Not suitable for children
OG Mini Lunatic Edition vs. NG Mini One
What was the goal then? A lot simpler plan than you might have thought: we were just dying to find out the truth behind all the company hogwash BMW had been spreading about the introduction of the new Mini. You know, the usual bullshit about the new car having the same fun-factor and agility as the original one.
So we set out to put the notion to the test. Is it the usual marketing crap once again? I was an OG (that's the old type, with the shopping cart-wheels) Mini-virgin – and so was my colleague, András – , so nobody can stigmatize us as being partial to the old one. Of course you should not take us for complete idiots, we knew that the new one was going to be more civilized, more comfortable and faster on the racetrack too. Evolution cannot be stopped, even if we like to think otherwise from time to time.
Our expectations were fulfilled as the 1.6-liter new generation Mini One arrived. It had 116 PS – no old Cooper could match this. It had clever, double wishbone suspension, bigger wheels and brakes. It would eat old Minis for breakfast. Well, at least that's what we thought at first. But then we heard some kind of angry roar behind the fence – sounds of a dogfight obviously – and we immediately changed our minds.
Instead of a nicely restored 850 cc Mk I Hydrolastic they sent us a fire-spitting pocket rocket. On 10 inch steel rims, with its baby blue paint job and chrome fittings it was the biggest understatement we've ever come across. Nowadays, when every OG Mini has speed stripes, Minilite wheels and a big exhaust, this one was something different, something good. There's a difference between look fast and go fast. The first option is for pimps , the second one is for those who know.
Why does the old Mini bite so strong?
This car was born in 1983 and at that time it was a 1000 cc commuter. Yes, it WAS. But take a closer look now: it has widened steel rims, tricky ones however, because they accept the original wheelcaps, widened wheel arches, and massive foglights - you can bet that they have real function on this car.
The thick sump guard and the perfectly fitted roll-cage made us excited. Everything was there, even the bucket seats. This little thingy is a true racer.
The engine has overcome a massive buildup. It's based on a 1275 cc BMC A-series, now with a bigger stroke. It has 1293 cc and AE Hepolite pistons with Goetze rings. The exhaust and the inlet valves became bigger too: 35 millimeters for the intake, 31.7 for the other side. These numbers are rather funny compared to the modern tuned-up engines but getting more power out of this small engine is much more difficult than you might think. The camshaft with 280/290 degrees is a modified one too, the tappets have a 1.5 ratio. Because of these, the valve springs and the bronze valve guides must be changed. Also the cylinder head is different, it's got bigger ports for the best breathing.
The compression ratio is an excellent 11:1 for this old engine. It is fed by an HIF 44 carburettor, the exhaust system is a precise copy of the one that was fitted to the 1965 Monte Carlo rally car. The ignition is electronic, the gearbox is a straight-cut one with FIA-approved gear ratios. And finally the brakes: they're small, but wear an AP Racing logo and the suspension can be adjusted in many ways. Do we have your undivided attention?