Hazz's 1971 mental Mini Clubman - JDM B18CR engine

Hazz

B16
Messages
8,685
I've been looking for one of these for around 2 years. I've had viewings set up for 3 previously, only 1 of which came to fruition... The owner wouldn't even take me out for a drive with me in the passenger seat, so that obviously didn't happen.

After 2 years of DERV VAG I was beginning to lose the plot. The itch had become an incessant nagging which could not be suppressed. Cue me nearly buying a whole host of different death traps from ebay... A redtop Nova, a v8 BMW e30, a redtop corsa, a v6 mk2 golf... the list goes on.

Then this gem turned up, the car I've been looking for. A 1971 clubman, tax exempt, with a Honda b16a2 engine fitted. It's a roadworthy (or at least it was when I bought it) unfinished project. Perfect for me, I wanted something to tinker with.

It was built in 2012-2014 by a professional fabricator & welder. Unfortunately his understanding of cars was not as professional as his fabrication skills. It uses the watsons subframe which is based on an MG metro subframe & retains the original unique mini suspension set up. This can be changed for modern coilovers if desired. Unfortunately it also retains the standard metro single piston, solid disc brakes. They're shockingly bad. Furthermore, the metro wheel was a crazy offset for such a small wheel, at 13" with ET52. The guy who built the car modified the hubs to a standard mini PCD of 101.6mm (as opposed to the 95.25mm metro PCD) so that he could fit a more suitably styled wheel for the mini. The downside of this is that the max offset available for mini PCD is ET19, the wheels the car currently has are ET2. So that means the centre of the wheel is offset by 50mm relative to the suspension.... This vastly alters scrub radius or the Ackerman angle which in turn dictates how the car responds to bump and torque steer. In this instance, dangerously: the first time I hit vtec on the test drive I ended up half way across the road in a fraction of a second... no exaggeration. Hitting a big enough pothole could break your thumbs if positioned incorrectly on the wheel such is the force of the bump steer.





And at home, note the silly arch extensions to cover the crazy offset produced by the wrong wheels.



So, I've been researching various options for improving the handling and brakes and I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Several years ago I would have been fine but a company which made custom alloys that everybody in this community used has gone bust... so the only options are the incorrect offset wheel on a mini hub, where excellent caliper options are available... convert to VW hubs, where semi-acceptable offsets are available but custom hubs and brake carriers will be required or go down the MG route where the ideal offset wheels are available but caliper options are severely limited.

I've chosen to buy some metro gti wheels (gta wheels would have been better but fcuk me, try and find a set!)... I managed to get some new old-stock :twisted:



I've also sourced some MGF hubs, wheel bearings, metro GTi ball joints (for increased camber) and I will be able to run some mk1 MGF 240mm (9.5") vented disc brakes, still single pot but with a larger diameter piston. By all accounts, more than up to the job of stopping a 600kg mini.

It did 48mpg on the way home and also embarrassed an E36 M3 joining the M5, it's silly quick if you have the balls (and forearms) to shove your right boot in it and hold on for dear life.

Story time... I mentioned it's no longer road worthy. I drove it 270 miles home on a stonking hot day, 267 miles into the journey it started overheating. I babied it home and let it cool down, topped the coolant up and took it for another short drive... overheated again. The electric fan had died. I checked the coolant again and it was down, so I presumed I had a leak somewhere. This is where is gets amusing... I flipped the front up, opened the driver's door and started her up.

Big engine in small car + standard final drive + smaller diameter wheels + left in gear + start car = car does not stall. It drove into my ribs, knocked me over and then smashed into my garage door puncturing the radiator and snapping 2 pins which the flip front locate on. No other damage, somehow?! So I've been waiting for my new radiator to come back from the welder (mounting points need modification) and then I can test out my replacement radiator fan... Thank feck I had the front end flipped up otherwise it'd have destroyed a LOT more! Handily, my garage door is made from flimsy, rusty thin metal, so it distorted and took the brunt of the impact. I've bashed it back into shape so it closes again. New door required.

I'll shove some more pics up in due course, I'll try and get some to illustrate how poorly set up the geometry is with the current wheels too.

Edit - current spec:

JDM B18CR Engine (taken from ‘98 Integra type R)
Hondata S300 ECU
Skunk 2 tuner cams stage 2
Skunk 2 pro series cam wheels
Skunk 2 stem seals
Skunk 2 titanium valve guides
Skunk 2 alpha series valve springs
Skunk 2 throttle body
Exedy LW flywheel
S9B gearbox with Mfactory racepack helical LSD, Mfactory 4.05 final drive & 0.717 5th gear.

Watson’s rally Metro front subframe
Watson’s rally front springs with centre helper spring
Minispares Hi-los front and rear
MGF 240mm brakes (EBC groved discs & greenstuff pads)
Braided lines all round - no servo.
Genuine minifin rear drums
OBP pedalbox with adjustable brake bias
Coilover conversion on rear using Watson’s rally conversion.
Metro GTi alloys (using Watson’s rally rear wheel spacers)

Mountney classic steering wheel
Cobareu bucket seats (to be change for something lighter)
Speedhut USA custom gauges
‘Curley’ 2 peice carbon fibre dash
Carbonweezle double skin bootlid with matching bootlight
Carbonweezle rear clubman bumper
One peice fibreglass clubman flipfront
Fibreglass sportspack arches
Perspex rear quarter windows
Custom aluminium fuel tank
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Messages
3,675


Love the flip front on the clubman, colour is perfect for it :cool:

Sounds so much fun, I must come see this one day.

