• This Custom Mid-Engine Mini Is the Definition of a Pocket Rocket

Although pocket ballistic missile would be a better description honestly

LISTEN 01:55

Engine swaps, we’ve see quite a few. Burly V-8s replacing puny flat-fours or screaming V-10 engines giving new life to Japanese sports cars and muscle cars alike. A motorcycle engine powering a Mini, however, is not something you see every day.

Massive power isn’t a prerequisite of fun

As you’re about to see in the video, all you need for some good ‘ol driving fun is a high-revving Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle engine glued to a lightweight frame.

This is where this 1991 Rover Mini comes into focus.

The 185-horsepower engine that revs to 13,000 rpm is mid-mounted, because the owner wanted to retain the full trunk (go figure!) and get some frunk space, too - although the gas tank and the radiator swallow a chunk of the available space in the front trunk.

This Custom Mid-Engine Mini Is the Definition of a Pocket Rocket
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Having a Kawasaki engine right behind the driver’s post comes with a particular set of tweaks. Power now goes to the rear axle, the car rocks a motorcycle transmission so there’s no reverse gear, and to upshift above 6,000 rpm you don’t even need the clutch anymore. Alec Issigonis must be smiling in his grave.

Visually, a lot of custom bits and bobs were used to build the current flair of the project, which spanned over the course of “quite a few years.” That said, we can’t decide what’s radder: the wide body kit a la Rocket Bunny, the huge rear diffuser, or the custom carbon fiber dashboard that incorporates a bunch of actual motorcycle gauges.

This Custom Mid-Engine Mini Is the Definition of a Pocket Rocket
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Safety comes from four-point seat belts and disc brakes on all four corners. Oh, and if you’re wondering whether this contraption is road legal, here’s a piece of the owner’s mind: everything’s legal until you get caught.

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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