The Lotus-Powered Pickup

If you read off a couple of the initial stats about this car before seeing it in the metal, you’d naturally be led in one direction. Twin cam engine. Super lightweight. Bright yellow nose. Competition-tuned coils. You’d think classic performance Lotus, right? Then you’d continue to read down and things just wouldn’t add up. Bolt-on steel wings. Built in Birmingham. Does that say leaf-spring suspension? A pickup body?

This car features an unholy mash-up of classic concepts that seem poles apart, yet have been made to work seamlessly together. Adam Kent-Smith’s plan with this build was to create the Morris Minor you’d have wanted to buy if you walked onto a British Leyland forecourt back in the ’70s. A Lotus Twin Cam powered Minor Pickup. The fastest way to move sheep in the west.

Lotus engine in Minor pickup

Being beautifully finished and authentic on the outside just makes the fierce growl this 1972 Minor produces even more incongruous, and awesome. The gearbox, freshly installed, is ferocious – just like the engine. The glorious Lotus Twin Cam revs infinitely, daring you to push harder. This is a car that will blow the minds of regular sportscar drivers when it looms in their mirrors, just before they’re consumed by a major monster of a Minor.

A decade or so back, you could perhaps have asked legitimately, ‘Why a Minor’? Loved by a hardcore, perhaps more pitied by the mainstream, thankfully attitudes have changed towards this humble car. Volkswagen Beetles were fortunate to be adopted early into the modified scene: the image of low-slung Bugs with the backdrop of a sun-drenched Californian vista was always going to make them more attractive than the thought of a stout and boring Minor under a rain-soaked British sky.

Yet that hardcore have persevered – and expanded. Converts are flocking to the Minor as Beetle prices get ever more ridiculous and the myriad opportunities presented by the Minor platform have become clear. The Minor is a close fit to the Beetle ethos on every level; the incredibly diverse things you can do with them and the sheer number that were made. Minors are not rare things; even this model is considered a limited version and yet 326,000 pickups were sold between 1956 and 1972. That’s of well over 2.5 million Minors in total. You can pick up a wreck for peanuts.

More and more I’m seeing Minors proudly displayed at car meets where once they may have been nervously tucked away in a corner, and not just neat and tidy originals. Nose-down hot rods. Slammed track-day specials. Performance vans. They’re all out there, and now seen in increasing numbers. This Lotus Minor Pickup is a fantastic example of just what you can achieve. Whereas Pickups were once just the thing for moving hay or even sheep around farms, now this Minor is aiming at moving round the UK’s tracks – fast. It’s exciting, it’s different; classic and yet raw.

The surprising thing is how stock the body is; new and beautifully restored, yes, but with fresh eyes a Minor Pickup is pretty cool straight out off the farm. The pickup tail has tall, imposing sides; the nose that little downward slant – partially a result of its new suspension setup, but it will retain that feel even after bedding in.

Adam is a self-confessed serial classic car owner. He’s owned several Morris Minors, starting with a Pinto-engined one when he was 20 and including another V6 supercharged variant, alongside various Triumphs, Sunbeams, Jags and one defiantly non-British excursion, an out-and-out quarter mile monster ’55 Chevy. Adam’s new Minor Pickup project followed on from owning another Minor pickup about 10 years back, but one he’d bought ready-restored. Builds are personal things, so it just lacked the connection that he was after.

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Article Source: Speed Hunters