Look forward to the updates
 

Chris.

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Messages
52,276
Excellent. The wheels are comical!
Big engine in small car + standard final drive + smaller diameter wheels + left in gear + start car = car does not stall. It drove into my ribs, knocked me over and then smashed into my garage door puncturing the radiator and snapping 2 pins which the flip front locate on.
I'm sorry but I just burst out laughing at this. :lol:

Glad no more damage was done, could have been a lot more serious! I'm glad my car needs the clutch down before it starts.
 

Hazz

B16
Messages
8,685
I knew you lot would enjoy that :lol: If it was in reverse I dread to think what would have happened. I might not be here to tell the tale!

I'm hoping I can bring it to the next JAE and I'll do a few PAX journeys... maybe even let one or two have a blast. I'll have to stomach the £50 to bring a non jap car onto site :p

...Unless any of you object to me bringing it onto the TRO stand that is!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Chris.

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Messages
52,276
I don't think JAE allow engine swaps, so I think you'd be stuck paying.

In my last house there was a slight slope to the drive. I went out one evening to find the ex's car in the middle of the road where she'd left the handbrake off after work. :lol: Luckily it didn't hit anything.
 

Hazz

B16
Messages
8,685
Oops, I meant next year's JAE... I know they won't let me in without paying the £50. I've asked before last time I nearly bought one of these :lol:
 

Chris.

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Messages
52,276
It'll be Loxy I think doing it next year but I should see an issue.
 
Messages
5,413
I love this, can't wait to see it when its properly set up as you want it H. Bet its brilliant to drive.
 
Messages
6,173
Big engine in small car + standard final drive + smaller diameter wheels + left in gear + start car = car does not stall. It drove into my ribs, knocked me over and then smashed into my garage door puncturing the radiator and snapping 2 pins which the flip front locate on. No other damage, somehow?! So I've been waiting for my new radiator to come back from the welder (mounting points need modification) and then I can test out my replacement radiator fan... Thank feck I had the front end flipped up otherwise it'd have destroyed a LOT more! Handily, my garage door is made from flimsy, rusty thin metal, so it distorted and took the brunt of the impact. I've bashed it back into shape so it closes again. New door required.
You f*cking spanner :lol: At least it didn't end in tears.

I dimly recall Metro Turbos had 4 piston calipers?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Chris.

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Messages
52,276
Also Hazz, please say you have CCTV in front of the garage?
 

Hazz

B16
Messages
8,685
Ha! Thankfully not, I also made sure none of my neighbours had any pointing in my general direction :lol:

Nobody saw it :)

.... Actually, I'd quite like to see what it looked like myself... I can remember the horrifying panic and slow motion series of events before the garage door met its fate.

If I'd been mega quick in recognising what was happening I could have maybe grabbed the key into the off position but instead I was reaching desperately for a clutch pedal with my left hand. Impossible to think quickly and clearly in such an unexpected and fast moving situation though.
 
Messages
6,061
Fantastic story and vehicle. There used to be a B16 Mini Cooper by my old house; was there two years and only saw it moving once. Such a shame.

In for updates and pictures of garage door.
 

Hazz

B16
Messages
8,685
Cheers dude. I'll get one of the garage door when it stops raining.

Heh... I hope that's not a premonition of what mine's (not) going to do! It hasn't moved under its own steam since the day after I bought it :( I'm renting a garage near my house (until I get mine cleared of household stuff) and I've not even been able to get it there!! I've bought a car cover to keep it dry until it's driving again.
 

NYA

Messages
19,159
Awesome little beast H, make sure to keep us up to date with things. I'll definitely be watching this closely. :cool:
 

Loxy

Site Treasurer
Staff member
Administrator
Messages
29,205
It looks like it will be a lot of fun! :lol:

No objections to you having it on the stand. I bet it would get a lot of attention at a Jap show which is ironic given JAE's stance on engine swaps.

Cue me nearly buying a whole host of different death traps
Herein your and my opinions vary. :lol:

I've spent a good few hours in classic Minis so I know what they are like, but as a whole my view of more classic and ageing cars has changed over the last couple of years. They are all severely limited in terms of occupant protection, so much so that if you got hit by even a Fiat 500 (with your mates missus driving or not) then you are coming off much worse in a classic. Cage it and buckets please, but then you'll still have to counter engine on lap and steering column pinning end points.
 

Hazz

B16
Messages
8,685
Cool :) I'll look forward to JAEing again soon then!

Yea, it's a total death-trap. As you've said, caging really doesn't solve the issue... For a roll over it'd certainly be desirable but a front end collision it'd be just as lethal, cage or not.

It's part and parcel of classic mini ownership. It's always in your mind and changes how you drive, I leave HUGE gaps to the car infront and I won't take the same risks I do in a modern car. It kind of adds to the thrill in a weird kind of way.
 
Top