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Home > Introduce Yourself > Betty Boo - ERA Turbo Downunder

Ruffles

10 Posts
Member #: 12147
Member

Sandgroper Land, Outer Antipodes, WA

Hiya Folks,

Quick intro - we love acquiring unique collectable vehicles and then actually using them rather than keeping garage queens. Each acquisition is viewed more as the beginning of a long and meaningful relationship with the prior owner and curatorship for the vehicle.

Our first foray into the Mini brand is not our first British Marque, so we are well acquainted with changing hinges on bonnets due to over-use as well as oil leaks with spare part numbers in the microfiche....

Betty Boo is a very tidy, one-owner (actually the second owner has only had her for less than a year so does not qualify), 1993 Japanese Spec, Brilliant Red, ERA Turbo with a mere 48,000km covered in nearly 30 years. It is believed to be accurate mileage as she is un-restored, does not have a single spec of corrosion and boasts a full Rover-Japan service history, books and all the tasteful updates finds original parts carefully boxed. From my research, she is a March 1993 build and is build # RJ1331, making her the 7th from last of this iconic little chilli pepper...all placards are in place and the only updates are the mandatory side impact bars, concealed rear inertia reels and demountable third brake light, all of which are mandatory compliance items for meeting the Australian Design Rules for vehicle registration.

She is nearing the completion of a two-week refresh which has seen her suspension completely refurbished, brakes refurbished, coolant system refurbished and an overly comprehensive main service which has included replacement and refurbishment of the ignition system, timing elements, reseal, turbo inspection and so forth. Having researched many a site, we have found this to be adviseable and necessary, especially considering we will be putting some mileage on her and conducting gentle track work to keep her moving in the right direction.

The work will complete next week, the bill is eyewatering (but hey, you live once and I am informed that whilst the labour rate is sensibe, the number of hours is far more than any of our other vehicles because many of the service tasks need to be undertaken with chop sticks and/or tweezers because of the compact nature of the vehicle and everything is hard to reach.

We will be flying from our home in Perth, Western Australia to collect her in Adelaide, South Australia and conducting an epic 2,000mile road trip over a week and a half to return her back to her resting place in our adult toybox for some more tinkering. What better way to celebrate a fine acquisition than to explore some of the best vineyards in the world followed by crossing the Bight and charging across the Nullabor prior to shoving her down the 90-mile straight? Should be a barrel of monkeys and some. I am sure that we will explore the technical straight line limits of this unique incarnation of a production vehicle...

Upon our return, I will likely treat her to our 4-week coolant system descaling and neutralisation exercise followed by a full dry-out and refill with waterless coolant to avert any further corrosion in this department. We found that the process which takes a few months had an incredibly positive impact upon our 1938 Mercedes Benz with its brass radiator and cast iron block...now over 80-years on. I will also be weighing up if the installation of a rear-anti roll bar is indeed necessary at this point.

Incidentally, apart from a full provenance and collection of parts which had been updated, the vehicle not only came with her original compo-motive road wheels but also a very nice set of BBS Alloy wheels which look period correct against my Mk2 GTI 16V. These are already shod with a little-used set of Yokohama Advans, which we are all too familiar with for track days. This was a very lucky find as I have a full set of really nice shoes for the odd track day.

I would like to extend my thanks to your forum and others for enabling me to rapidly build my knowledge base of these very rare but fine vehicles and intend to contribute based upon my experiences as this journey unfolds...

I had the luck to track down Yoshi, allegedly the Japanese agent back in the day in Hiroshima when these were hot property and found that the last short run of these some two years after what is published as the build period were adonned with conventional Rover Mini Bonnet badges and not the silver backed Turbo bonnet badge (oh I am led to understand the bonnet badges were silver when new but tarnished to gold from UV degradation and weathering - not sure how true this is though)

I have attached a photo or two of her for your viewing pleasure. Please rest assured that she will be used and kept up to date.

Anyone in Western or South Australia that is ageing disgracefully behind the wheel of one of these monsters, please reach out and say G'Day...

Regards

Ruffles



stevieturbo

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Northern Ireland

Looks mint !

