By Alex Alexandrou

A RENOWNED car customizer has taken a standard Mini and cut it down to an even more ‘mini’ size.

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Videographer / director: Bob Callway
Producer: Alex Alexandrou, Ruby Coote
Editor: Pete Ansell

With its 1300CC engine, it is so small that it’s even able to do a wheelie when driven in reverse gear!

Customizer Andy Saunders told BTV: “I did the original build with Mini HaHa back in 1983, people thought it was amazing.”

The Mini HaHa is one of the first and best-known creations by the famed independent car designer and customizer.

“The idea came about when I was at school, there was a group of four or five of us and we were all into cars and I just knew that this had to be built,” remembers Saunders.

“I was 19 when I built this, I built a car to be used every day, which was its purpose.”

The customizations included removing all bumper brackets and welding the boot into the panel.

Saunders said: “When I cut it in half it was actually cut into three, and then 2’ 7” was taken out.”

He eventually sold it to Motorworld museum in Portrush Northern Ireland later in the 1980s.

The museum was later forced to close down, and the car was left in disrepair.

Eventually, Mini car enthusiast Andy Shaw took possession of the Mini HaHa and decided to embark upon a painstaking restoration.

Shaw told BTV: “The car changed hands three or four different times before I came across it.”

Andy Shaw took the car to a level that Saunders himself believes is as good as, if not better than, when he first completed it in the 1980s. 

“This is such a unique car and it’s got a lot of history – it’s been an honour to restore this car back to its former glory,” Shaw explained.

With no expenses spared, Shaw worked tirelessly to restore the car.

He said: “When I first bought the car, it was not in good condition: no glass, no interior, no engine – it was going to be quite a challenge.”

Luckily, though, he was able to fully restore it because the shell itself was still in really good condition.

“I stripped the car down to a bare shell, sprayed the car then put it all back together again.

“As far as how much it cost I have no idea because I just wanted to restore gradually – I have no idea what it cost.”

Having recently brought it to a MiniSports Action Day, Shaw is proud of how much attention it attracts:

He said: “Anybody who sees Mini HaHa always brings a smile to their face and really that makes me so proud and happy.”

Its creator Saunders is also incredibly happy to still be able to see it in its full glory.

He said: “Seeing it like this now it’s restored – it cheers me up to no end to think someone values my work and my design enough to actually restore it.

“It is the first english custom built car to have been the subject of a full concour restoration and that is an honour to my design work. I am thrilled.”