Well, something so simple can yet at times be so frustrating. For a long time I have searched for a special Nardi wheel to go into the Potato and since that legend is no more in my garage, I decided to carry this desire over to Basil….and it came out beautiful. The hard part was a very beefy steering drop bracket that I got in the UK that should have been an easy install and I think it all came down to 4 bolts. More on that in a sec.
The Nardi I have is your standard Classico but with bent/swept arms downwards – very unique and very Italian. For years I drove with the upwards swept arm version and really enjoyed the way that looked, but I kept seeing this downward swept version in Road&Ster Magazine. So you know how the story goes….I continue to look for one and I see one up on eBay for around $300 (used) or $400 new. Always from the same seller from Japan and just never pulled the trigger. One came up for bid recently from another seller in Taiwan and I bit hard. About $200 later, this beauty was at my door step and in perfect condition. What sold me on this one was the center ring that exposed the mounting nuts – it is classic and no longer made that way. And just looks correct on the Mini.
So now the harder part – a Mini specific steering boss hub. Again, eBay to the rescue and found a used one from a really nice seller who was very helpful in answering all my questions. I soon found out that this hug is applicable to MG’s as well and she fit like a charm. I also needed to buy a monster 15/16″ socket to get the steering nut off and it was deep in the recesses of a pretty cheap and flimsy steering boss that came with the mini. I really did not like that original wheel and hub at all. Glad to see it go.
The final Pièce de résistance was a drop bracket from the UK – a really ROBUST piece of metal that is hand-made from a chap named Tom Kidd (KiddSpeed) and really is the donkey’s balls. Problem was that the Mini steering rack is held under the dash by a really bad design – a kind of slanted metal support that used two flimsy bolts. I tried installing a few months back as a test fit and found out that she simply would not fit on the car. I thought maybe this was for RHD only….but with a quick Google search I needed to simply loosen the steering rack brackets on the floor and this time she went in fine and better than I expected. Funny how those 4 bolts to the rack simply held up this install for a month. It was only when that rain storm hit during the Atlanta British Car Fare that I pulled the carpets out to reveal said bolts….Oh well.
The look and feel of the Nardi now coupled with a lower steering angle is just perfect.