VTEC In Mini-ature
Backyard Build

One of my favourite parts of British car culture is the freedom allowed to create pretty much whatever the hell you want. It encourages creativity, engineering and an appreciation for craftsmanship that is second to none. This freedom has resulted in some sublime builds, many of which started off as a simple idea in a back garden shed.

This is very much one of those cars. A Honda-powered Mini isn’t a new revelation or anything, but the execution on this one coupled with being a home build makes it all the more impressive.

2016 Players Classic VTEC Mini Spotlight by Paddy McGrath-4

The current power is from a relatively stock DOHC VTEC B18C sourced from a DC2 Integra Type R, featuring custom ITBs. Andy Waller, the creator and owner, told me that a fully built B18 is being prepared to replace this one in the near future.

2016 Players Classic VTEC Mini Spotlight by Paddy McGrath-14

With possibly one of the smallest spaces to work with, creativity was required to make it all come together. Before we look at what’s behind the panel, can we just take a moment to appreciate the carbon weave showing through the paint beneath the safety pins.

2016 Players Classic VTEC Mini Spotlight by Paddy McGrath-13

A rear mounted radiator setup is pretty much mandatory for this conversion, with air inlets on the rear side windows driving air through ducting and out the back via the fan-equipped core. Funnily, Andy told me that he did manage to get a bag of groceries in there once before. Can we call it practical?

2016 Players Classic VTEC Mini Spotlight by Paddy McGrath-18

This is very much a street legal track car, with performance at the fore of the build process. The rear carbon diffuser is not something I’ve seen on a Mini before, but it’s present to serve a purpose.

Comprehensive safety devices have been deployed, with a full cage adding both reassurance in case the worst should happen and added chassis rigidity. Carbon fibre dash and door cards help keep weight down to a minimum, whilst still keeping things tidy and functional.

2016 Players Classic VTEC Mini Spotlight by Paddy McGrath-11

Cobra Evolution wrap-around bucket seats and Willans harnesses complete the interior.

2016 Players Classic VTEC Mini Spotlight by Paddy McGrath-6

At Players Classic a couple of weeks back, the car was fitted with Hoosier drag slicks and three-piece MB Racing 10×7-inch centre lock wheels.

2016 Players Classic VTEC Mini Spotlight by Paddy McGrath-1

Prior to Players, it ran a 14.1-second quarter mile at 94mph on a non-prepped surface. The car is currently only making 165hp (which is why a new engine is being built), so Andy should quite comfortably walk into the 13s and beyond once it’s finished.

Good things, small packages and all that.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos

Cutting Room Floor
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2016 Players Classic VTEC Mini Spotlight by Paddy McGrath-8
2016 Players Classic VTEC Mini Spotlight by Paddy McGrath-5
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2016 Players Classic VTEC Mini Spotlight by Paddy McGrath-2


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165 to the wheels I assume or it's a very sick B18C......


That would be fun as to drive


Brutal build! but i always wonder, how about when its like raining orso, does the air ducts in the side windows catch alot?


totally lovable! race mene cars are always fun..


ThomFrischknecht race cars always use this type of air ducts, some water get in, but it is not a problem..


ThomFrischknecht Its just passing over the radiator, which if it was mounted in the front would also get wet when it rains.  If those ducts were the engine air intakes, it would be another story!


I spy one of our #TrackAddict stickers on the cage! Nice one Andy


DavidFRogers Agreed, and that figure is around what they will put out at the wheels, shame the engine code is just out of view.  But whats that in power to weight ratio... gotta be around 300 per ton!


@Delusion77 Ah oke! is there some kind of drain there? Because i'm planning on making a rear mount radiator setup in my sr20 powered nissan march


I wonder what the weight distribution is like with the engine so far on the side. Maybe its offset by the driver on the other side?


this mini is inspiring, really killer build


maxvr6 DavidFRogers It's a poorly B18C, thus the new engine being built for it at the moment. I believe the engine photographed has already been removed from the car.


PolarGrey And the gearbox :)


ThomFrischknecht looks like the shroud encloses the radiator and ends at the boot hinge. Maybe it drains out the back.  Judging by the water stains on the boot sill I'd say this is correct.


Love me some British lightweights and Honda power! 

Never seen a VTEC Mini with the radiator mounted in the rear. Usually the radiator is crammed in the front as well. Was there simply no room for a fan pull setup in the front or was it done for weight distribution? 

The additional coolant hose travel and non-direct airflow must make the cooling less than optimum, even with the puller fans. But if it was done for weight distribution, that makes a bit more sense (although I wonder how marginal)

Clean build nonetheless! Love the mini diffuser. Maybe add some side skirts and a smooth undertray for better ground effect!


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Paddy McGrath maxvr6 DavidFRogers Cheers Paddy, makes sense


mopetidu  HOW about nooooo...


Wow! What a car :D I like it from the head line, I loved it by the end of the article. Rear rad, big diffuser, cage...Awesome!

This is a dream car for many. I'm sure it's a blast to drive.


I'm starting to see the "super lightweight car + Honda engine" thing a lot more nowadays. From K20-powered VW Golfs to F20-powered Datsun 510s, they're all awesome. I've heard of Minis getting the same treatment but this was the first time I've seen one. Want level pretty high.


fucking mint




Ah. Thank you


Hi Chris the rear radiator came about from a space issue, originally the car was going to have a turbo a series engine and have a very large intercooler with no space for rad which is where the rear radiator idea started, when I changed my mind and went for the honda engine I decided to stay with the rear radius idea as space is at a premium especially as this is under a standrard length front end (many options for a 90mm longer front wings) and the radiator ends up as you say crammed in. The set up works very well, the fans only come on when sat for any amount of time, the extra volume in the hoses helps with this.


Yes at the wheels but it is very sick hence the new engine build.


Thanks for the awesome writeup Paddy.


The little cart wheels are adorable


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DavidFRogers B18C's came with appx 200hp at the engine. Figure in a 15% drivetrain loss and you arrive at +/- 170hp at the wheels. Makes sense.

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andywaller Thanks for the walk through on your build! It makes sense now


LouisYio and K20 Exiges too! ;)


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Seeing Hoosiers on Minis will never cease to make my day.


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165 out of a type r motor with ITBS?  somethings isnt right there. that motor should be in the 190 - 200 range


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