LIMELIGHT | Robert Holmes’ Mk2 Mini Cooper S Works Replica


1966 was to see the most controversial Monte Carlo rally of all time. The three Works BMC Mini entries of Timo Makinen, Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk took the first three places at the end of the rally only to be disqualified for using quartz iodine, single filament bulbs in their headlights instead of the double filament ones allowing the use of a dipped beam. This rule also caught out Roger Clark who brought his Cortina home in 4th place behind the Minis. All-in-all, ten cars were excluded that year for various reasons allowing Pauli Toivonen in the Citroen ID to take his place on the winners podium.


Due to the controversy, what better cars would there be to model a replica on. The owner, Robert Holmes has gone to great lengths to find very specific details throughout the car. The list of these items is as long as your arm, the connector below the headlamp for the spotlight bar is a new-old stock BMC item, as are the pea-lights to help illuminate the dashboard at night.




The dash includes a very rare 130mph speedo, Wipac interior lamp mounted on the roll cage, additional alloy “works” dashboards fitted with period switchgear, although certain items have been replaced with more modern equivalents to allow the car to actually be used in competition, one of the obvious changes is the Halda Twinmaster being replaced with a Terratrip for ease of use.




Modification-wise this wee car is no slouch. A 1480cc A-series running twin HS4 carbs has been mounted onto a close ratio gearbox fitted with a Quaife ATB differential. This in itself provides the car with plenty of go and the ability for the front end to drag the rear back into shape during episodes of more flamboyant driving.




Stopping the car is an original Cooper S setup which is now assisted by a remote servo kit, rear drums are maintained as tight as possible to allow for consistent locking when the handbrake is in use during autotests and special tests on the modern events seen across the UK and Ireland today. As we are describing what’s at the back of the car, it would be wrong to miss out the fact the twin-tank set up allows you a full day of competing without having to stop for fuel.





Bodywork wise, it is hard to fault. Having been maintained by Robert Dickson in Killinchy for the last 12+ years it is a very solid little car with quality paintwork that is rarely seen on competition cars of today. Running on 10″ Minilites and Yokohama A-008’s you can be assured it feels planted, goes like stink and does everything a Mini should. Suspension-wise it runs on a very rare set of Moulton Smootha-Ride and of course Hi-Lo’s. Coupled with the Gaz Adjustable shock absorbers the ride quality is second to none whilst allowing for adjustment throughout a competing day depending on the type of surface you are running on.



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Robert has managed to nail the look of the original cars down to a T, although certain areas have had to remain within the boundaries of our modern MSA Blue Book meaning he was unable to run an uneven number of spotlights, but as far as possible, he has hunted down, collected and found some very rare and pleasant parts to allow the car to become what it is today.
Words: Pete Moreland-Moore
Photos: Reinis Babrovskis