipers; '93 Mazda Miata rear calipers; Mini Tec stainless braided front/rear lines

Wheels & Tires 13x8" +20 V2 Competition wheels; 225/45R13 Toyo Proxes R888 tires

Exterior Argent Silver paint w/British Green/Red racing stripe; Mini Mania front lip; custom Mini Tec trunk and front/rear fender flares

Interior '04 Toyota Corolla front seats; Mini Tec seat rails; custom rear-end engine housing; Honda Civic steering column; MOMO steering wheel; custom Wilwood pedals; Auto Meter gauge cluster built by Mini Tec

WWW balancedperformance.com; superfastminis.com

08 1964 austin mini cooper shifter Photo 12/12   |   1964 Austin Mini Cooper - The Italian JDM Job
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By Matthew Jones
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