Ricks lovely Austin Seven.
November 7th, 2013

Rick has been friends with BRR for very many years and writes about his car…

Austin Seven front“Hello everyone, this is a little story about my 1961 Austin Seven which I bought in May 2012, I was drawn to this particular car because apart from having a couple of dents repaired and being painted once about twenty five years or so ago it is totally original, 33000 miles from new, originally an old lady owner who used it on Sundays etc, I am the fifth owner.

When I bought the car it had been sitting for twenty years unused but had recently been Mot-ed, I used the car for a while like this but it was evident that not all was well, a crashing and crunching gearbox, and brakes so dangerous that I almost soiled myself every time I used them! Bill and I decided that a full mechanical rebuild of the car was needed, but done in such a way that the car still retained its original feel and character, so the entire car was stripped down to just the shell and this was left alone apart from a couple of small welded repairs to the boot floor, the subframes were sent off for sandblasting and powder coating.

Austin Seven engine bayI dropped the engine off to Bill’s workshop so he could strip it down and write a shopping list of parts needed.

Although low mileage the engine needed a lot work as the timing chain tensioner had broken up at some point and the bits had gone through the engine, though the cylinder bores were fine.

At this point Bill advised that we modify the engine to accept a later type clutch assembly to replace the troublesome coil spring clutch, this meant we needed to fit a later type crankshaft.

Bill also fitted a later type timing chain and tensioner the idea being to build in reliability for years to come.

Unfortunately the gearbox was beyond repair as the teeth on first and second gear were almost stripped off “this has been driven by an idiot” Bill said! but luckily Bill had another one in his extensive stock of old parts that was in excellent condition, so this really saved the day, the rest of the engine was cleaned up and new gaskets and seals fitted throughout, then the whole unit was then sprayed in BMC green, it looked fantastic.
Whilst this was going on I busied myself with stripping/painting and rebuilding the suspension with new bushes and stainless nuts and bolts, the entire braking system was rebuilt fitting new parts wherever needed and I built up the subframes, these were then fitted back on the car along with some new wheels and tyres, then the engine was lowered back in, what a beautiful sight!

Austin Seven rearOnce everything was connected back up I got oil pressure, put the spark plugs in and put some fuel in, and would you believe the engine fired up first time, I was grinning from ear to ear! The car is now a joy to drive, and gets attention where ever it goes, it looks right without being over restored and sounds fantastic, and even the brakes work well too which is a relief!

I couldn’t be happier with how this great little car has come out, thank you Bill and all the guys at Bill Richards Racing for all your help and advice.”

…we’re glad you like it Rick

Alex’s 1380 Rally Engine.
January 1st, 2013
Another fab project has been completed by Bill Richards Racing for Alex, a 1380 rally spec engine with lots of torque – perfect for road use.
Nick Morley-Smith.
April 11th, 2012

I bought this BRG MGB Roaster in June 2009. It was originally registered in Chichester. It had been taken to Ireland in the 90s and ultimately was brought back to England by a dealer. We therefore did not know any of its history. I was advised to take it to Bill to consider an engine rebuild.

Bill stripped the engine and therein discovered the history of the car. It was apparent that the engine had been rebuilt at least once and the head gasket replaced. He found small cracks in two of the exhaust ports in the head, some wear on the crankshaft and a clutch thrust bearing about to disintegrate.

We discussed about what type of engine that would best suit the car, and settled for a “fast road” engine, engineered for torque and drivability rather than outright power. He replaced the head. Put in stainless steel valves and gas-flowed it. There were many other bits done and the block was finally repainted its original green.

I was given strict instructions about running it in and Bill checked the car and the mixture every couple of weeks. I had it tuned by Peter Baldwin last year, and after a new accelerator cable and fan belt the power output was 106bhp.

The result is a fantastic car with plenty of power and torque. I took it to Le Mans in 2010 and the car drove beautifully. I get immense pleasure from driving it regularly.

I must thank Bill for his advice and expertise. The day spent with him at the workshop doing bits to my own car was unforgettable.

Geoff Tupholme.
June 3rd, 2011

Geoff wrote to BRR –

‘This letter cannot begin to express my gratitude for all your help and “dinosaur tuning” advice over the course of building my mini. Its been an exciting process for me turing my 1973 mini – the one I drove to college so many years ago – into a full fledge race car.

Your advice regarding all the “bits” necessary to make useable power without sacrificing reliability, and the knowledge you shared with me regarding assembly, tuning, and setup configuration has been greatly appreciated.

The build, thanks to your help, has been very successful and the proof is in the pudding!

I had a racers dream weekend at Mazda Raceway(Laguna Seca) in California and was blown away by how strong the new engine felt. We put on a great show and would have come in 8th out of 58 cars if my hood had not popped open in sight of the checkered flag (hood strap on to buy list). This past weekend I also completed a local hill climb event (54th Knox Mtn Hill climb) and got not only a personal best – better than last year by more than 5 seconds – but also took the first place Trophy in Vintage class! (Against V-8 Sunbeam Tigers,TVR’s and Datsun 510’s.)

Again, thank you for your helpful advice, excellent service and for taking all my calls and hundreds of questions. I look forward to working with you on many more projects to come.’

