I’ve been awaiting this day for months... and it’s finally here!

Illustration for article titled Parts ordering day!


Back when it was new, the 998cc A-series in the Mini was said to make 38hp. I’m not sure if that was at the crank or at the wheels, but this one hasn’t aged especially well.


It’s decently zippy around when it’s warm out, but the official 0-60mph time is “we need a longer road.” Beyond that, it hates the cold, and we’ve had a pretty up and down spring this year. So I’m putting a bit of time, effort, and money into making it right.

I’ve already bought a new cylinder head with hardened valve seats that will allow me to stop using lead additives in my fuel, but I put in a few orders for some other goodies.


The shopping list:

- A new head gasket (obviously)

- A full “stage one” kit, which includes the following:

  • - Full exhaust from the manifold back (I’m hoping it’ll sound a bit like this)
  • - A new intake manifold
  • - Hi-flow air filter (in the stock airbox - most pancake/cone filters for the Mini lose you a good bit of power)
  • - Full carb service kit
  • - All the fun assorted gaskets and hardware

- Hi-lift rockers plus a new rocker shaft

- Rear drum brake adjustment kit (to hopefully once again have a functioning handbrake)


- New spark plug leads

- A ridiculously long magnetic oil drain plug (the Mini shares engine/gearbox oil so any shavings I find are extra scary)


- AEM Fuel/Air Mixture gauge (to be hidden in the glove box)

I’ve also got plans in the works to convert the front brakes from 8.4" discs to 7.5" discs so I can fit 10" wheels, but I think I’ll hold off on that project for awhile. The suspension will probably be replaced with an adjustable-height set then, too. But not yet.


I’ll need to do a lot of learning to get familiar with how to set the timing and how to tune the carb. I don’t really want to pay someone, I’d rather do it myself. I’m hoping the AFR gauge will make it a bit easier to learn.

The damage:

All in all, the Mini-specific parts cost under $800. Depending on how bad my current setup is, I could theoretically see double the power. I feel like that’s pretty outrageous.


Of course, that price doesn’t factor in delivery. Any guesses on what shipping will cost from England? I’ve had incredible experiences with DHL Express Courier in the past - nothing has taken more than 48 hours to my doorstep, and it is surprisingly inexpensive. I’m guessing this should be in the $200 range, maybe a bit more.

So.... does anyone want to help? My original goal was to have everything buttoned back up by Memorial Day, but I’m not sure if that’s still realistic. I’ve got a couple of other projects that will be going on at the same time. Specifically, some bracing for the gearbox and installation of a hidden 12v outlet.


I’ll probably get stuck adjusting the rear drums and I’ve got no idea how to tune this thing, but the rest of it should be pretty easy. It’ll also be my first time digging into a pushrod engine, so I’ve got to figure out if I should be nervous about that or not. I’m very fortunate to have a knowledgeable British car shop a few miles down the road if I need them, but with knowledge and experience comes cost. I want to learn.

Bonus autocross video for those who haven’t seen it:

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