If you’re going to modify a classic Mini, stuffing a superbike engine into it seems like a no-brainer. After all, that tiny little engine bay is a marvel of limited space. Chances are, if you’re reading RideApart, you appreciate the lengths that moto OEMs go to in order to wring impressive performance figures out of compact engine packages. Cue the violins swelling, because this is clearly the start of a band called Mechanical Romance. 

That’s why, unsurprisingly, Mini fanatics have been stuffing superbike engines inside their favorite tiny British cars practically since superbikes have existed. While you may have seen or at least heard about a Yamaha R1 engine meeting up with and powering a Mini, this particular video series may be a new one for you. It’s also absolute proof of why you shouldn’t let anything get in the way of your dreams if you can help it. 

This R1-powered Mini build is the project of a Mini enthusiast named Simon Fox, who lost his sight in a bad car crash around 10 years ago. Prior to that fateful day, he’d dreamed about building an R1 Mini, and was looking forward to putting the skills he’d gained doing previous Mini modification to work on that dream car.  

The crash may have taken his eyesight, but it didn’t take his vision. Together with Simon’s wife Pru, as well as his two best friends Andy and David, the group has dedicated itself to making this dream a reality. His friends might have their eyesight, but they don’t know a thing about building cars—hence, the name of this video series, “Blind Leading the Blind.”  

If you like to wrench, think about the combination of senses you use when you work on things. There’s feel, of course. When you torque something down just right, you’ll both feel and hear an audible pop to let you know you’re there. Maybe you’re the type of person who can tell which size socket is required just by looking at something. However, if you’re already a handy wrench like Simon, there’s no reason you can’t figure it out by feel and get to work. It might take a little longer, but the satisfaction you get from the process is all there. 

Cheers to Simon and his mates and wife for pulling together to make his dream come true. We look forward to following along with how this R1-powered Mini build progresses in the future.


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