Twin-Engined MINI Cooper Powerslides Into Jay Leno's Garage

Two is always better than one.

The latest vehicle to make an appearance in Jay Leno's garage is a twin-engined 2002 MINI Cooper. Think of it as one man's very straightforward way of doubling his car's horsepower.

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The MINI has its original engine and transaxle at the front as normal, but it also has a duplicate powertrain at the back, driving the rear wheels. It's a setup similar to the twin-engined Honda CRX project car built by Car and Driver in the 1980s.

Weirdly, the decision to build a twin-engined, all-wheel drive MINI Cooper seemed fiscally responsible to its builder, Jacques Andres. He told Jay that having two cheaper four-cylinder engines made more sense than having one big, expensive V-8. Each 1.6-liter supercharged four-cylinder produces about 250 horsepower.

It also gives Andres a backup: each engine can be operated individually, so the car can limp home with two-wheel drive in a pinch.

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However, the starting procedure is a bit more complex than the average MINI: each engine runs individually (although they're fed from the same fuel pump and tank), so they have to be started one at a time.

The car isn't just for show; it spend plenty of time on the track mixing it up with other MINI racers and the occasional Porsche. What else would you do with a car like this?


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