Recycled Hawtness: 1972 Mini + Saturn Adds up to Awesome

As we’ve said before (again and again), the greenest car is the one that’s already been built.  Still, this build is something special:  the heavily re-vamped car here took 2 existing cars (which were reasonably green already) and fused the best elements of both to create an attention-getting fun car that delivers plenty of miles (and smiles!) per gallon.

What you see here is a fully restored original Mini, from the days when Mini Coopers were – you know, actually mini cars (we’ve touched on this idea before).  This is, however, not a simple restoration.  This 1972 Mini has been re-built around a modern, more efficient, emissions-compliant 2.0L General Motors 4 cyl. engine and transmission, resulting in a unique, one-off car that is both meaner and greener than either of the cars it was based on.

Greener?  You bet.

Where the original Minis got terrific gas mileage out of their featherweight chassis and tiny engines, they were pre-emissions cars, and belched out carbon emissions at a rate that would make modern full-size pickups blush (assuming trucks could blush).  The Vauxhall/Saturn that gave up its 2.0L heart for this car had cleaner emissions than the tiny, early 70’s Mini, but couldn’t approach that car’s level of mpg efficiency.  The end result is a heavily reworked small car that gets great mileage from its Mini size, yet delivers Maxi-levels of performance courtesy of its outstanding lb:hp ratio.

There is more to this Mini build, however, than just a power-to-weight ratio – the car features unique carbon-fiber roof and fender structures, a tig-welded safety cell, digital instruments, a custom-fabricated radiator, custom headers, unique suspension and braking components, ultralight carbon seats, and so much more it hurts my head just thinking about it.  You could write a book about a build like this, so there’s no way a blog post could do it justice … but if you want to learn more, don’t worry.  “More” is out there!

This incredible build is fully chronicled in the Stance Works forum, with dozens of pictures illustrating every step in the car’s construction.  You can get a taste of the before-and-after, and a hint of the incredible scope of a build that re-used, re-built, and re-cycled virtually every component of the ’72 Mini in the gallery below – but definitely CLICK HERE to check out the full build.  The thread is absolutely, definitely, positively worth the read for any gear-head.

SourceStance Works‘ forum.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.