So I didn't take many pictures at the time, but this is what it looked like when done. The bugle is to accommodate the Weber carb, and to be honest was never quite what I wanted but didn't have the means to do something more subtle, and it done the job.
As for the new carb, it was like a new car. The su's if floored were good, you got a nice progressive increase in power and speed, no signs of torque steer, but the weber was like strapping a rocket to the roof.
Normal running it ran much better and I was told this was because the two larger barrels increase the engines torque so it runs better at low rpm, but floor it and hold into the wheel as it just went like a rocket.
I'm not a speed freak and drove it mildly for a week or so getting used to the characteristic of the new carb, but to get to work I went along the seafront and just past out pier the road turns for a stretch into a dual carriageway, so one day instead of once under the pier changing into third kept it in second and once straight just floored it.
Well I scared myself as the torque steer was huge, and the acceleration was just mind blowing, and when I managed to look at the speedo in a very short distance and still in second I was doing 70 mph, (opps.)
The only down side was it drank petrol like there was a hole in the tank and being silly shall we say it done about 18 to the gallon, but twas fun.
So my new dash was my first real attempt at something so complex in shape, but I wanted it to be symmetrical around the wheel, allow more dials and a better heating and demisting system.
The basic frame and shape was balsa wood to keep the weight down, then skinned with carbon fibre, but you have to remember this was at a time when carbon fibre was only just starting to come into the retail market and products were limited.
Carbon cloth was only twill weave which is a nightmare to work with, and resins were still mostly high temp curing, which made getting it to cure a case of heat lamps and turning the heat in my workshop right up, but after many weeks I finally got something like I wanted.
I went for digital dials so I could have more displayed and all the buttons and switches were centred around the main console for ease of use.
I did construct a new heating and blower system which was an improvement, but still not up to demands as in cold or wet weather the windows still steamed up, but it was better than the original.
However all said and done I liked it, but it was still not quite what I had kind of envisioned, but was the best I could do at the time.
It has since then had a new dashboard fitted if you've looked at the other subsections, a new heater, new door handles and of all things a new HIF44 carb, as the weber just got too expensive for everyday use with the price of petrol going through the roof, but since having the HIF44, have fiddled with needles and springs and that too works better than the twin su's, so I'm starting to wonder if there was something wrong with them, as by all accounts they should have worked really well.
So this is what we will call phase two, brought on by a careless delivery driver that failed to spot the brightest car in the whole car park, and reversed into the off side front headlamp, just enough to push the headlamp surround back, and because of the welded and leaded seems there was no way to pull the wing out, and to change it meant that wing and front panel would need to go, and I decided it was just as quick to replace the whole front end with a carbon fibre version, which in a roundabout way spurred many of the other mods, including the new heater, simply because I now had more room, as in under the wings that was accessible.
So with big carburettor comes big bulge in bonnet to accommodate it. Normally when used for racing this carb sticks out through the bonnet, but as this is used in all weathers it needed protecting, plus as the car seems to run much better hotter, not point leaving it sticking out and a big hole to let all the hot air out.
The bonnet was sort of a work on the fly and was sculpted out of clay then covered in fibreglass then smoothed and painted. I added the mesh and drain holes, although it's not a proper vent just for show, but I thought it finished it off nicely.
As you can see its a real beast, and this was the lowest air filter I could find, most were inches taller, but apart from fuel injecting, probably the most powerful carb you can fit to a mini.
The eagle eyed among you will notice my coolant pipes or rather new routing of the old ones, and really anyone can do this and it does improve things I found.
If you look I have a second take off plate between the thermostat housing and block, which pumps water out and into the heater, which then goes through the heater matrix and back via the top hose which feeds down into the lower hose, but normally the heater is fed from the right-hand side of the block, so then in the summer when you turn the heater off the right-hand side of the block gets hotter because the water doesn't flow around that end, (not good in the summer) so what I did was feed the internal heater off the take off plate, but put the heater tape inline, then added a Y piece so the outlet in the right-hand side still circulates water whether the heater is on or off. In the summer when you don't need the heater you can turn it off and the water still circulates as the water now just goes through the rad instead of the heater, and the water circulating around the block can do so unhindered, if that makes sense. it was a experiment, but for once one of my odd ideas actually worked a treat.