Robert Reed.
March 18th, 2011

Robert is 12 years old, 13 in June, he start Autograss racing in June of 2010. We decided for the first year we need a competive reliable and easy to drive engine to start his car racing.career. After speaking to several Mini racers in all types of racing one name kept coming up, Bill Richards Racing, and after speaking to Bill it was obvious this who should build our engines. Bill also advised us on suspention, handling and safety issues. In his first year Robert won several races and trophies, the engine proved very reliable and allowed Robert to learn about cars and car racing.

For the 2011 season we wanted to make a car that would challenge for top places and yet still be reliable. Again taking Bill’s advise we have built the car to be a very balanced and nutral to help Robert develop his driving style. The new engine is all Bills design and sounds awsome but most importantly Robert has full covidence in it, and it feels a lot more free reving than last years engine, the gearing has been setup using Bill’s expertise.

We go into the season full of confidence and we are sure with Roberts driving improving all the time, and the knowledge of having Bill’s engine under the bonnet good results are not far away.

Many Thanks to Bill and his team

mini model – Edgar Diaz.
March 11th, 2011

Another Bill Richards Racing mini hits the limelight, this time it’s the gorgeous white Cooper S we built for Edgar Diaz some 8 years ago. It still looks like it just left the workshop which is a testament to Edgar for his on going love and care, and the Alabama weather !

Recently Edgar was approached by a model who asked whether she could use the Mini for a photoshoot, well of course, how could he refuse…

that’s a very nice mini !

Dagan Hill.
February 21st, 2011

Dagan Hill explains about his Mini :-

“After going through head gaskets every 6 months or so, I finally decided it was time to take the plunge and give the engine the attention it really needed. Having already gone from the original 998 to a 1275 many years before, I wanted that little bit more! I rang around a number of engine specialists, but based on the customer feedback both here and in mini forums online, and the successes of Bill Richards Racing, there was only one option.

With Bill’s advice and after discussing the various options we settled on stripping down the 1275 and boring it out to a fast road 1380 with a straight cut gears. Having only ever driven mini’s between 850 and 1275 cc’s in the past, i was in for a bit of a shock at just how much of a difference it could make.

It took a few months to run the new engine in and complete the set up, but since then I have done a rolling road session to find out the power output was upto an impressive 97bhp. I also thoroughly enjoyed taking the car out for a couple of fast lap sessions around Castle Combe race circuit.

Many thanks to Bill and Lee who gave sound advice throughout and their level of expertise is second to none. To anyone considering an engine upgrade I would strongly recommend Bill Richards Racing, as you wont be disappointed.”

Ian Clifton.
February 21st, 2011

Ian Clifton writes about his car :-

“Rover SPI Mini Cooper purchased nearly new from John Cooper Garages in Ferring. Fitted shortly after purchase with the John Cooper ‘S Works’ engine conversion. After around a dozen years daily use the car was looking a shade tired both bodily and mechanically. Bodywork restoration was entrusted to Wood and Pickett with panels replaced as necesary and a full respray given.

Bill Richards was asked to rebuild the engine to his ‘Fast Road’ spec. The engine was bored out to 1330cc, fully balanced, new crankshaft and a Piper camshaft fitted.  The large valve head was modified and polished to give a compression ratio of 11: 1 and the 1.5 rockers replaced. Finally a 3.44:1 ratio differential was fitted. Performance wise the engine is just about at the limit without upgrading the ECU and remapping.

The engine now pulls like a train but thanks to the balancing work is beautifully smooth and is proving to be both reliable and tractable. An excellent result.”

if only everything in life was as reliable as a Bill Richards Mini !.
December 2nd, 2010

Simon Worship has 2 cars. But one morning the more famous of the two wouldn’t start so his reliable old faithful Mini was pressed into action to help start the Ferrari.

starting the FerrariSimon had asked Bill & the team to restore his old Mini into a Mr Bean replica. They completely reworked the whole car with a fantastic new paint job, large full length sunroof and many uprated and reconditioned parts.

And of course Bill worked his magic on the engine building a beautifully torquey power unit.

Now if only everything in life was as reliable as a Bill Richards Mini…

Simon O’Sullivan.
April 28th, 2010

Simons 8 PortAnother Mini that has had the Bill Richards Racing touch applied is the Superb Arden 8 port Fuel injected Mini Cooper owned by Simon O’Sullivan. The car is a multiple National Concourse winner and a star of the Ultimate Mini Mayhem DVD. Described by Bill Sollis and Ian Stent as “perfect” the superb Mini has been built by Simon over a 12 year period having had a complete nut and bolt rebuild it has now covered 2900 miles from new.

The heart of the beastThe car has a Bill Richards Racing built 1380cc engine with an Arden 8 Port head fuel injected with Jenvey throttle bodies all controlled by an Emerald K3 ECU producing over 120 bhp at the wheels. Simon spent time with Bill Richards Racing in the workshop during the final assmembly of the engine as all customers are welcome to do. The car also features superb 10″ MB split rims, a unique side exit under floor exhaust, carbon fibre front end, boot floor, boot lid, custom trimmed leather seats and interior, rear alloy beam axle, KAD radius arms, rear anti roll bar – this list goes on. For further details of this superb machine click here .

8 Port Magic