I’m in a really strange place with the Mini, thinking maybe she’s done. I’m not talking about finished like I should crush her in some sick love/hate kind of way, just that maybe there’s nothing more I can do. This car has been an organic evolution, not an all out overhaulin overnight change. Because of the slow organic growth I’ve learned a ton from this car, as Mike Keareny said on the podcast I’ve met people I never would have met all because of this car. I’ve learned more about design than I would have from another car. Met Pete Brock because the Mini brought me to Griots and then on to WWU SAE team.
I haven’t had to do anything major since she spun a wheel bearing on the way to Tahoe, and I’ve driven her hard, really hard around the lake and up to Hurricane ridge.
Some more horsepower would be nice, I’ve always envisioned a turbo, but in stock form I think maybe I’m maxed. I have been cheating looking at track cars and other brands, even…….. Datsuns (yikes). The thing is this car is my dream car in its present form. I’ve massaged it into a very reliable, fast road thing of beauty that brings me much joy. It has become my selfish place where I indulge my extra cash, but there’s nothing to indulge any more, I can’t look foreword to installing a new radiator, no more electrical issues…………well, cmon they’re Lucas electrics there will ALWAYS be some kind of electrical issue it’s in the DNA.
Here’s what has become the next indulgence.
A 1977 Birchaven will be the tow rig for Lillibeth. It is Front wheel drive and not very British. Somehow this huge thing is turning out to have some Mini qualities. Somehow this thing is more than the sum of its parts, and interestingly enough, my grandfather helped to build them.
This is Alex Birch, next to the President of Pontiac at the time. He was employed for GM from the 40’s until the the 70’s when he retired, but served as the foreman at the shop with the GMC motorhome project from 1972 until 1978 when it was closed. He knew everything about these vehicles, and it may be where I get my mechanical curiosity. (and yes the Birchaven model coach was named after him albeit jokingly)
I am restoring this coach to haul the Mini around the country digging deeper into mini culture in the USA, so if you have read this blog and have noticed I have not posted much of late you are right, not because I’m bored with the mini or have forgotten you. Oh no my Mini brethren, it’s because I’m gearing up to go all in, I want to restore this coach and paint it to match Lillibeth, then take it to the corners of this great nation and find out just how deep the mini bloodline runs.
My Birchaven blog is here http://birchaven.wordpress.com/
Thank you for reading this blog, there is more to come, just not as regular as it has been in the past…
I’ll see you in my rear view mirror.
Oh, lastly, Matt a nice bike would look good on the back of the motorhome too, perhaps one of these? and yes the frame is made out of wood, and yes they’re as stiff as carbon fiber.