I have been active in historic motorsport for nearly twenty years, starting with Lotus and graduating to Mini.
Around 2003 the team at Nathan’s Motorsport in Kyalami and I decided we’d like a new challenge—we wanted to take my rather tired 1968 Cooper race car from Class E in the Historic Touring Car series in South Africa to the top of the field!
We decided to build a replica of a car Dennis Nathan had campaigned in the late 60s in the Free State in SA, itself having been influenced by a car Jeff Goodliff had used to win the 1968 British Hillclimb series for British Vita racing.
The secret? Supercharging.
After a worldwide search we settled on the Opcon kit supplied by MiniMania. It was roughly the same physical size as the original Shorrock unit (which we could not source for love nor money), but more importantly it boosted comfortably to 6 psi and offered an 88% efficiency, exactly the same as the original enjoyed.
A build of nearly a year followed, replicating the detachable front-end, the lightweight panels, and the 1300cc motor of the original.
In under a year of development we reached our goal – we moved the little giant-killer to Class B and achieved pole position and an overall win at Lichtenburg against a gaggle of Porsche 911 RSs and RSRs!
Thanks to the team at Nathans and the great long-distance back-up from Chuck and Don at MiniMania, the car has run flawlessly and has become something of a legend inland in SA, where it competes sporadically in Class B of the Trans-Am series, for cars up to two liters. The crowds warm tremendously to the little “David” regularly seeing off a number of the huge V8 “Goliath’s” in Class A, too!