A Twin-Engine Four-Wheel Drive Mini Cooper

I was recently starting to read Graham Robson’s book “Rallying, The 4 Wheel Drive Revolution”.  This book documents the rise of four-wheel drive rally cars in the 1980s.  I have the second edition of this book which was written in 1988, so it was written during this revolutionary era.  It looks like a good book and I look forward to getting to fully read it.

Graham Robson’s Book On Four-Wheel Drive Rally Cars

Early in the book Robson mentions that one of the first four-wheel drive competition rally cars was a four-wheel drive Mini Cooper in 1963.  When I read this, I was reminded that I had seen a twin-engine four-wheel drive Mini at the 2016 Lime Rock Historic Festival.  The car that I saw is shown below.  It was identified as a 1965 Mini Cooper S “Twini”.

1965 Twin Engine Four-Wheel Drive Mini Cooper S

The origin of the twin-engine Mini Cooper was a twin-engine Mini Moke that John Cooper saw and drove in late 1962.  He thought that a twin-engine Mini Cooper would be quite successful.  As a result Cooper had his staff build a twin-engine Mini.  Evidently the car performed well, but one night during testing the rear engine failed causing a rollover.  John Cooper was seriously hurt and nearly lost his life in that rollover.  Following this incident the original twin-engine Mini Cooper was destroyed and no further official development took place.

It is known that Downton Engineering also built a twin-engine Mini and raced it in the 1963 Targa Florio. The car was plagued with overheating and excessive tire wear, but managed to finish the race.  I think that the car shown below is this second Downton Engineering Mini, but I am not sure.  The picture below is taken from Graham Robson’s book, but he is not specific on which Mini it is.  Hopefully someone with information on this car will be able to clarify the identification of the Mini.

Twin Engine 1963 Mini Cooper

It is thought that 4 to 6 twin-engine Mini Coopers have been built.  I believe that each of these Minis was built individually, each with its own individual solutions to the problems of this modification.  The car shown at the 2016 Lime Rock Historic Festival and pictured below is one of these one-off twin-engine Mini Cooper cars.

Rear Trunk Lid Screens Help To Reduce Heat Build Up

Below is a cutaway drawing that shows the basic mechanical positioning of the second engine.

Cutaway Drawing Of A Twin Engine Four Wheel Drive Mini

As the Mini Cooper engine is not large and as the transmission and drive train are integral with the engine, it is rather easy to conceive how to construct a twin-engine Mini.  While the original Mini was a small car on the outside, it was rather roomy on the inside.

Second Engine Is Located In The Back Seat

I suspect that the biggest issues with the twin-engine Mini are related to dissipation of heat given the location of the engine.  The challenge would be to get cool air to the engine compartment and get rid of the hot air as soon as possible.  I am somewhat surprised to see what appears to be large portions of the exhaust system within the engine compartment.

Exhaust System Is Within Rear Engine Compartment

The picture below shows how in this car cool outside air is diverted into the rear engine compartment via the modifications to the rear window.

Rear Engine Air Intake

I don’t know how the engines work together, but the gear shift linkage shown below appears to allow the driver to shift both transmissions at the same time.

Shaft Linkage Joins The Two Engines And Drives

It can be imagined that the performance of this car must be impressive.  Each engine might have 90 to 110 horsepower and therefore having about 200 horsepower in an 1,800 pound car would likely result in very impressive acceleration numbers.  The small diameter tires, rally gearing, and the “brick” shape of the Mini might result in a top speed that is not particularly impressive.

Note Twin Gauges – One For Each Engine

If anyone can add information about the twin-engine Mini Cooper cars, or has any comments or questions, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique Concentration Run Schedule & Itineraries Released

The Automobile Club de Monaco has released the schedule for the Concentration Run from the various starting cities to the concentration point in Valence, France.  This schedule is presented below.

2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique Concentration Schedule

The itineraries from each of the starting cities have been posted on the Automobile Club de Monaco’s website for the 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  These can be seen by clicking on the following link:


On close examination of the Concentration Run schedule the number of cars planned to be started from each of the starting cities is presented along with the travel distance from each of the starting cities to Valence, France.  For example, note that 12 cars are planned to start from Glasgow, Scotland and they will travel about 1,215 miles (1987 kilometres) to Valence.

