Page viewing: Driving
Mini Stats
Power output = 145bhp @ wheels (Janspeed rolling road)
Weight = 780Kg
0-60 = 6 seconds (using g-tech meter)
1/4 mile = 14.7
Well it's mental :-)    God knows what a 'Type R' powered mini must be like :-0

Driving the mini always brings a smile to my face, if I'm in a sensible mood then it can potter around totally civilised at low revs, want some entertainment then let the rev counter sweep around to 5300rpm and the fun begins !

Keeping the revs below VTEC point still makes the mini very capable, at any revs there is ample power available to cope with most road conditions (i.e another car that wants to beat ya), when driving normally there is no need to get into the VTEC zone but it is of course always available for overtaking etc.

When driving "sensible" with the occasional VTEC for entertainment it returns 40mpg.

I believe one of the reasons the mini is so tractable/usuable and returns good MPG is the Honda ECU, it has a nice flat torque curve and provides faultless running, cold starts and tickover.

I'm glad the limited budget made me stick with the Honda ECU for the engine management.
"Holy s**t"    "Mental"    "Arghhhhh"    are usual comments I get from passengers :-)

So far all of the passengers taken out on test drives have been impressed, I usually drive for the first 5-10 minutes keeping the revs below the magic 5300rpm, they all think it is fast like that so when they are not expecting it I unleash the VTEC and they are totally amazed.

The less the passengers knows about cars the better, fast car virgins don't know what hit em......ha ha.
I feel the mini has enough performance for me, I never had any expectations for it to be the fastest thing on the road and was more interested in a reliable mini that could cope with the demands of modern traffic.

The thing I notice most is how easy the performance is, I believe this is partly due to the low gearing, the mini will accelerate well in any gear at any revs, it is an extremely rare occasion when I need to change down a gear to get more acceleration.

On smooth roads the mini accelerates without any drama, no torque steer at all, on bumpy country roads it can get a bit twitchy under hard acceleration but I feel this is more to do with the short wheel base of the mini than the conversion.

One area that gets mentioned a lot on the 16v forums is the gearing, there is a limit to the size of wheels that will fit the mini without serious changes to the rear suspension.

185/55r13 or 195/45r14 tyres are the largest that will fit, this reduces the overall gearing compared to the doner Honda and so motorway cruising revs increase:

Mini @ 60mph = 3700rpm
Mini @ 65mph = 4000rpm
Mini @ 70mph = 4300rpm
The Honda CRX @ 70mph = 3700rpm

600rpm @ 70mph increase is not to terrible in my opinion but does cause busy cruising, it is possible to buy a 3.5:1 final drive but the cost and possible taming of the vicious acceleration made me realise this FD was not for me.

The other point the lower gearing throws up is 1st gear, it has been mentioned that 1st gear is unusable as it's so low and pulling away in 2nd gear is the norm, well I totally disagree with this, the mini will do close on 60mph in 2nd gear which in my opinion shows it's way to high for using as a 1st gear, I've tried pulling away in 2nd gear but it just does not feel right.

Wheelspin will always be an issue with front wheel drive and the low 1st gear does not help this, but unless your a total animal dumping the clutch in first it's does not seem to be an issue to me.
The ride is better than a std mini but could do with some further development, this is one of the areas that I intend doing some further work on.

Big potholes cause a big bang through the front suspension, the Watsons kit uses front coil springs and Spax dampers, I think Watsons should have took a bit more time developing this setup, I'm no suspension expert but I think it could be improved upon, it seems to me that the springs are to soft and you end up setting the dampers hard to try and compensate for the springs.

On the rear I have Spax coilovers, I am not happy with them as they give a very harsh ride, if I reduce the damper settings to try and improve the ride then I get to much body roll (and it's still a harsh ride), increase the damping and every bump tries to put your head through the roof !

When funds allow I intend trying different rear coilovers and springs with the addition of a rear anti-roll bar, hopefully the anti-roll bar will control body roll and allow softer springs/damper settings.

The only other area that needs improvement is the tyres, I am using the tyres that came with the wheels - Camac 185/55r13, these are not very 'sporty' and have terrible wet weather grip.

Upon investigation there is not a suitable tyre available in this size so I may move up to 14" wheels and 195/45r14 tyres, again when funds permits.