"Anyone out there sick of this sodden winter? Well, we are. And nothing cheers us up and makes us dream of better light and balmier days than a car like this amazing little mini moke. It's for auction at RM, "
You can’t help but be attracted to a car that is hunkered low. Chopping, sectioning, and generally lowering a car by taking a section straight out of the middle of the car in a horizontal swathe across the middle of the car – has of course a long tradition in the world of US-style customisation. But in the flat-cap world of English classics, it’s always been seen as a bit of a no-no.
So, the Mini Sprint never really found its rightful place on either road or track in this country – though its hunkered down stance is obviously terribly, elementally appealing to the eye. Most UK racing formulas require the integrity of the original body – and a car with an 850 engine could never hope to compete on the European GT circuit.
The story goes with the Mini Sprint that it emerged when an audacious engineer in the Bournemouth area, Neville Trickett, took it upon himself to market a chopped version of a second hand 850 Mini VPR 470. This first version was a test bed of Neville’s brilliance – he apparently found an ingenious way of removing a section of metal from the window line and another from the body line to reduce the overall height of the car by around 75mm.
Word apparently quickly got out and on the strength of the initial interest, an order for 50 Minisprints from Rob Walker’s Corsley garage was born. . The usual problems of existing minis, namely, rust – put paid to the survival of these cars. We’re not sure how many were produced in the end, and if you spot one rest assured they are truly rare as hen’s teeth. Looks like a project from hell. Can you imagine the metalwork skills needed to pull this off?
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