Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are feeling better as our days are noticeably getting longer. We have a few hours after work during the week to contemplate our Minis and what we might do next!
Last week, I had a number of questions about replacing or updating the suspension springs or cones, so it seems appropriate to have a quick look at all the options available for most Classic Minis.
I can speak from experience here, because I’ve done a number of coil spring conversions, including a “wet-to-dry” on my own 66 Mini Cooper S. The coil springs are available in two rates for the intended use of the car. I went with the red springs providing a nice firm ride for a high performance Mini with 13 inch wheels that I still set up to be very low. The stiff springs minimize the deflection of the wheels, keeping them from hitting the body in normal driving. I have specified the blue springs for early cars that have the stock 10 inch wheels, or where a nice gentle ride was the first priority for the owner. These coil springs are a great choice to improve durability over even the basic rubber cones, as most can install them and forget about them…. we’ve never seen one collapse over time under the weight of a Mini. They are also very easy to install, not requiring even a spring compressor when coupled with the basic Hi-Lo adjustable “trumpets”. I do highly recommend this method since it allows very easy and precise ride height adjustment with a box wrench without lifting the car, even for very low cars!
Another very trick way to set up a Classic Mini Suspension is with a SPAX coil-over kit. SPAX from the UK has made these for many years, and they provide additional adjustability of spring rates by using different springs, typical of how race cars are set up. They also feature adjustable ride height and can really simplify the Mini suspension by putting the springs and shocks on a common mount, and doing away with the standard Mini springs altogether! I happen to know that we have a kit IN STOCK that was ‘orphaned’ by somebody that ordered it! A real opportunity for someone!
Of course, many of us like our Mini to be “the way it was designed” so you can still just replace the rubber springs with either the stock rubber cones, an “uprated” quality type that provides more durability, or a full-race type that is really too stiff for most street cars!
Another very well engineered option for the rear of just about any Classic Mini is the rear coil over ‘subframe’ made by the VTEC guys over at Minitec. This is a fully adjustable (toe, camber, castor, and ride height) unit that completely replaces the rear subframe with a coil-over design that is gaining favor with Classic Minis even without the Honda engine package! Call us and talk to me about any of these options!