Project Binky, Putting A Celica In A Mini The Hard Way

The old Mini – not the new one, mind you – was a fantastic rally car, but fifty odd horsepower won’t get you very far today. The name of the game is souping up a pile of rust from 1980 to create one of the fastest Minis on the planet. That’s the goal of Bad Obsession Motorsport, a project by [Nik Blackhurst], [Richard Brunning], and [Rex Hamilton] as [Abraham Lincoln].

[Nik] has a 1980 Mini 1000, a car-shaped pile of rust. The plan for this multi-year build is to stuff the engine, gearbox, and suspension from a Toyota Celica ST185 GT4 into the old Mini. If you’re wondering, that’s a two liter, turbocharged engine with 200 horsepower and four-wheel drive in a Mini that originally had 50 or 60 horsepower. No, the engine doesn’t fit, but that’s not going to stop these guys.

This isn’t the kind of build you just dive into. Once the guys had the Mini in the garage, a load of measurements were taken from both cars, written down, and the car stripped down. This is not a simple mod, and a few pieces of equipment were custom-made just for this build. The biggest of these is a custom jig the Mini chassis can be bolted down to. This jig gives [Nik] and [Richard] the ability to mount the Mini and engine on rollers, and rotate the entire chassis 90 degrees for easy welding of the underside of the car.

Already there are eight videos covering a year and a half of work, and only now is there a light at the end of the tunnel. Most of the old body panels from the Mini were removed and replaced with reproduction parts. Those parts were quickly ruined with a cutting disk and some custom fabricated panels were put in place. Somehow, it still looks like a Mini but it’s massively strengthened and cut to accommodate the much larger suspension and engine from the Celica.

Grab a cup of coffee (or tea, if you’re into that) and check out the videos below. It’s incredible how much time and work went into this build, and we can’t wait to see the next update in a few months or so.

48 thoughts on “Project Binky, Putting A Celica In A Mini The Hard Way

  1. This is bad ass! Though it’s not a new concept to do motor swaps to Mini’s. The one I’ve seen done the most is Honda VTEC motor swaps. In fact, they sell kits to do just that:

    The concept of this, if you work on cars enough to know how everything works, is fairly easy. Getting everything lined up, cut, welded, fabricated, and all that other stuff is the hard part! Some of the fun ones are motorcycle engines, like from a Hayabusa.

    (Gonna come back to watch the videos later when the girlfriend isn’t passed out asleep, but stuff like this is a passion and hobby of mine, but just not on this scale of fabrication.)

      1. Oh, trust me I know what they are doing! And they have my respect for it! I was tired last night when I posted, otherwise I’d have been more appreciative and technical with what I said.

  2. Ahhh, memories. The Celica GT4 was my first brand new car that I bought back in 1988. At that time it was a real head-turner. I kept it for about 10 years until it was more or less a heap of rusty parts – the salt on the Swedish winter roads is not nice to cars….

  3. Nice to see some car hacks on HaD. Mini engine swaps are actually fairly common, but this one kicks it up a notch with a whole drivetrain swap. Now that’s impressive. Can’t wait to see how this turns out. Slap some slicks on that and then go racing.

      1. Really? I know the guys making it are rally racers, but if they’re intending on rallying it, why go through the trouble of putting in power windows, a power truck release, fussing over wether the rear seat is still going to fit, cutting speaker holes in the door panels, etc? They put in some nice fat doublers in corners of the floor and mention they’re for a rollcage, “if they end up deciding to put one in”. If. Not when.

        They haven’t explicitly stated it, but I get the impression that this is intended to be a totally bonkers street car that gets taken out for track days everyone once in a while – not a car that’s going to be raced competitively, much less off road.

  4. Thanks very much for the article! Really appreciate it. Any chance you could change the spelling of Binky? There’s no ‘e’ in it. This is truly a labour of love and it’s taking far longer than we’d first anticipated but we’ll keep at it and bring updates as fast as we can. Thanks again.

    1. Thank you for a very informative series of videos. As someone who has a dead mini moke taking up space in the garage, I love the demonstrations of the methodology of how things were done instead of the usual basic list of mods.
      Only a couple of eps in, does the audio improve?

  5. Having been for a rip on the back roads of southern Ontario in a Mini with 50 horse power I can say they have plenty of punch. putting a 200hp motor in one is just stupid. I want one. I wonder if the motor out of my Colt turbo would be a better fit.

    1. Ahh Turbo 3g CSM. If you are going to drop a 4g61T into it, why not just get a 1g 4g63T?

      I wish I had the time/money/space to do something to my 4g when I had it. I might go back to the 3g boards and lurk at some point in the near future for the nostalgia.

  6. I hate it when I come to these build vids before they’re done. I’m looking forward to seeing it finished, but now I have to wait months. Much rather had just binge-watched the entire thing from start to finish…on the road. Having said that, this is one of the very best build videos out there. Everything is explained and photographed. The camera work and editing is top-notch. Nothing important is left out, but long, boring parts of repetitive welding, fitting, cutting, fitting again and so on…has been. And a bit of quintessential British humor tossed in to light things up. Very well done.

    1. I believe the plan is all-wheel drivetrain, too?

      Weight over wheel and tuning the drivetrain (gearing rations, slips and differentials) to deliver it without digging holes or wasting rubber will be a feat.

  7. I dont get it, why limit yourself to mini shell? Im at part 5 and it looks like they keep cutting it off part by part and at the end it will be merely roof and few side panels left from the original.

    Why not build pipe/profiles frame and just bold mini panels on top?

  8. I don’t mean to be critical of what you guys are doing, but in truth after you are done, this will be a small mini-shaped rally car and not a mini. It will be a mini in the same way as the Ken Block Mustang is a Mustang. In shape only.

  9. If you really wanted to create the worlds fastest mini, the way to go about it would be simple. Just completely hull out the body and slap it onto a fuel altered. Old fiat bodies are often used on fuel altereds. A mini should work just as well, and since the engine in a fuel altered is basically the same as a top fuel engine, you’d have the undisputed king of the minis.

  10. Shame they chose the ST185 enigne. The ST205 is a bit stronger and has the water to air I/C.
    Also worth noting the inlet off the ST215 ( caldina enigne ) is side feed make ducting it all a bit easier.

    Should be a decent car this

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.