7 November 2012

Digging In The Crates: Just Another Mannic Monday

This car shouldn't need much of an introduction to most; Nick Mann's much-modified turbocharged, injected, NOS-boosted, 500 bhp 3.5 litre Rover V8 powered Morris Minor. The scans (as always on a 'crates' feature) tell the whole story, but to summarise for the uninitiated, Nick Mann originally built this machine to go hill climbing in the 1980's.
It took on (and beat) all-comers in the old Street Machine Street Racer championships for years, eventually on losing to a Alan Carter's Pontiac-powered Ford Pop. At Shelsley Walsh hill climb in 1986, it completed the course in 30.07 secs at 112 mph. To give you an idea how quick this was, the previous day, Hannu Mikkola, driving a works Audi Quattro Sport did the course in 29.5 secs at 109 mph. The amazing figures don't stop there. When tested by Autocar & Motor back in 1989, they squeezed these acceleration figures from it: 0-60 3.1 secs, 0-100 6.9 secs and 0-150 20 secs. Figures that blew away the contemporary Ferrari F40, Porsche 959 and Lamborghini Countach. Come to that even the mighty McLaren F1 isn't that much quicker until it gets over 120 mph (0–60 in 3.2, 0–100 in 6.3, 0-150 in 12.8).
Of course, being a home-built special, Nick didn't have access to the seemingly bottomless R&D budget the supercar makes had. Traction control? Try a length of railway line under the boot floorwith 'traction by GWR' written on it. It's still stupidly quick, even by today's standards.
There are conflicting (and probably unconnected) stories as to what happened to the car:
1) It's still owned by Mann (the car is still taxed, that's for sure)
2) Drag racer 'Wild' Bill Sherratt bought it
3) It was converted to twin turbos
4) The turbo was swapped for a gas turbine in the quest to eliminate turbo lag. Presumably then, this was the precursor for Nick perfecting the arrangement in his Mannic Beattie hill climb car, which has the starter motor off a Wessex helicopter.
Scans from the Hot Car test in 1982, when it 'only' had 400bhp. On a tangent and just for fits and giggles, I've scanned the whole of the last page. Check the classified ads. Have a read. And then cry...
- Amazosan

A mint condition, MKII Lotus Cortina for under a grand? An Avenger Tiger for under £900?
I'm off to the broom cupboard to quietly weep .

And the Autocar & Motor test. The quote about the acceleration is a classic:

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