It’s one of the most iconic cars in British history. Almost everyone has a memory of a classic Mini, whether it’s seeing the pictures of the one your parents used to own, or punching your sibling every time you seen one as a kid.
Andy Giles’ love affair with Minis was destined. With his Dad owning multiple over the years and his Mum owning the very car you see in these pictures while Andy grew up. It was in his blood.
Having been driven to school and taken on holidays in his Mum’s mini, Andy knew he had to have it - no doubt his classmates were punching each other as they seen him approaching. In 2010 Andy did just that - aged 15 he bought the car from his Mum. Though he wouldn’t actually get to drive the car until years later, Andy assures me the car was nice and clean with some tasteful upgrades when he bought it. But that just wasn’t enough.
A keen motorsport enthusiast and lover of classic rallying, Andy’s Mini build was always headed in that direction. A drawing by 12 year old Andy shows his ‘Future Mini’ complete with full spec list - though the car he would go on to build wouldn’t feature all these mods (and only has normal sized mudflaps) it’s clear the inspiration for a rally spec Mini was there from day one.
After purchasing the car from his Mum, Andy set to work in the garage at home - the car was stripped bare, the engine partly rebuilt and the shell resprayed in Flame Red 89 with Leyland White roof - all done in the garage at home!
Accumulating parts as he goes, Andy continues to develop the Mini with the aim of building an all out Group A spec Mini Rallye replica. From the exterior the car is already there, with front lamp pod, perspex sliding windows and countless period correct decals as well as original KN Minatour wheels as used on the genuine Mini Rallye.
The interior is not far from complete either, a flocked dash complete with switch panel and OMP wheel taken from an ex-rally car sit in front of the driver, while the rest of the interior remains bare. A pair of bucket seats are mounted in the car, with a Safety Devices roll cage taking up the space in the rear of the car. As to be expected in any race car, the door cards are made from carbon fibre sheet and the floors have metal foot rests - including one made by Andy himself as a replica of the ones used in the original Group A racers.
The future for this Rallye Replica looks exciting, with plans to replace the 54bhp A-series engine with a new 1293cc Turbo engine with over 150bhp this Mini could be tearing up rallies in no time!
Photos: Michael Scott & Greg Robins
Words: Michael Scott
Location: Aberfoyle, Scotland