Why do they have names like boats? or famous diamonds...
This is purely superficial, it is for the joy and happiness this little car brings for me. A selfish, male, materialistic, hormonal vomiting for my senses. I am reluctant to share, because I am taking a risk to expose the intensity of my feelings as a joy and a sickness.
Building a race car is nothing like working on a street car. Street cars are all about choices and tuning. Race cars are about metal and hammers and heat, they are about cutting and welding, being simple and creating. They are glorious things allowing the builder to dig deep into the bowels of the vehicle, to know everything about the car. To be in tune with the most basic of rattles and roars. Race cars are beautiful things, mini race cars are magical.
Mini Meet West was in Bend OR this year, the most stunning event was the drive to Bend. Sweeping corners, mesa’s of the west, and a beautiful black ribbon of pavement welcomed us to the land of beer and vegans.
Driving School at Mission raceway Mission BC.
If you read speed secrets by Ross Bentley, fantastic book, the driving school at mission is taken almost verbatum from this book. It is effective and highlights the essentials for performance driving. Probably one of the best driving schools in North America. Other drivers on the LeMons team concur, and not just the Canadian members…
Cut to the race simulation, after drills and laps with instructors and without we were left to our own to pass or not.
At the simulated start our group had a nice release and green flag. I had four cars in front of me, another new Mini, a 911 some generic front wheel drive cars which I passed after three laps. Instruction was effective, smooth, keep your head straight, heel toe downshift, pick the race line. Feel the traction, smooth, smooth smooth. Damn if I wasn’t in front of the pack after two laps…. yahoo.
I noticed in my mirror the classic mini was on my tail and all I could think of was please go faster, please catch me. I am building a classic race car and I want to know how fast you can go, I need you to be a giant killer, I need perspective, how fast will my car be. I’ve stated before the classic mini can’t hang with a new one, I may have to rethink that statement every corner he gained on me, every straight I pulled away it was wonderful.
I have no regrets about building a classic Mini race car now, even against newer cars race prepped Mini’s can hold their own.
After a lap or two in the lead turning on to the straight I glanced at my mirror and all I could see was a huge red and black chevrolet symbol and I pointed the ZR1 corvette by, ridiculously fast cars they are, I’ll need much more practice to keep up with those huge V8’s but I’m ready now for LeMons, all the whipped impalas, Buicks, Saabs and thrashed Mustangs wrenched on for $500 beware. I have a Mini and driving skills
, icons have been crushed by the little car you have been warned.
Mission BC spring racing school.
I have been asked to help field the LeMons mini, and drive for silver sleeves racing. Last year we had a blast.
Although I was part of the team (that’s my huge head to the right and behind Scott in the black suit and helmet) I didn’t drive last year because the team needed support, and I will throw my hat in the ring whenever I smell a classic mini within 100 miles of me. We will be fielding two cars this year, Aaron (far left) is a master mechanic and welder, can massage an A+ series engine down to the crank bearings. We didn’t blow up a motor last year (a testament to his ability) so we will be racing the mini again, and Aaron has pieced together an Austin America with an interesting power plant……..
So having two cars and only one set of drivers I was asked to help drive (I’m more than happy to do so) but to make sure I’m not a rolling hazard it was suggested (strongly) that I get some training.
Mission BC is a small track in southern British Columbia, that I had never been to, but had the privilege to burn off two or three thousand miles off the new Yokahama S Drive tires on my 2008 cooperS. It was glorious!
Instruction was mandated, but they were car guys to the core and understood the whole adrenalin testosterone cocktail that happens when dudes bring their cars to the track.
After a weekend of instruction we were allowed to practice some simple drills so the instructors could kind of sort us out, they claimed innocence, they said they would keep groups mixed, but it was apparent when they moved us into our run groups that there was a little ranking on the side.
Maybe even a little wagering?
Part II on the track.
10. Rescue tape assortment different colors and widths (mostly black) http://www.amazon.com/RESCUE-Self-Fusing-Silicone-Tape-BLACK/dp/B000ZTK6CI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355773599&sr=8-1&keywords=rescue+tape
9. Air nibbler
8. Small welder lincoln NR-211 .030 flux core wire. A lot can be done with this stuff, for welding thin mini sheet metal at low cost, it’s very versatile. Many would argue with me, but for the 22ga sheet classic mini’s are made of a small 110v welder can be had for cheap and it’s more than adequate. My 220v miller can’t be set low enough to use this wire but my son has a small 110v welder that works like a charm. I had a master welder show me what he does with this stuff and it blew me away.
7. Waterproof heat shrink solderless connector assortment. These are pretty expensive, but Fastnal has them in bulk at a reasonable cost. Any wire connections I make up front I use these and sometimes rescue tape over the top, waterproof is the goal, any other connector will eventually corrode and fail.
6. LED lighting. The bayonet light in the classic mini begs to be replaced by an LED, most of us disconnect these or turn them off because we’re afraid they’ll drain the battery, if the bulb is replaced with an LED the thing can burn for days before the battery is weak.
7. Bumblejax: http://www.bumblejax.com take a photo of the mini and have it printed on acrylic, bamboo, or aluminum. Every time I’ve used these folks the results have been stunning. an 8x12 acrylic print runs about $100 so they’re not cheap, but other materials are less. Still probably just enough time to express a print for Christmas.
5. Gift certificate to Mini Mania, Seven mini parts, OR the new kid on the block on the west coast JET Motors http://www.jetmotorsmini.com, Jeremy can get about anything you need, the shop is rotten with old mini parts, and if you live up North like me it gets here quickly.
4. Track time… http://www.hookedondriving.com Hooked on Driving will do gift certificates, I don’t know of a mini driver that would not light up at the thought of getting their car on the track. Usually $250 or more depending on the type of class.
3. Specialty tools, there’s still enough time to express ship a spring compressor, or ball joint splitter, but other specialty tools can be had at the local parts supply store. A go no go feeler gauge is a must have for adjusting valves, as well as a remote starter switch, either of these makes valve adjustments fun instead of a nightmare.
2. Alignment…. call other classic mini owners in the area and ask where they get their car aligned, in Seattle Group 2 is the place to go, I drive 2 hours and make an appointment months ahead of time to have their surgical hands massage my suspension. A gift certificate to Group 2 or specialty alignment place would bring a tear to any classic mini owners eye.
1. Power Probe: no weapon works better to track down the most nastiest of electrical knots. This tool will cut the shop profanity in half. http://www.amazon.com/Power-Probe-219FTC-Tester-Case/dp/B000KPQ7DO/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_3