What happens when you take a late model classic Mini with its incredible handling and throw in a modern, high output Honda VTEC engine? Something fast and a bit dangerous. The guys Car & Driver took a look at this monster in their latest issue, here's an excerpt:
The Mini Tec VTEC is one of the fastest, and, um, furious-est, drives south of a Z06. Just look at the numbers from the one we tested-1792 pounds and a claimed 220 horsepower. The Honda engine was originally for the Acura Integra Type R and was rated for 195 horsepower. But Mini Tec says better-breathing intake and exhaust systems add 25 ponies, and despite copious amounts of wheelspin, the VTEC Mini still scooted to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds.
But sliding a 21st-century VTEC into this Bronze Age Mini takes more than shoehorns and grease. Norman Holley, a Clemson graduate engineer, devised his Mini Tec B-series subframe to facilitate the VTEC Mini's Frankenstein-ism. The hood and the front fenders must be stretched forward four inches. (It's not noticeable until you're told it's there; then it looks cryptically cool.) The conversion doesn't change the stock Mini's front-suspension dimensions, welcoming any new or aftermarket Mini wheel. The Honda radiator has room to sit low, with no ugly hood modifications. A standard Mini brake servo and stock upper control arms and uprights combine with the standard Honda distributor and ECU. Camber, caster, and ride height are fully adjustable. Except for its invisible nose extension, the Mini Tec Mini is indistinguishable from a 35-hp '59 Mini.
[ Specialty File: Mini TEC VTEC Mini (Car & Driver) ]