9.85 @ 145mph
202mph standing mile
speed didn't kill me, but taxation probably will


Ruffles

10 Posts
Member #: 12147
Member

Sandgroper Land, Outer Antipodes, WA

Thanks mate,

Yep, she's a minter and unrestored...


Rod S

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5970 Posts
Member #: 2024
Formally Retired

Rural Suffolk

Wow, Adelaide to Perth at 2,000 miles !!!
That's 3,220kM in your currency and 1,650 of them on the desolate Eyre highway across the Nullabor.
We did it, Perth to Adelaide, a couple of years ago, but following the coast as far as possible, and clocked up 5,500kM over three weeks but that was in a modern hire car.
Even your shortest possible route is going to be quite an "adventure" in a mini.
At least it's your winter this time of year, we did it in your summer.
Good luck with the trip.

EDIT - typo

Edited by Rod S on 11th Jul, 2021.

Schrödinger's cat - so which one am I ???


Ruffles

10 Posts
Member #: 12147
Member

Sandgroper Land, Outer Antipodes, WA

Hiya Rod,

Yeah, this will be our second trip across the Nullabor since 2017 when we did it in a blue Smartfortwo....we drove through the legs of the signpost for the 90-mile straight. Back then, we were against the clock and chocked up 2,700km in just under 3 days, sat at 130 as much as we could, proved that a Smart can do 174kph and used a little under 100 litres of premium....we could fit down the walkways on the view points in the Bight...

This time we are taking two weeks as we will slip down to visit a close friend in Esperance and we will likely hook around Albany and collect a few drops in Margaret River before heading up to Bussellton and Bunbury before heading into Perth....The perfect shakedown for an ERA.

Come to think of it, likely the first Mini Turbo that has undertaken this epic trip...we will be sure to get a few shots in some unforgettable locations.

We have a pretty tight week ahead as we have promised to take our RUF out of the museum and do the weekend run across the South West - Porsche Club's Christmas in July as it is freezing at this time of year - this is likely to be at least 1,000 miles of spirited driving along many twisty bits. We need to get her back to Perth on Sunday and back into the museum before jetting off for Adelaide with our kit bags and tools by late afternoon....

What fun...

Cheers

Ruffles.


Rod S

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5970 Posts
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Rural Suffolk

Yes, Bussleton, Bunbury, (Dunsborough for a whale watching boat), Margaret River, (East Augusta), (Walpole), Albany, Esperance, Norseman, Eyre highway - didn't stop at the 92 mile sign as there were already thee other cars queued up waiting to take selfies - (Eucla and Border crossing), (turned off the Eyre at Ceduna, down to Streaky Bay where I picked my only ever sppeeding ticket, luckily just a written warning rather than AU$400), (Port Lincoln), (Port Augusta), Adelaide.
All over three weeks stopping most places two nights.
Our longest road trip to date - that's out of four so far, we have yet to do Perth to Darwin via Broome and the Gibb River road (4X4 for that trip obviously).
But all of that, and previous road trips, have been in a modern hire car with aircon.
I couldn't imagine doing it in a mini although I assume your ERA will at least have aircon if it's a Jap import ?
What is the temperature this time of year, we've always been over in your summer or early autumn ?
Looking forward to seeing some photos and being able to say we know that place even if it is the other side of the world.
As you say, what fun....

Schrödinger's cat - so which one am I ???


robert

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uranus

please do a thread on the de scaling malarky , i would find it interesting since i have a v rusty 1955 sapphire block to de scumify .*smiley*

Medusa + injection = too much torque for the dyno ..https://youtu.be/qg5o0_tJxYM


Ruffles

10 Posts
Member #: 12147
Member

Sandgroper Land, Outer Antipodes, WA

Hiya Robert,

Sure- will do when I get her back and I will take photos.

You can Google the provider - Peter Maher of Liquid Intelligence out of Sydney, Oz. He only sells directly to enthusiasts and has several decades in oil and chemicals related to the motor and racing industry.

