Bulanti Mini

Bulanti Mini

Brian Rawlings gained valuable experience building sports cars while working for Nom Engineering. By the time he started his own business, Milani Motors, located near the Amaroo Park circuit in New South Wales, Rawlings already knew what he was doing. The workshop produced several racing specials, the first two of which were powered by Morris 8 engines.

In 1971 Rawlings designed his first road car, a two-seater sports car called the Bulanti, with a name that sounded Italian. The car featured a Mini engine in a tubular spaceframe behind the seats and a Mini subframe at the front. Although the wheelbase, track, length, and width of the car were similar to a Mini sedan, the overall proportions were very different, with a rounded front and rear, square headlights over the front wheels, and a short overhang at the rear.

The only drawback was the closed coupe body, which made access to the engine a challenge. To remove the panel over the engine, one had to crawl over the two seats. Mini parts were used extensively in the interior and exterior of the car, including the doors, which were made by Bulanti, but had all the Mini fittings such as handles, hinges and cut-down windows.

Despite the Bulanti’s sporty looks, the windshield was taken from a Triumph Herald. Rawlings created a hand-beaten aluminum prototype of the car, but his plan was to produce the car in larger numbers with fiberglass bodies. A mold was made for this purpose. Rawlings managed to sell two cars with slightly different chassis, using more sheet metal instead of tubing. But when he realized how demanding his customers were, with one even asking for an ashtray, Rawlings decided to end the project.

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