When it went on sale in 1959, the Mini symbolized an intelligent and practical option for everyday life in the city. However, some people did not only imagine with this car going to work or shopping. Far from it, preparation workshops like Cooper they took advantage of its low weight, low center of gravity and short wheelbase in order to present devilish competition variants. In fact, against the expectations of many, the Mini Cooper S won three Monte Carlo Rallies between 1964 and 1967. A test in which, not surprisingly, it faced much more performance models such as the Mercedes 300 SE or the Ford Falcon. Sprint.
Obviously superior to the brief British if they were heading straight. Although, when the Turini and other twisty sections arrived, the Mini imposed her law thanks to her quick responses and excellent handling. This way, the Cooper S became one of the fundamental icons for sports motoring of the sixties. So much so that, at the level of popularity, it is possibly the best-known model among all those created by this preparer. The same one that, by the way, gave a radical turn to F1 when in 1957 he presented his T43. The first single-seater in the premier class with the engine mounted in a central-rear position.
Thus, at this point little more can be said about the Mini Cooper S. Even more so considering its happy rescue by BMW, which manufactures its current version on the outskirts of Oxford with notable success. However, it is interesting to investigate all the sports versions produced in short runs that were left by the wayside. Versions like the Mini Marcos, the Sprint by Neville Trinkett or the Spanish version by Me-Pre. Absolutely delicious thanks to its particular lowered roof and up to 130CV for only about 500 kilos of weight.
At this point, surely those who are most passionate about the Mini will be missing a truly exotic model. And wow, it would really be logical to think that, of this lack, only the most versed in the sports variants of the popular British have realized. Not in vain, of the Broadspeed GT 2+2 only 28 units were assembled. But let's go in parts. Given this situation, it is best to go back to 1959 in order to understand the origin of this vehicle. To begin with, everything must be made to revolve around the figure of Ralph Broad.
Put in charge of the family mechanical workshop from a very young age, Broad began to compete in British touring car races with a Mini he prepared himself. What's more, at the beginning of the sixties he already had his own adaptable kit available for the Mini. Especially successful among the many fans with airs of pilot common in semi-professional trophies. With all this, in 1962 he had already raised enough capital to found his own competition team. Team Broadspeed, appointed by BMC in 1965 to manage their Minis in the European Touring Car Championship. Undoubtedly, a scenario dreamed of by our protagonist. Who finally felt qualified to launch his own car in 1966.
BROADSPEED GT 2+2, AMBITIONS WITHOUT A STUDY
Examining vintage artwork, Ralph Broad is often seen with his Broadspeed. Always recognizable by his ungainly English demeanor, this trainer displayed technical expertise inversely proportional to your ability to read the market. In this way, although the Broadspeed GT 2+2 was undoubtedly an interesting and well sporting version of the Mini, it never enjoyed any possible commercial projection.
Let's see. To begin with, its body received a comprehensive remodeling. Especially at the rear, where it intuitively applied a Kammback cut similar to that exhibited by the Aston Martin DB4 or the Ferrari 250 GTO. Also, a large part of its metal panels were replaced by others made of fiberglass. All this in order to reduce the weight to 584 kilos. Thus improving the performance given by the four-cylinder in-line engine and 998 cubic centimeters with up to 61CV at 6.000 revolutions per minute.
Obviously, due to everything done to the body, the engine and other elements such as the damping, building a Broadspeed GT 2+2 was not exactly cheap. In fact, the price of this sports car amounted to more than double that marked by a Mini Cooper S. Car that, by the way, was not exactly accessible to anyone in those years where the middle classes had just released their access to mass consumption. Furthermore, perhaps impressed by the traditional success of the MG and Triumph roadsters in the American market, Ralph Broad wanted to direct his model to it.
And well, although at the behest of Max Hoffman light models such as the Porsche 356 Speedster were a complete success, the case of the unknown Broadspeed GT 2+2 was not going to look like it at all. What's more, units were only manufactured during its inaugural year. Not surprisingly, its creator realized the mistake made in time, stopping production before it ended irreversibly unbalancing the accounts of your company. After this, Broadspeed could continue to be seen in British races thanks to its preparations based on Ford or Jaguar. But yes, never again in dealerships with their own model. However, it has in its history having launched one of the most exotic and interesting sports versions of the Mini. Not everyone can say something like that.
PD The unit shown to illustrate this article was found for sale in J.D. Classics. In addition, it is possibly the most special of the 28 manufactured due to its engine. With 1.366 cubic centimeters and up to 100CV. Also, this unit mounts magnesium wheels, safety cage and, as can be seen on the hood, the carburetion also received generous improvements.
Photographs: JD Classics