When Classic Roots Revive a VTEC Build
This video explores the story behind the a great Classic Mini.
Felix's lifelong journey with classic cars has without a doubt influenced this build. Many folks have stuffed the Honda B18 VTEC engine into this chassis, but Felix's seasoned taste and eye for detail set this car apart. Do what moves you. Enjoy.
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This video was created by our YouTube partner, Steveston Motor Company .
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Check out this "for-fun" VTEC rebuild video series by our friends at Steveston Motor Company .
Felix: People ask me all the time what it feels like to drive a B18 Mini. Well, I got two words for you, stupid fast. My name is Felix. This is my B18 VTEC Mini.
I think over all these years and over all these other projects that I have attempted to finish and finished, one thing I learned about building cars is build a car that you want, build a car that moves you, that connects with you.
A lot of people will say, "This is not original. This does not belong in the 60s. This is not real or this is not part of the history of Mini." But so what? You're driving a car that you want. You're building a car that you like. In the end, whatever moves you is the car that you'll enjoy for the rest of your life. My history with Mini started in 2005 when I first got my driver's license.
It's In My Blood
My parents have always been into classic cars, classic Mercedes, classic Mini Mokes back in Macau and back in Hong Kong. I basically grew up with a lot of classic vehicle. When I first got my license, one of my first vehicle was a classic mini. Back then we have a few other guys in Richmond, and we started our own group. There was about five, six of us. I think all we did back then were just go get bubble tea with our Minis.
Matchbox Mini started in 2015, the 10th anniversary of my own experience with classic Minis. Originally we want a group of people from just around our neighborhood, around Richmond with classic minis just to hang out, but now it evolved to friends from all across the world. People from Japan, people from Hong Kong, Taiwan, in UK, and obviously Greater Vancouver as well that is also part of our club.
I have had a lot of Mini's from classic Mark II Mini's, Mark I Mini's, Mini Travellers to Mini Cooper Works X. This particular Mini I acquired back in 2017.
When I first saw this Mini back in 2012, I saw the build thread of this particular vehicle and I fell in love with it. That picture became my wallpaper on my desktop. A couple of years later down the road, I can't believe it, he was selling it. He wanted to get into a 911 Porsche. I'm like "Well, I really like your Mini and I liked it since 2012 so I'll take it off your hands."
This is when I started making it even better.
Building The Dream
The car I got was already B swapped, have a superfast Mini tech saffron kit with a B18C1, a USDM GS-R Integra motor. When I first got the car, the car was built by someone who was just finishing high school. A lot of bits and pieces in it weren't as sophisticated than I originally thought and it didn't look as good as in the videos and the pictures.
I begin doing a lot of my own modifications, revisions and to make it even better. Eventually, we took the motor apart, we took out, we took the wire harness out, got the paint back into the primer stage, repainted the entire shell, put the motor back together, replaced all the suspension, redid the entire wiring harness and put it back together the way I wanted.
There's a lot of personal touches involved and a personal emotion involved into this car.
- That ECU is a P28 with the Hondata S300 series three. The current horsepower making is 217 to the wheels on a Mustang Dyno. That's a nonadjusted ratio, not just the horsepower to the wheels.
- We have rebuild the head.
- We change all the seals in it and then we give it a good tune with a 94 octane gas.
- The torque here is a lot but eventually, you'll get used to it.
- The driveshafts is about this long on one side and this long on the other side so it's not to balance but with the right alignment, this car's performance is pretty good.
A lot of my projects in the past have sparkly paint, so I try to incorporate that as my signature.
The roof of this car features a black sparkly roof. Also, the hood of this car is a custom made carbon fiber hood. The boot is also made by carbon fiber. Is as light as a roll of toilet paper.
A lot of memories with the hood and the hood pins. I went to Seama actually in 2016 and I found these new products called Quik-Latch. I was too cheap at the time so I bought the Chinese knockoff of the Quik-Latch. They lock good, they lock very smoothly and they were easy to install. However, during our first-second cruise, the hood latch didn't hold up to the speed or the wind.
The hood latch disintegrated and the hood fell off. I'm like, "Okay, well maybe it was defective that happened." I bought another set of Chinese hood pins, Chinese Quik-Latch, and those ones didn't hold up as well. Eventually, they all disintegrated.
Now I have four real USA made Quik-Latch hood pins, hood buttons. Make America great again.
A lot of pieces, a lot of parts are obtained from Japan as a lot of you might know, the market in Japan for classic Mini's are huge. There's a lot of support back there and there's a lot of custom made parts in Mini for the Mini culture in Japan. I took a trip out there to buy all these parts, including the windshield wipers. Those are also made in Japan.
Building a Frankenstein
I've also incorporated the Singer Porsche style door handles with the speed holes drilled into it. We have a complete Mark I exterior conversion includes the front end Mark I grill and the rear end with a Mark I tail light conversion, the Mark I trunk lid as well.
The turn signals, the corner lights are also Mark I style.
Also, I shaved the bumpers. Shaving the bumper was also a big part because, in order for you to shave the entire back end, that piece was joined by three different panels. You can't just cut it off. You can just take the bumper off, to take the bumper off you have to cut off the little sheet metal and then reruff three pieces of panels back together.
The flares were obtained from Mini Sport. I really liked the style, I think they call it Rally seven or something like that. The quality wasn't up to my standard. I had them remade and reshaped to fit a 10-inch wheels and to form a nice shape around my wheels and my tire setup.
The window visors are made in New Zealand. I really like the 60 style. I remember 60, 70s the Cafe racers are very popular. With the signature Cafe racer helmets, I remember seeing the bubbly visors that they have on their helmets. I wanted to replicate that. Eventually, I found a guy that makes window visors for Safari jeeps.
I contact him to see if he could make something similar for a classic Mini and it so happened he was a classic Mini owner as well. He molded his jeep visors onto his classic Mini and then replicated for classic Mini's. The wheels looks the same as the one that came with the car when he originally built it in 2012. These were the replicates of a magnesium wheel called Potenza. They are made in the UK back in the 80s and the 90s. There were actually golf cartwheels that he found on eBay. I didn't feel safe driving on golf cartwheels.
I went and I found myself a real set of Potenza magnesium wheels from the UK, eBay on UK. I imported here into Canada and then powder coat it black.
One thing I learned about building cars is build a car that you want, build a car that moves you, that connects with you. In the end, whatever moves you is the car that you'll enjoy for the rest of your life.