This crazy tiny beast was Built by Harry Ratcliffe, A former rally champion, who once built a yacht partly out of concrete and sailed it round the British Isles just because people told him it was impossible, he ran BRT developments which produced many amazing high performance Mini’s with his Business partner Jeff Goodliff in Littleborough UK.
His little monster Mini Cooper had a Buick 215cid engine in the boot/rear. The engine came from Brian Redman, who sold the Buick 215 V8 to Harry for the small sum of 100 pounds. The Little aluminum V8 (which only weighed 325lbs fully dressed) was hooked to a 4 speed right between the seats and the shifter bolted in the stock location but it had to be shifted backwards because of the direction. And up front a modified independent differential from a E Type Jaguar that was flipped over so it would pull. They retained the stock 10 inch wheels in the rear, but the front tires got an upgraded with 13-inch tires to try to get power to the ground in the insane cooper.
A lot of people have said that this car was built as a publicity stunt but the honest truth is it was built with the idea that it would go faster and be more powerful than any other Mini had been before and win all while still being front wheel drive.
Brain Redmen, a very successful racer of anything with 4 wheels said, “We’re just curious to see what it would be like to get behind the wheel of such a thing”.
The Mini was retired pretty soon after putting it together and would be stored away for 30+ years but a few years ago it saw the day light again and has now been sold at auction.
We hope to see this amazing creation back to its original shape again!
Harry Ratcliffe would say this about the driving experience:
“To actually drive it was like throwing a hammer shaft first. It was the best and worst thing that we ever did. The best thing being all the publicity it brought us, especially when we took it to Oulton Park with Stuart Hall. It was lethal to drive. It was very nicely built, road registered, & used an E-Type differential upside down on the front end and an E-Type gearbox on the back. It was front wheel drive, which is why it oversteered so nicely because all the weight was in the back. In a race you had a good chance of being well up the field because nobody could get past, due to the car skating about all over the place!"
It was described as "dreadful"! The moment you lifted off, it tried to spin!"
So, it's a 911 then. And plenty of people drive those “dreadful” machines.
Vintage Photo credit:
Road and track