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YPL406H

(All about classic Minis, Mini Coopers and new MINI)
[Includes sub forum on HRCR Mini Sport Mini Challenge]
worksminis
Posts: 221
Joined: 07 Apr 2017, 20:28
England

YPL406H

Postby worksminis » 04 Feb 2018, 23:09

Mk2 998 Cooper YPL406H was bought new to replace FJD312D for the 1969 RAC Rally. It was the unpopular colour of beige/white roof (so probably attracted a discount...).
3 years on, Abingdon were much less likely to offer to undertake work, even on private cars for what would come to be termed World Championship events. Changing the green hydrolastic units for silver and fitting the spacing washers to increase the ride height became a job for the driver and one of the service crew. For the first time (the works had only started using them on the 66 RAC and not on every car) an Aley bar was fitted.
Another departure for this RAC (one service crew member was in the process of changing his car) was that it was planned to service a 998 Cooper from....a 998 Cooper. This service car was stripped out (but retained the heater – more on that later) and fitted with lightweight panels. Empty it was considerably lighter than the rally car but had all the same bits (silver hydrolastic units, “works” exhaust, “Mitchell” gearbox extension mounting, Aley bar, full harness belts etc.. A substantial roof rack was needed (to carry ramps, essential for some work on Minis on an event like the RAC). One complication was that it was already fitted with S brakes and wheels when the competing car could not have them as they were not homologated for a Cooper (and never would be, only for a later 998 Mini). Even the auxiliary lights were the same arrangement on both cars. Factory option reclining seats were fitted to both (the black ones delivered on YPL406H being swapped for the standard trim colour ones kept from FJD312D when it was sold, since the driver preferred them).
Both cars were otherwise standard. Engine/gearbox swapping was not practised....

YPL406H finished the rally with no major dramas. It was a snowy and icy event. An early problem for the service car in the plod up the A1 from London was the heater valve leaking. This was cured by wrapping string tightly around the gland. From then on a blanking plate for the head take off and a plug for the hose was an essential service item. The competing crew assumed their service crew were from then on without a heater and offered frequent sympathy but of course the applied solution meant they were not...and being on all the time was no hardship at all, although it caused the engine to run a bit cool at times.

Searle Siemssen.JPG



worksminis
Posts: 221
Joined: 07 Apr 2017, 20:28
England

Re: YPL406H

Postby worksminis » 07 Feb 2018, 22:55

For the 1970 RAC YPL406H gained engine mods. An Oselli head and 731 cam were fitted. Combined with the standard 3.7 final drive, this was not ideal from a stage performance point of view but it was the driver's wish to retain the cruising speed on motorways/main roads. (This engine/box was later sold separately from the car and, as nominal co-driver, I drove it in a Group 2 “998 Mini”, including on one stage, on the Scottish international. Let's say the drivers gained respect from me. Maybe I was by then too used to my 1275 S with 3.9 final drive but I remain convinced the 731 was never a good match with the 998 engine).
AP/Lockheed had introduced their twin circuit master cylinder earlier that year. There had already been problems with it (Will sparrow in his new club car was one who had the brakes jam on). I assume the original impetus for this bit of kit was the works d.i.y. lash up of rods and cables back in 67 utilising the hand brake to meet the requirement in Group 6 for “dual circuit” brakes. That was not then mandatory in Group 2 (the category in which YPL was entered) and I was against using it, knowing the earlier problems and distrusting AP assurances that it was fixed. Perhaps it was free to RAC Rally Mini entrants that year?...
Requiring more room in the service vehicle than the previous year's experiment, a standard 848 Mini Estate was deployed for the 70 RAC. We agreed a 1600 Cortina Estate was what was needed. I recall suggesting a “Savage Estate” (3.0 V6) was what was really, really needed...
All went well until the North York Moors stages (nemesis on the 68 Gulf). There the brakes jammed on. The driver released a bleed nipple on the stage to try and free the brakes and eventually made it to the (Flask Inn?) TC, a God-forsaken location on a high road near the coast. The AP trade service crew quickly changed the master cylinder but the problem was the discs, to which the pads had welded themselves and then broken off, leaving the discs like the surface of the moon. The ST private entrants' support bus was I think busy working on Brian Stevens' S (immortalised in a photo in Brian Moylan's book “Works Rally Mechanic”). It was sleeting, it was cold and the rough ground of the car park was deep in puddles. The YPL service crew lay in the puddles and, by torch light, chipped the remains of the pads off the discs to fit new pads. This was the most impressive dedication to duty I witnessed until I saw Lancia mechanics rolling around in deep, deep mud to change a transmission not a million miles away.
Another finish for YPL though.

RAC 70.jpg

Click image to enlarge


worksminis
Posts: 221
Joined: 07 Apr 2017, 20:28
England

Re: YPL406H

Postby worksminis » 05 Feb 2018, 20:21

Didn't Chris Sclater have a large American wagon (estate car) as service car that year? Seem to remember it at a garage where the route from Hamsterley came out to the main road, where the snow fell in earnest.

Cooperman
Posts: 76
Joined: 17 Jan 2017, 22:30
The Fens
England

Re: YPL406H

Postby Cooperman » 05 Feb 2018, 19:47

I do remember the 1969 RAC Rally very well. It sure was snowy and cold1
I was in a Porsche 911 with Jock Russell. We had a large American Ford Estate as a service car (Ford Fairlane I think) and it was involved in a crash in the ice in Yorkshire which broke the radiator. A quick trip to a Ford Dealer and a Zodiac rad was fitted with the aid of lots of string, etc, and we didn't really lose service cover. Not that a Porsche needs much service, only fresh tyres and odds-and-ends!


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