History of the Mini Sprint
The Minisprint story started in '65
when saloon car racer Neville Tricket
decided to build a chopped mini for
the '66 season.
The idea behind this was to reduce the frontal area of the car, in turn reducing drag and possibly saving weight. Unfortunately the regulations were changed during the off season and the car ended up competing in the GT class where it lost some of that advantage racing against more exotic machinery.
The decision was made to produce cars for both the track and public. Geoff Thomas entered the scene, providing financial backing and premises for the project to take off. Geoff and Neville along with two other mechanics set about the task. Problems were encountered getting a good fit on the door apertures and fitting the expensive cut down windscreens which would often crack.
The team produced cars for a couple of years, mostly saloons as well as the odd estate, several of them for overseas customers. In total they made somewhere in the region of 85 cars before the project was sold on.
BMC dealer Stuart and Arden, the largest dealer in London at the time, stepped in and took over the project. They were able to invest in marketing the project with glossy brochures and stands at motor shows. In order to make the cars meet road regulations of the time it was necessary to raise the headlights to get the minimum allowable ground clearance. This was done by squaring off the front wings and fitting oval lights. However, by '68 the lack of demand for the conversions lead to the project being shelved. The original Minisprint had come to the end of the road.
Hawk MiniSprint history
In 1997 Gerry Hawkridge of
Hawk Cars set about recreating
the Mini Sprint. Gerry started
by making moulds of a full size
Mini, and then the MiniSprint.
Gerry's reasoning was simple, the Mini was a classless car, owned by the rich and famous or by the man in the street, many a young driver learnt in a Mini. It is a cult car appealing to all ages and cutting a swathe through the strata of society everyone's been touched by the Mini.
Gerry approached the project by buying a brand new standard bodyshell. From this full size moulds were taken and then a full size GRP shell was created. This full size bodyshell was then cut, in much the same way as the original Tricket cars were cut. Gerry preferring to create the MiniSprint by cutting down a GRP shell as he preferred to work with GRP than steel.
Approximately one and a half inches was cut from the waistline and a further one and a half inches taken from the window line. The front and rear screens then need to be raked further to meet back to the original roof. Gerry choose to keep the roof gutter but removed the traditional seams on both sides. When fitted with Hi-Lo adjustable suspension the overall drop is six inches.
The Hawk MiniSprint has such a high quality that the owners of the Stewart and Arden name allowed it to be used when the car was first launched. Sadly trouble struck when the Rover group was bought by BMW and they tried to stop the cars being built. Some 15 years later were pleased to say we now supply these wonderful GRP bodyshells.
Hawk MiniSprint today
The Hawk MiniSprint bodyshell
comes assembled with new GRP
doors, bonnet and boot. New
glass including heated front
and rear screens. Price 5995.
Styling of the MiniSprint takes cues from the MK1 Mini. It has the smaller rear window and the front takes all the MK1 grill and standard size "moustache" and with the smaller round rear lights and the boot-lid has the recessed number plate with the pivoting surround. The doors are curved both front and back as per the MK1 but have the later one piece glass wind down window and internal hinges to keep as clean a line on the body sides as possible. These doors also have the later "anti-burst" door lock units and also use the standard window winder mechanism.
The Hawk MiniSprint takes all standard Mini components, with the exception of the glass and the need to modify the fuel tank, the bodyshell is all pre-drilled and has steel strengthening bonded into it to ensure an easy build and a very safe finished article. The quality of the finished cars far surpasses that of the original Mini, its almost Golf like!
As the MiniSprint bodyshell reuses all the parts from a donor car it can be classed as a replacement part and therefore keep the original donor cars registration. Alternatively it can be used for a brand new build and be registered as a new car.
We build each shell to order, as such a six week waiting list applies, once made we bake the finished shell in our Nova Verta spray booth for 8 hours at 45 degree's to fully cure the GRP. We then meticulously trim away any excess GRP and fit the new GRP doors with new hinges, we also fit the bonnet and boot lid again with new hinges. All window apertures are trimmed and all the windows fitted, then everything is removed and the shell and the panels are primed with a high quality product to ensure the best protection during transportation.
Alternatively we can fully build a car for you. Dependent on specification prices start from 21,950 and take three months to complete.