He uses elementary chemistry to scrub all water jackets internally with a carefully formulated preparation. We used the process on our 80-year-old Mercedes side valve engine with stunning results. I will do the same on the ERA when I get it. The process does take a month or two and you are encouraged to use the vehicle as much as possible during the flushing process...the more heat cycles, the better the clean. He has some excellent photos / x-rays of the difference before and after on the blocks and with our old engine, we had to replace freezer plugs and could see the difference.

We also used his seal re-polymerisation formulation on our rear split CV boots - the leaks stopped within approx. a day of use on near 50-year old rubber boots...

Cheers

Ruffles


robert

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uranus

excellent, thank you Ruffles .

Medusa + injection = too much torque for the dyno ..https://youtu.be/qg5o0_tJxYM


Turbo Phil

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Lake District

Nice motor!

Phil.

WWW.TURBO-MINI.COM


e5tus

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Dorset

Looks fantastic. Good luck with the trek.

Very interesting to hear about the chem clean. We had a particularly furred up sprite recently, asides from a flush I wasn't too sure on options.


Ruffles

10 Posts
Member #: 12147
Member

Sandgroper Land, Outer Antipodes, WA

Hiya Folks,

Here is the link to the system that we used on a selection of our Mercedes Benz with both alloy and cast iron blocks. It worked the best on an 80-year-old 1,700cc MB side-valve engine and we have refilled both with Evans and Liquid Intelligence waterless coolant - the LI runs slightly lower temp and appears to run more constantly, however, I would go as far as to say the difference is negligible.

http://liquidintelligence.com.au/products/...em-cleaning-kit

Have a doodle around his site as over the years he has provided solutions to all sorts of chemical related problems with engines and drive trains and most racing teams locally enlist his support.

I chatted with Peter, who was there to take my repeated calls at all hours and he advised to run the Part A for a little longer due to the likely scale built up due to age. At his recommendation, we ran it for 4 weeks and conducted at least 7 heat cycles making sure that we got the engine really warm each time.

We then dropped the dirty dishwater (looked as brown as the Severn on a bad day), allowed the block to cool and then performed about 3 repeated flushes with fresh water.

We then filled up and added part B (to neutralise the caustic effect of Part A and dissolve any residue) and performed about 3 heat cycles over 10 days.

The trick is to take at least a month - something your local mechanic does not have the time for.

We then ran it hot and repeated the drop and flush process. On the final fill before the final flush, we really go it hot as we wanted to ensure that all excess water would evaporate after dropping it. We then left the vehicle in a dry shed for a week.

We then filled the entire system with waterless coolant and burped the system followed by running as hot as we could without the radiator cap on. Believe it or not, we boiled off more water as we witnessed some steam coming off. For several months afterward, we often removed the radiator cap to bleed off any steam.

Incidentally, we proved how effective the descaling was about 12 months later after popping a freezer/welsh plug (this engine has several) that had been poorly seated. Due to it being rather large in diameter we could see the effect of the flush 12-months prior with a near perfectly clean water jacket that was visible from cylinder #2. We concluded that Peter's photos on his site were indeed accurate.

I was personally amazed at the amount of crud that came out of the engine. The beauty is that the Part A appears to loosen it all and scrub the walls through a chemical reaction. You get most of the crap out of the system on the first flush, however, there remains loads of residue which is not pumped through your system. The second part actually neutralises Part A, i.e. stops the reaction and also dissolves all of the loose gunk which comes out as a dark brown soup.

I also tried his stop leak, which we now swear by and even have used on our incredibly valuable Porsche vehicles in our collection that regularly see track time. We found it to work very well on the main donk, gearbox and differentials.

We had leaking freezer plugs and tried the Blown Head Gasket Repair on some poorly installed plugs. We found that we had mixed results, eventually pulling all the plugs and replacing them properly. It may very well be that we did not apply the formula correctly. I would be keen to see someone actually use it for temporarily mending a blown head gasket - there is a process to application and testing which could be time consuming at best.

Prior to ordering and using any of his products, give Peter a call as he was able to provide specific instructions for our different engines - being a chemical engineer, he was able to explain the various preparations in lay-man's terms making it easy to follow and logical to reason. He reminded us of our elementary secondary school science and chemistry regarding reactions and polymerisation.

