THE WORKS GURU.
It’s not uncommon among Mini enthusiasts to find those who push the boundaries of simply being fans.
There are some Mini enthusiasts whose passion for the car runs so deep it’s almost an obsession.
Simon Young is one of those people.
Specifically, his love for BMC Works has seen him take on the role of the Australian Works authority within the MINI community.
It’s been a lifelong love for Simon, who was fascinated by MINIs from a young age.
“When I was eight years old, my aunt gave me a lift back from my grandmother’s place in her 850 Mini Minor,” he says.
There was something about it that caught my imagination, and I just became fascinated by the car in general.”
Soon after that, Simon saw the classic film The Italian Job, featuring Minis racing through the streets, and his newfound fascination with Minis and racing reached “obsessive” levels.
“I started to devour information,” he says.
It was the BMC Works team’s innovative spirit that really piqued Simon’s interest.
“The BMC Works team were at least 15 years ahead of every other team, but also the team was staffed by real characters.
The team, according to Simon, were known for their “precise professionalism” and incredible attention to detail when preparing cars to rally.
“They created a template for rallying, developed much more sophisticated competition cars, and were the first team to develop accurate pace notes for courses.
To me, they seemed incredibly exotic and there are hundreds of these small details you would have no idea about unless you’ve had access to the build sheets and worked on the cars, which I have.”
These days Simon owns a business restoring British racing cars, and says his love for classic Minis has remained just as strong as it was when he was eight years old.
“Any modern car you drive now, yes they’re fast and they’re efficient, but they’re like sitting in an office.
“But you can’t really fall in love with that, there’s no human element left in them anymore.
“I think there’s an intimacy that you get with any older car, but with a Mini in particular.”
Among his collection are some incredibly rare Minis, including a fuel injected Cooper S, which Simon says is the only one is Australia, and two extremely rare LRX cars, driven by Rauno Aaltonen and navigated by Henry Liddon. These cars were restored in Simon’s workshop after some meticulous research.
“They were just an icon of the era,” Simon says.
“They were part of a decade where the world really changed.
“And there’s no doubt that Issigonis was as much an artist as he was an engineer.”