Come fly with me...


This week sees a major milestone on Project Barney as his heart has been removed from his body, ready for a serious laying on of hands by the good folk at Mini Works Australia. While we’ve spoken about some of the boy-racer goals in this project, we’ve not addressed some of the more mundane drivers behind the reason to rip Barney off the streets.

“And another thing…”

“And another thing…”

Some 5 years ago was the last time Barney had open-heart surgery. Under Dad’s watchful eye, we moved from 1293cc out to 1310cc, switched from SUs to a 45mm Weber, specced up to bigger Mk2 S inlet valves and got a bit radical with a Graham Russell cam.

However, during the run-in phase it appears I was a little too gentle and following an arthroscopic inspection a few years later, the diagnosis was a glazed number four cylinder.

This produced an annoying puff of smoke at each gear change and an even more annoying plume of smoke when the loud pedal was mashed to the floor. All of this, I’m reliably informed, was due to being a wuss-bag during the run-in phase.

So, this is one of the key drivers for depriving the streets of Newcastle of Barney, usually darting between lanes and causing general mayhem for other motorists, his subtle white dots blurred at speed.

The new lightweight flywheel.

The new lightweight flywheel.

Now, back to the boy-racer theme.

Apart from a general tidy up, with new rings and a hone to deal with the glazing issue, the second major performance upgrade we’re going with is a lightened flywheel.

Available from the good folk at Minisport Australia, we’ve opted for the 11lb ‘street’ version of the lightened flywheel which is claimed to be half the weight of the standard component.

While there is an ‘ultralight’ version available, this spec exceeds our needs and given that it will not be visible for posing purposes, the street version has been selected.

The flywheel weight loss is significant in reducing the amount of energy required for the engine to spin up to speed, thus aiding improved acceleration. This coupled with further reduction in the weight of the pressure plate (yep, we ordered one of those too) reduces the inertia required so we can concentrate all the ponies on moving forward more quickly. Here endeth the technical lesson.

So there you have it. Project Barney will tick off some key issues plaguing an ageing daily driver, but also add some new lightweight go-fast bits, which we clearly have a limited understanding of. Luckily, we’re surrounded by experts!

What have you got planned for your car before the 2019 Rylstone Classic?

Thanks to the good folk at and Mini Works Australia, Barney will be on the receiving end of some new go fast bits, some more loud bits and some much needed attention from specialists who know what they’re doing.