Enjoy.

Ruffles


SurfToLiveLiveToSurf

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Cirencester, Gloucestershire

Lovely car that, looks like she's in perfect condition!

1310 - Supercharged 16v Twin Cam - 190BHP - SC Built.
1293 - Turbo 16v Twin Cam - Build Commenced


Ruffles

10 Posts
Member #: 12147
Member

Sandgroper Land, Outer Antipodes, WA

Yep she is in fantastic condition - today she just finished a 30-year refresh and only requires the replacement front grille and then she is perfect.

Thanks to the excellent service at Minisport in Adelaide...

Cheers

Ruffles



theoneeyedlizard

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This is fantastic. Keep us updated.

In the 13's at last!.. Just


e5tus

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Dorset

Looks great and really nicely together! Managing to shoehorn air con into an already tight engine bay is nothing short of impressive.


Rod S

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Rural Suffolk

"Minisport in Adelaide..."

I called in to pick up a set of hypatecs to put in my suitcase.

They had only just re-located to their new place.

Andrew probably spent 20 minutes of his time showing me around,

you can't beat Oz hospitality if you are a Brit visitor down under.

Schrödinger's cat - so which one am I ???


Ruffles

10 Posts
Member #: 12147
Member

Sandgroper Land, Outer Antipodes, WA

Hiya Folks,

Just back from an epic road trip...I reckon that I must have broken a few records in the process - first ERA to cross the Nullabor, 2-days, 2,000 mile journey, completed more mileage in Betty Boo than she had completed over the past 25 years.

So I ran the COVID gauntlet and had to smash out some serious mileage in very short succession to make it across the border between South Australia and Western Australia before it slams shut...reminds me of running across the borders in Africa...

Picked her up from Andrew and James at Minisport in Adelaide last Monday morning and met these great guys for the first time. The work they did on her was nothing short of excellent and they had prepared the vehicle for the epic journey to exacting standards.

I quickly grabbed some supplies and fuel and got on my way through the famed Barossa Valley up through Corkscrew Road....I never guessed that she would have such a nice hiss on the wastegate when changing from 2nd to 3rd....It resembles our cat sneezing...how cute. What an incredibly rewarding drive. Nothing like getting up to the speed limit on the ragged edge - perhaps best described as piloting a helicopter compared to a jet. Quickly snapped up some good reds as well as a commemorative 100-year-old drop of tawny to celebrate the acquisition of the vehicle. I also emailed a contact overseas who I had reached out to purchase an ERA prior to finding this fine sample in Australia. I liked the ride so much, I closed the deal on that vehicle too - nothing like having a pair of these wonderful motors.

After Barossa, I explore the quickest backroads to get back on track to get to the border as quickly as possible. This required at least 20km of pretty good dirt roads - she covered the roads flawlessly without as much as a hiccup. Nearly ran out of fuel and filled over 33 litres on the first fill having notched up approx 290km.

I had to get my skates on as the sun was setting and I had to cover at least 200km in the dark. James at Minisport wired up the original Hella driving lights perfectly and I should not have been concerned. Seems like the usual roadkill being wombats and kangaroos did not come out to play - perhaps they were in lockdown too? Managed to have a clear run all the way up to my overnight stay in Kimba. Rolled in at 9pm, repacked the car and tucked down for some well earned rest. I surfaced at 04.30am last Tuesday, showered and pressed out some espresso and hit the road.

I can precisely remember the distance between Kimba and Ceduna, SA to be 334km. Why you ask? Because she ran out of fuel at 332km....daylight had fallen and I had a brisk walk to the closest fuel station. Thanks to a kind truckie, my walk was interrupted for the comfort of a warm cabin to collect fuel. 15 minutes later and back on the road.

