Electric Federal has taken a fresh look back at the enduring legacy of original Mini with a video interview with Heritage Garage's Graham Reid, one of the foremost experts on classic Minis. As Electric Federal points out, it's important to remember that the Mini did not start out as a performance car. It was built in response to the Suez Canal crisis of the mid-50s, which had a similar effect on British gas prices as OPEC did on American prices in the 1970s – rationing and rapid price jumps.

Through the years, Minis have grown from their budget roots to become seriously competent performance machines. As Reid says, a 150-horsepower Mini on the right track should have no problem outpacing a contemporary Porsche 911.

For some time now, classic Mini owners have been dropping Honda engines under the tiny hoods of their classics. With up to 250 horsepower pulling a car that tips the scales at barely 1,200 pounds, the upgraded Mini is "a real sleeper," Reid says. Interestingly, Reid doesn't mention another increasingly common swap in the Mini community - Suzuki Hayabusa-powered Coopers.

Modern Mini owners, you haven't been entirely left out – we're glad to see that Reid isn't a Mini enthusiast that discounts the newer models launched under BMW. In the video, a Chili Red R53 Cooper S sits right alongside a classic model in a similar color. Check out all the fun in the video below.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      Shiftright
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love little cars that go very fast unexpectedly, and I love pissing off smug Porsche drivers
        MikeInNC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Shiftright
        Yea, but those (Porsche) guys are at the track so, I give them credit for club racing at the very least. No one that has gone to vintage racing is surprised by the pace of the original Mini. Fantastic race cars and they get plenty of respect at the track by everyone.
        AcidTonic
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Shiftright
        There's a video on Youtube of a Golf MKII with something like 1000hp that comes out of nowhere in this 911 Turbo vs Supra video.... The Supra is filming. The porsche takes off and they are racing side by side.... Then suddenly the camera looks behind them and this little Golf with luggage on the roof just comes flying up and passes them both on the right as if they weren't even moving and proceeds to fly off the screen toward the horizon. If you love fast little cars that one surely will make you laugh. Search for "Golf MKII destroys Porsche"
      k_m94
      • 1 Year Ago
      250hp in a 1200lb original Mini would be pretty scary and fast. That's a power to weight ratio rivaling a Veyron.
      telm12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      Everyone that's complaining about MINI being too big should listen to this guy who is a Mini fanatic in its purest form. Please watch the video before you downvote or make comments without understanding the history or purpose. This guy plays with these cars day in and out and enjoys the old and the new Coopers as well (gasp).
      John P
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wish that I had a Honda engine in my Mini Moke. I wouldn't have wanted to put one in my Morris Mini Cooper S as I think it would have had a negative impact on it's collector value-it even had a Webasto sunroof-dual fuel tanks Sunbeam Alpine seats and wood dash with a single Weber carb and Minilites,
      jf.bouchard
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Honda engines and giant killing in the classic Mini Cooper" What does that even mean? I tried to read and re-read the title and it still makes no sense to me? Must be because English isn't my first language...
        Alex
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jf.bouchard
        Ah, put a Honda B series or K series in a Mini and watch it fly. The Minis used to race in British touring car championship against much more powerful and heavier cars. That's why it's known as the giant slayer
      telm12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      AB, can you please retitle this? This is an homage to Mini (and MINI) not just placing Honda engines in Minis.
      theharpyeagle
      • 1 Year Ago
      Many of my classmates in university in the UK owned used classic minis. Those 60's and 70's models are pretty basic models. Safety for drivers and passengers were never considerations when they were designed - I presume and I have always had the sensation of riding in my coffin-to-be when ever I get into one. But as student transportations, they are cheap to buy, run and repair, fun to drive. One of my friends had a Countryman with the woody trims. These would get loose and rattle at specific RPM's and speeds. I was riding in another classmates' mini and realised that he had heated back seat - only to find out at the end of the trip that I was sitting right on top of the battery, which, in his care was located under the rear seat cushion. He confessed that it occassionally "shorts" and admitted that he might have seen wisps of smoke coming from that corner of the car - but "only on wet days". The most lasting memory I have of the classic mini is not related to any direct contact with the car, but the tragic death of Marc Bolan of T. Rex, when a Mini GT 1275 driving by Gloria Jones left the road and crashed into - well originally thought to be a sycamore tree, but now, it's reviewed a steel reinforced fence post. That brings home the reason why it would be foolhardy to drive these classics on our highways.
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      A 'busa powered Mini? Wow, that's a new one. What's the torque steer like on one of those?