Cars and other stories

Minis Part 2



At the same time as the camouflage car I also had a yellow mini Clubman series car, with the long nose. This was a rolling bodyshell, and had everything except an engine, so it just sat parked in my carport.

And then I was offered a 1310 rally motor with a 45DCOE Weber carbie and extractors. This was a bit of a screamer. An English big block motor, it had been bored out to the maximum (from the Mini Cooper S’s 1275 cc), and had a close ratio gear box. Dropping it into the car was an easy afternoon’s work. A two and a half inch exhaust pipe ran straight down the centre under the car, and I bolted on a single Hot Dog muffler that dropped the exhaust level to a very satisfying burble.

The back seats were ripped out and the area covered with carpet (yes, more brown shag pile I think!) which the dog found more to his taste. I managed to pick up a right hand fuel tank from a wrecked mini cooper S, (which had twin tanks linked by a tube under the luggage area) and so doubled the fuel capacity. This meant that I could get about 300 kilometres or more from a complete fill up if I didn’t drive too hard. So most of the time I got about 150!!!

I flared the wheel arches, then put some copies of Minilite mags on it, some fatties, sports shocks, added a couple of lay-back rally seats, and ended up with a a serious pocket rocket that would blow the doors off just about everything else on the road.

One evening the girl I shared a house with asked if she could borrow it as her Datsun 120Y was being serviced and she had to get to a meeting.

“Sure,” I said, and off she went.

When she returned later that that night she said “Wow - once I got behind the wheel I couldn’t help driving like a real arsehole! Anything in front of me - I just whizzed around it with a blast from the Rhino horns. What a shame my car’ll be ready in the morning - I could have driven in to work and given everyone the shits!”

Holding up the Myrtleford sign. Sorry about the hair,
but it was the late 70's!

The car sat fairly low and squat on the road, and I was always scraping the exhaust on the ground, with a shower of sparks visible in the rear view mirror at night. On a weekend visit to Mt Gambier for a friend’s wedding, though, I hit a large rock in the middle of the road as I started to drive home.

BANG! Off came the complete exhaust. It was pitch dark, the kind of darkness you only get in the country. I couldn’t see a thing, so I carefully picked up the muffler and pipe and placed them in the car.

I’ll see about fixing them when find a service station that’s open, I thought.

This turned out to be another 200 kilometres, when I found an all night servo at Warrnambool and managed to coat-hanger wire the thing back on temporarily enough to get me home. The noise during that 200 K though was phenomenal. I jammed tissue in my ears and put my headphones on, and still it was staggeringly loud. I tried to back it off a little as I drove through sleeping small towns along the way, but on the open road it was unreal.

The noise didn’t bother the dog one bit though. He just curled up in the back seat and snoozed away, oblivious to everything.

It was a fabulous car to drive - I often wish I still had it. But the engine started to get sicker and sicker, and I eventually swapped the car for some multicell horns for the PA system.


The blue/camouflage mini van I swapped with Col for some electronics, and I drove round in the truck most of the time.

He wasn’t entirely happy with the colour scheme, especially when being followed by a Mercedes, so he half sanded the camouflage paint off to reveal some of the blue underneath. But then he did a deal with his father for his Kingswood (Not the Kingswood!) station wagon, so I got the car back for a small amount of money, complete with a new set of tyres.

While parked outside my house, though, the council had an unburnable rubbish collection, and tried to take it away! I had to run down the street in my dressing gown to get them to stop, unhitch it and then drive it back home. They were very apologetic for thinking I was throwing it away!


Then I decided she wanted it painted yellow, so that it could be easily seen. One day while driving over the WestGate bridge the bubble top blew off and hit the BMW behind me! At the next traffic lights the driver came up to me and said “I believe this is yours,” then popped it in through the hole in the roof and drove off.


It was finally traded in on a Suzuki Hatch (800 cc Big Block!), and that was the end of the Fry mini dynasty.


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