I smashed out the 270km to the Nullabor Roadhouse and filled up. I had to move as my updates over COVID found that Adelaide had entered a snap lockdown with 3 cases overnight and the WA border was about to go hard meaning being stuck in SA for at least a few weeks. I covered the ground quickly and made the border by 1.30pm on Tuesday. I was greeted by the most frosty police officer who was clearly having a bad day...I had earned another 14 days of self-quarantine and missed not having to do so by 3 hours!!!?!!! Yep, here in Australia, COVID is a political disease in addition to a pandemic where strict hours are kept by the regime regarding who gets to isolate and who runs free....

Anyway, they permitted me to make the 1,200 km home to isolate in my home in Perth...small mercy as I now had 14 days to love my new mini. I made it a further 280km down the road to overnight in Balladonia Roadhouse making my tally for the day at approximately 1,500km running at between 105 and 130 km/h. Strangely, the dipstick level remained noticeably full - with over 2,000km covered, she did not appear to be consuming any oil - quite odd for a British Motor....

I decided to sleep in and hit the road at 06.30am the next morning with the first light of day and headed home. With the cold fronts sweeping the South West, the driving was actually quite fun with some lovely sweeping curves on lovely wide-open asphalt. With COVID lockdown and borders now firmly shut, there was hardly any traffic. Furthermore, there was not even as much as a carcass of a kangaroo along the way except for a very old one somewhere near Northam some 100km from my final destination in Perth.

I rolled into Perth at around 5pm on Wednesday having stopped for an hour to run her through a jet wash. I had covered over 3,000km over 2 days. She performed flawlessly and I am very impressed. In the end, she consumed around 200 ml of motor oil throughout the journey. She ran a little rich and with timing advanced at a conservative 8 degrees, she could only make just over 140km/h (I reckon with a proper tune-up on a rolling road we should be able to squeeze her published stats out of her). The only complaints were the 3-rd brakelight that is stuck to the rear window which was fitted to comply with authorities, came a little loose and there was a bit of squeal in the rear drums when applied hard....in other words, no worries.

The fuel consumption rounded out to just over 10 litres per 100km and that was with mostly foot flat driving.

She made it into Perth Safely. During the trip between Ceduna and Nullabor I even managed to detail the front interior and original steering wheel, which I fitted at my fuel stop at the border in front of the Eucla Caravan Park.

This iconic car is excellent at smashing out a long trip as you will not fall asleep at the wheel...

Once home, I spent a few days cleaning and detailing her prior to putting her to sleep in the toybox next to our VW Golf GTi 16V MkII...

This vehicle is totally original, now boasting 51,000km and some minor tasteful updates which can easily be reversed because the first owner kept all the bits. I only require an original ERA / Innocenti Mk3 front grille to complete her to 100%...I think that you will agree that she is a beauty.

Cheers

Ruffles


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Ruffles

10 Posts
Member #: 12147
Member

Sandgroper Land, Outer Antipodes, WA

More photos


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Ruffles

10 Posts
Member #: 12147
Member

Sandgroper Land, Outer Antipodes, WA

And some more photos...your system for posting photos is frustrating.... Have plenty but could not be bothered to spend hours posting 2 at a time...


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Rod S

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5970 Posts
Member #: 2024
Formally Retired

Rural Suffolk

For photos, best to use an external host, photobucket used to be everyones choice until they committed commercial suicde by starting to charge for it, now it's either "flikr" or "imgur".
Then just put the URL/link into your post and the photo will appear full size in your thread/post rather than a thumbnail.

Your trip sounds like it was real fun, like I said previously, we did it the other way around but in a modern hire car.

Personal view here, but I would rather have your CV-19 restrictions than be living (as I am) in the UK.
With nearly 150,000 attributable deaths (compared to your 1,000) BoJo the clown and his comedy troupe of scientific advisors have just removed virtually all CV-19 related travel rules.
I'm certainly not going out into the clown's new world....

Schrödinger's cat - so which one am I ???


Turbo Phil

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My sister is so fit I won't show anyone her picture

Lake District

Nice write up, sounds like a great trip.

Phil.

WWW.TURBO-MINI.COM


Yo-Han

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North of the Netherlands

That's some journey!
I've just returned from Italy; a 1100kms trip in my B7 Audi tdi which was long enough for me.... doing that in a Mini does not sound appealing to me, so props to you!

Dazed and Confused....

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