Front page of the Nelson Weekly after the Project ‘64 Mini became the fastest Mini in the world.

World’s fastest Mini back home

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The world’s fastest Mini is back in town.

The Project ‘64 Mini will join the eclectic collection of 120 classic cars at the National WOW Museum today, back from its 2016 record-breaking runs on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA.

At Speed Week in August 2016, the Project ‘64 Mini Cooper S beat its own 2012 record of 146.6mph (236 km/h) and set a new one in a different class.

The Mini’s 2016 record top speeds were achieved with a 970cc A-series power plant – 144.033mph (231.799kph) on race petrol and 156.006mph (251.067kph) on methanol. The Mini also reached a staggering 166mph (267kph) into a 9mph (14.5kph) headwind, but this was not converted into an official record due to a sudden loss of oil pressure at 144mph (232kph) during the record-setting run.

Following Speed Week, the Project ’64 team transported the celebrity Mini to Los Angeles for an appearance on American comedian Jay Leno’s global hit show— Jay Leno’s Garage.

WOW chief executive Gisella Carr says that like many others in Nelson, the museum had supported the Project ‘64 Mini from its beginnings and relished watching her get faster over the years. “We are very proud of this Mini and are pleased to have her home so her many fans can see her,” Gisella says.

The Mini is now the second fastest car in the museum’s collection. It is faster than the 1939 Ford Deluxe Coupe V8 Moonshine runner, known to clock about 87mph/140kph, and is second only to the Ferrari 456, which can hit 188mph/302kph. A Mini versus a Ferrari.

“The amazing team behind her, led by Victory Automotive’s Guy Griffith and Garry Orton, deserves immense recognition for doing what many said was impossible,” says Gisella. “Afterall, there are many reasons why you wouldn’t attempt what the Project ’64 team attempted, given that Minis aren’t built to go quickly while driving in a straight line and its aerodynamics are similar to those of a brick – as driver Nelson Hartley attested.

“Naturally, such issues are never barriers to those up for a challenge such as Guy, Garry and the rest of the team,” she says.

Visitors can see the World’s Fastest Mini at the National WOW Museum in Nelson, from Tuesday 9 May, at 1 Cadallic Way, off Quarantine Rd, Annesbrook, daily from 10am to 5pm.