At first glance, the Mini you see above doesn't appear very special. A closer inspection, however, reveals something quite unique.
The first thing that pops out - quite literally - are the large vents ahead of the rear wheels. Those vents aren't for ventilation my friends, those are actually intake ducts for this Mini's secret weapon. You see, back in 1962 John Cooper was shown an experimental Mini Moke with twin engines and four wheel drive - an idea he decided to carry over to the Mini.
Mr. Cooper took the concept to the lab and, over the course of six weeks, worked on creating a potential rally monster. The Twini Mini was born. The rear seats and storage of a road going Mini were gutted and replaced with a second 1 liter engine to power the rear wheels via an independent transmission. Inside, there are dual shift levers - one for each transmission - that were linked together with a simple metal rod.
The initial testing of the prototype went well and the Twini handled well and the extra horsepower provided by the second 65hp engine more than overcame the added weight. In the end, however, this Mini prototype was destined for the land of never-was. A rear engine failure caused a rollover accident that seriously injured John Cooper and the development cars were sent to the scrap heap. Of the 4-6 prototypes built, none are known to have survived. Several replicas have been built over the years and, in 1963, a Twini managed to complete the Targa Florio despite overheating issues and excessive tire wear. The example pictured here is a replica on display at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.