News : Kiwis smash world speed record… in a Mini

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Following in the footsteps of legendary New Zealander Burt Munro, a team of Kiwis have smashed a world speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and confirmed their car as ‘the world’s fastest Mini’. They were told they didn’t have a hope of even passing the tech inspection – let alone breaking the record – but their do-it-yourself attitude saw their 1964 Mini Cooper S reach an average speed of 235.9km/h.

‘We had people telling us that a short car at that sort of speed would spin and all those sorts of things, but it just went beautifully – tracked down the line and had a huge amount of power,’ said Project’64 spokesman Mike Wilson. To confirm them as the world record-holders, the Mini had to complete the feat twice. They recorded 229km/h on their first run a week ago, and 243km/h on their second on Saturday (NZT).

The previous world land speed record for a production car under 1000cc is 205km/h and the fastest time (unofficially) recorded by a mini was 196km/h.

‘One of the famous things that Burt Munro said was that anyone can go out and buy a new bike and go fast, but it’s much more interesting and much more of a challenge to take something old and go fast, so that’s why we used a 48-year-old Mini,” said Mr Wilson, the team’s photographer.

In 1962, at the age of 63, Mr Munro famously set off for Bonneville with the Indian Scout motorcycle he’d bought in 1920, immortalised in the film The World’s Fastest Indian. His 1967 speed of 295km/h still stands today as the world speed record for under 1000cc motorbikes with a streamliner. ‘Burt Munro was a definite inspiration and a lot of decisions about the car were based on that as well,” Mr Wilson said.

‘Everyone was very resourceful and I guess it’s that typical Kiwi thing of not letting anything stop us. As far as we know this is now the world’s fastest Mini” After they broke the record, the team had the opportunity to try to go even faster, and they did, reaching 252km/h.

However, for the speed to officially register, the car had to repeat its performance and they had technical difficulties before their second run. ‘The only minor disappointment is we know the car can go faster than the record that we’ve set,’ Mr Wilson said. The team was considering returning to Bonneville to try to push their Mini even further.

[Source: New Zealand Herald]

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

8 Comments

  1. Well done them- and it does say a lot for the Kiwi ‘Can do’ approach to things. This is the country that, with hardly any known heritage in cinema, brought The Lord of the Rings trilogy to life- an extremely complex undertaking that took about 3 years and which could not have been made anywhere else.

    So making a Mini go a bit faster than it ought shouldn’t prove too much of a problem for them.

  2. The engine is a 970cc Cooper S A-series block with a Specialist Components (a UK company – google them) BMW 16V cylinder head conversion and turbocharged. It made 310bhp running methanol on the dyno.

  3. For British people out there….

    Average speed of 235.9km/h = 146.6MPH
    243km/h on their second run = 150.99MPH
    Previous fastest time by a mini was 196km/h = 121.8MPH

  4. Wow, the first thing I thought of when I saw that was “it looks like the baby brother of the ZTT land speed car”. Google it!

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