This 1965 Austin 1800 “Land Crab” Started From Glasgow In 2017

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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LeJog Rally End Point Is At John O’Groats

The upcoming LeJog car rally will start at the extreme southwest corner of England and end at the extreme northern point of Scotland’s main land mass.  At the northern tip of the Scotland land mass is the small town of John O’Groats, as shown on the map below.

John O’Groats Is At The Northern Tip Of The Scotland Land Mass

One of the iconic features of the John O’Groats landscape is the John O’Groats Hotel.  This hotel is show below. 

The John O’Groats Hotel

This hotel has long been a part of motor sports in the United Kingdom.  As a demonstration of this, I was looking through S.C.H. Davis’ book “Rallies and Trials”, which he wrote in 1951.  S.C.H. Davis was a writer at The Autocar and a competitor in rallies for years.  In 1930, he entered a 12-cylinder Daimler in the Monte Carlo Rally.  Twenty-seven competitors in the Monte Carlo Rally that year, including Davis decided to start the Monte Carlo Rally at John O’Groats.  In his book he included a picture of the John O’Groats Hotel with some of the rally cars getting prepared to start the Monte Carlo Rally.  That picture is shown below.

Monte Carlo Rally Cars Ready To Leave The John O’Groats Hotel In 1930

The 1930 picture was taken from almost the same place as the current photo.  A comparison shows the changes at the hotel since 1930.  I look forward to visiting this location as part of the LeJog rally in December which has long been associated with motor sports in the United Kingdom.

If you have any questions or comments about this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Results From The 2017 1000 Millas Sport

The 1000 Millas Sport car rally took place last weekend.  This Argentine car rally is run with competitive rules that are very similar to the famous Mille Miglia.  For more background information on this rally, refer to my post on this website on October 31, 2017.  The 2017 running of this event was well attended with over 90 cars taking part.

The pre-event favorites, Juan Tonconogy with navigator Barbara Ruffini, did not disappoint by winning this 29th Edition of the 1000 Millas Sport in their 1936 Riley Sprite.  This victory adds to the victories that Juan Tonconogy had in this event in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014.  Juan is also a regular top competitor in the Mille Miglia.

Juan Tonconogy/Barbara Ruffini Won In Their 1936 Riley Sprite

The second place finishers was the team of Alejandro López and Gabriel Gourovich in a 1927 Delage DM.

Alejandro López/Gabriel Gourovich Were Second In A 1927 Delage DM

Another regular Mille Miglia competitor, Daniel Erejomovich and Gustavo Llanos finished third driving an 1938 AC 16/80 Competition Sport.

Daniel Erejomovich/Gustavo Llanos Finished Third In A 1938 AC 16/80 Competition Sport

The complete overall results from the 2017 1000 Millas Sport are presented in the following file:

Final Overall Results 2017

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the 1000 Millas Sport car rally then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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More About The Bugatti Type 55 Plus Its Ties To The Indianapolis 500

This past week my friend, Evan Gamblin, sent to me some pictures of Bugatti cars and engines as a followup to some of the recent posts that I have made about the Bugatti Type 55 cars.  The image below shows a Bugatti Type 55 roadster.  A very similar Type 55 roadster is in the background of the photo of the Bugatti Type 55 coupe that I recently posted on this website.

Bugatti Type 55 Roadster

As I have previously noted the Bugatti Type 55 cars were based on the Type 51 Grand Prix cars.  Evan also sent me a picture of a Type 51 below.

Bugatti Type 51

In researching the Type 51, I came across an interesting connection between the Bugatti engines and the engines that American Harry Miller made that dominated the Indianapolis 500 in the 1920s and 1930s.  The connection between the two was Leon Duray, the adopted name of George Stewart, who as Leon Duray was on the front row of the Indianapolis 500 for 5 consecutive years.  In 1928, he set a qualifying speed in a Miller racer that stood for 6 years.

Harry Miller And His Engine

As the depression began in the  USA, the rule-makers for the Indianapolis 500 opened the door to the so-called “junk formula” era in order to reduce the costs of car racing at that time.  In 1930 the race specifications increased the engine size from 91 cubic inches (1.5 litres) to 366 cubic inches (6 litres).  The larger engine size meant that racers could use engine blocks from normal road cars available in junk yards to develop the needed horsepower.  Highly tuned smaller engines like Miller’s 91 cubic inch engines were no longer needed and this reduced the cost of the race cars from about $25,000 to $5,000.

