It’s always nice to see a build come along that was clearly not influenced by anything trendy or even particularly popular. It shows that there are still capable people out there, with a little space in the garage and some welding skills, who will still create something just because they think it will be cool.
If that’s not the inspiration behind this crazy modified Mini, then I definitely have some questions for the owner. Before you gasp at a relatively new Mini Cooper S being torn apart to make this monster, bear in mind that the first generation had issues that could totally grenade the engine and make it worth more in hard-to-find trim pieces. As the owner of this same year Cooper S, I have pulled plenty of pieces off of seemingly-alright Minis that have been totaled by drivetrain failure. The constant risk of catastrophic failure adds character.
With the before-and-after, you can really see how much modification went into this little hatchback. It seems to be inspired by the infamous Baja Bug, but there is a pretty big difference between the two cars. Namely, the fact that the bug has its engine in the rear of the vehicle, with the engine powering the rear wheels.
The Mini is front-wheel drive and has the engine in the front. That’s why the builder of this car opted for a full drivetrain swap. The Mini now sports an LS V8 engine that sends all of the power to the rear wheels.
The pictures were posted by a friend of the builder, so there were not many details included. I hope that once this car is finished the builder posts all of the details somewhere online. From looking at the picture you can see that there is a tube sub-frame holding the V8 and long-travel control arms. No pictures of the rear were posted, unfortunately. You can see from the front that the rear suspension is independent, though, which shows that this build is way more serious than some weekend shenanigans.
The image macro above shows the engine bay being mocked-up for its new arrangement. I don’t know how Baja-friendly the weight distribution will be, as the short wheelbase and front-engine layout may make catching air a sobering experience. Regardless, I cannot wait to see an update of this build.