THE AUSTRALIAN BROADSPEED: A VINTAGE RACING LEGEND
The Australian Mini Broadspeed is no lightweight when it comes to Australian racing history – unbeaten in its class in the mid-1960s, it’s a car that broke all the rules and reflects the love that enthusiasts across the country have for the iconic brand as MINI celebrates 60 years.
MINI has a lively and quirky history in Australia, and Laurie Stewart is at the centre of one of those stories. Based in Bowral, he was instrumental in building the Australian Mini Broadspeed in the late 1960s – a local take on an all-out racing model that garnered incredible results.
Probably one of the best-known Mini derivatives, the Broadspeed was built from a Mini Cooper S – already a formidable opponent on the track – which had the roof and tail cut off and replaced with fibreglass.
Only five were built in Australia, and two still exist, making it an incredibly rare Mini. Laurie raced a lightweight version at the 1967 Bathurst Easter meeting, where he finished second outright to Kevin Bartlett’s Works Alfa Romeo GTA – after leading the race for five laps.
“With a 1310 cc engine and five speed gear box, that little car won every sports racing event it was in,” Laurie recalls. “They were so nimble, and it so easy to throw them around corners –and throw them around we did.”
60 years ago, the first Mini was sketched on a tablecloth by Alec Issigonis, who was tasked with designing a fuel-efficient car in response to the 1956 Suez Oil Crisis. In the ensuing decades the fabric of MINI history has been woven with innovation, racing and creativity.