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Car Magazine - written by a Nick Carter
Just once in a while a car comes along that knocks on the head the prejudices of even the most hardened of cynics. When it comes to kit cars, the bias tends to be pretty ingrained, believe me.

The Minari is different. The Road Sport Mk2. looks like it has been designed, rather than carved with a blunt Stanley knife from glued-together Cornflakes packets. Short, squat, a wheel at each corner, perhaps a hint of BMW Z1 and Mazda MX-5 about it, it looks right from any angle.

Even better, the mechanical parts are borrowed from the Alfa Sud, or Alfa 33. You can hear those Webers roaring and that exhaust crackling already, can't you? The Minari can even make use of parts butchered from the Alfa Arna and Nissan Cherry Europe — and any project that gets that sort of crud off the road deserves bonus marks in my book.

The Minari looks pretty in print, all right, but surely it can't be properly executed, can it? The answer, I can gleefully report, is that it most definitely is.
The car is the fruit of several years' hard labour by two clearly very talented men, Andrew Borrowman and Sean Prendergast.
Eighteen months of toil brought about the Minari Mkl, very similar in concept to the current Mk2 but without the beautifully rounded lines.
Many more months of development work and the Mk2 was born, and I have got my hands on it!

The Minari's monocoque is astoundingly solid which is felt as soon as you hit the road. There is none of the scuttle-shake normally associated with many soft top cars , no creaking or floppiness from the chassis in the corners or under hard braking.
With a set-up on the soft side to appeal to the average customer, the firm's demonstrator offers an attractively comfortable ride allied to exceptional cornering ability. The Minari feels delightfully neutral, thanks to its low centre of gravity and near-perfect weight distribution, and the steering system, is direct and informative.

The cockpit is comfortable and well-trimmed, you a kept in place firmly, thanks to the bucket seats and all the controls fall to hand with a good view of the instruments....is this really a kit car? There's an excellent hood which stows away in the boot when not in use, giving a clean body line. When erected it compliments the styling and provides total weather protection.

What a stroke of genius to use Alfa running gear. Think about it: there are corroded Suds and 33s with their lusty and virtually unburstable engines ready for another trip around the clock if only the steel was willing. The car tested has a 1490cc twin-carb unit fitted. With a 100bhp motor the car offers a power-to-weight ratio of 140bhp per ton.

The mind boggles at the thought of a Minari with a 1.7 16v injected engine at 214bhp per ton! The 1.5 provides acceleration in spades, not to mention that glorious Alfa rasp from the exhaust.

The practicalities of building a Minari are not too daunting, either. All the parts required can be sourced from one donor car, and the rest is in the kit. The build time even for a first timer with some mechanical skill is about six months of weekends and evenings.

This little car is a great joy and I was sad to give it back, any one could drive it, but boy does it deliver for the enthusiast and what a shining example to all kit-car companies of how the job ought to be done.

Oh, and to put all those component-watchers out of their misery, the Minari's headlights are lifted from the Mazda MX-3, the rear lights from the Mazda 121. An optional Hella quad projector headlight set is offered giving the car a modern look, but I prefer the more feminine almond eye Mazda units they really suit the car and give fantastic night vision.



Peninsula Sports Cars is the trading name of Paul Featherstone-Harvey. Business address: Kerrow Farm, Wheal Plenty, Redruth, Cornwall TR16 4BW. Telephone 01209 899090. All images copyright of Peninsula Sports Cars. Website created by TAS