1927 Miller Racer Seen At Lime Rock 2016

Leon Duray saw that he would have limited success in America with his race cars in their current configuration so he took two Miller race cars to Europe.  The cars eventually broke down and Duray had to sell the cars to get first class passage back to the USA.  In addition to passage costs, Leon Duray exchanged his two Millers to Ettore Bugatti for three unsold stock Type 43 Grand Sport cars.

Frank Lockhart Won The 1926 Indianapolis 500 In A Miller Race Car

Bugatti then dismantled the Miller engines to get all of the dimensions, do the reverse engineering, and then re-assembled the engines finding they got 50 more horsepower than the best Bugatti engine produced.  Bugatti was able to fabricate a new head design based on the Miller design that could be fitted to a Bugatti Type 35B engine crankcase.  The result was the engine used in the Type 51 race cars.  If you look at the Miller engine above and the Bugatti engines, then you can see the similarities.

Louis Meyer Won The 1928 Indianapolis 500 In A Miller Race Car

Besides having innovative engines, Harry Miller also built some of the early front-wheel drive race cars.  A cut-away drawing of a front-wheel drive Miller race car is shown below.  This image came from a good book, “City of Speed” by Joe Scalzo which has resulted in the book seam that runs down the image.  I regret the seam, but I liked the image.

Cut-Away Drawing Of A Front-Wheel Drive Miller Race Car

Miller cars continued to be raced at the Indianapolis 500 under the “junk formula”, but substantial modifications were needed.  The Carlos Demand image below shows the front-wheel drive Miller-Hartz race car driven by Billy Arnold to victory in the 1930 Indianapolis 500.  The car used a widened Miller chassis to accommodate a riding mechanic (another new rule) and a bored out Miller 122 cubic inch (2.0 litre) engine.

Carlos Demand Drawing Of A Miller-Hartz In The 1930 Indianapolis 500

Miller made another foray into Indianapolis in 1935 when he was behind the entry of 10 Ford flathead V8 engines, known as Miller-Fords that were inspired by Preston Tucker and paid for by Henry Ford.  But that’s another story.  Miller soon lost his fortune and died penniless in 1943.  One of Miller’s draftsmen, Fred Offenhauser, went on to become a very successful engine designer in his own right.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Automobile Club de Monaco Announces Route Details Of 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

The Automobile Club de Monaco has just announced the details of the route for the 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  This will allow the competitors to begin to plot the route on maps and to plan their rally.  Some competitors will drive over the route and make notes.  Still competitors will rely on commercial operations who will make the route notes and then sell them to competitors.

The details of the route of the 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique are included in the following files.  Just click on the file names below.

Concentration Run Final Portion


Classification Run


General Part 1


General Part 2


Final Day


If you have any questions or comments about this post or the 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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Simon Arscott’s New GaugePilot Arrived Today

I am getting ready to compete in the LeJog car rally in the United Kingdom next month.  I will be navigating for Simon Arscott in his 1962 Works Austin Healey 3000 rally car.  For this rally Simon will have a new GaugePilot rally computer installed in the car.  In order to get more familiar with the GaugePilot, we decided that Simon would send a GaugePilot that Simon has in the USA to me before the rally.  I will set the GaugePilot up in my car and/or in my basement workshop where I will be able to use it before the start of the rally.  Today the GaugePilot was delivered to my house.  Simon’s GaugePilot is shown below.

Simon Arscott’s GaugePilot Rally Computer

This particular GaugePilot unit has not been used before so I am having to piece together all of the wiring and accessories for this unit, but there seems to be good setup instructions provided with the GaugePilot.  This particular practice unit will be driven by a GPS sensor as opposed to using a wheel sensor.  For the purposes of practicing with this GaugePilot the use of a GPS driver greatly simplifies things as I do not have to install a wheel sensor to use it; I can easily place it in my car.

Robust Case Contains The GaugePilot And Accessories

The GaugePilot was sent in a robust case that is well suited for shipping and for holding the components that are part of the GaugePilot system.  I hope to have this unit set up by this weekend.  This will allow me to become even more familiar with the GaugePilot before the LeJog rally.

If you have any questions or comments about the GaugePilot or the LeJog rally, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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