Although pocket ballistic missile would be a better description honestly

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
- image 930303

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
- image 930302

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
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 More
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